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    Car hire at Istanbul Airport - exploring Turkey

    Few cities capture the heart and imagination quite like Istanbul, a vast metropolis of some 15 million people and blessed with countless exotic delights plus a distinct flavour all of its own. Inhabited for thousands of years, it is the only city located in two continents - Europe and Asia – giving visitors picking up their car hire at Istanbul Airport the chance to drive cross the Bosphorus Strait and immerse themselves in the contrasting cultures and atmospheres on both sides of the city.

    Once the capital of the mighty Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, the urban marvel that Istanbul represents today is a vibrant, energetic and thriving tourist destination that seamlessly marks a long and fascinating passage of time over twenty-five centuries. Along with dozens of minarets silhouetted against an often deep-blue sky, the city continues to captivate visitors with its potpourri of palaces, mosques and mansions set amidst several key attractions huddled close to one other.

    For the quintessential Istanbul experience, take a walk (or historic tram ride) down the very lively and elegantly-pedestrianized Istiklal (Independence) Avenue located in the city’s old Beyoglu quarter. About a mile long, the street is lined with alluring stores, stylish galleries, libraries, cafés, restaurants and a variety of live music venues.

    Close by stands Istanbul’s (and Turkey’s) greatest treasure of all, the 6th-century Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia), a former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral later transformed into an Ottoman imperial mosque, and now a museum. With its soaring dome and massive interior, not to mention a stunning collection of Byzantine mosaics, it encompasses two faiths and is without doubt one of the world’s most stunning basilicas.

    History also resonates at the nearby Topkapi Palace, a building of immense splendour in the very heart of the city. Occupying the promontory of Istanbul’s old quarter, the building is blessed with all the magnificence one would expect from a royal residence – (the palace was the centre of the Ottoman Empire which endured for over 400 years) - including the vast riches of the Imperial Treasury and Council Chamber.

    With its wonderfully curvaceous and iconic exterior, the Blue Mosque is situated in close proximity to the city's other star attractions and is so-named because of its lovely blue tiles (over 24,000 in total) and some 200 stained glass windows adorning its exquisite interior. Known locally as the Sultan Ahmet Camii, this architectural masterpiece was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I, whose mausoleum is on the premises.

    And don’t leave town without seeing the 6th-century Basilica Cistern, the biggest of several hundred ancient cisterns located beneath Istanbul. This cathedral-sized structure deep under the city centre is not only a magnificent Byzantine monument but a major tourist sight comprising 336 strikingly-lofty marble columns arranged in 12 rows of 28 columns each.

    For the ultimate indoor shopping experience, visit the Grande Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and most atmospheric shopping areas with over 4,000 outlets selling everything from carpets and clothing to jewellery and ceramics.

    Besides all its top-drawer tourist attractions, Istanbul also has an abundance of tea gardens, rooftop cafés and centuries-old coffee houses where visitors can rest up with a refreshing drink before seeing the rest of the city’s museums and monuments.

    Auto Europe is an international car hire broker that currently operates in more than 24,000 locations in 180 countries around the world. Thanks to our many years of experience dealing with all the global and local car rental companies, we can guarantee the cheapest prices in the global market if you are planning to rent a car at Istanbul Airport. To book your car quickly and easily, use our state-of-the-art booking engine to enjoy the best rates available online today or call our award-winning rental specialists who are there to serve you 7 days a week on +441233225114.

    For more information about driving in Istanbul and other fantastic places around the country, such as Izmir (300 miles) and the capital Ankara (280 miles), please consult our guide to driving in Turkey for tips on paying tolls, finding petrol stations, age restrictions and driving distances, etc. Please visit our Istanbul car hire reviews page to see the ratings and comments posted by other satisfied Auto Europe customers.

    Airport Information

    Fully opened for business in April 2019, Istanbul Airport is one of the world's largest and most modern air transportation hubs. Located on the European side of the city, it was built to replace the city's existing Atatürk Airport which was nearing capacity with very little free space for expansion. When fully completed in 2027, Istanbul Airport will have six runways and four terminals capable of accommodating up to 200 million passengers a year.

    Istanbul Airport (IST)
    Address: Tayakadın Mahallesi, Terminal Caddesi No:1, 34283 Arnavutköy/İstanbul, Turkey
    Telephone: +90-4441442
    Airlines operating at Istanbul Airport: The list of the most important airlines operating at Istanbul Airport includes Aeroflot, Air France, British Airways, China Southern Airlines, Egyptair, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, KLM, Korean Air, Lufthansa and the national carrier, Turkish Airlines.

    Where to pick up my car hire at Istanbul Airport

    To pick up your car rental at Istanbul Airport, all the main car hire desks are located in the large Arrivals Hall between the International and Domestic Arrivals areas. Cars are picked up from the Turquoise Car Park opposite the terminal.

