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Istanbul Metro System - inexpensive ride to/from Ataturk airport

Istanbul Metro System - inexpensive ride to/from Ataturk airport

Nov 3rd, 2008, 03:46 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 130
Istanbul Metro System - inexpensive ride to/from Ataturk airport

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


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).

Hereís 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 didnít 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.

teatravel is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,585
Thank you for posting the information. Have you any other information about your trip? Did you post a trip report?
isabel is online now  
Nov 5th, 2008, 08:47 PM
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Hi Isabel: I am not a good writer! I do not write down all the things we did. I find other peopleís trip reports are very well written and easy to follow. I have been on this site since 2000. I take a long trip outside the USA once a year and obtain all the necessary information from here. Thank you Fodorites.

I only pose whatever I think it might interest others. When I tried to find the Istanbul metro system from this site, there wasnít any. We also travel light. It is easy to catch buses, trams wthout lots of luggage.


Our above hotel offered to pick us up at a reasonable fee (US$30). But we werenít sure if we could make our connection (155 minutes) at the time. If we didnít make it, we couldnít even email them and change the time because they donít check email on a daily basis. It took them 2 days to answer my email. They also warned us about overcharged by taxi drivers.

During our trip, we met an American couple in Istanbul. We met them again at the Ataturk airport on the day we left Istanbul. They told us about how a taxi driver tried to rip them off. The hotel got them a taxi for US$30 to the airport. When they got to the airport, the taxi driver demanded US$60 and told them thatís what the hotel clerk told him. The husband refused to pay $60, but he had no change except $20. So he gave the taxi driver $40 for a 25 minutes ride, since it was noon and there werenít that much traffic. We told them we also paid $40 on the way into town, but it was during rush hour and traffic was so bad. It took us about 50 minutes to get into town. Over the years, we have our fair share of being taken for a ride by the taxi drivers. After 10-15 hours on the plane and sometime longer with a long layover, we just wanted to hop on the taxi and got to the hotel as fast as possible w/o thinking how much it would cost!
teatravel is online now  
Nov 6th, 2008, 08:16 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,587
Thank you for this info. I was going to take the hotel shuttle which costs €25, but I'll look into this idea.
P_M is online now  
Nov 6th, 2008, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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From what I am reading on this post, it is apparent that shuttle service offered by the many travel agencies in the Sultanahmet area is cheaper than the hotel shuttle service. 20€ was the cost of going to the airport on the Asian side, which is much farther than Ataturk.
Michael is online now  
Nov 6th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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teatravel, I am staying at the Best Western President Hotel at Tiyatro Caddesi 25 which I think is also near the Blue Mosque. Is my hotel near your hotel? I'm asking because I would like to know if the Sultanahmet stop would be best for me too.

P_M is online now  
Nov 6th, 2008, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We did this trip each day we were in Istanbul as we were staying close to the airport. Getting on at the airport is super easy and the train is practically empty as it is the start of the line. You will have no problem getting a seat by getting on at the airport. Lots of people get on the train at every stop but if you are seated with your luggage next to you it should be no big deal. Everyone gets off at Zetinburnu to switch to the tram. You have to hike around the station a bit to switch and the tram was VERY crowded.There were times we were just smooshed together like sardines in a tin. It was a real slice of local life tho! It sounds as if the crowds can really vary by time of day. We were going in in the morning and out in the evening so I suppose it was the rush hour. It sure was cheap though, and easy to do. If you have a lot of luggage it will be less easy.
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 07:07 PM
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Hi P_M: I typed in the address and checked with Google map and locate the B/W President Hotel. The tram runs thru Ordu Cd (Caddesi=street?) and the street name changed to Yeniçeriler Cd then changed again to Divan Yolu and goes on to cross the Golden Horn on Galata Bridge. We took it all the way to the end to visit the Dolmabahçe Palace.

If I use Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) which located on the lower left hand side as the central point of interest, the B/W hotel is about a mile or less from the Blue Mosque. You may have to get off at the Çembaritas stop which is one stop before Saltanahmet stop. The B/W Hotel is closer to the Grand Bazaar (Kapali Çarsi) than the Blue Mosque. Email the hotel and ask if Çembaritas is closer or Beyazit stop is closer to the hotel.

Side (Si-Deh) Hotel is only a couple hundred feet away from the Four Seasons (the old prison), may be about 300 meters from the Saltanahmet tram stop. There are quite a few small hotels and pensions near the Four Seasons including the Empress Zoe Hotel that mentioned by many Fodorites.

Have fun with the Google Map. I use it to familiarize myself with the locations that Iíve never been before.
teatravel is online now  
Nov 7th, 2008, 04:30 AM
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Thank you TeaTravel for this excellent information -- I love using public transport and this explains it so clearly.
nyse is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 04:39 AM
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Thank you teatravel, this is a big help. I was using Mapquest with no luck but I'll try Google maps.
P_M is online now  
Nov 7th, 2008, 09:13 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Is the Istanbul Metro new? I didn't know about this when I was there two years ago. The taxi scams there seem to be very common.

I also had two incidents there, and one was from the hotel to the airport. I forget how much I paid in the end, but I think that it was more than the trip from the airport to the city because the guy had doctored the meter. It wasn't outrageous though.

I think that when I realized that the trip was costing more than I thought it should, I started asking him questions and he toned down his scam.
111op is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 06:51 AM
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I emailed the hotel but they never replied. But after a bit more searching I found the nearest stop to be Beyazit.

Finding this post is like finding €50 on the ground, as €50 is what I was prepared to pay for round trip transport to the airport. Thanks teatravel!!

P_M is online now  
Dec 21st, 2008, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,587
I'm back from my trip and the metro worked beautifully for my arrival into Istanbul. I highly recommend it.

One caveat--if you have an early morning flight from IST this might not work. The tram starts running at 6am. Hence I was unable to use the tram for the outbound, as this would not get me to the airport 2 hours before flight time. The good news is our hotel had a shuttle which cost around $20 US.
P_M is online now  

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