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AccessTimeIcon Jun 25, 2024 at 3:12 AM
Updated Jun 25, 2024 at 7:06 AM

Run Through History: Your Guide to the Istanbul Marathon and Exploring the City

Calling all runners and globetrotters! Are you looking for a marathon experience unlike any other? Then look no further than the Istanbul Marathon, the only race in the world that takes you across two continents – Asia and Europe!

Event Information:

The Istanbul Marathon, also known as the Türkiye İş Bankası İstanbul Maraton, is an annual event held in November. The starting point is on the Asian side of Istanbul, crossing the iconic Bosphorus Bridge as you enter Europe and finish in the heart of the historic Sultanahmet Square.

Transfer Istanbul | Airport Taxi

Dates and Registration:

The exact date for the 2024 Istanbul Marathon hasn't been announced yet, but it typically falls in early November. Keep an eye on the official website for registration details, which usually opens in the spring. Fees vary depending on the race category (marathon, 10km run, etc.), but you can expect them to be in the range of €60-€100.

Why Choose the Istanbul Marathon?

Beyond the unique intercontinental aspect, here's what makes the Istanbul Marathon so special:

* Breathtaking Course: The 42.195 km course winds through some of Istanbul's most stunning landmarks, including the Dolmabahçe Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque.

* Vibrant Atmosphere: Expect enthusiastic crowds cheering you on throughout the race, creating an unforgettable experience.

* World-Class Event: The Istanbul Marathon is a World Athletics Gold Label Road Race, attracting elite runners from around the globe.

* Perfect Time to Visit: November offers pleasant weather for running, making it an ideal time to explore Istanbul without the summer crowds.

Taxi Airport Istanbul City Center | Airport Taxi

Planning Your Istanbul Marathon Trip:

Now that you're pumped to conquer the Istanbul Marathon, here's a guide to navigating the city and ensuring a smooth experience:

Traveling to Istanbul:

Nearest Airports: Istanbul is served by two major airports: Istanbul Airport (IST) on the European side and Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) on the Asian side.

Transfer Options:

* Taxi: For a hassle-free arrival, pre-book a taxi airport Istanbul city center through Airport Taxi. We offer competitive rates and reliable drivers to get you to your hotel efficiently. Expect "taxi airport Istanbul price" to vary depending on the distance and traffic, but you can get an estimate on our website.

* Private Driver: For a personalized experience, consider hiring a private driver Istanbul. This allows you to relax and enjoy the city views after your flight.

* Public Transport: Istanbul has a well-developed public transportation network with buses, metro, trams, and ferries. However, navigating it with luggage after a long flight might be overwhelming.


Travel Options from Istanbul Airports to City Center

Vehicle Distance (km) Average Travel Time Convenience
Bus 40 60-90 minutes Medium
Train 40 60 minutes High
Taxi 40 30-60 minutes High
Private Driver 40 30-60 minutes Very High


  • Bus: Buses are a cost-effective option, but they can be less convenient due to fixed schedules and potential traffic delays.
  • Train: Trains provide a balance between cost and convenience, with relatively predictable travel times and no traffic concerns.
  • Taxi: Taxis offer a high level of convenience with door-to-door service, but the cost can be higher, and travel time can vary depending on traffic conditions.
  • Private Driver: This is the most convenient option with personalized service, but it is also the most expensive. Ideal for travelers looking for comfort and ease.


Distances and Travel Information from Istanbul Marathon to Major Transport Stations

Transport Station Distance (km) Average Travel Time (by taxi) Average Taxi Price (TRY)
Istanbul Airport (IST) 50 45-60 minutes 200-250
Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) 45 50-70 minutes 180-230
Sirkeci Train Station 8 20-30 minutes 50-70
Halkalı Train Station 25 35-50 minutes 100-130
Esenler Bus Terminal 15 25-40 minutes 70-90


  • Istanbul Airport (IST): The largest and busiest airport in Istanbul, with a long travel time to the marathon start/finish due to its distance from the city center.
  • Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW): Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, it generally has longer travel times due to its distance and potential traffic on the bridges.
  • Sirkeci Train Station: Centrally located, providing a short and convenient trip to the marathon start/finish line.
  • Halkalı Train Station: Located further away in the west of the city, travel times can vary significantly depending on traffic.
  • Esenler Bus Terminal: One of the main bus terminals in Istanbul, relatively close to the city center, offering a moderate travel time and cost.


Getting Around the City:

Once you're settled in, exploring Istanbul is a breeze:

* Public Transport: The Istanbulkart is your key to navigating the city's public transportation system. You can purchase a card and top it up at kiosks in metro stations or ferry terminals.

* Taxis: Taxis are readily available throughout the city. Make sure they use the meter to avoid inflated fares.

* Walking: The historic center of Istanbul is quite walkable, allowing you to explore charming neighborhoods and hidden gems at your own pace.

Rules for Tourists:

* Currency: The Turkish Lira (TRY) is the local currency. While most establishments accept major credit cards, carrying some cash is always handy for smaller shops and street vendors.

