“ Atatürk International Airport (IATA: IST, ICAO: LTBA) (Turkish: Atatürk Uluslararası Havalimanı) is the major international airport in Istanbul, Turkey. Located in Yeşilköy, on the European side of the city, it is 15 kilometers (9 miles) southwest of the city centre. The airport is named in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the modern Turkish republic. „
Yes this airport is very clean, very pleasent, it has some nice shops inside but I'd like to talk about one aspect in particular which is the cost of some basic goods like food and drinks!
For some reason buying a drink or buying some very basic food alike a sandwiches is very expensive in this airport. If you pay for a tea £1 everywhere else, in the airport you pay at least 5-6 times more which I think is very annoying for tourists and for everyone who is using the airport. Why is such a basic human need so expensive, if it was double the price, I wouldn't complain so much, but 5-6 times is not acceptable.
So my advice is, if you are travelling from this airport, eat before you go to the airport and also buy your drinks from somewhere else, don't leave it to the airport otherwise you'll be surprised like me!
Wonderful airport. Very well managed by TAV. The terminal is large and clean with steel and glass construction and stone floors.
About a twenty minute drive from the SW of the city (always allow extra time for traffic in Istanbul!), do be aware that you will be security-checked almost immediately on entering the terminal, and once again at the gate. These are normal checks but in different places to many airports which check once on the way to departure.
Taxis when you arrive are easy to get and not too expensive - go for the official rank outside and they have very polite marshals to help you. Bus services are more erratic.
There are plenty of check-in counters situated in wide rows in the first part of the building. It's worth checking in and moving into departures as soon as possible as this is the nicer area of the terminal.
End to end departures takes about 5-10 minutes to walk - it is a decent size terminal but quite a human scale. On the far left (seen as you enter) will be an area with a Starbucks, a generic cafe, a jewellry shop (worth visiting if you like gold over silver although there is better value in the city itself), jean shop, book shop and the VIP lounges. There is also a cafe/bar with free wifi which is probably the best place to sit and wait.
The central section is mostly duty-free with all the usual stuff. A shop called Bazaar provides you with a good opportunity to buy various Turkish specialties like delight (choose Pistaschio, not the perfume-tasting stuff!), baklava (sweet nut and filo mini-pastries), coffee, apple tea etc. There is also Turkish wine, which is acceptable but not the best, similar to South coast French wine in my opinion.
To the right end are a number of high-end boutiques (Bulgari etc.). Worth visiting is a domestic brand, Vakko, which is usually a bit more interesting than the standard Euro-chic stuff.
Rather weirdly the food court is next to that row on the far right. It's ok, with some local food, but nothing is spectacular (like most food courts!).
Do be careful about going to the gates - once you are in there are no toilets. Toilets generally are clean.
Overall a good, clean functional airport with a balance between shopping and space and comfort. The only drawback is it lacks enough high-end catering
I have used Ataturk airport over 100 times on business, so am very familiar with it.
Firstly, it is spotlessly clean. When you compare with most of the UK airports, I often feel embarassed when I go through Ataturk as it just reminds me what an airport should look like!! It is mainly marble / glass / contemporary feel.
The first thing you need to know is on arrival you need a 90 Day Turkish Visa - these are £10 (for UK Citizens) and are obtained from the Visa desk located just next to the passport control if approaching from the left hand side (gates 201-215) make sure you get your visa FIRST - or you will queue twice (and the queue can be quite long -- 30+ mins in busy periods.
Once through passport control there are some duty free shops and 12 baggage reclaim belts - there are some screens just after passport control showing flight numbers and belts for your luggage. Baggage reclaim time is usually very efficient. The exit from baggage reclaim goes out into the concourse (with cash machines, exchange booths and car hire), which in turn leads out to the taxi rank.
Car hire desks are on the left hand side of the concourse area, as are a choice of exchange booths. I always get currency when in the airport as the rate is good, and it's quick - a lot easier and better rate than booking it in UK for example.
For first time travellers to Turkey - just get a cab - There are loads immediately outside the main entrance. There is a semi 'organised' system and somone outside may speak to you and get you into a taxi. It is a good idea to agree a price to get to the city areas. Currently about 50-60 Lire (£22-26) to the old town area on european side.
Going out of Ataturk (ie returning home), a top tip for busy periods is to enter via the ARRIVALS hall (floor 2) on the LEFT hand doors (right ones used for airport staff). As everyone is screened on entry - the queue is much less than the usual departures queueThen just go up a floor from arrivals when you get into the building - this is departures (floor 3). Escalators are at each end of the building.
Departures hall is well laid out with screens showing check in zone. There is a burger king (further upstairs again on the left end of building (looking airside) with other refreshments too in this area. After check in, go through passport control into a huge duty free area with well stocked shops and several refreshment shops. There is a foodcourt at the right hand end of this area with another Burger king, coffee outlets and mix of Turkish and European cuisine.
(Note electricals are not great value in Duty free, but spirits and cigarettes are. Duty free takes Cash, dollars and all major cards.
Departure gates are the other side ff duty free area (it's kind of like a one way flow)
Note - further security screening is done at the gate itself- so allow extra time!
If you are flying Turkish airlines, your boarding card will get you a free news paper - choice of english (US) and Turkish available. This is at a booth near gate 215 and also in the concourse opposite the greenport cafe. The gates them selves have OK seating, but best area to spend your time is the duty free and main refreshment area after passport control.
Having just flown back (again today), can also report that the airport is now 100% non smoking.