Istanbul, a captivating city that straddles two continents, is a treasure trove of history, culture, and adventure. When flying into Sabiha Gokcen Airport, located on the city’s Asian side, travelers may wonder how to make their way to the historic heart of Istanbul, known as the Old City. In this comprehensive guide, we explore various options to get from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to the Old City, ensuring you have all the information you need for a smooth and enjoyable journey.


Sabiha Gokcen Airport and the Old City of Istanbul: Location and Distance

Sabiha Gokcen Airport is situated on the Asian side of Istanbul, approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the Old City, located on the European side. The Old City is home to iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, making it a must-visit destination for travelers.

General Tips for a Smooth Journey from Sabiha Gokcen Istanbul Airport (SAW) to Old City (Sultanahmet)

Before embarking on your journey from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to the Old City, consider the following tips for a hassle-free experience:

  • Get Turkish Liras: To ensure you have the local currency on hand, withdraw cash from an ATM at the airport. Most transportation options do not accept credit cards, foreign currencies, or large Turkish Lira notes. Have some 5, 10, 20, or maximum 50 notes handy.
  • Get an Istanbul Kart: Purchase an IstanbulKart or Travel City Pass at the airport and load sufficient funds onto it. This card is essential for using most public transportation lines and offers cheaper fares.
  • Hotel Address: Write down or print out your hotel’s exact address and phone number. This information will be helpful if you need assistance with directions or if your taxi driver needs to make a call.
  • Plan Your Trip or Book Transfer Online: To simplify your journey, consider booking a transfer online or plan your route in advance. Arrive at the airport at least 1.5 hours before domestic flights and 2.5 hours before international flights.

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.

Transportation Options from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Old City (Sultanahmet)

Here is a summary of the various transportation options available to you, including their travel time and approximate cost:

City Shuttle (SG-1) + Change from Kadikoy (Ferry Boat + T1 Tram)About 3 hours, more during rush hour65 TL
Private ShuttleAbout 70 minAbout 50$ (about 970 TL)
TaxiAbout 70 minNo fixed Price, but about 1250 TL
Car RentalAbout 70 minFrom 1000 TL for a 24 hours + gas
Metro M4 Line + Marmaray + T1 Tram2 hoursAbout 60 TL
Metro M4 Line + Ferry Boat + T1 Tram2 hoursAbout 50 TL

Metro M4 Line: A Budget-Friendly and Efficient Option

For travelers who don’t mind using public transportation, the Metro M4 Line is an excellent option. This line runs through Kadikoy, ending at the Kadikoy Pier (near the Moda district). From here, you have two choices, depending on your final destination:

Option 1: If your destination is closer to Eminonu, take the M4 to Kadikoy Station. Then, change to the Kadikoy-Eminonu Ferry. Afterward, you can take the T1 Tram to reach your exact location (for example, Sultanahmet Stop) OR take the M4 to Ayrilik Cesmesi Station, where you should change to the Marmaray heading towards Halkali. After that, disembark at Sirkeci Station and take the T1 Tram at Sirkeci Stop if necessary.

Option 2: If your destination is closer to Aksaray, take the M4 to Ayrilik Cesmesi Station, where you should change to the Marmaray heading towards Halkali. After that, disembark at Yenikapi Station and take the T1 Tram at Aksaray Stop if necessary.

The M4 operates 24 hours from Friday to Sunday, and from 06:00 to 00:00 on weekdays.

The Way Back: Old City to Sabiha Gokcen Airport by Metro

If you’re heading back to Sabiha Gokcen Airport from the Old City, you can use the Metro M4 Line combined with the Marmaray and T1 Tram.

Here’s option 1:

  1. Take the T1 Tram from your location in the Old City to Yenikapi Station.
  2. Change to the Marmaray, which will take you to Ayrilik Cesmesi Station.
  3. Finally, take the M4 from Ayrilik Cesmesi Station to the airport.

