Istanbul has a very good public transport system and a smart card which can be purchased when you arrive in the city and can be used as a payment method at most of the public transport: Istanbul Kart. You can purchase it in many places around the city. The card itself costs 10 TL and then you can top it up. You can use the card to pay your metro, metrobus, bus, ferry, funicular, tramway, Marmaray, Maçka and Eyüp Cable Car rides and now also HAVAIST – a new (private) bus line which goes to the new airport.
A single ride, when paid with IstanbuKart, will cost you 2,60 TL, and if you prefer to buy a token instead, it will cost you 5 TL. For the updated fee list, please follow this link.https://www.iett.istanbul/tr/main/pages/iett-toplu-ulasim-ucret-tarifesi/42
OTHER OPTIONS (And a few useful apps)
Besides these, you can move around Istanbul also by dolmuş – which is a kind of group taxi, where you pay a fee in cash according to distance.
Taxis are also quite affordable. You can call a taxi via app, like BiTaksi. And to get more information on bus/metro/ferry/metrobus/tramway lines and schedules, I recommend you to download a Trafi app. Both apps are also available in English.
How to reach Istanbul Airports?
There are 2 airports in Istanbul: one on the Asian and the other one on the European side.
You can reach Sabiha Gökçen Airport (Asian side) by Havabus from Taksim, Kadiköy or Yenisahra. For more information on schedules and fees, you can check their webpage. Besides that, you can also take a city bus from Kadiköy, Taksim, Bostanci. In this case, I suggest you take the express line.
(You can search bus lines information in the Trafi app or on the IETT page (Istanbul public transportation). Metro line to the Sabiha Gökçen Airport will be finished in the following years.
IGA Airport (Istanbul’s new airport) is about to open and Atatürk airport, which was quite close to the city centre and very well connected with most parts of Istanbul is about to close. So how to reach Istanbul’s new airport, which is located far from the city centre?
There are a few new bus lines which take you from most of the central parts of Istanbul, like Taksim, Mecidiyeköy, Yenikapi, etc, to the airport. Again Trafi app and IETT page are helpful.
Another option is a newly opened HAVAIST line. Now you can also pay your ride with Istanbul Kart, but due to the long distance (approx. 40 km from the city centre), the price is much higher – approximately 20 TL.
You can also take a taxi, the ride from the central Istanbul area takes from 30 minutes on and it would cost you approximately 130 TL.
For more information regarding the new airport, please consult the Turkish Airlines webpage.