If you, too, are as interested as I am in mass transit, then I’ve got some good news– there’s now metro access to Istanbul International Airport (IST).
On 29 January the M11 metro line, connecting IST to Gayrettepe transfer station near downtown Istanbul, started operations. For your reference, I’ve added a snippet of the official Istanbul metro map here:
For likely users of this new metro access to Istanbul International Airport, you will still need to transfer to get to the city’s attractions. Expect the ride from IST to Gayrettepe to take around 30 minutes. Depending on where your hotel is, you may want to transfer at the prior station, called Kağıthane.
(NWAT reader Zanzibar reminded me that the IST train had already been operation to Kağıthane since 22 January 2023. This short extension to Gayrettepe makes it that much easier for tourists heading to Taksim and Sultanahmet.)
As someone who has experienced both merciless Istanbul traffic, and shifty taxi drivers, this opening brings good tidings. There are still airport buses — for IST, there’s Havaist — which offer connections to locations on the European and Asian sides of town. More importantly, they also have late-night departures, i.e. when the metro isn’t running.
On my most recent trips to Istanbul, I have avoided IST as much as possible. For transfer flights, it didn’t really matter, but I had zero desire to repeat traffic woes. That’s why I always opted for Istanbul’s Asian hub, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW). It, too, has an airport bus (Havabus), but I simply took the metro to my hotel, which in turn I started to book on the Asian side.
The fact that visitors now have metro access to both Istanbul airports merits praise. As for what’s next, how about more airport shuttles for IST-area hotels?