    Car hire desks' operating hours

    Avis Car Hire at Istanbul Airport Avis at Istanbul Airport
    Tayakadin Mh. Ulubatli Hasa
    Istanbul, Turkey 34283

    Opening Hours:
    Mon-Sun 24 hours
    Budget Car Hire at Istanbul Airport Budget at Istanbul Airport
    Arrivals Hall, Arnavutkoy Istanbul,
    Istanbul, Turkey 34149

    +90 216 465 6909
    Opening Hours:
    Mon-Sun 24 hours
    Europcar Car Hire at Istanbul Airport Europcar at Istanbul Airport
    Tayakadin MH. Terminal Cd,
    Istanbul, Turkey34283
    +90 530 7608498
    Opening Hours:
    Mon-Sun 24 hours
    Hertz Car Hire at Istanbul Airport Hertz at Istanbul Airport
    Tayakadin Mahallesi
    Istanbul, Turkey 34283

    +90 212 465-5999
    Opening Hours:
    Mon-Sun 24 hours


    Istanbul Airport has one very large and modern terminal consisting of a Departures floor and an Arrivals floor. A second smaller terminal is due to be added in 2025. The Departures Hall is accessed through seven entrance doors, 1 and 2 for domestic flights and 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 for international flights. If you fly with Turkish Airlines, you should use entrance 3, 4 or 5. The check-in desks of all the other international airlines are best accessed through doors 6 and 7. The 1.4 million square-metre terminal building incorporates a large Duty Free area, an extensive restaurant, snack bar and café section, several shops, airline lounges, bureaux de change, prayer rooms and a children’s play area.

    Airport Facilities

    Being such a large airport, there's no shortage of on-site facilities for passengers both arriving and departing. In fact, Istanbul Airport offers quite a unique shopping experience blended with many specially selected brands and a modern retail concept incorporating a fine choice of Turkish and international products. The food and beverage section comprises several different styles of cafés and restaurants representing numerous concepts and offering innovative meals from Turkey, the Middle East and many other parts of the world, including bakeries, pastry shops, coffee houses, bars, restaurants, fast food chains and the popular grab-and-go buffets. The shopping area is equally extensive with a vast selection of local and international fashion stores located on-site at Istanbul Airport selling all sorts of accessories, jewellery, watches, children's wear, toys, textiles and electronics. To reach the Turkish Airlines hospitality lounge, take the escalator opposite boarding gate E1 on the international departures floor.

    How to get to and from Istanbul Airport

    The city is easily accessible by car with a choice of routes available once you've picked up your car hire at Istanbul Airport. You can also drive to the airport using the famous North Marmara Highway passing over Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge en route. On the European side, distances to the main places of interest are very manageable, including Avcılar (33 miles), Gayrettepe (24 miles), Taksim (25 miles), Levent (22 miles) and Maslak (22 miles). For an Asian adventure starting out from Istanbul Airport, we would suggest Kavacık (26 miles), Üsküdar (29 miles), Kadıköy (32 miles) and Pendik (45 miles). It takes approximately 50 to 60 minutes to get to the city centre by car from Istanbul Airport and the fact that the national road D020 is such a short distance away makes it easy to get to and from the airport. Operated by HAVAIST and IETT, the airport transit bus service runs a total of 150 daily services between Istanbul Airport and both the European and Asian sides of the city, with journey times ranging from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on your final destination. There are also regular bus services between the airport and Besiktas, Mecidiyeköy and Taksim every 15 minutes. The new M11 metro line opening in 2020 runs from the airport to İhsaniye, Işıklar Otogar, Göktürk, Kemerburgaz, Kağıthane and Gayrettepe metro station in the Şişli district linking up with the M2 line for destinations inside the city centre. From Gayrettepe, it’s quick and easy to reach the main tourist areas of Taksim and Sultanahmet using the M2 line, alighting at Taksim and Şişhane metro stations. Future plans also include a high-speed train connection between Istanbul Airport and the city centre via the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, allowing people to travel quickly between the European and Asian parts of the city.

    Parking Tips

    If you've arrived in Istanbul by car and you're not familiar with the streets, it's better to park your car in a safe place and take public transportation to get around, at least at first. The good news is there are parking lots called IsParks in almost every part of the city operated by Istanbul Council, although spaces are very limited during the morning and evening rush-hours. Car parks in Istanbul vary quite considerably from covered parking buildings to open air car parks and lines of street-side parking spaces. In popular tourist areas like Sultanahmet, parking spaces can be difficult to find, while in the business and entertainment districts of Taksim, Beşiktaş, Nişantaşı and Mecidiyeköy there are many different options at a variety of prices. The cost of parking in Istanbul is considerably lower than in many other European cities, with even greater reductions for longer stays. Istanbul Airport has a very good supply of outdoor and multi-storey car parking spaces consisting of a total of five separate car parks, one with 3 floors and 4 with 7 floors offering a grand total of 40,000 spaces. On-site facilities and services include a thorough car wash on the premises (inside and out), tyre repairs and replacements and a convenient refuelling service. Arriving and departing is quick and easy with 23 entrances and 20 exits available, while drivers with limited mobility have over 900 parking spaces at their disposal right next to the elevators.

    Useful links

    Istanbul Airport