* Dress Code: While Istanbul is a modern city, some religious sites like mosques have dress codes. Men are expected to cover their knees and shoulders, while women should cover their arms and legs.

* Etiquette: A friendly nod or a simple "Merhaba" (hello) goes a long way. Turks are known for their hospitality, so don't hesitate to ask for directions or recommendations.

Exploring Beyond the Race:

Istanbul is a treasure trove of history, culture, and culinary delights. Here are some must-see attractions:

* Sultanahmet Square: Home to iconic landmarks like Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace.

* Grand Bazaar: Lose yourself in the labyrinthine alleys of this historic market, where you can find everything from carpets and spices to jewelry and souvenirs.

* Dolmabahçe Palace: Marvel at the opulent interiors of this Ottoman-era palace on the Bosphorus.

* Basilica Cistern: Step back in time and explore this underground water storage facility from the Byzantine era.


Distances and Travel Information from Istanbul Marathon to Major Attractions

Attraction Distance (km) Average Travel Time (by taxi) Average Taxi Price (TRY)
Hagia Sophia 10 20-30 minutes 50-70
Blue Mosque 10 20-30 minutes 50-70
Topkapi Palace 10 20-30 minutes 50-70
Grand Bazaar 8 15-25 minutes 40-60
Galata Tower 6 15-20 minutes 30-50
Basilica Cistern 10 20-30 minutes 50-70
Taksim Square 12 25-35 minutes 60-80
Dolmabahce Palace 14 30-40 minutes 70-90


  • Hagia Sophia: One of Istanbul's most iconic landmarks, located in the Sultanahmet area. The travel time is relatively short from the marathon start/finish.
  • Blue Mosque: Also located in Sultanahmet, close to Hagia Sophia, offering a similar travel time and cost.
  • Topkapi Palace: Another major attraction in the Sultanahmet area, making it convenient to reach from the marathon start/finish.
  • Grand Bazaar: A bustling market close to Sultanahmet, providing a slightly shorter travel time and cost.
  • Galata Tower: Situated in the Galata district, it's a bit closer to the marathon start/finish, with a moderate travel time and cost.
  • Basilica Cistern: Located near Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, offering similar travel times and costs.
  • Taksim Square: A major hub in Istanbul, located further away but still within a reasonable travel time and cost range.
  • Dolmabahce Palace: Situated on the Bosphorus, it's a bit farther from the marathon start/finish, resulting in a longer travel time and higher cost.


Beyond the City Center: Exploring Further Afield

While Istanbul is a captivating city, Turkey offers a wealth of diverse experiences beyond its bustling center. Here are some captivating destinations within easy reach, perfect for extending your Istanbul Marathon adventure:

* Cappadocia: Journey to a land of fairy chimneys, carved rock formations, and hot air balloons. Explore the underground cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu, remnants of ancient civilizations. You can reach Cappadocia by domestic flights from Istanbul Airport (IST) or Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW).

* Ephesus: Step into the footsteps of history at the ancient Greco-Roman city of Ephesus. Explore the magnificent Library of Celsus, the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), and the Great Theater. Ephesus is located on the Aegean coast, accessible by bus or train from Istanbul.

* Pamukkale: Discover the otherworldly beauty of Pamukkale, also known as the "Cotton Castle." These cascading white travertine terraces, formed by mineral-rich thermal springs, create a stunning natural phenomenon. Pamukkale is located near Denizli, reachable by domestic flights or overnight buses from Istanbul.

Transfer Istanbul Airport | Airport Taxi

Getting to These Destinations:

* Domestic Flights: Both Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) offer numerous domestic flights to major cities like Cappadocia, Izmir (gateway to Ephesus), and Denizli (gateway to Pamukkale).

* Buses: Turkey has an extensive intercity bus network, offering a comfortable and affordable way to travel.

* Trains: While not as extensive as the bus network, Turkish trains offer a scenic journey to some destinations, especially along the Aegean coast.

Extending Your Stay and Airport Transfers:

If you plan to explore beyond Istanbul, consider extending your stay and pre-booking a reliable transfer Istanbul airport back to the airport upon departure. Airport Taxi offers convenient pick-up and drop-off services to ensure a stress-free conclusion to your Turkish adventure.

Planning Your Itinerary:

To maximize your time, plan your itinerary based on your interests and travel style. Consider factors like travel time, budget, and desired pace of exploration.

A Few Final Tips:

* Learn some basic Turkish phrases: It goes a long way in showing respect for the local culture and can enhance your interactions with the locals.

* Pack appropriately: Research the weather conditions for your chosen destinations and pack accordingly.

* Embrace the unexpected: Turkey is full of surprises, so be open to exploring hidden gems and experiencing the unexpected.

The Istanbul Marathon and the vibrant city itself are just the beginning of your Turkish adventure. With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality, Turkey promises an unforgettable experience. So, lace up your running shoes, book your flights, and get ready to conquer the Istanbul Marathon and explore the wonders of Turkey!