How to Get From SAW Airport to Taksim: 4 Ways + Detailed Guide (Airport Shuttle, Public Transport, More) 


If your upcoming trip to Istanbul involves arriving at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (also known as SAW) but your accommodation is all the way in Taksim — don’t worry, this guide is for you! 

A few weeks ago, we arrived at SAW and were waiting for our luggage when a fellow traveler came up and politely asked how to get to Taksim. After giving him a few options, we thought, there are probably tons of other people with the same question … so why not write an entire blog post outlining how to get from SAW to Taksim? 

And so we did! This blog post goes over all the ways of traveling from SAW Airport to Taksim, including the airport shuttle bus (our favorite), private transfer, public transportation, and taxi. 

We’ve included some helpful travel tips, including how much you can expect to pay, the duration, and a step-by-step guide to using transport.

We hope this guide helps — happy travels!

QUICK TIPS | SAW Airport to Taksim Travel Tips

There are two airports in Istanbul: Istanbul Airport (also known as IST) on the European side, and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (also known as SAW) on the Asian side. Since you’re here, we’ll assume you’re flying into Sabiha Gokcen Airport. 

The majority of flights from SAW are domestic flights within Turkey and/or those on budget airlines — in fact, Pegasus Airlines (Turkey’s biggest low-cost airline) has its headquarters at Sabiha Gokcen Airport. 

The distance from SAW Airport to Taksim is about 45 kilometers (28 miles). There are a few ways to get from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Taksim — here’s a quick overview:

Cheapest option: Public transportation (option 3)
Most comfortable option: Private transfer (option 2)
Our favorite option: Airport shuttle bus (option 1)

📍Rush hour is from 7am to 9 am and again from 4pm to 6pm+ . Take this into consideration if you plan to take the airport shuttle bus or taxi.

📍If you’re arriving into SAW Airport late at night, your best option is booking a private transfer.

OPTION 1: BY AIRPORT SHUTTLE BUS 

The Havabus (stylized as HAVABÜS) is the official shuttle bus from SAW Airport. It has three routes: SAW to Kadikoy, SAW to Yenisahra, and SAW to Taksim. 

For this journey, you’ll need to take the SAW Airport to Taksim line

This is the most convenient and cheapest way to travel from SAW Airport to Taksim. Best of all, it’s also direct because it stops right outside of Taksim Square! 

IMPORTANT NOTE: There are two airport shuttle bus companies in Istanbul: the HavaIST, which services only the “big” Istanbul Airport (IST), and the HavaBus, which services transportation out of Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW). If you’re traveling from Taksim to SAW Airport, make sure you get on the correct bus. 🙂 

The Havabus buses depart from Sabiha Gokcen Airport’s parking lot. To get there, go outside of the airport (ground floor) and take a short walk across to the parking lot. You should see a line of parked buses with the words ‘HAVABUS’ on the side. Each bus has an LED screen with its destination (i.e. ‘SABIHA GOKCEN – TAKSIM’) or a paper tableau. 

Click here for the exact location where you can find the Havabus in Sabiha Gokcen Airport.
Click here for the exact location where the bus drops you off at Taksim.  

When getting on the bus, the employees will take your large luggage and put it in the storage under the bus (you can take your small bag/backpack on board). If you’re traveling from the airport, the ticket person will come to your seat to collect payment. 

Comfort & Amenities

Buses leave when full, so you’re guaranteed a seat. The seats are comfortable and fairly spacious, and come with a foldable tray table and TV screen. There are storage racks above seats to store smaller items (i.e. jackets or bags). 

Departure Times

The Havabus shuttle departs every half hour, starting at 3:30 am from Taksim, and 6:30 am from SAW Airport.

The last bus from SAW Airport to Taksim is at 00:30 (thirty minutes after midnight) and the last bus from Taksim to SAW Airport is at 22:00.

Click here for Havabus departure times. 

Payment

The current price is 102.50 TL per person for a one-way ticket. If you take the bus from SAW Airport to Taksim, it’s cash-only (you pay on-board). 

If you take the bus from Taksim to SAW Airport, you can buy a ticket at the kiosk using a credit card. These buses also accept Istanbul Karts.

Total Time — The travel time from SAW to Taksim is about 1 hour and 30 minutes on the Havabus, although this also depends on traffic. If you’re traveling outside of peak hours (i.e. at 6:30 am), then it’ll only take 1 hour. 🙂 

PROSCONS

📍 Direct! This is the most direct way of traveling from SAW Airport to Taksim

📍 No need to struggle with luggage: Your large bags are stored under the bus and you’re given a bag tag.

📍Guaranteed seats: Unlike public transport, you won’t need to wrestle for a seat 🙂 (Plus, they’re comfortable!)

📍Early departures: Havabus has some of the earliest departures of any public transportation method 

📍 Eco-friendly 
📍 Depending on the location of your accommodation, you might need to walk a bit

📍 Potential to get stuck in traffic 

📍 Although they try to stick to the schedule, buses leave when full — if you’re already late to the airport, this might be a bad option 

OPTION 2: BY PRIVATE TRANSFER 

If you’d rather skip the stress of planning your trip from the airport, opting for a private transfer from SAW Airport to Taksim is a great choice.

