Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is located in Turkey, 35 kilometres from the centre of the Asian part of Istanbul, and is therefore preferred by those passengers who plan to settle or live in that part of the city.
If the purpose of the trip is to see the main tourist attractions, then the European part of Istanbul is your destination, which means that the new airport, Istanbul, is more suitable. But sometimes there are no tickets available for Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gökçen Airport is cheaper, so tourists choose the latter.
Sabiha Gökçen Airport has just one modern terminal.
The official website of the airport is www.sabihagokcen.aero.
From the airport to central Istanbul
As mentioned above, there are two centres of Istanbul, one on the European side and one on the Asian side. But since the vast majority of tourists head to the European part of the city, where the main attractions and entertainment venues are concentrated, let’s consider this particular route. More precisely, there could be several of them.
First: From Sabiha Gökçen Airport to the Taksim neighbourhood of Beyoğlu, where the famous Taksim Square is located. You will need the Havataş buses (www.havatas.com), which stop just outside the terminal. Buses run every 30 minutes (break from one to four in the morning). The cost is 14 Turkish liras. The trip takes about an hour and a half.
Second: By the same Havataş buses, only this time going to the Kadıköy area. The ticket costs 9 liras and the ride takes an hour. Then you have to take a ferry (4 liras) that will take you to the other side of the river, Eminönü district. From there, a 20-minute walk or a few tram stops (fare 4 liras) will take you to the heart of the Sultanahmet district where you will find the pearls of the city: the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, the Topkapı Palace and many other attractions.
It’s worth noting that instead of taking the ferry, you can also use the Marmaray Underground Line (www.marmaray.gov.tr), which runs through a tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait and thus connects the Asian and European parts of the city. The exit stop is Sirkeci. From there it is even closer to Sultanahmet, which is part of the Fatih district, than from the pier in Eminönü. The fare is 4 liras, like any public transport in Istanbul.
Well, if you value comfort and time, a taxi ride will cost about 85 liras (to Taksim), 60 liras (to Kadiköy), 100 liras (to Sultanahmet).