Turkey Istanbul International Airport List

Istanbul, a city that resonates with a vibrant atmosphere and is steeped in a rich historical legacy, continually beckons millions of global visitors each year. Whether you find yourself enthralled as a tourist marveling at its remarkable landmarks, a business traveler navigating conferences, or merely passing through during a layover, the choice of an airport can profoundly shape and enhance your travel experience.

Travel Experience and Travel Destinations

In the discourse that follows, we embark on an exploration of Istanbul's airports, each meticulously designed to cater to the diverse needs and nuanced preferences of travelers. Our journey is dedicated to unraveling the hidden treasures concealed within these terminals, sharing invaluable insights aimed at aiding you in making choices that promise convenience, comfort, and an overall enjoyable journey for your upcoming sojourn.

Istanbul's International Airport Extravaganza

Istanbul International Airport (IST)

Istanbul International Airport

Since its inauguration in 2018, Istanbul Airport has emerged as a magnetic force, drawing in travelers from every corner of the globe. Its allure lies not only in its cutting-edge facilities but also in the seamless orchestration of its operations. At the heart of IST Airport lies an expansive duty-free shopping area, a microcosm where internationally renowned brands seamlessly coexist with local boutiques, offering a delightful spectrum of products to cater to every conceivable preference. The shopping experience here is akin to uncovering a treasure trove of delightful surprises, ranging from upscale fashion and luxury accessories to Turkish delicacies and traditional crafts.

Delving further into the sensory delights, Istanbul Airport invites travelers to indulge in the delectable flavors of the city. The culinary experience within its confines is nothing short of a gastronomic journey. Whether you yearn for a satisfying Turkish breakfast, the aroma of flavorful kebabs, or the familiarity of popular dishes from renowned fast-food chains, IST Airport ensures that every bite is a celebration for your taste buds.

But Istanbul Airport is not just a transit hub; it's a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of travel. Within its lounges, weary travelers can unwind in plush seating, savor complimentary refreshments, and catch up on work or entertainment. For those seeking solitude, secluded corners offer a haven for rejuvenation, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the serene ambiance of the airport's relaxation areas.

After Checking In

After Checking In

As you step beyond the immigration checkpoint, a seamless transition awaits, leading you directly to the baggage claim area. Here, you're not just at the terminal of your journey but at the gateway to a shopper’s paradise. The world of duty-free shopping unfolds before you, offering an enticing array of products ranging from designer fragrances to the latest electronics, all at tax-free prices.

While you anticipate the arrival of your luggage, you might find yourself in need of a luggage trolley. Worry not, as these are conveniently available. With a nominal, refundable deposit, you can easily acquire one, making your shopping spree or the wait for your baggage effortless and comfortable.

In the rare event that your luggage seems to have taken a detour, there's no cause for alarm. The airport understands that mishaps happen. Strategically placed help desks and dedicated airline offices are at your service, staffed with professionals eager to assist. They are committed to resolving any luggage-related issues swiftly, ensuring that your belongings are reunited with you in the shortest time possible.

This area is not just a space to collect your baggage but a realm that transforms waiting time into an opportunity — an opportunity to indulge in a bit of retail therapy, to find that perfect gift for a loved one, or treat yourself to something special from a selection of international brands. Welcome to this unique aspect of your travel experience, where convenience and opportunity coalesce to enhance your journey's end.

Customs and Passport Control

Customs and Passport Control

Embarking on your journey through customs at Istanbul's gateway can be a remarkably smooth experience, whether you're carrying items that need to be declared or traveling light. The process is intuitively designed to guide you seamlessly from one step to the next. As you arrive, you'll find clear signage directing you to the right channel: one for travelers with goods to declare and another for those who don't. Select the tunnel that applies to your situation, and you'll be on your way without any hassle.

Once you've made your choice, you'll proceed towards the welcoming arrival area. Here, the essence of Istanbul begins to unfold before you, setting the stage for the adventures that lie ahead. The transition through customs is just the beginning of your exploration of this vibrant city, where historical richness and modern vibrancy intertwine. So, with the formalities efficiently handled, you're free to immerse yourself in all the experiences Istanbul has to offer.

