Just imagine: your flight to Istanbul just landed, and you feel the irrepressible joy of visiting a new city, full of new possibilities, in your chest. There are hundreds of things to do in Istanbul, and all these possibilities roam inside your mind. With its two major airports, one on the Anatolian and the other on the European side, Istanbul welcomes thousands of people to experience these feelings every day.

Even though there are options to travel to Istanbul other than airways, like seaways, almost all of the upcoming tourists preferred coming to the city by having a flight to Istanbul. In this article, we will discover Istanbul and its airports and the transportation options between them, and the most important tourist attractions of the city. We will also introduce you to the Istanbul Tourist Pass, which will make your trip a lot easier in terms of tickets for tourist attractions and public transportation. While you plan your trip and discover Istanbul, Istanbul Tourist Pass will reduce prices for you and help you save money and time.

Airport Options for Your Flight to Istanbul

Let’s start by looking at your flight to Istanbul first! As mentioned, you have two options for airports. The new and enormous airport of Istanbul, the Istanbul Airport, is located in the northern parts of the European Side. It welcomes almost 70% of upcoming tourists to the city. The second one, named Sabiha Gökçen Airport, is located on the Anatolian side and has operated in and from dozens of countries since 2001.  

There are transportation options from both of these airports to several essential and iconic locations in Istanbul, such as Kadıköy or Taksim. Rather than going to your hotel, you may also want to discover Istanbul first and visit some tourist attractions. Let’s plan your trip by examining these transportation alternatives to and from the airports, meanwhile introducing you to some of the things to do in Istanbul.

What to Do After Your Flight to Istanbul?

After your flight to Istanbul successfully lands at the Istanbul Airport, getting an airport shuttle is the best way to get to the city center. Flights to Istanbul often land at this airport, and it is safe to say that it is enormous -so don’t worry if it takes some time to get out of it! The airport shuttles are labeled as “Havaİst,” and they have a variety of destinations such as Taksim. If you buy an Istanbul Tourist Pass®, the fee for these shuttles will be included in your pass. If you don’t have an Istanbul Tourist Pass®, then you can pay via cash or card. Also, you can get a private airport transfer for a discounted fee if you own an Istanbul Tourist Pass®.

Suppose your flight to Istanbul lands at the Sabiha Gökçen Airport. In that case, the first thing you should do is to take one of the Havabüs Shuttles (similar to the ones that operate at Istanbul Airport) or municipality buses. If you are going to stay on the Anatolian side, we suggest that you take Havabüs to Kadıköy or buses numbered E-10 or E-11. Tickets for Havabüs Shuttles can be bought in cash or by card. For the municipality buses, you will need an Istanbulkart. If you purchase an Istanbul Tourist Pass®, you can also book a private airport transfer for a discounted price.

So now that your flight to Istanbul is all settled and you know how to arrive at the city center or your hotel, let’s talk about the rest of your trip and ease the way for you. You may also want to jump right into discovering the city just after your flight to Istanbul lands off. Don’t worry and keep reading if you are curious about transportation to tourist attractions from the airports directly.

Main Things to Do in Istanbul

Harboring both historical and geographical tourist attractions, as well as having roaring nightlife and countless cultural activities, Istanbul is the crowning jewel of Turkey. Millions of people come to discover Istanbul every year, and almost all of them prefer to come by flight. Join them and plan your trip, and taste the privilege of seeing Asian and European continents lying side by side from the window of your flight to Istanbul.

As we mentioned, there are many things to do in Istanbul, whether it be visiting tourist attractions or just enjoying tidbits of the city’s local life. Visiting the historical peninsula, enjoying a hop-on-hop-off Bosphorus Strait tour, visiting museums, and walking down İstiklal Street can be listed as some of the most entertaining things to do in Istanbul. You can also enjoy eating and drinking Turkish delicacies or going shopping. We suggest you include all of these while you plan your trip!

The historical peninsula of Istanbul, harboring monumental tourist attractions like Hagia Sophia and Yerebatan Cistern (Basilica Cistern), is located on the southernmost part of the European Side. To get there, you can use a variety of public transportation like the tram line or metro. With your Istanbul Tourist Pass, you will also be able to enter many of the tourist attractions in the Historical Peninsula. From your flight to Istanbul, the easiest way to reach the historical peninsula you can get the Sultanahmet line of Havabüs.

To discover Istanbul from the sea and see the beautiful Bosphorus, you can have a Bosphorus tour. From the window of your flight, you probably already saw the famous Bosphorus! Don’t forget that this is also included in your Tourist Pass! In order to have this trip, you can go directly to Beşiktaş by airport shuttles and start your sea tour.

Or you can go and have a shopping spree on the famous İstiklal Street. Located at Taksim, it is easy to go to this historical and sparkly place. After your flight to Istanbul lands, you just have to take one of the airport shuttles to Taksim! While you are there, don’t forget to taste some Turkish coffee and ice cream. Now you know some of the significant things to do in Istanbul, and you can plan your trip accordingly. You should plan which airport suits best of your interests for your flight to Istanbul. Also, don’t forget to check in for your return flight to Istanbul while you discover the city!