As you fly into Ataturk International Airport (IST), you can gaze out the plane window and behold the city of Istanbul, once home of the great Ottoman Empire. You can still see remnants of the Walls of Constantinople, as well as the city's numerous mosques, synagogues, palaces, elaborate churches, castles, and towers. Everywhere you look is one sightseeing adventure after another. Most people can't wait to head straight for the city's famous bazaars. At Sahaflar, the Spice Bazaar, Carsamba, or the Grand Bazaar, you can haggle over exotic clothing, rugs, spices, jewelry, and other trinkets. Everywhere you turn is a shopping opportunity that you won't want to miss.
You might want to search for hotels near Ataturk International to spend your first night in Turkey, as the airport is located about 15 miles west of Istanbul. Most of the major hotels offer free transportation to and from the airport. You can utilize a variety of transportation options to head into the city from the airport. The official taxis are located outside of the airport's terminal, and should offer the best fares. The airport shuttle service Havatas is located right outside the airport terminal in the second parking lane, and a shuttle leaves every half-hour. You can also utilize the underground metro at the airport to travel into the city. Metro tickets to Istanbul are cheap, but there are a numerous stairs to reach the underground train service, so you might want to avoid the metro if you are loaded down with luggage. Within the airport's terminal are numerous car rental kiosks as well.
At Travelocity, you will find numerous Istanbul vacation packages that combine your plane ticket, hotel room, and entertainment in one bundle. Get mobile exclusive deals on the Travelocity app, and have cheap flights to Istanbul at your fingertips. Before you know it, you can be in the city of sultans, exploring the grand Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque.
Locked in the dates for your trip to Istanbul? With 5 airline companies servicing this city, you're bound to find a flight that ties in with your travel plans. Here are a few of the most popular carriers:
Istanbul has just one airport, which makes booking your flight to the city easy. Istanbul Airport (SAW-Sabiha Gokcen Intl.) is about 31 miles (50 kilometers) from the downtown area.Where to stay in Istanbul
The Kemer Country Hotel is the only property within close reach of Istanbul, so we suggest booking your room well before your vacation.Places to visit in Istanbul
With several famous sights in Istanbul, it'd be a good idea to pack some comfy footwear. At the top of your travel program should be an outing to the Hagia Sophia and the Hippodrome. After that, you might want to pick up the pace as you can't take off without dropping past the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace.
Experience the fabulous flavors of this city by checking out places like Galata Tower and Dolmabahce Palace. If you have more time up your sleeve, Spice Bazaar and Taksim Square are worth seeing too.
See evidence an archaeological dig at Basilica Cistern. Like some more options? Whether you want to view the main prayer rooms or admire the outer design and minaret, you should go to Suleymaniye Mosque. And that's not all. During your adventures, you should stop and check out Chora Church, a local house of prayer. If you hope to go inside, make sure you inquire about visiting times first.How to get through airport security fast when traveling to Istanbul
Make your flight to Istanbul a little bit easier by reading over these practical security tips: