Istanbul, the bridge between Asia and Europe, has two international airports: the New Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW). If you’re planning a trip and need to travel between these two airports, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the necessary information and practical tips to ensure a smooth journey.

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New Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW): Where Are They?

The New Istanbul Airport (IST) is located in the Arnavutköy district, approximately 40 kilometers northwest of the city center. On the other hand, Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) is situated in the Pendik district on the Asian side of the city, around 47 kilometers southeast of the city center.

How Far is Istanbul Airport (IST) from Sabiha Gokcen Airport?

The distance between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) is approximately 95 kilometers by road, which can take around 80 minutes to cover, depending on traffic conditions.

General Tips for a Smooth Journey

To ensure a hassle-free trip between the two airports, consider these practical tips:

  • Get Turkish Liras: Most transportation options don’t accept credit cards, foreign currencies, or large Turkish lira notes. Withdraw cash from an airport ATM and have 5, 10, 20, or 50 lira notes handy.
  • Get an Istanbul Kart: IstanbulKart or Travel City Pass are mandatory for most public transportation lines and can save you money. Purchase one at the airport and load sufficient funds.
  • Hotel Address: Note down or print your hotel’s exact address and phone number. Istanbul is a vast city, and even locals might need help finding your hotel.
  • Plan Your Trip or Book a Transfer Online: To ease your journey, book your transfer online or plan your route well in advance.

Layover Tours: The Perfect Solution for Short Stays

If you find yourself with a layover in Istanbul going from Istanbul Airport to Sabiha Gokcen, consider taking a layover tour to maximize your time and explore the city without worrying about transfers and landmarks.

How Long Does It Take To Transfer Between SAW and IST Airport?

Transferring between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) can vary in duration depending on the mode of transportation and traffic conditions. Here’s an overview of the time it takes for each option:

  • Private Car: Approximately 1.5 hours
  • Havaist Shuttle: Approximately 2 hours

In addition to the travel time, it’s crucial to consider the time required to complete airport procedures:

  1. 1 Hour at Istanbul Airport (IST): This includes passing through immigration, withdrawing money from an ATM, collecting your luggage, and queuing for your chosen mode of transportation.
  2. 2 Hours at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW): This includes checking in, passing through security, and boarding your next flight.

Considering these factors, it’s recommended to have at least 4-4.5 hours of transit time between the two airports for international flights and around 4 hours for domestic flights. This buffer ensures you have ample time to complete all necessary procedures and account for any potential delays, making your journey as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Options for Travel Between IST and Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Havaist Shuttle (HVIST-13)1 hour 50 min (more during rush hour)110 TL
Private ShuttleAbout 80 minAbout 60$ (about 1200 TL)
TaxiAbout 80 minNo fixed price, around 1000 TL
Car RentalAbout 80 minFrom 650 TL for 24 hours + gas

In-Depth Look at Transportation Options Between IST and Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Havaist Shuttle: Budget-Friendly and Efficient

The Havaist Buses IST-13 are an excellent option for budget-conscious travelers seeking an efficient way to travel between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Departing every 45-90 minutes from Istanbul International Airport, the Havaist buses reach Sabiha Gökçen Airport in about 110 minutes and operates 24 hours. The bus station in Istanbul Airport is located on the -2 floor. The Havaist Shuttle offers a comfortable ride at an affordable price of 110 TL.

HAVAIST New Istanbul Airport Shuttles/Buses (Routes, Price 2023)

Istanbul Airport (IST) Departure Schedule

Arrival times at intermediate stops may vary due to traffic.


Main Stop Departure Schedule (from Sabiha Gökçen Airport) Please note that arrival times at intermediate stops may vary depending on traffic conditions


However, it’s essential to consider the shuttle’s schedule, which may not be suitable for travelers with tight layovers or time-sensitive plans. Before opting for this mode of transportation, check the official Havabus website for up-to-date timetables and additional information to plan your journey accordingly.

