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Car hire Istanbul, Turkey - a guide to car hire from Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Get price quotes for Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport car hire with Cartrawler

Sabiha Gokcen Airport - SAW is the secondary airport of Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, conceived to ease off the heavy traffic of the main Istanbul Airport, Ataturk. The name of the airport, spelled in Turkish as ‘Sabiha Gökçen’ honours the first world’s first female combat pilot and the adoptive daughter of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, one of the most cherished presidents and statesmen in the history of Turkey.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, approx. 24 miles south-east of the city centre.

Istanbul the city on two continents
Unlike not many other cities in the world, Istanbul is situated on two continents; the Bosphorus Straight, which crosses the city connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara is a natural frontier between Europe and Asia.

See map of Bosphorus Straight in Istanbul.

The European section of Istanbul is served by Ataturk International Airport.

View map of Istanbul Airports – Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen.

Compare prices of car hire from Istanbul Ataturk Airport

Holiday car hire Istanbul - driving in Istanbul
Tourists arriving to Istanbul frequently opt for car hire as a convenient solution for visiting both European and Asian sides of the city.

Istanbul considered to be Europe’s most populous cities (over 13 million inhabitants) spreads on a very large area, offering its visitors an astounding number of valuable historic monuments and unique landmarks. While most of the most iconic Istanbul sites are located on the European (Western) side, the Asian (Easter) side is well worth a visit.

See map of Istanbul.

The traffic in Istanbul, rather chaotic at the first glance is manageable for most drivers used to heavy city traffic. Tourists from the UK should remember that Turkey drives on the right-hand side of the road.

Read more about car hire and driving in Turkey.

A wide range of car hire services is available at both Istanbul airports, frequently at rather competitive rates.  For undecided holidaymakers the relatively low prices of rental vehicles in the Turkish capital are often the ultimate argument in favor of hiring a car in Istanbul.

Find out, below, useful information about car rental from Sabiha Gokcen Airport.

Car hire companies at Sabiha Gokcen Airport Istanbul (SAW)
Sabiha Gokcen Airport is well served of car hire providers. Rental desks are conveniently located in the arrivals terminal and open 24/7.

It is possible to rent-a-car at Sabiha Gokcen Airport from most of the major global car rental brands, amongst them: Avis, Budget Car Hire, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt Rent A Car. Advantageous deals are frequently available also from the local car rental agencies at Sabiha Gokcen Airport, such as Bostanci Rent A Car, Central Rent A Car or Nordtravel Rent A Car.

Car hire Sabiha Gokcen Airport - find best prices online with Cartrawler Turkey
Often the best car hire deals at Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Istanbul are found on the internet, through search engines, as for example Cartrawler, which allows a thorough price comparison of available offers and a safe and easy online booking.

Usually the prices of the cheapest Istanbul SAW (Sabiha Gokcen Airport) deals start from around £130 for a week car hire of the smallest city cars (Citroen C1 or similar).

Economy class hire cars, often a Kia Picanto, a Hyundai Getz, a Suzuki Swift (or similar) to rent from Sabiha Gokcen Airport are often priced at £140-170 for a week, depending on the time of the year.

The fleet of Turkey car hire includes most of the many of the models and rental classes available in western Europe. Apart from the above mentioned classes you can also choose from compact, standard/intermediate, full size, SUV, van/minivan  and luxury/premium vehicles, all of them listed on Cartrawler Turkey. In the so called exotic/special class of car to rent at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport, you are most likely to be offered a Mini Cooper (standard, Mini S or Countryman versions). The prices of this type of a rental car start form £250 for a week of Istanbul car hire.

Minivan car hire Istanbul Airport
If you are travelling in a larger group from in Istanbul, please not that minivans are not very common rental cars at Sabiha Gokcen Airport.

While vans with capacity for up to 9 people, such as a Toyota minibus, or similar are available with prices starting from approximately £500 for a week in the high season, smaller minivans (MPV), with space for 7 people can be difficult to find at Sabiha Gokcen Airport. It is advisable to search and book a minivan at this Istanbul airport well in advance.

Car hire Turkey - compare rental conditions
When looking at the car hire offers displayed on Cartrawler, take time to read through rental conditions.

In most cases you will find Turkey car hire policies quite similar to the western European ones.  It is worth, however, to analyze several offers before booking as occasionally you might be pleasantly surprised by very advantageous features of Istanbul Airport car rental. A free of charge option of two additional drivers or a very low excess on vehicles from upper rental classes are not unusual on Cartrawler.

Especially, pay attention to the driver’s license requirements when renting a car in Istanbul Turkey; you may be required to have your permit for at least 3 years.

If driving long distances in your Sabiha Gokcen Airport hire car, do confirm beforehand, what is the mileage policy of the offer you are considering. Unlimited mileage is common in car hire Turkey. However, there might be exceptions with particular models.

