Airport Guide to Istanbul Ataturk (IST)

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Airport Name
Istanbul Ataturk International Airport (Istanbul)

Airport Location
The airport is located 15 miles west of Istanbul.



+90 (0)212 663 6400 / 2550

Airport Overview

Ataturk International Airport (IST) in Istanbul claims to be the airport serving the most non-European routes in 2011. Like Istanbul, Ataturk Airport is a meeting-point between east and west. Ataturk International Airport is a major air hub for the region and is one of the top 20 busiest airports in the world.

Passengers traveling through Ataturk International Airport will be pleased to know that the airport has a great selection of duty-free shops including tobacconists, perfume shops and many name brand stores such as Hugo Boss, D&G, DKNY, Dior, Armani, Gucci, Guess and Prada. What better way to keep yourself entertained between flights or while waiting for your flight than to embark on a shopping extravaganza?

Most airlines from across the world offer flights to Istanbul. Low-cost carriers such as Atlasjet, Pegasus Airlines, IZair and Sky Airlines all offer cheap flights to Ataturk International Airport. Ataturk is also the main hub for the national carrier Turkish Airlines, which flies to destinations including Amsterdam, Birmingham, Cape Town and Chicago as well as Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and Paris.

The airport was designed with Istanbul’s unique East-meets-West history in mind. This is particularly evident in the architecture of the building, such as the intricate mosaic tiling of the airport floors. It serves as a great introduction to the beautiful Ottoman architecture in Istanbul.

Terminal Transfer

The International and Domestic Terminals are five minutes apart via moving walkways or travelators.

Getting into Town

Train: Both terminals are connected to Istanbul’s metro system in the basement areas of the terminals. Metro trains depart regularly and run into central Istanbul.

Taxi: Taxis are the most expensive option into the city for the 40-minute drive to the European part of the city center. A 50 percent surcharge is added between midnight and 6am.

Bus: Airport buses operate from international and domestic arrivals. Buses run every 30 minutes between 6am and 1am. It takes 30 – 45 minutes to get into central Istanbul. Public buses also operate from the airport between 6:30am and 9pm.

Car Parking

Ataturk has an open car park, a large multi-story car park, as well as a valet service. The open car park is for long-term parking.

Information Desks

Departures and arrivals in both terminals each have an information desk, as does the transit passengers area. Staff members are multi-lingual and helpful.

Airport Facilities

Money and communications: ATMs, currency exchange facilities and banks in both arrivals and departures areas. A post office and public telephones are also available.

Luggage: The baggage claims area has a lost-luggage office. Luggage-wrapping services are available at both the domestic and international departure floors. The option of leaving luggage at the airport is a rare find these days, particularly with increased security measures at most airports, but Ataturk International Airport has a left luggage “checkroom,” located in the international and domestic arrivals floors and is open 24 hours a day.

Conference and business: A fully equipped conference center is available on site. Airline lounges offer business facilities such as faxing, printing and Internet access, to their VIP members and paying customers.

Other facilities: The airport has first-aid facilities and a permanent clinic located on the arrivals floor. Also, to cater for the significant Muslim population traveling through the airport, there are six mosques at Ataturk International Airport. While in Turkey, be sure to keep all receipts. Before departing from Turkey visit the Tax Free Office, which is located on the departures floor behind the Istanbul Cafe, to get a VAT refund on items purchased in Turkey.

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport. Free Wi-Fi is available for 120 minutes throughout the airport terminals. Complimentary Wi-Fi is also provided in all passenger lounges at domestic and international terminals.

Shopping: Ataturk International Airport has a great selection of duty-free shops in the domestic and international terminals. Products range from local wares and souvenirs to popular brands such as Fossil watches and Guess jeans, as well as Prada and Gucci. Visitors can buy a range of merchandise such as perfumes, chocolates, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, Turkish delights and beauty products.

Food and drink: Dining options at Ataturk Airport include Starbucks, Greenfields Sports Bar, Delights, Istanbul Cafe, Burger King and Basilico as well as many others. Food items are reasonably priced and passengers can choose from fast kiosk snacks or fast-food restaurants, traditional Turkish doner kebabs or more upmarket a-la-carte dining options. The departures halls also have a wide selection of cocktail lounges and bars.

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Airport Guide to Istanbul Ataturk (IST) was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Amanda Festa
Author: Amanda Festa (338 posts)

Amanda is a Boston-based writer who loves to travel and believes planning her next adventure is half the fun. Amanda is a Content and Social Media Executive at Cheapflights.