Istanbul Ataturk Airport, or Ataturk Airport in short, is the primary international airport serving Istanbul, Turkey. It is one of the busiest airports in the country, and Turkey’s biggest airport based on the total number of passengers. The airport was previously called Yesilkoy International Airport before it was renamed in honour of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first president of the independent Republic of Turkey. Ataturk Airport is a leading airport in the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus region. The airport is located just outside Istanbul.
The city centre is only 24 kilometres from Ataturk Airport. To get there, several means of transport are available. Travellers can take the light rail service between Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Aksaray, a neighbourhood in Istanbul, which requires about 35 minutes of travelling time. The rail network passes through prominent parts of the city, as well as to the intercity bus terminal. Apart from rail, passengers can board the Airport Shuttle to locations like Taksim Square, Kozyatagi, Aksaray, Yenikapi and Bakirkoy. These buses run regularly, in estimated half an hour intervals, while the service to Etiler Akmerkez arrives every two hours. For a comparatively inexpensive alternative, take the municipality bus to Kozyatagi, Etiler and Taksim. Renting a car is also a possible way to get to the city. Taxis are faster, but pricier than most options. Travel in comfort in a Mercedes Benz minivan, only around 40 percent more expensive than the standard taxi fare.
In downtown Istanbul, take the Metro, a fast, affordable and useful way to get around. Otherwise, the intercity buses make popular attractions of Istanbul reachable by public transport. These buses even take you to other Turkish cities, besides Istanbul. For an interesting way to travel, take the ferryboats that serve short sea routes around the city. For tourists, special tour ferries operate daily for those interested in discovering Istanbul from the water. Yellow taxis are also another way to get around, but watch out for congested streets and maniac driving. Drivers also tend to expect big tips from foreigners, but not locals. Beware of drivers taking roundabout routes and charging unmetered prices.
What to See & Do
Istanbul was voted top destination for 2014 by TripAdvisor. There are plenty of reasons why this is so; the beautiful city of Istanbul is the cultural capital of Turkey, and boasts great sights and fun activities for all visitors.
Start with the Topkapi Palace, a must-visit landmark in Istanbul. The palace houses a treasury of crown jewels, verdant courtyards, intricately tiled harem quarters and delicate kiosks, and was the residence of generations of sultans and thousands of imperial servants. From Topkapi, take in spectacular panoramas of the city, across the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn.
Another landmark is the Blue Mosque, called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish, a historical mosque on Sultanahmet Square. Be captivated by the 260 stained glass windows and 20,000 blue-green tiles that gave it its name. Facing the Blue Mosque is the ancient Aya Sofia, the famed cathedral-turned-mosque-turned-museum. Marvel at the golden tiled dome, stunning mosaics, and grand interior of the building. Another notable attraction is the Basilica Cistern, comprising intriguing ancient sixth-century water reservoirs. Discover the city’s most surprising romantic attraction through exploration of the underground tunnel complex, past hauntingly lit columns, arched ceilings, and an overturned head of Medusa.
These are but a few of the many sights Istanbul has to offer. Other striking attractions include the Suleymaniye Mosque, Chora Church, Galata Tower, various museums and more.
Visit awe-inspiring Istanbul today, and discover the magic of the city. Book your flight now!
Flexible where you fly? Search nearby airports for bigger savings.
Airports near Istanbul
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.