agencies and small transport
companies provide shuttle van
service between Sultanahmet (the center of
historic Istanbul) and its principal
air gateway, Atatürk
These shuttle vans and minibuses can
provide a useful service at
price (much cheaper than a
taxi, for example), but you
must be careful:
levels of service and convenience vary.
Before using an airport shuttle service,
you should get information
on the people providing the service,
and its quality:
1. Ask at your hotel about
the shuttle service's quality and passenger
2. Ask other travelers if
they have used a shuttle service, which
one, and how it was.
3. Reserve your shuttle ride
through a reliable travel agency: one
you know, one that is recommended
to you by someone you trust, or one
recommended travel agencies.
4. Consider taking
the tram and Metro
to the airport, or finding
other travelers to share a taxi with you.
Here's a true airport shuttle
horror story from a TTP traveler:
"Here is how it went: the driver came
on time, and had a [foreign] family
with two young boys in the van; he
then picked up 9 more people in hotels
(although one seemed Turkish and known
to him). It was hot and there was no
air conditioning. He then proceeded
to go back near the agency, leave us
in the car, and return with 3 men,
who traveled standing right in front
of my seat. I did tell him 'this is
dangerous and illegal, you cannot do
that' and he answered the only English
words he seemed to know 'I am the driver'
(in the tone of 'shut up, crazy woman').
He then took the coastal highway at
120-140 km per hour, never braking,
only tooting his horn if someone crossed
too close, with 18 people in his car
of which 3 standing. Even the young
American backpackers were rather scared."
If you plan to travel between Atatürk
Airport and Sultanahmet by
Metro and tram,
as you walk from Customs toward
the escalator to the tram station,
a guy will come up to you and try
to get you to take a shuttle
van into the city. (It happens
to me every time.)
I tell him İstemez! (eess-teh-MEHZ,
"It's not wanted").
I don't know who he represents, or
whether they provide good service.
Another problem with a shuttle van
from the airport is that it
circulates through the city going to
lots of hotels.
If yours is the last hotel, you may
ride around for quite awhile just at
a time when all you want to do is take
a shower and relax.