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Istanbul airport to tour hotel, thoughts on transportation?

Hello everybody,

I am booked on the May 23 "Best of Turkey" tour (SO excited! I haven't been out of Virginia in 22.5 months--not that I'm counting). While keeping an eye on Covid-related hiccups and regulation changes, I'm hoping to fly from the U.S. to Greece and then to Istanbul, likely landing around 8 pm. I've never been to Istanbul, but between immigration, baggage collection (I always aim for carry-on, but never know for sure until the night before;)), etc., I figure it'll be 9:30 before I leave the airport.

The hotel is in Sultanahmet and I don't think offers airport pickup. I know that I can take a taxi, but that's not the most attractive option (don't want to deal with haggling over fares, detours, extra fees, etc., on my own and late in the evening). Has anyone used any of the private shuttle services? I like the idea of fixed rates, and I'm not averse to sharing, but those can take a long time, between traffic and other stops, and it'll already be late. Depending on the fare, an entirely private shuttle may be beyond my price range.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated, thanks!

Caroline

Posted by
211 posts

Oh..I love Istanbul and have always used the hotel for airport pick.up. I have been to Istanbul several times and each time my hotel was in Sultanahmet..I called my hotel and they arranged transport..and each time has been punctual with no issues. A thought to email your hotel and tell them your needs..and enjoy Turkey
Most hotels utilize local transport services.

Posted by
2 posts

We were just in Istanbul so I can offer help from a few things we learned that have changed since previous trips. 1. The new airport is quite farther out of town than the older one. 2. Use the hotel service as they will take care of everything from payment to reserving the trip. It might seem expensive, but it really is out in the middle of nowhere and you don’t want to be hounded by taxi drivers at the airport.
3. Sultanahmet is our preferred location to stay as well, great choice!!
1. Be sure to get a VISA electronically before you go. When we arrived, the guy at the airport was in the back room sleeping and it was quite the fiasco.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
20 posts

We are also on a May 2022 Best of Turkey tour. I have been in email contact with Erdal Ozturk at the Acra Hotel (where our tour starts) to reserve a couple of pre-tour nights. The hotel has a private airport transfer service that will pick us up in a minibus for 45 euro (party of 3). I have to email the hotel with the flight details after the flights are arranged. I think I saw airport transfer offered by a company on trip advisor for 35 euro.

Posted by
13387 posts

Those that used the hotel car service. Describe the process and atmosphere where you met your driver at the airport and then getting to the car.

On your way out, be sure you have a boarding pass in hand before you try and enter the airport.

If you are returning to the US you can get your test at the airport. Pretty well run and quick when I did it.

Thank you, everybody, for your replies! I will definitely contact the hotel--didn't even occur to me (all the more reason to go; my travel skills are rusty!)

Caroline

Posted by
159 posts

I just returned from Istanbul and Athens. The airport is about an hour out of the city. The HavaIst Airport buses run very efficient service from the airport to different points in Istanbul. There are several bus routes, so you can get the HavaIst bus to Beyazit, which is very close to Sültanahmet. The bus fare is currently 35 TL (Turkish Lira) which is about $3.50-$4.00 right now. These HavaIst buses are on the lower level of the airport (below the Arrivals floor). You get to that floor from a specific elevator bank near Exit 13 on the arrivals floor. If you prefer to ask your hotel to pick you up, they will probably have someone holding a sign with your name on it right outside the international flights arrival door.

As someone else said, definitely get your eVisa in advance on the Internet. Make sure you use the official website or you will be scammed/charged more than the eVisa costs. Fee for American Citizens to get an eVisa for Turkey is currently $50 + $1.50 service fee. Official website: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/

For flights to Istanbul and Greece, check the fares on Turkish Airlines carefully. Turkish Airlines often runs sales for destinations outside of Turkey. If you book flights to say Athens with a stopover in Istanbul (you can stay in Istanbul for a while), the airfare might be a lot less expensive than just going tickets for Istanbul round trip and separate tickets for Istanbul to a destination in Greece. When you check the Turkish Airlines website, click on “multi city”.

Posted by
20 posts

I didn't get a chance to book car service to pick me up at the airport prior to arriving. As I came out there was a taxi guy (spotter) and since we were 5 people he got us a big van and asked for a fair price, he gave us a price of 330Lira/33USD to Galata Tower which is close by Taksim sq. I made sure to tell the spotter to confirm the driver knows the deal and takes credit card so there is no mixup issues when to get final destination. although it turns out Credit card machine didn't work at destination (not sure if it was machine issue or driver trying to avoid any charges and saying it is not working). we ended up paying USD at the end.

Posted by
2 posts

My wife and I are booked on the same tour. Just confirming the hotel will arrange shuttle. Looking forward to meeting you and our other fellow travelers. Hopeful that the new surge of Covid is long over and things are approaching something closer to normal.

Posted by
4740 posts

Just a quick note if you haven't been out of Virginia for 22 months, the different levels of covid protocols at places you may visit could be a bit of a surprise. I just spent a lovely few days in Virginia last month but I did notice that very few people mask up there although more did use masks in Virginia than in North Carolina.

You may find places that are much stricter (or less strict-who knows?). Just be prepared to be flexible on this issue. :}

Posted by
234 posts

I’ve been to Istanbul probably 20 times and have always used Blacklane car service for airport pickup. You can download the app to your phone. The app functions similarly to Uber but if memory serves, you have to book a little further in advance (like before you leave on your flight) - it’s not quite as “on demand” in terms of the timing. The driver will wait for you at arrivals with a sign with your name and the cars are always nice.