ISTANBUL ATATÜRK AIRPORT
The city’s major international airport is Istanbul Atatürk Havalimanı (Atatürk Airport), which is located in Yeşilköy (approximately 20 km/12 miles from Taksim Square) on the European side of Istanbul.
Transportation to and from the airport is possible with taxis, buses, and metro.
You can’t miss the bright orange taxis as they line up on the street at the exit of the airport. As of 18 December 2010, the taxi meter starts with 2.5 TL and adds 1.4 TL per kilometer thereafter. You must add bridge crossing and toll fees to the meter (currently, it costs 3.6 TL for bridge crossing). The approximate cost to go to Taksim Square is 25 TL.
Please note that there is no extra charge for your luggage and you do not have to tip the driver. You only have to pay the price shown on the meter. However, if the driver has helped you with your luggage, you might want to give him a small tip—we recommend a maximum of 5 TL (the tip does not have to be proportional with the total on the meter).
The private Havaş bus service offers rings between the airport and central locations in Istanbul.
European Side: Havaş buses to and from Taksim Square operate between 1am-4am and leave every 30 minutes. The price for the Taksim-Atatürk Airport and Atatürk Airport-Taksim routes is 10 TL.
Asian Side: Havaş buses to and from Kozyatağı operate between 1am-4am every hour for 17 TL. The Havaş buses also operate to and from Bakırköy, mainly to cater to passengers coming from and going to Bostancı. The buses to Bakırköy leave from the airport 20 minutes before the sea bus from Bostancı arrives in Bakırköy. The charge for this route is 5TL.
IETT (Public Buses)
Bus line 96T frequently circles between the Taksim Square and Istanbul Atatürk Airport, with stops in Bakırköy, Zeytinburnu, Fatih, and Beyoğlu.
The last stop on this route will drop you off at Taksim Square.
Metro & Tram
The M1 metro line operates between Aksaray and the airport with stops including Aksaray, Topkapı, Bayrampaşa, Esenler Otogarı, Merter, Zeytinburnu, Bahçelievler, Ataköy, and Yenibosna.
In order to get to Sultanahmet, get off at the Zeytinburnu stop on the M1 line and transfer to the T1 line. Get off at the Sultanahmet stop on the T1 line, which operates between Zeytinburnu and Kabataş with stops in Topkapı, Beyazıt, Çemberlitaş, Sultanahmet, Eminönü, Tophane, and more.
In order to get to Taksim, after you change from the M1 line to the T1 line, stay on the T1 line until the last stop (Kabataş) and change there to the F1 line (the funicular), which will take you straight to Taksim Square.
In order to get to Levent and surrounds, change to the M2 line after your get off the funicular (F1 line) in Taksim.
SABİHA GÖKÇEN AIRPORT
Istanbul’s second international airport is Sabiha Gökçen located on the Asian side in Pendik.
Transportation to and from the Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) is possible with taxis and buses.
Taxis are available outside the airport. A trip to Taksim would cost approximately 50 TL.
European Side: Buses to Taksim Square operate between 12am-4am and buses from Taksim Square operate between 1am-4am. The buses leave every 30 minutes and the price for this route is 13 TL.
Asian Side: Buses from Kozyatağı operate between 1am-4am and buses to Kozyatağı operate between 12am-4am. The buses leave every hour and cost 10 TL.
IETT (Public Buses), Metro, and Tram
There are 4 bus lines frequently running between the airport and central parts of the city.
European Side: Line E3 will take you to and from the 4.Levent metro station with stops in Pendik, Sultanbeyli, Sancaktepe, Çekmeköy, Ümraniye, Beykoz, and Beşiktaş.
To get to Taksim Square, take the E3 bus all the way to the 4. Levent metro station. Get on the M2 line and get off at Taksim Square.
To get to Sultanahmet, change to the F1 line (the funicular) at Taksim Square and get off at Kabataş. There, transfer to the T1 line and get off at the Sultanahmet stop.
Asian side: Line E9 will take you to Kadıköy with stops in Kartal and Maltepe. Line E10 will take you to Kadıköy with stops in Pendik, Kartal, Maltepe, and Üsküdar. Line 16S will take you to Kadıköy Metrobus station with stops in Pendik, Kartal, and Maltepe.
DUTY FREE LIMITS
Limits for arrival (per person) are: 2 cartons of cigarettes or 100 items of cigarillos or 50 items of cigars or 250 grams of shredded tobacco or 250 grams of pipe tobacco. Only 1 liter is permitted for alcoholic beverages that contain 20\\% alcohol (whiskey, rakı, etc.) and 2 liters are permitted for beverages with less than 20\\% alcohol (wine, champagne, etc.). The maximum number of perfume bottles you can bring is 5. The limit for tea, instant coffee, coffee, candies, and chocolate is 1 kg each.
Limits for departure (per person) are: 6 cartons of cigarettes or 300 items of cigarillos or 150 items of cigars or 750 grams of shredded tobacco or 750 grams of pipe tobacco. Three liters of alcoholic beverages containing more than 20\\% alcohol and 6 liters of those with less than 20\\% alcohol are permitted. No more than 15 bottles of perfume can be taken out. Tea, instant coffee, coffee, candies, and chocolate are allowed up to 3 kg each.
There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency or Turkish lira that you can bring into Turkey. The maximum amount you can have with you when leaving Turkey is US$5,000 or its TL equivalent.