Option 2: To return to Sabiha Gokcen Airport from the Old City, if your destination is closer to Eminonu, you can take the T1 Tram to Eminonu. Then, change to the Eminonu-Kadokoy Ferry, and finally take the M4 line to the airport. This option can take up to 3 hours, so be sure to factor in enough time for your journey. It’s important to note that the M4 operates from 06:00 to 00:00 on weekdays and 24 hours from Friday to Sunday.

Havabus Shuttle (SG-1) from Sabiha Gokcen Istanbul Airport (SAW) to Old City (Sultanahmet): A Convenient Choice

Another affordable and convenient option is the Havabus Shuttle (SG-1). With a travel time of approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes (longer during rush hour), this service costs 52 TL. Buses operate between 06:30 am and 00:30 am, every 30 minutes.

The Havabus stop at Sabiha Gokcen Airport is easily accessible, and the Kadikoy bus stop is conveniently located near the Kadikoy Pier.

For the return trip from Kadikoy to Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Havabus shuttles operate between 04:15 am and 21:15 am, every 30 minutes. Be sure to plan your departure time accordingly, factoring in potential traffic delays and the time required for check-in and security procedures at the airport.

After arriving in Kadikoy, you can take the ferry to Eminonu as described in the Metro M4 Line section above.

Free Havabus Shuttle Service from Sabiha Gokcen Istanbul Airport (SAW) to Old City (Sultanahmet) with Your Istanbul E-pass

Arrive in Istanbul stress-free with the Havabus shuttle service to/from Sabiha Gokcen Airport, available for free with your Istanbul E-pass. Travel comfortably and affordably between the airport and the city center. Don’t miss this fantastic perk – click the button below to get your Istanbul E-pass and secure your complimentary Havabus shuttle service.

Private Shuttle from Sabiha Gokcen Istanbul Airport (SAW) to Old City (Sultanahmet): Comfort and Convenience

A private shuttle from Sabiha Gokcen Istanbul Airport (SAW) to Old City (Sultanahmet) is ideal for those who prioritize comfort, are traveling with children or pets, or have a lot of luggage. These shuttles pick you up at the airport’s exit floor and drop you off at the airport entrance when it’s time for your departure. You can book a private shuttle online and be confident in the price.

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: Use with Caution

While taking a taxi may seem like a convenient option, we recommend considering a private transfer instead. Taxi scams are common in Istanbul, and you could end up paying 2,000 TL for a ride that should have only cost 1,000 TL. Private transfers are often similarly priced but provide a safer and more trustworthy service. If you have a layover, think twice before choosing a taxi, as they can be unreliable. Read more about taxi scams…

Car Rentals: Freedom to Explore

For those who prefer to have their own transportation, car rentals are a great option. Rentalcars is a popular choice for renting a vehicle in Istanbul. This option allows you the freedom to explore the city at your own pace and can be cost-effective, especially when traveling with a group.

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.

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In Conclusion

No matter your budget or preferences, this guide provides you with various transportation options to get from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to the Old City. By planning ahead and considering the tips mentioned above, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, allowing you to make the most of your time in the enchanting city of Istanbul.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How far is Sabiha Gokcen Airport from the Old City?

Sabiha Gokcen Airport is approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the Old City.

What is the most budget-friendly option for getting from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to the Old City?

The most budget-friendly option is using the Metro M4 Line combined with a ferry and the T1 Tram. The total cost is about 50 TL, and it takes around 2 hours.

What is the quickest option to reach the Old City from Sabiha Gokcen Airport?

The fastest option is taking a private shuttle or a taxi, which takes about 70 minutes. However, a private shuttle is safer and more reliable than a taxi.

Is it safe to take a taxi from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to the Old City?

While taxis are available, it’s essential to be cautious due to the risk of scams. We recommend considering a private transfer instead, which offers a safer and more reliable service.

Where can I rent a car at Sabiha Gokcen Airport?

Car rental services like Rentalcars are available at Sabiha Gokcen Airport, allowing you to rent a vehicle and explore Istanbul at your own pace.

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