Although most car hire companies reserve the right to deliver a car within the same group as the vehicle used as an example of the offer (with the same characteristics when size and equipment is considered), on quite a few occasions you will encounter a ‘a car model guarantee’ amongst Istanbul Airport car hire offers returned by Cartrawler. This means that on arrival to Sabiha Gokcen Airport you will be handled the exact same model as the one displayed during search.

When to visit - Istanbul weather
The peak of the tourist season in Turkey is traditionally on the summer months of July and August. This is now necessarily the best time to visit Istanbul, however.

Although the city offers an amazing variety of tourist attractions, beaches are not amongst them. A limited number of small beaches are found on both Marmara Sea as well as on the Black Sea coast in the Istanbul area, not enough however to compete with the  holiday resorts of Marmaris, Kusadasi, Bodrum or Antalya. For this reason, and given the facts that summers in Turkey tend to be very hot, for many tourists interested in the historic and cultural treasures of Istanbul, the best time to come to Istanbul is spring or in early autumn when the weather is optimal for a city holiday.

The climate of Istanbul bears characteristics of both Mediterranean and humid subtropical climates. The proximity of two large water reservoirs (the Black and Marmara Seas) is responsible for the humidity and at times heavy fog to be the most noticeable feature of Istanbul weather throughout the year.

While the summer in Istanbul is mostly dry and hot, with average temperatures around 29-30 degrees Celsius, in spring and early autumn the weather remains very pleasant, with mild temperatures and only occasional rainfall. When visiting Istanbul during the winter, expect lower temperatures than in other cities of the Mediterranean area, usually with temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius. Rain, sometimes snow and heavy fogs are common between November and February.

See Istanbul weather chart.

Flights to Instanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport
Flying to Sabiha Gokcen Airport is an interesting and, at times, substantially cheaper solution for the visitors from the UK.

While at the main Istanbul Ataturk Airport UK routes are available only from regular airlines, British Airways and Turkish Airlines, Sabiha Gokcen Airport offers possibility to fly to Istanbul low-cost.

By early 2014 flights from the UK to Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) were available with the following carriers:

  • Pegasus Airlines, a Turkish low-fare airline; departures from London-Stansted
  • Turkish Airline; departures from London-Gatwick
  • Easyjet; departures from London-Luton (ends 28 March 2014)

More low-cost flights to Istanbul via Sabiha Gokcen Airport are available from Germanwings, Norwegian, Wizzair carriers, not from the UK, however.

Domestic flights from Sabiha Gokcen Airport
Most of the  popular tourist areas of Turkey are served by international airports operating direct flights from many UK cities to the Turkish holiday resorts. Along with the two Istanbul airports, the major gateways for the tourist traffic to Turkey are Antalya Airport, Dalaman Airport, Izmir Airport and to less extent Ankara Esenboga Airport.

If you are planning an Istanbul stopover on your way to the beach resort in Turkey, domestic flights from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport are available to most of the larger destinations in Turkey, amongst them: Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, Kars, Izmir, Edremit, Isparta, Gaziantep, Gazipasa, Erzurum and Samsun. The main airlines operating domestic flights are: Sun Express, Pegasus Airlines, Borajet and Atlasjet.

Drive from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Istanbul city Centre - Istanbul bridges
Travelling between the Asian and the European side of Istanbul is quite easy as both sides of the city are connected by two bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge (Boğaziçi Köprüsü) or simply, the First Bridge and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (Fatih Sultan Mehmet Köprüsü), or the Second Bridge. Works on the third Istanbul bridge, named  ‘Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge’ are scheduled to be finished in 2015.

See map of Istanbul bridges over Bosphorus.

Additionally, three other bridges connect the European part of Istanbul to the city’s historic quarters, Sultanahmet. The Galata Bridge and Unkapani (or Ataturk) Bridge lead over the Bosphorus inlet, known as the Golden Horn directly to Sutlanahmet.

See map of Istanbul’s Old Town (Sultanahmet).

Further north, a recent Halic Bridge offers a quick highway connection over the Golden Horn.

When driving from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Istanbul Old Town  (Sultanahmet) the shortest route lead via Bosphorus and Galata Bridges.

Travel time between the Asian-side Istanbul Airport and Sultanahmet usually takes around 40-50 minutes. If you opt for public transportation, instead of Sabiha Gokcen Airport car hire, there is a wide choice of transportation solutions available, from taxis, private shuttle companies to public buses.  


Car hire Istanbul, Turkey - a guide to car hire from Sabiha Gokcen Airport
Article: Car hire Istanbul, Turkey - a guide to car hire from Sabiha Gokcen Airport
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Published: Saturday, January 11 2014
Latest revision: Thursday, May 12 2016

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