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Istanbul Travel Guide

Getting Istanbul

By plane
Istanbul is readily accessible from any part of the world served by more than 50 international airlines. Most international and domestic flights arrive to Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport, which is 24km from the city centre. Istanbul's Atatürk Airport is Turkey's largest and busiest receiving regular flights from the Middle East, the USA, Australia and Europe. Istanbul’s second airport, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, opened in 2001, located on the Asian side of the city is becoming increasingly popular with cheap airlines. Hezarfen Airport at Hadimköy, west of Istanbul, is a 45 minute drive away from the city center. It is Turkey’s first private airport with international registration.

Most major European airports are 2-4 hours away from Istanbul by air, and from the east coast of North America it is about a 10-hour journey.

Getting to the city centre from the airports are available Taxis outside the airport. The journey takes about 30 minutes. All of the taxis are yellow and have fitted metres. Town buses are plentiful for getting around Istanbul, but usually rather crowded. There are also frequent Havas buses that travel directly from the airport to Taksim, and vice-versa. These buses serve at 5:00 am, 6:00 am, and every half-hour between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm.

By train
Istanbul is well served by trains from Sofia, Belgrade, Bucharest and Budapest (connections from Munich and Vienna), etc. Trains arriving from Europe arrive at the station in Sirkeci in the European side of the city, while those arriving from Asiatic countries arrive to Haydarpasa station in the Asian side.

Although trains are the least preferred option for international visitors travelling to Turkey, as the services are generally slower, they are becoming increasingly popular.

Main daily services are:

Bosphorus Express: from Bucharest
TransBalkan Express: from Budapest via Bucharest
Prietenia Express: from Kischinev
Balkan Express: from Belgrade via Sofia
IC 90/91: from Pythion via Thessalonica (connection from Athens)
Istanbul Express: from Munich via Slovenia, Croatia, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria

To view the schedule and price list of railway trips visit the TCDD (Turkish Republic State Railways) website.

By Bus
Istanbul is easily reached by bus. There are regular Coach (Bus) services between Turkey and Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldovia and Switzerland as well as Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Mainly coaches arrive to the "International Istanbul Intercity Bus Terminal" at Esenler in the European center, which counts with 168 ticket offices and gates, its own Metro station, shops, restaurants, police station, clinic and mosque.

"Harem" is the major hub for the buses on the Anatolian (Asian) side, which can be reached easily from the European side with a Ferryboat.

International Istanbul intercity Bus Terminal Tel: +90-212 658 05 05 - 658 10 10

By boat
There are regular ferries to Istanbul from black sea ports, mostly operates during summer season and there are also Cruises from Aegean ports. Ferries from black sea ports are sailing from Odessa, Yalta, Sevastopol, Kherson, Yefpatorya, Novorrossisk and Konstanz.

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