Istanbul is a unique city divided into two continents; the European side and the Asian side. While most travelers visit the European side because it’s where you’ll find the top attractions, those looking for a quieter and more authentic getaway may prefer to stay on the Asian side.
But how do you get to the Asian side from Istanbul Airport? The answer is that it really depends on your budget and time of arrival.
In this guide, we’ve listed all the ways to get from Istanbul Airport to the Asian side of Istanbul.
Planning a trip to Istanbul last-minute?
Make sure you book your tours, places to stay, and airport transfers ahead of time to ensure availability!
Here is our recommended airport transfer in Istanbul:
- Airport Shuttle From Istanbul Airport (IST) or Sabiha Gocken International Airport (SAW) (Super affordable!)
Here are our recommended tours in Istanbul:
- Luxury Bosphorus Cruise At Sunset (A must-do In Istanbul)
- Whirling Dervishes Show (Unique experience!)
- Historical Turkish Bath Experience
- Istanbul Food And Culture Tour
Here are our recommended places to stay in Istanbul:
Distance from Istanbul Airport to Kadikoy
Before you can plan how to get to Kadikoy, first remember that there is more than one airport in Istanbul. The two in operation are Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) and Istanbul International Airport (IST).
Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) is located on the Asian side and primarily functions as a domestic airport and short international flights. The main airport is Istanbul International Airport (IST) which is located on the European side and is where most international flights depart and arrive.
The distance from Istanbul International Airport (IST) to Kadikoy is 54.2 km (33.6 miles) and takes around 50 minutes to drive.
Now you know the distance, it’s time to look at how to get from Istanbul Airport to Kadikoy…
The Cheapest Way from Istanbul Airport to Asian Side: Bus and Taxi
If you’ve just landed at Istanbul’s new airport, you’ve picked up your luggage and you’re now wondering how you can get to the Asian side from the airport, there are a few options you can take.
Assuming you arrive in the daytime, your best option is to take the bus to Kadikoy on the Asian side, and then take a Uber to your hotel, or walk, depending on how far it is.
This option is also great for those arriving at night, since the Havist buses operate 24/7, meaning you can catch a bus all through the night.
The public buses depart from the -2 level of the arrivals hall at Istanbul Airport. There are two companies that operate from the airport, the Havaist Bus shuttle bus service and the IETT (Istanbul Electricity, Tramway, and Tunnel).
You will need to catch the Havist Bus from Istanbul Airport to Kadikoy (HViST-14 to Kadıköy). This bus runs every 45 minutes and costs around $3 USD. It will take approximately 2 hours to reach Kadikoy which is the end of the route.
Once you disembark from the bus, you can get a taxi or Uber to your hotel. This is a much safer option if you arrive at night.
You can also pay for the bus using your contact payment card, which is the best way to pay for all public transport in Istanbul. All of Istanbul’s buses, trains and trams accept contactless payment.
The Fastest Way from Istanbul Airport to Asian Side: Airport Transfer
If you don’t want to wait for the bus, then an easy and convenient option is to take an Airport transfer.
This is great for those who plan ahead, as your driver will meet you at the arrival gate and take you directly to your hotel.
It’s hassle-free, fast, and also the most comfortable way to travel.
Airport transfers usually have an air-conditioned minibus with free WiFi and a bottle of water. You can choose between a shared option or a private transfer.
Shared options tend to be cheaper, but it may take longer as the driver has to drop off other passengers. It may still be quicker than a bus and is expected to take around 1.5 hours from Istanbul Airport to the Asian side of Istanbul.
The only downside to this is you do need to plan at least 24 hours in advance to secure your booking. If you’ve already arrived in Istanbul, you will need to look at other options.
The Most Convenient Way from Istanbul Airport to the Asian Side: Rent a Car
Lastly, there’s always the option of renting a car at Istanbul Airport.
This allows you to have the freedom to explore the city on your own terms and venture out beyond the usual tourist spots.
Just keep in mind that driving in Istanbul can be chaotic and drivers can be aggressive. I would only recommend this option if you plan on doing a road trip around Turkey.
FAQs About Getting from Istanbul Airport to The Asian Side
Here’s what people usually ask about getting from Istanbul Airport to the Asian Side of Istanbul…
Should I Take a Taxi from the Airport?
Taxis are a quick way to get to your hotel from the airport, but they are also the most expensive. You can arrange a taxi from inside the arrivals hall at the airport and pay a direct fee, or you can hail a yellow cab and pay on the meter.
I advise against hailing a cab from the road, because the airport is 54km away from the city which can make running the meter expensive, especially if you’re traveling during rush hour.
Plus, some taxi drivers tend to take longer routes to increase the fare.
So, to avoid being ripped off, make sure you negotiate the fare with the driver or taxi service in the airport beforehand or use taxi-hailing services like Uber or BiTaksi.
Can I Take the Metro?
Istanbul’s modern metro system is a speedy and inexpensive way to travel. The metro at Istanbul Airport opened up in January 2023.
From the airport, you can take the M11 Subway Line to Kâğıthane on the European side. From here you can take a series of metros to reach your destination, but you may need to change five or six times depending on where on the Asian side you’re staying.
You can view the metro map here to help you plan your route.
It’s not the most efficient, or cost-effective way of reaching the Asian side from Istanbul Airport, so I don’t recommend it.
It’s also not an option for those traveling at night as the metro operates from 6.00 am until midnight.
Related Reading: Things to Do on The Asian Side of Istanbul
How To Get From Kadikoy To Istanbul Airport
When it’s time to get from write from Kadikoy to Istanbul Airport, it largely depends on where in Kadikoy you are staying and what time your flight is.
The best option is to take the Havaist Bus (HViST-14) which departs from the bus stop outside the ferry pier from this location.
Another one of the most cost-effective ways is to take the metro. You can catch the metro to Kağıthane, and from there change onto the M11 to Istanbul Airport. The downside to using the metro is you will need to change several times to get to the M11 line.
If you prefer a more private and direct transfer, you can opt for a taxi or a private car service. While this option may be more expensive, it offers convenience and comfort.
The Verdict: What is the best way?
In conclusion, getting to the Asian side from the airport is easy and painless, as long as you know the right route for you.
The best way is to take the bus since you can take it directly to Kadikoy at any time of the day. Just make sure you have picked up a Turkish sim card so you have data to hail an Uber when you dismount the bus.
Whether you choose to take a taxi, a bus, or drive yourself, each mode of transportation has its merits and drawbacks, but I hope this guide helped you decide on the right route for you and helped you plan your trip to Istanbul.
If you have any more questions, reach out to us in the comments.