Planes arrive at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, 20 km west of the city centre. From the airport, there are various options for getting into Istanbul: you can take a taxi (about 30 YTL), the express bus service run by the local airport service called "Havas", half-hourly, about 10 YTL to Taksim, the IETT bus (95) costing 2.5 YTL or by Metro to Aksaray and a tram on to Kabataş, which also passes through Sultanahmet, Eminönu and Tophane, among others for 1.4-2.8 YTL.
Note that people are working on commission at the airport trying to make you use special shuttle buses for high fees (30+ YTL per person, about 15 Euro), for people with an economic mind the Metro/tram-combination is easy and fairly quick, and offers very good value.
Depending on nationality, foreigners arriving in Istanbul may need to purchase tourist visas. This can be done upon arrival before queuing for passport control. The windows for purchasing the visa are located immediately to the left of the main passport control booths. You must pay using foreign currency - no Turkish money or credit cards are accepted. The fee varies depending on the visitor’s nationality.
Please remember that in the bathrooms is not allowed to use notebook.
If you forgot it:
International trains from across Europe arrive at the station in Sirkeci, close to Sultanahmet. Asian trains arrive at Haydarpasa station. To get between the two, catch a ferry across the Bosphorus (see Get around). Marmaray, the Rail Tube Tunnel and Commuter Rail Mass Transit System is being built, and is being projected as one of the most challenging infrastructure projects in Turkey.
International trains: There are daily overnight trains to Sofia (Bulgaria) - continuing to Belgrade (Serbia) and Budapest (Hungary) - as well as Bucarest (Romania), and less frequently to Chisinau (Moldova). Twice a day there are trains to Thessaloniki (Greece) - the slow morning train that almost takes a whole day and the fast night train that is quicker but more expensive. There are also weekly trains to Aleppo (Syria) and Teheran (Iran) from Haydarpasa station.
Schedule and price list of railway trips can be gathered from TCDD (Turkish Republic State Railways).
Buses and coaches terminate at the colossal Esenler Otogar, about 10 km west of the city center, located on the European side. Courtesy minibuses or taxis will easily get you into the center. The metro also stops at the Otogar. With 168 ticket offices and gates, shops, restaurants, hotel, police station, clinic and mosque, the Büyük Otogar is a town in itself. From/To Thessaloniki(Greece): ticket prices around 35€ (one way) Sofia (Bulgaria): 10-15€