Here's how to travel between
Airport and the Büyük Otogar (main
bus terminal) in Istanbul,
Airport to Bus Terminal (Otogar)
Airport has its own Metro station
beneath the terminals.
Paying the Fare
You should have a minimum TL6 in TL1 coins to buy Metro
tokens (jeton) from
a Jetonmatik machine at the Havalimanı (Airport) Metro station. Small TL notes (bills: TL5, TL10) may work, but often the machines will not accept them. Unfortunately, there is no way to get coins at the Metro station, and once you're at the station, you would have to go through the security check again to re-enter the airport terminals to find coins.
There is a machine from which to buy an Istanbulkart transit pass at the airport Metro station. It may or may not be working.
You should be able to get TL1 coins and small notes from a currency exchange office or cash
machine (ATM) in the baggage claim area. (If you buy something at the duty-free shops in the baggage claim area, or in the shops outside the secure Customs area, you can ask for TL1 coins and/or small TL notes as your change).
There are also currency exchange offices, ATMs and shops in the International Arrivals Hall both inside and outside the secure Customs area. Their rates of exchange are usually not advantageous, so don't change large amount of cash here.
Entering the Metro
When you have your coins, follow the
signs to Metro/Subway,
go down the escalator (or elevator),
through the sliding glass doors, turn
right and follow the signs
along the broad underground concourse
to the Havalimanı (Airport) Metro station
on the left at the end. This concourse
beneath the parking garage connects
the Domestic and International terminals.
Pass through the turnstile, descend
the escalator (or elevator) and board
a Metro train
for Aksaray (download
a .pdf map (363Kb) of the system).
The Havalimanı (Airport)
station is the end of this Metro line,
so you can board any train—they
all go toward Aksaray. You can't get
the wrong train.
Stay on the Metro to the Otogar station,
the 10th stop. Take the escalator up
and you'll be at the heart of Istanbul's Büyük Otogar (Main Intercity Bus Terminal).
Bus Terminal to Airport
To travel from the Otogar to Atatürk
Airport, look for the Metro signs
in the building at the center
of the terminal complex. Buy a token (jeton),
descend the escalator to the platform,
and look for the TV monitor signs with
arrows indicating the track on which
the Havalimanı (Airport)
Board the train and take it to the
end of the line at the Havalimanı station
beneath the airport terminals.
From the station, walk along the underground
concourse to either İç Hatlar (Domestic
Flights) or Dış Hatlar (International
You will have to pass through
an x-ray and metal-detector
security checkpoint to enter either terminal,
then another security check to enter the gates area.
—by Tom Brosnahan