Free Havaist Shuttle with Istanbul E-Pass

Experience a hassle-free arrival in Istanbul with the one-way shuttle transfer service from/to Istanbul Airport (IST), included with your Istanbul E-pass. Even better, you can use the shuttle service outside of your pass valid days. Additionally, choose from 2, 3, 5, or 7-day passes, and gain access to over 40 top attractions in the city.

Click the button below to get your Istanbul E-pass and enjoy a comfortable, unforgettable trip

Buy City Travel Card

Private Shuttle: A Stress-Free, Comfortable Experience

For those who value comfort and convenience, private shuttles are a fantastic option. These services cater to travelers with specific needs, such as families with young children, those traveling with pets, or passengers with a significant amount of luggage. Private shuttles can be booked online for a fixed price, ensuring a smooth, hassle-free journey without any hidden fees.

Make Your Arrival in Istanbul a Breeze with Welcome Pickups

We know that traveling to a new city can be both exciting and a bit daunting. That’s why we want to share with you our personal recommendation for a hassle-free airport transfer experience in Istanbul: Welcome Pickups.

Welcome Pickups provides reliable and affordable private transfers from Istanbul Airport straight to your accommodation. Their friendly, English-speaking drivers will greet you with a warm smile at the arrivals hall, holding a sign with your name on it. It’s like having a local friend waiting to welcome you to their city!

What makes Welcome Pickups our top pick for Istanbul Airport transfers?

Transparent, fixed pricing with no surprise fees

  • Round-the-clock customer support
  • Real-time flight tracking to adjust for any delays
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before your scheduled transfer
  • A range of vehicle options to accommodate your needs

Ready to simplify your arrival in Istanbul? Click the button below to book your transfer with Welcome Pickups. We’re confident that you’ll enjoy their service as much as we do. Safe travels and have a fantastic time in Istanbul!

Taxi: Weighing the Risks

Taxis may seem like a convenient choice for travelers pressed for time, but it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks. Unfortunately, taxi scams are not uncommon in Istanbul, and you may end up paying significantly more than the expected fare of around 1000 TL.

In light of these risks, it’s often safer and more reliable to opt for a private transfer. With a private shuttle, you can enjoy a fixed price, trustworthy service, and peace of mind during your journey. If you’re in a hurry or have a tight layover, it’s highly recommended to book a private shuttle instead of risking an unreliable taxi ride.

Read more about taxi from Istanbul Airport >>

Car Rentals: Flexibility and Freedom on the Road

For those who prefer the freedom and flexibility of driving themselves, car rental services like Rentalcars provide a wide range of vehicles to suit your needs. Prices start from 650 TL for a 24-hour rental period, plus the cost of fuel.

Renting a car allows you to explore Istanbul and its surroundings at your own pace, without relying on public transportation schedules. However, it’s essential to consider factors such as traffic conditions, parking availability, and your familiarity with driving in Turkey before committing to this option.

In conclusion, there are various transportation options available for travelers seeking to journey between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Each method has its pros and cons, so consider your budget, time constraints, and personal preferences when making your decision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How far is Istanbul Airport (IST) from Sabiha Gokcen Airport?

A: The distance between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport is approximately 95 kilometers, or 60 miles.

Q: What is the fastest way to get from Istanbul Airport (IST) to Sabiha Gokcen Airport?

A: The fastest way to travel between the airports is by private shuttle or taxi, which takes about 80 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

Q: Is it better to take a taxi or a private shuttle between IST and Sabiha Gokcen Airport?

A: It is generally recommended to choose a private shuttle over a taxi for a more reliable, comfortable, and hassle-free experience. Private shuttles offer fixed pricing and trustworthy service, while taxis may involve scams or inflated fares.

Q: Can I use public transportation between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport?

A: Yes, you can use the Havabus Shuttle, which is a budget-friendly and efficient public transportation option. However, keep in mind that the shuttle operates on a schedule, so it may not be suitable for travelers with tight layovers or time-sensitive plans.

Q: Is it advisable to rent a car for traveling between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport?

A: Renting a car can be a convenient option for those who prefer flexibility and freedom on the road. However, consider factors like traffic conditions, parking availability, and your familiarity with driving in Turkey before opting for this choice.

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