SIM Cards and Currency Exchange

SIM Cards and Currency Exchange

In the digitally interconnected era we live in, acquiring a local SIM card has become a critical necessity, particularly for individuals who need to maintain communication across various time zones. This is especially true for business travelers, tourists, and expatriates who rely heavily on mobile connectivity for navigation, staying in touch with contacts, or managing work commitments remotely. 

As you emerge from the customs area, you'll notice strategically placed kiosks, designed for convenience and ease of access. These kiosks offer a diverse array of SIM card options, meticulously tailored to cater to a wide range of needs and preferences. Whether you require a SIM with high data capacity for business purposes or a cost-effective option for basic communication, these kiosks provide solutions that seamlessly integrate into your travel itinerary.

Upon your departure from the customs area, you'll be greeted by the essential financial services necessary for any international traveler. Conveniently located are currency exchange counters and automated teller machines (ATMs), strategically positioned to serve you right after you enter into a new country. 

A practical tip for travelers: it's advisable to exchange only a minimal amount of currency at the airport. While these counters offer the immediate convenience of local currency, they are often accompanied by higher exchange rates. For a more economical option, consider exchanging the bulk of your funds at city locations, where you're likely to find more favorable rates. 

This approach not only aids in financial management during your travels but also acquaints you with the city's various financial hubs, which might prove beneficial during your stay.

How to Get to Sabiha Gokcen Airport from IST?

How to Get to Sabiha Gokcen Airport from IST?

Embarking on a journey from Istanbul Airport, situated on the European side of the historic city, to Sabiha Gökçen Airport, nestled in the Asian part of Istanbul, offers a unique opportunity to experience the intercontinental charm of Turkey. As you prepare to traverse this geographic and cultural divide, a variety of transportation choices stand at your disposal to ensure a smooth and efficient transfer.

Firstly, consider the convenience of taxis, readily available at Istanbul Airport. These cabs offer a direct and private way to reach Sabiha Gökçen, allowing you to relax and enjoy the scenic drive across the Bosphorus. However, be mindful of the potential for fluctuating traffic patterns, especially during peak hours, which could affect your travel time.

Alternatively, buses present a cost-effective and reliable option. The well-organized bus services in Istanbul provide regular connections between the airports. While this choice might take longer due to predetermined routes and stops, it offers a chance to witness the bustling life of the city from a different perspective.

For those seeking a tailored travel experience, pre-booked transfers are available. These services provide the comfort of a private vehicle with the added benefit of a fixed rate, eliminating the uncertainty of metered fares. Pre-booking also allows for better time management, as you can schedule your pickup per your flight details and expected traffic conditions.

Other Facilities

Nestled in the heart of Turkey, Istanbul Airport emerges as an emblematic symbol of the nation's journey towards embracing modern advancements while deeply revering its historical legacy. The airport, a sprawling complex, is meticulously designed to reflect Turkey's dedication to blending contemporary innovation with traditional values.

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by the striking architecture that marries sleek, modern designs with subtle touches of Turkish motifs, symbolizing the country's architectural evolution. The airport is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, ensuring a seamless travel experience for passengers from around the globe.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of Istanbul Airport is its commitment to providing a universally welcoming environment. Multilingual assistance desks are strategically placed throughout the terminal, offering support in various languages. This feature not only eases communication barriers but also exemplifies Turkey's respect for cultural diversity and inclusivity.

Multilingual Assistance at IST

Family travel is another area where Istanbul Airport shines. Understanding the unique challenges faced by traveling families, the airport offers a range of family-friendly amenities. These include dedicated play areas for children, nursing rooms for mothers, and facilities that cater to the needs of young travelers, ensuring a stress-free experience for parents and children alike.

