Just a quick question: where in the world can you find two airports two airports separated by just a few miles but in different continents? And what if, despite being in different continents, they were in the same city? As strange as it sounds, that happens in Istanbul. Istanbul’s main airport is located on the European side, whilst Sabiha Gökçen, the second one, is located in Asia.
SOME INFORMATION ABOUT ISTANBUL SABIHA GÖKÇEN AIRPORT
Contrary to what many people might expect, Sabiha Gökçen airport (SAW) is very large. The airport is he main base for Pegasus Airlines, Turkey’s number 1 low-cost carrier, but companies such as Bora Jet, Anadolu Jet and Turkish Airlines also fly from here.
The airport has an impeccable infrastructure and a large duty-free area both on arrivals and on departures. The one thing that lets it down, in my opinion, is the lack of free wifi. However, you can pay 10TL to access the internet for 2 hours or get a wifi voucher when buying more than 30TL at most restaurants (on the departure area).
Right at the arrivals hall you’ll find a few cafes, a Burger King and many ATM machines dispensing Turkish Liras, euros and US dollars. If you prefer, you may also use one of the airport’s exchange bureaus, in which case I’d recommend changing just a small amount, since airports have the worst exchange rates. There are also mobile phone kiosks selling local SIM cards right in front of the arrivals gate.
LEFT LUGGAGE LOCKERS
On the international arrivals terminal you’ll also find a luggage storage office. It’s not an automated locker system, but a small room with an attendant, where you can leave your luggage. If for whatever reason, you wish to store your luggage, Atatürk airport’s left luggage office is located on next floor below the arrivals hall.Unfortunately I don’t remember the prices, but chances are they are the same as the one at Ataturk Airport: 25 Turkish Liras (TL) for a large piece of luggage, 18TL for a medium suitcase and 15TL for a piece of hand luggage.
Unfortunately I don’t remember the prices, but chances are they are the same as the one at Ataturk Airport: 25 Turkish Liras (TL) for a large piece of luggage, 18TL for a medium suitcase and 15TL for a piece of hand luggage.
HOW TO GET FROM SABIHA GÖKÇEN AIRPORT TO TAKSIM
Sabiha Gökçen airport is located 22 miles (35km) from Taksim, right in Anatolia (Asian side). Traffic between the airport and the city is usually heavy and delays are very common. I’ve been lucky to do this journey in 45 minutes on a couple of occasions. But I’ve also done it in 2 hours, so duration is always dependent on traffic conditions.
Unlike Istanbul’s main airport, Sabiha Gökçen doesn’t count with a metro system. Having said that, they are working on extending metro line 4 as far as the airport. At the moment, I think the best ways to get to Taksim from Sabiha Gökçen airport are either with a private car transfer or by bus, although taxis are also available.
As I mentioned on previous posts, I’m always sceptical of airport taxi drivers. There is a taxi ranking outside the arrivals hall, even a list. But since you have to pay the driver, I’d rather not take chances.
Another way is a private transfer booked in advance. You can book it with your hotel or just do it yourself online. This is a website I used twice before and ended up partnering with, which means I’ll received a small commission if you use this link. Remember that you will not pay anything extra for that.
The benefit is that you will know the exact price in advance and you have the choice of paying it online partly or in full. Sample fares are:
Sabiha Gökçen Airport-Taksim: from 56 euros for up to four people.
Sabiha Gökçen Airport-Kadiköy: from 37 euros for up to four passengers.
The cheapest way to travel between Sabiha Gökçen airport and Taksim is by bus. Buses park just outside the arrivals hall. Havataş (pronounced havatásh) is the only company that covers this itinerary, so there’s no competition. Despite this, they have a modern fleet and all buses are comfortable and air-conditioned. They’re supposed to have wifi, but I’ve never been able to connect on the dozens of times I travelled with them.
Buses leave for Taksim and Kadikoy, so make sure you check the destination at the front of the bus. You’ll have to store your luggage in the under storage compartments and advise the driver your final destination – the bus also stops at Levent 4, before Taksim. Only hand luggage is allowed on the bus.
The airport buses no longer stop right at Taksim Square. Instead, they terminate and start their journeys in front of Divan Hotel, about 5 minutes walk from Taksim Square itself.
Price: 14TL per person (take your seat and wait for the driver to come to you)
Duration of Journey: 1 to 2 hours.
Buses run from 4am to 1am.
CONTINUING YOUR JOURNEY TO SULTANAHMET AND BEYOND
If you’re continuing your journey to Sultanahmet, you’ll have to walk to Taksim Square. Follow the metro sign (M) and buy a transport card called Istanbulkart. There are two steps to this leg of the journey.
First, look for the signs to the funicular (Füniküler) to Kabataş. You’ll have to tap your Istanbulkart to get in. This journey to the bottom of the hill takes only about 2 minutes. Once at Kabataş, look for the signs to the tram (tramvay) and walk upstairs to street level. You’ll need to tap your card for a second time.
The journey from Kabataş to Sultanahmet takes bout 15 minutes and crosses the Golden Horn on Galata Bridge.
Now enjoy the views and have a great time at this fantastic city.
YOU CAN BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR ISTANBUL ATTRACTIONS ON THIS LINK AND JUMP THE QUEUES.