Arrival at Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW)
Before your arrival
Before telling you about the different means of transportation to make go from the new airport in Istanbul to your accommodation, here are some tips to prepare your arrival in Istanbul:
In Turkey, the currency is the Turkish Lira. If you have not had time to exchange before your departure, you can find distributors in the airport to pay the first expenses (taxis do not accept bank cards). The banking system is very developed in Turkey, you will find distributors absolutely everywhere. We advise you not to make a lot of exchange at the airport, the rates given are generally less advantageous than those you can find in the city. Remember to ask your bank because some French banks have subsidiaries in Turkey, which will allow you not to pay commission (BNP for example with TEB, HSBC, etc).
We advise you not to make a lot of exchange at the airport, the rates given are generally less advantageous than those you can find in the city. Also remember to print the exact address of your hotel and its phone number.
Sabiha Gökçen Airport is the second airport in Istanbul. It attracts more and more travelers every year. It is located on the Asian side, at about 60km from the city center. The ride usually lasts 1 hour but with traffic jams (especially in the morning between 7 am and 9 pm, and in the evening between 5 pm and 8 pm) it can last till 2 hours. The airport is Pegasus Airlines’ hub.
How to get to the city
The yellow cabs
The airport is quite far from the city center, so the taxi ride to Taksim or Sultanahmet may be a bit expensive, (around 400 TL for Taksim and 450 TL for Sultanahmet).
To find them, get out of the airport and take a taxi that is in line. Taxis in Istanbul are yellow, do not get in the car of any reel maker. Please note that the maximum number of passengers is 4 in a Istanbul taxi.
Be careful, not all Istanbul taxis are honest – especially in tourist areas – and sometimes see the tourist as a way to get a few extra pounds. Find our advice in the article about taxis.
The Havabus shuttles
They are the shuttles belonging to the municipality of Istanbul. You will find them at the exit of the airport. The shuttles leave every 30 minutes between 4 am and 1 am. It is the best option to reach the city center. The ticket for Taksim costs approximately 50 TL and the journey takes about 90 minutes. The shuttle makes several stops on the way, (Kavacık – 1.Levent – Zincirlikuyu Metrobüs – Dolapdere – Taksim), most people stop in Taksim.
Once in Taksim Square, you can take a taxi or public transport to get to your hotel. Havabus website: https://www.havabus.com/
Read our article on public transport in Istanbul.
Our private transfers
If you come in a group or with your family (especially with young children, as taxis do not have child seats), booking a private transfer may be a good choice. The driver will wait for you at the exit of your terminal, it will be cheaper than taking two taxis (the maximum number of passengers for a taxi is 4). Private transfers have a fixed price depending on the area where you go and are very comfortable (Mercedes Vito or Volkswagen Tranporter). We can also rent big buses up to 50 places.