My wife and I and our daughter are traveling to Istanbul in mid December for the first time from the US. We are arriving in the new Istanbul Airport. What is the best way to go to the city? How much will it cost? We heard that since the airport is new that public transportation is not readily accessible yet. Thanks so much.
Here is a recent thread on this subject: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/turkey-reviews/transportation-options-from-new-ist-airport-to-sultanahmet-area
Are you going to an area of Istanbul other than Sultanamet? We took the Havaist bus (IST-20) when we arrived a week ago. It was stall 17.
Google the airport's website and look at the section that talks about getting to/from the airport. It will detail all the options. The HAVAIST bus/shuttle would likely be the cheapest option.
I can recommend the Havaist bus. Easy to use. Costs 18TL
Another recommendation for the HavaIst bus to the city. It is one level below the arrivals level at the new Istanbul airport. Very comfortable buses with cushioned seats.
I would recommend getting around Istanbul in taxi's but to get to and from the airport I would use UBER. I'm not sure where you will be staying ... but last November I took an Uber from the old airport to the Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus in Beşiktaş and despite that being 15 miles or a 50 minutes drive (really bad traffic!) I only paid 82 Turkish Lira or 15 USD. Most UBER drivers will pick you up in a Mercedes-Benz Vito -- plenty of room to move around and enough space to store your luggage.
Uber has been banned in Turkey. Havaist would be best choice for you. Depends on where you go, average price would be 18-25 liras..
I just returned from Istanbul 4 days ago. Unless you are strapped for cash, take the taxi from the airport. After a flight it is so much more relaxing than public transportation. Cost is about $20. Wait out during rush hour at 5-7pm when everything is jammed.
Thanks so much for all the responses!
We will be staying in Conrad Bhosporus . If we take the Havaist bus, what is the closed bus stop to the hotel?
Beşiktaşis Iskele closest to the Conrad hotel. The 10 min walk from there may be uphill so confirm with the hotel if you need a taxi/ shuttle for that short distance. If I had light luggage (which I always do), it would be an easy walk for me. The hotel is tall and recognizable from a distance, so it shouldn't be that hard to find.
PS. This is a great business hotel (my Dad stayed there on a work trip) but not particularly well-situated for sightseeing in the Old City (the hotel is way beyond the end of the tram line at Kabataş). How do you plan on getting around in general once you're there? On case it's a consideration, Istanbul has a gazillion nice and well-priced hotels that are closer to most of the sights. Two central areas are Old City/Sultanahmet and Taksim Square.
I would not walk up that hill -- it is very steep and a pain especially if you have luggage --- Also, the street where the hotel is located barely has any sidewalks -- If UBER is no longer a "thing" I would just download the BiTaksi app -- It is like using UBER but for taxi's -- the prices are regulated by the Turkish Government and you can see the price ahead of time. I used the app around Istanbul and it was very useful -- it is very safe ( shows the license plate & the name of the driver).
As for the hotel -- it was AMAZING! Everyone was very nice - My room had a spectacular view of the Bosphorus . I agree that it is not as close to all the main tourist attractions but the taxi rides were super fast -- you made an awesome choice. Let me know if you have anymore questions. TIP - Don't be afraid to order room service, they have authentic Turkish meze at a good price.
Let me know if you have anymore questions - ISTANBUL is a special place.