Sabiha Gӧkçen Airport is one of the two airports serving Istanbul, the other one being Ataturk Airport. It is located on the Asian side, around 40 kilometers away from the central parts of the city. This airport serves as a hub for Pegasus Airlines, Turkey’s no. 1 low-cost carrier, and it is a base for Borajet and Turkish Airlines. The airport is symbolically named after the daughter of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The number of the passengers is constantly increasing, with more than 31 million of them in 2017. However, there are several ways to get to and from the airport.
Airport shuttle bus: The same shuttle bus company, Havabüs, operates to and from both airports. With shuttle bus you can get to Taksim or Kadıköy. They depart every 30 minutes starting from 04:00 am to 01:00 am. The journey can take from 45 minutes to even 2 hours, depending on the part of the day and traffic. The price of the one-way ticket is 18 TL. This is definitely the easiest and most recommended way to get to the center.
Due to its size and importance, the city of Istanbul is very well connected to the airport via public transport, too. But since it is a huge city set on two continents, the public transport is also complex. Here are the most common ways of getting to the center of Istanbul.
- NOTE: While staying in Istanbul, you can use the public transportation boarding pass and save some money – Istanbul Kart. The easiest way to get the card is at the airport, but in case you forget, you can also make it at Sultanahmet and Eminönu. You need to pay a non-refundable 10 TL fee (for the actual card and the service) and an amount of your choice to load onto the card. To reload the card, you can go to newsstands and small shops which offer this service.
Metro & Ferry: In 2019, the connection of the airport and the district of Kadıköy via Metro is being planned. But still, you can get to terminus at Tavşantepe which is 10 km away from the airport and reachable by taxi or bus line E9 (See timetable). The last stop is in Kadıköy (district on Asian side) from where you need to catch a ferry to Karaköy (European part of Istanbul). From there, you can either take a walk or take a metro (M2) or some of the numerous trams from Şişhane to Taksim.
Bus & Ferry: You can also reach the center combining bus and a ferry. First you need to take a bus line E10 (See timetable) or E11 (See timetable) to get to Kadıköy in order to catch a ferry to Karaköy. From there, you can continue by using the trams/metro.
Taxi service: If you would like to avoid the crowded public transport, consider taking a taxi but have in mind that this is the most expensive option. The regular price to get to Taxim is 125 TL and the journey takes around an hour. The prices are fixed and don’t vary depending on the part of the day/year.
Transfer: If neither public transport nor taxi services are viable options for you, consider booking a private transfer online. We recommend you do this in advance so that your driver can already be waiting for you in front of the airport when you arrive.
Renting a car at Sabiha Gӧkçen airport: For those who would prefer to reach the city and explore the area on their own, the best option is to rent a car directly at the airport. At Sabiha Gӧkçen airport you will find various car rental companies such as Avis, Bostanci, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Payless etc. Compare their prices and book your car online.
Renting a bus at Sabiha Gӧkçen airport: If you are coming to Istanbul with a larger group of people, we advise renting a bus, though make sure to do so prior to your flight so that the bus company can organize everything on time.
FAQ – bus and transport from Sabiha Gӧkçen airport
Q: I arrive late at the airport. Will it be a problem for me to get to the city?
A: That shouldn’t be a problem since there are numerous ways of getting to the city including the shuttle bus which operates between 04:00 am and 01:00 am. But if you find yourself arriving in those few hours when it doesn’t operate, there are other options such as a private transfer or taxi.
Q: I have an early morning departure from the airport, are there any airport hotels I can stay at?
A: Yes, there is ISG Airport Hotel reachable in 3 minutes from the terminal. The hotel has a big capacity and offers full service in order to make your visit comfortable.
Q: I would like to visit Istanbul in between flights. Is that possible?
A: Why not. Although the ride from the airport to the center can take up to 2 hours, if your flight is later that day, then definitely visit the center because it’s worth it. The airport also offers a service of baggage storage, the daily prices vary between 15-25 TL (depending on the size of your baggage).
Q: Can I exchange money at the airport to pay for my transfer?
A: Yes, there are 24/7 offices where you can exchange money. Also, numerous banks have their ATMs at the airport and there are 2 banks – Türkiye İş Bank and Yapı Kredi Bank.
Q: I am continuing my journey outside Istanbul. Are there any direct lines to other destinations?
A: There are no direct lines to any larger city of Turkey, but you can go to the main bus station in Istanbul and check the possibilities. You can also check the desired routes on GetByBus.