In an age where environmental consciousness is paramount, Istanbul Airport stands as a leader in sustainable practices. The airport demonstrates its commitment to eco-friendliness through initiatives like the installation of water dispensers throughout the terminal. These dispensers encourage passengers to refill reusable bottles, reducing plastic waste and promoting a culture of sustainability.

Moreover, the airport's dining and shopping experiences are thoughtfully curated to showcase the best of Turkish culture alongside international brands. From gourmet restaurants serving authentic Turkish cuisine to stores offering local handicrafts, passengers can indulge in a rich cultural experience without leaving the airport.

Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW)

Sabiha Gokcen International Airport

Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, nestled on the Asian side of Istanbul, serves as a gateway to the city's vibrant energy and cultural treasures. SAW Airport beckons visitors with a distinctive and convenient travel experience, captivating millions annually.

The contemporary terminals of SAW Airport embrace visitors with a vibrant atmosphere infused with genuine Turkish hospitality from the moment they step foot inside. Duty-free shopping becomes an immersive experience, unveiling a world where international brands, local handicrafts, and exquisite souvenirs entice visitors on a delightful spree.

When hunger strikes, SAW Airport offers a diverse selection of dining options that spoil travelers for choice. From gourmet restaurants serving international cuisines to cozy cafes and convenient grab-and-go outlets, there's something to satiate every palate. Savor the flavors of Turkey or embark on a global culinary journey without ever leaving the airport premises.

For those seeking a peaceful retreat amidst the bustling airport atmosphere, SAW Airport stands out. Delightful lounges offer a cozy and relaxing environment, providing a perfect space to unwind before or after a flight. And for those contemplating an extended stay or facing a layover, the Sabiha Gokcen Airport Hotel beckons as a haven of comfort and convenience. Situated within the airport complex, this hotel seamlessly connects travelers to the terminals, ensuring a seamless transition. Whether it's a brief respite or an extended visit, the Sabiha Gokcen Airport Hotel guarantees a pleasant stay.

Strategically positioned on Istanbul's Asian side, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport provides easy access to the city's bustling districts and cultural landmarks. Various transportation options, including taxis, shuttles, and public transportation, stand ready to whisk travelers to their desired destinations.

Simplified Check-in Process

Simplified Check-in Process

Sabiha Gökçen Airport, renowned for its efficiency in handling passenger traffic, particularly excels in streamlining the check-in process for short-haul flights. This is achieved through the strategic implementation of self-service kiosks, which are accessible in multiple languages, thereby catering to the diverse linguistic needs of international travelers. 

These kiosks represent a blend of user-friendliness and technological sophistication, designed to make the check-in and baggage handling experience as seamless as possible. Here's a more detailed breakdown of what travelers can expect:

  • Advanced Self-Service Kiosks: These state-of-the-art machines are strategically positioned throughout the airport, offering a simplified and intuitive interface for passengers. They are specifically designed to reduce wait times and enhance the overall check-in experience.
  • Efficient Boarding Pass and Baggage Tag Printing: The process begins with the verification of your travel details at the kiosk. Following this, you can place your luggage on the integrated scale to weigh it. The machine then promptly prints out your boarding pass along with the baggage tag, ensuring that all necessary travel documents are in your hand within moments.
  • Streamlined Luggage Drop-off System: Once your baggage tag is secured, you can proceed to the dedicated self-service belts. These belts are designed for a quick and efficient drop-off, minimizing the time you spend in queues and allowing you to move through the airport more freely.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi Connectivity: Understanding the modern traveler's need for constant connectivity, Sabiha Gökçen Airport offers complimentary Wi-Fi access. This service is available at various hotspots throughout the airport, ensuring that passengers can stay connected, whether for leisure or work, as they wait for their flight.
  • Robust Flight Operations: Sabiha Gökçen Airport is a hub of activity, efficiently managing an impressive volume of over 220 departures every day. This high number of flights is a testament to the airport's capacity and efficiency in handling a large influx of passengers, all while maintaining a smooth and organized operation.

This comprehensive approach to passenger service at Sabiha Gökçen Airport not only enhances the efficiency of the check-in process but also contributes significantly to the overall satisfaction of the travelers passing through its gates.

