Direct flights from Stansted to Istanbul take three hours 40 minutes, with the return journey taking four hours 20 minutes. Outbound flights tend to be most prevalent early in the afternoon, although there are services that depart around midnight, resulting in an arrival time of 5.30am due to the time difference.
There should be decent availability when you book in advance, although there are connecting flights from London to Istanbul if necessary. Stopovers are likely to be in a city such as Cologne, and can involve a wait of around eight hours.
When you fly from Stansted to Istanbul you should land at Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. Istanbul has another major international airport, Atatürk Airport, so be sure to double-check which one you’ll be arriving at.
Sabiha Gökçen International Airport lies 22 miles southeast of Istanbul’s centre, which is easily reached with public transport. The Havatas Shuttle runs from the airport to Kadıköy and Taksim, with regular departure times between 3.30am and 1am. Tickets are inexpensive and can be purchased from the terminal building.
The Kadıköy Kartal metro line takes just over half an hour to Kadıköy from Kartal station, which can be reached with the KM22 bus. The Istanbul Metro will take you right into the heart of the city.
Alternatively, those wishing to travel into the city by boat can make their way to the Pendik Sea Bus Port by bus, which is just over eight miles away from the airport. Taxis are available from the airport around the clock, while car hire companies such as Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt all operate from the arrivals level of the terminal building.