Transport to/from Airport
Istanbul's Ataturk Airport handles both international and domestic flights and is situated about 25 kilometres west of the city centre. Taxis are probably the easiest way to get into town and are readily available outside the airport. They are also relatively reasonable but ensure that you keep an eye on the meter.
It is also useful to know that all the terminals at Ataturk have a shuttle bus service which will connect you to a direct tram or train service to the city centre. The shuttles operate every twenty minutes. To get to the Sultanahmet which is the principal tourist area in the city, take a Havas shuttle bus to Aksaray and then board the tram to the Sultanahmet stop. Alternatively, if you wish to take the train you need to go to the Yesilkoy train station.
To get to the airport for departure, you can either arrange for a private service known as Karasu to pick you up from your hostel or take the Havas shuttle once again. This leaves from outside McDonalds in Takism which is the main commercial and social center of Istanbul.
For getting around the city, buses serve most stops every ten minutes up until 10.30pm. They are less frequent up until midnight. While they are plentiful, they are usually quite crowded and bus drivers sometimes fail to stop at the smaller stops. The destination of each bus is marked on the front and tickets are available from the kiosks by main bus stops. Alternatively, you can avail the tram system which was renovated in the early 1990s and runs along a similar route to the buses. Tickets are interchangeable between the two. There are also ferries and passenger boats travelling up and down the waterways connecting the European and Asian Istanbul.
It is not difficult to locate a taxi in the city as there are stands all over the place. The taxis too are easily recognised as they are yellow in colour, mainly Fiats, and they all have signs. The cost of picking up is approximately 30000 TL with a charge of 5000 per mile between 6:00 am and midnight with a 50 percent increase after midnight.
There are a few things worth noting, however, before you get into one of the little yellow vehicles. Firstly, any toll bridge fees are paid for by the passenger. Secondly, if you are getting a taxi in the Sultanahmet or Takism areas you need to pay close attention. One light means you are being charged the daytime rate but if you see two lights be aware that you are being charged the night time rate. Finally, hold on to your hat, they drive like maniacs so make sure you put on your seat belt before you set off on your adventure.