Customs and Passport Control

Customs and Passport Control

When preparing to navigate through customs and passport control at Sabiha Gökçen Airport, it's important to understand that the experience can differ significantly from day to day. To ensure a smooth and hassle-free process, it's advisable to allocate a minimum of 30 minutes specifically for passing through customs and passport control checkpoints.

Given the unpredictable nature of airport security and processing times, considering the option of fast-track services can be a wise choice. These services are designed to expedite your passage through customs and passport control, saving valuable time and reducing stress. 

If such services are available at Sabiha Gökçen, it's highly recommended to take advantage of them, especially if you are on a tight schedule or prefer a more streamlined airport experience.

An essential aspect of preparing for this process involves having all your travel documents organized and readily accessible. This includes your passport, boarding pass, and any other relevant paperwork. Ensuring these documents are in order and easy to present to the officials will facilitate a quicker and more efficient check-through.

When it comes to packing, special attention should be given to liquid items. Regulations typically limit the quantity of liquids you can carry in your hand luggage, so it's crucial to pack travel-friendly liquid items that comply with these rules. This not only speeds up the screening process but also helps in avoiding any unnecessary inconveniences during security checks.

Lastly, maintaining a patient and polite demeanor with customs officers is of paramount importance. The officers are there to ensure the safety and security of all travelers, and being courteous and cooperative can contribute to a more positive and seamless experience. Remember, a calm and respectful approach can go a long way in making your journey through customs and passport control at Sabiha Gökçen as smooth as possible.

Items to Declare at Customs

Items to Declare at Customs

As you navigate through the complexities of international travel, one crucial aspect to consider is the customs declaration process. Upon arriving at your destination and proceeding to the exit of the arrival hall, you will encounter a bifurcation in your path. 

This division is marked by two distinct lanes: a green lane and a red lane. The green lane is designated for travelers who have no items that require declaration, offering a straightforward passage. In contrast, the red lane is for those carrying items that necessitate a formal declaration.

It is imperative to be aware of what items fall under the category of needing declaration. These typically include:

  • Substantial Currency Amounts: If you are transporting a notable quantity of cash or monetary instruments, there is a threshold beyond which declaration is mandatory. This is to ensure transparency and adherence to international financial regulations.

Substantial Currency Amounts

  • Duty-Free Merchandise: While shopping in duty-free zones can be advantageous, it's important to remember that there are often limits on the quantity and total value of goods that can be purchased. Surpassing these limits may obligate you to declare these items to avoid any legal complications.

Sabiha Gokcen ‘Duty-’free

  • Restricted or Prohibited Items: Certain goods fall under special regulations due to their nature. These can include firearms, specific food products, plants, or animals, which might be restricted or completely prohibited from entry into the country. The regulations for these items vary widely and are often subject to the specific laws of the destination country.

Items Prihibited at Sabiha Gokcen

  • Valuable Personal Items: Carrying high-value items such as advanced electronic devices, luxurious jewelry, or rare antiques necessitates careful consideration. These items might require declaration, particularly if they are not intended for personal use. This is often a measure to prevent the illicit movement of high-value goods across borders.

SIM Cards and Currency Exchange

SIM Cards and Currency Exchange

As soon as you touch down at your destination, the foremost task on your mind is likely staying connected and managing your finances. Fortunately, this process is made incredibly straightforward and efficient, thanks to the readily accessible options for obtaining local SIM cards and handling currency exchange at the airport.

When it comes to choosing a SIM card, there's a variety of choices tailored to meet the diverse needs of travelers. A notable provider is Turk Telecom, renowned for its affordable and flexible plans that cater to a broad spectrum of requirements, whether you're in the country for a short visit or a longer stay. Their kiosks are conveniently located within the airport, making it easy to get connected almost immediately upon arrival.

