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Istanbul Metro System - inexpensive ride to/from Ataturk airport

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Below is the map of the Istanbul Metro system. It is very easy to follow.

http://www.istanbululasim.com/en/default.asp?menu_id=1&sayfa_id=2

A taxi ride last month during the rush hour from Ataturk airport to the Sultanahmet area costs $40, paid in US dollars! We need to find a less expensive way to go to the Ataturk airport on our way home. It costs about $2 each (2.80 YTL).

Here’s how: We stayed near the Blue Mosque and boarded the tram at the Sultanahmet stop (dark blue metro line) for 1.40 YTL (buy token at the tram stop.) Rode all the way to Zeytinburnu (the final stop for this dark blue line) stop and got off. Zeytinburnu stop is where the intersection of the red, light blue and dark blue metro lines meet. Actually we followed a bunch of passengers who have large bags and suitcases. We figured they too were going to the airport. We bought another 1.40 YTL token and crossed to the other side (followed the crowd) and waited for the red metro line. This tram took us all the way to the end of the tram line, that stop is Havalimani (at the bottom left corner of the map.) Practically inside the airport. Another advantage to be in this part of the airport is that the security line is very short. Only the passengers from the tram check in here. We were cleared very fast. The whole trip & security line took less than 45 minutes. No traffic jam. We had seats on both rides since we left around 11 am, the trams were half full. It could be crowded during rush hours, especially this dark blue line goes to Istanbul University.

Should you decide to take the tram from the Ataturk airport to downtown Istanbul, just reverse the trip. It is quite easy to follow. Start at Havalimani metro stop and go from there. Unfortunately we didn’t know and it costs us a bit of money! Obtain the metro paper map from the kiosk where you buy the tokens. Get YTLs from the many ATMs at the airport. Buy tokens at the tram stop. They give changes if you only have large bills from the ATM. Each ride costs 1.40 YTL. If you are not sure, just ask. People are quite helpful.

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