Istanbul, a city that connects Asia and Europe, has two international airports: Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) and the New Istanbul Airport (IST). 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.

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

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. On the other hand, the New Istanbul Airport (IST) is located in the Arnavutköy district, approximately 40 kilometers northwest of the city center.

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

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

Layover Tours: The Perfect Solution for Short Stays

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

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.

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

Transferring between Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) and Istanbul Airport (IST) 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. For example:

  1. 1,5 Hours at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW): This includes passing through immigration, withdrawing money from an ATM, collecting your luggage, and queuing for your chosen mode of transportation.
  2. 1,5 Hours at Istanbul Airport (IST): 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 Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) and Istanbul Airport (IST)

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 Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) and Istanbul Airport (IST)

Havaist Shuttle: Budget-Friendly and Efficient

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

Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) Departure Schedule

Arrival times at intermediate stops may vary due to traffic.


Istanbul Airport (IST) Arrival Schedule

Please note that arrival times at intermediate stops may vary depending on traffic conditions


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 E-Pass

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.

Read also:

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.

Discover the Best Car Rental Deals with Rentalcars

For a flexible and hassle-free car rental experience in Istanbul, we personally recommend Rentalcars. Enjoy these great benefits when you choose Rentalcars:

  • Flexible rentals: Cancel or change most bookings for free up to 48 hours before pick-up.
  • No hidden fees: Transparent pricing means you know exactly what you’re paying.
  • Price Match Guarantee: Found the same deal for less? Rentalcars will match the price.

Discover the perfect car rental for your Istanbul adventure by clicking the button below.

If you choose to rent a car, make sure you are aware of the local traffic rules and regulations to ensure a safe and smooth journey. Keep in mind that in Turkey, people drive on the right side of the road, and road signs are usually in both Turkish and English.


In conclusion, there are various transportation options available for travelers seeking to journey between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW). 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: Can I use public transportation to travel between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) at night?

A: Yes, you can use the Havaist Shuttle at night, as it operates 24 hours a day. However, using a combination of metro and Marmaray train lines may not be feasible at night due to limited operating hours. Always check the official websites for the most up-to-date schedules.

Q: Are there luggage storage facilities at Istanbul Airport (IST) or Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW)?

A: Yes, both airports offer luggage storage facilities where you can securely store your belongings for a fee. This service can be useful for travelers with long layovers who wish to explore Istanbul without the burden of carrying their luggage.

Q: Is it safe to travel between Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW)?

A: Istanbul is generally a safe city for travelers, and taking the recommended transportation options between airports should not pose any significant risks. However, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and stay vigilant, especially when navigating unfamiliar places.

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