No doubt, a private transfer is the most comfortable and convenient way of traveling from the airport: you’ll get door-to-door service (no need to figure out public transport!), a comfortable ride, and no need to worry about luggage (most cars have plenty of space). 

Likewise, private transfers are an excellent choice for larger groups — the cars are usually sprinter vans, which means you can split the cost (and it might even end up cheaper than taking the airport shuttle!) 

Comfort & Amenities

As mentioned, booking a private transfer from SAW Airport is the most comfortable option: You’ll have someone waiting for you at the airport with a sign when you arrive, the seats are super comfortable, and the driver is pre-vetted by the company.  

Departure Times

Most flexible, because you can choose the exact departure time (if you’re traveling to the airport). If you’re traveling from the airport, your driver will have your flight information on-hand and will be there in case of any delays. 

Payment

You can pre-book private transfers online, which means you won’t have to worry about fumbling for cash. The average price is between $50 to $70 (depending on the size of the car and destination). 

PROSCONS

📍 The most convenient option: the driver will be waiting at the airport with a signboard (meet and greet service), plus there’s no need to deal with luggage or figure out public transport

📍 Safety: Reputable private transfer services carry out background checks and employ drivers who can speak English and/or other languages.

📍Travel in comfort: Private transfer vans are spacious, well-maintained, and have comfortable plush seats. You can start relaxing after a long flight from the moment you take a seat!
📍 Private transfers are still subject to Istanbul’s traffic, but at least you’ve paid in advance and won’t be overcharged for the extra time (compared to taxis) 🙂 

OPTION 3: BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

To be honest, we don’t really recommend going from SAW Airport to Taksim by public transportation. The biggest reason is because there are much more convenient and faster ways to get between the two points (i.e. either by airport shuttle bus or private transfer). 

Just in case, here’s one possible option: 

Take the M4 metro from Sabiha Gokcen airport and get off at the Ayrılık Çeşmesi station

From there, take a short walk across the station and transfer onto the Marmaray (going in the Halkali direction). 

Get off at the 3rd stop at Yenıkapı station. From Yenıkapı, transfer onto the M2 metro (going in the Hacıosman direction) and get off at Taksım station. Voila!

The total cost is about 63 TL (15 TL metro + 33 TL Marmaray + 15 TL metro) 

PROSCONS

📍 Avoids traffic: Since the metro and Marmaray are both underground, you won’t be stuck in (car) traffic!  

📍 Cost-effective: This option is the cheapest way of traveling from SAW Airport to Taksim

📍 Eco-friendly 
📍 Transfers: This option involves 2 transfers and might not be the best option if you’re not comfortable navigating public transportation

📍 Seating: During rush hour, you’ll need to be quick if you want to secure yourself a seat on the Marmaray 

📍 It might be clunky traveling with large luggage 

OPTION 4: BY TAXI

We typically don’t recommend taking a taxi from Sabiha Gökçen Airport for a few reasons — there are better options, the drivers are hit-or-miss, and the cars might not be in top condition.

However, the most important reason is that there’s a very likely chance you’ll get scammed. (This is also why we personally don’t take the taxi from the airport when we travel!)

There’s an official taxi rank in SAW Airport, when you go outside of arrivals. While we haven’t encountered any issues personally, there have been numerous reports of scams and rude behavior — at the time of writing, their Google reviews page has a 2.5 out of 5 rating.  

As of January 2024, the average price of a taxi from SAW Airport to Taksim is 950 to 1,200 TL for a regular yellow taxi. Large sprinter vans will cost an extra +25%, and business taxis (black Mercedes, BMW, Audi, etc) are an extra +50%. If you think about it, that’s almost the same price as a private transfer — yet a private transfer comes with comfortable seats, the total cost up front, and pre-vetted drivers. 

If you plan to take a taxi from SAW Airport, we recommend booking a taxi ahead of time through a site like KiwiTaxi. You’ll see the final price ahead olf time and there are different options to choose from. (i.e. economy, comfort, minibus for groups, business/luxury, etc)

OTHER USEFUL BLOG POSTS

We have some other useful blog posts about Sabiha Gokcen, traveling around Turkey, and more – click the title if you’d like to check them out:

✈️ Best Airports Near SAW Airport — In case you have an early flight and want to be closer to the airport. 😉 

✈️ Travel Around Turkey by Plane — Helpful travel tips if you plan to take a domestic flight in Turkey. 

✈️ How to Plan a Trip to Turkey — If you’re overwhelmed with planning your Turkey trip, this is a great guide to help you get started!

✈️ How to Get From SAW Airport to Kadikoy — Planning to travel between SAW Airport to Kadikoy? This blog post goes over every transport option!

✈️ How to Get From SAW Airport to Sultanahmet — Planning to travel between SAW Airport to Sultanahmet (Istanbul’s Old Town)? This blog post goes over every transport option!

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