Before Your Trip

Which Airport is Best to Fly and is Closest to Istanbul?

Istanbul is one of the world’s most populated metropolis with 2 Istanbul airport options. With a population of more than 15.8 million people as of December 2022 and increasing! It is also one of the most popular tourist spots among visitors. If you want to visit this wonderful city, you should read this blog post.

There are 2 main airports in Istanbul from which and where to travel. Which Istanbul airport is closest to city center? The choice of airport may depend on your preferences. Two main airports and their distances from Istanbul are shown below.


Sabiha Gokcen Airport vs. Istanbul Airport 

Let us begin by contrasting Istanbul’s two major airports including Istanbul airport ist and international airports in Istanbul. Istanbul Airport (IST) is Türkiye’s major airport and is situated in the city’s northeast. Turkish Airlines, Türkiye’s national flag airline, has its hub at the airport. IST is Istanbul’s principal international gateway, with connections to over 200 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport: Asia’s Side Gateway

Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is on the asian side of Istanbul. This airport is named for Sabiha Gokcen, who was the first woman in the world to fly a fighter jet. It is known for being well-designed and easy to get to from the city. It makes things easier for passengers because there is only one terminal for both domestic and foreign flights.

There are many bus and shuttle routes that go directly from the airport to different parts of Istanbul. Sabiha Gökcen is a great option for tourists who want to see more of Istanbul’s eastern regions or who want an alternative to the main Istanbul Airport that is less crowded.

Istanbul Airport: Europe’s Door to the World

Istanbul Airport is the primary international gateway located on the european side of Istanbul and one of the largest airports in the world. Since its opening, it has quickly become a central hub for air travel in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The airport boasts an expansive array of facilities and services, including a vast array of shopping and dining options, lounges, and business centers.

It is well-served by public transportation, taxis, and private shuttles, making the transfer to the city’s center both convenient and accessible. For travelers who prioritize extensive flight options and a wide range of amenities, Istanbul Airport stands out as the premier choice.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) is the city’s second-largest airport and is situated in the city’s southwest. Pegasus uses it as its primary hub while Turkish Airlines uses the airport as a subsidiary hub. SAW is mostly a domestic airport with links to numerous Middle Eastern and Central Asian locations. The two airports are about 34 miles apart and can both be reached in roughly an hour, from the city if there is no traffic.

Which Istanbul airport is the closest to the city center?

There is a big question. Which Istanbul airport is closest to central Istanbul? Istanbul New Airport (IST) is located 34 km from the city center in the European part.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) is located 31 km from the city center in the Asian part. So they are almost equally far away from the city. The good news here! With the new metro stations, Kadıköy is easy to reach around 50 minutes from the airport station. The last metro station Kadıköy is near the pier. Thus it is easier for you to visit Beşiktaş as well.

P.S: If you want to learn more about How to Get from Istanbul Airport to Kadıköy you should check out our blog!

Which airport is nearest to Istanbul’s major attractions?

If you’re arriving on an international flight and want to see some of Istanbul’s famed sights, you should arrive at Istanbul Airport. Since the airport is on the European Side, the famous Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar are all closer to this airport than Sabiha Gokcen Airport.

You may also take a cab to the sights if you arrive at IST, but it would take significantly longer. The distance between Istanbul Airport and the city center is around 12 miles, whereas Sabiha Gokcen Airport and the city center are approximately 21 miles. As a result, if you are arriving from a foreign aircraft, it is preferable to arrive at IST rather than SAW.

Which airport is closest to the top attractions in Istanbul, Türkiye? It depends on the attractions you want to see. If you want to see the seaside nearby Uskudar and Kadikoy, you can visit them easier by arriving at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport.

What is the fare from Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen to Central Istanbul?

It is suggested that you arrive at Istanbul Airport if arriving on an international aircraft. If you arrive at IST, you may take a cab to the city center. You may also utilize the HAVAist shuttle service, which is a shared-ride service delivers you to the city center.

When you arrive at Sabiha Gokcen Airport, you can wish to take a cab to the city center. Don’t forget to check the havaist shuttle that you can use from both of the airports. Also, keep in mind that Istanbul new airport is a big one, so it will take you longer to walk until the exit. Hence, Istanbul Sabiha airport or another saying Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen is smaller.

Which airport in Istanbul should you travel to?

If you are arriving on an international flight and want to stay in the city and explore the major attractions, land at Istanbul Airport. Considering you are flying from a domestic airport and want to stay in the city to explore the major attractions, land at Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Fly into Istanbul Airport if you want to stay in the city center and explore the major attractions. If you want to stay in the city center and visit the major attractions, fly into Sabiha Gokcen Airport. And, if you want to see Istanbul’s most renowned destination, Hagia Sophia, you should fly into Istanbul Airport, which is the nearest to this iconic site.

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Diamond Painting Artist, Bocconi graduate, cat lover, passionate about learning. Travelled a lot, but found my forever home - Antalya.
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