In the same vicinity, you'll find facilities for currency exchange and ATMs, a vital aspect of your initial hours in a new country. While these services at the airport offer the advantage of convenience, it's worth noting that you might encounter more favorable exchange rates in the city. Therefore, it may be prudent to exchange only a small amount of money at the airport for immediate expenses and wait until you reach the city for larger transactions.

Additionally, ATMs at the airport provide a quick solution for withdrawing cash in the local currency. This option is particularly useful if you prefer using cash for smaller purchases or in places where digital transactions might not be widely accepted.

Other Facilities

The airport’s amenities have been thoughtfully curated to ensure your peace of mind during transit.

  • Restrooms: Excellence in Hygiene and Accessibility

Sabiha Gökçen Airport prioritizes your comfort with its immaculately maintained restrooms. Strategically located throughout the terminal, these facilities are not just clean but also easily accessible for every passenger. Special attention has been given to ensuring that individuals with disabilities find convenience and ease of use.

  • Information Desks: Your Gateway to Answers

Navigating an airport can be perplexing, but Sabiha Gökçen's information desks are your sanctuaries of clarity. These desks are staffed with amiable and well-informed personnel, ready to assist you with any queries. You can locate two of these desks in the Departures Level - one in the International Hall and another in the Domestic Hall.

  • Charging Stations: Stay Connected, Hassle-Free

In today’s connected world, staying powered up is essential. Sabiha Gökçen Airport addresses this need by providing charging stations throughout its premises. However, it's important to remember that Turkey uses type C and F plugs, so carrying an adapter for your devices is advisable if they require different plug types.

  • Luggage Services: Secure and Convenient

For a worry-free travel experience, the airport offers secure luggage services. The Baggage Storage Office in the International Terminal is operational 24/7, providing daily storage solutions at a reasonable fee, dependent on your baggage size. Additionally, for added security and convenience, there are two luggage wrapping units located at the Terminal Building Departures level.

  • Prayer Rooms: A Sanctuary for Reflection

Recognizing the diverse needs of its passengers, Sabiha Gökçen Airport includes dedicated prayer rooms. These spaces offer a tranquil environment for those in need of a quiet moment for prayer or meditation, reflecting the airport’s commitment to catering to the spiritual needs of its travelers.

Ataturk International Airport: A Resilient Metamorphosis

Ataturk International Airport

While situated on the European side of Istanbul, Ataturk Airport has undergone a remarkable transformation from a thriving commercial hub to a space with a new purpose. Ceasing commercial flights in 2019, Ataturk Airport has redefined its identity, allocating approximately 40% of its space to general aviation, military flights, and VIP private jet services.

This transition breathes fresh life into the airport, allowing it to meet specialized air travel requirements while maintaining its significance in the aviation industry. What was once a bustling terminal and runways is now set to become the Ataturk Airport National Park—an ambitious project aiming to transform the remaining area into one of the world's largest parks.

Spanning an impressive 5.2 million square meters, the Ataturk Airport National Park promises a harmonious blend of natural beauty, recreational spaces, and environmental preservation. The park aims to provide a peaceful sanctuary amidst the urban landscape, inviting both locals and visitors to immerse themselves in its lush greenery. From winding pathways and tranquil picnic spots to vibrant gardens and pristine lakes, this ambitious endeavor seeks to rejuvenate the former airport grounds, turning it into a vibrant hub for leisure and relaxation.


In conclusion, Istanbul's airports are not just logistical nodes for travel; they are gateways to a multifaceted experience that transcends the conventional. Istanbul International Airport, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, and the transformative Ataturk International Airport each contribute uniquely to the tapestry of travel in this dynamic city. As we navigate the choices presented by these airports, let's not merely see them as transitory points but as integral components that add depth and richness to our exploration of Istanbul—the city where history meets the future.


Apply for Turkey visa:

  • Online Application: Fill out the visa application with your passport details.

  • Payment: Use a credit card to make an online payment.

  • Email Confirmation: After payment confirmation, your visa will be emailed to you.

Get Visa to Turkey

Recent News

Show More

Other Info

Show More
Apply for Turkey eVisa