I will be arriving at Ataturk Airport on Thursday, Sept 15 at about noon, after a short flight from Sofia. I will then need to get to my hotel in Sirkeci, near the Spice Market, traveling solo, with light baggage. I have heard that traffic into Istanbul can be congested and slow, yes? So my question is, what is the quickest and best way to make this transfer, by taxi, car service or Metro? I don't mind so much paying for a door-to-door ride, but not if it is considerably slower than public transit. If I go by Metro, what would be my stops or transfers? (By the way, I tried to e-mail my hotel with this question, a fine hotel, but my message did not go through via their web site.) Thanks!
(To get your answer quickly, you can Google "Istanbul Metro" or even "Ataturk Airport to Sirkeci" as your subject line states). Quickest and cheapest - definitely metro/tram (the only time that wouldn't be true is if you're arriving or leaving really late or really early, like 5am, when there's zero traffic). Here's the tram info - I took the tram from the airport with one change at Zeytinburnu station (M1a to T1 line). It can get extremely crowded at times as you get nearer the historic district but it shouldn't take any longer than say 45 min or so to get to where you need. Very easy to use - I didn't have a lot of luggage either. Yes, traffic can be atrocious.. most people book transfers or take cabs but I always opt for the public transit. If you end up taking a cab, bring the hotel directions with you in Turkish (ask the hotel to provide) and also check what the fare should be. There are so many hotels in Istanbul and a lot of taxi drivers frankly are a little less skilled at finding the hotels.
I used Efendi Travel for a ride in from the airport. It was 25 Euros total for our group. If Agnes pegs the public transit journey time at about 45 minutes max, I would say the private ride would be just as fast. We arrived after the dinner hour so I'm sure it was less crowded than at noon, but it definitely took less than 45 minutes. As it was our first trip to Turkey, it was nice to have the driver waiting inside the airport with our name on a sign and a direct transfer right to the front door of our lodging.
Many Istanbul hotels offer free transfers from the airport (one way for stays of a few days, round trip for longer stays). Check if yours does.