Upon arrival: How to get to Taksim, Büyük Londra and Santral Istanbul

Step 1: How to get to Taksim: From the Airport, you need to get to the centrally located Taksim Square, in any case, except you take a taxi directly to the hotel.

Step 2: How to get to The Büyük Londra hotel, which is the main meeting point upon arrival. If you arrive at the hotel later than 2.00 pm on Friday, please go to Santral Istanbul directly.

Step 3: How to get to Santral Istanbul for the opening on Friday: If you arrive late, please go there directly.

Step 4: Troubleshooting: Just in case of emergencies


1. How to get to Taksim

1.1. Arrivals from Sabiha Gökcen airport (Asian side)

From Sabiha Gökcen it is easiest to take the public buses (only at day time) or the private white busses of Havas company (also at night) leaving from the exit of the arrival terminal. The journey takes around 45 -90 min. and costs 10 Turkish Liras (if you do not have Turkish Liras yet you can pay also with 5 Euros) when you travel with the Havas company.

The city busses leave for 4.Levent (read ‘dirt’ levent) and also travel for 45- 90 minutes. In 4. Levent you will have access to the Levent Metro station to get to Taksim square (terminal station) by underground. Take the “Taksim Meydani” exit (not: Taksim Gezi). The city busses only cost half the amount of the Havas company and also sell tickets in the bus – this is only semi-legal but works well for the busses leaving from the airport. They even except Euro (see note below on tickets for public transport).

1.2. From Atatürk Airport (European side)

From Atatürk Airport the easiest way is to take the Havas bus from the exit of the arrival terminal, directly to Taksim Square departing every half hour (the last bus leaves at 01.00 am and the first again at 04.00 am). The journey takes around 25 minutes (at peak hours up to 90 minutes) and costs 10 Turkish Liras (also payable as 5 Euros).

Public buses from Atatürk Airport to Taksim are cheap (1.40 TL) and stop on the right end of the terminal. Buses start from the domestic terminal and pass by. Travel time: 1 hr. (see note below on tickets for public transport)

The Metro is very easy to find, but getting to Taksim per tube is only recommendable if you have plenty of time (about 80 minutes, worth at rush hour ).

1. Take metro in direction of Aksaray
2. change in Zeytinburnu to tram in direction of Kabatas
3. arrive at the terminal station Kabatas
4. change in Kabatas to funicular -underground cablecar, called füniküler- to Taksim.

Taxis to Taksim area at daytime cost about 30 – 35 liras (15 – 18 Euro, at night 50 % more). Unless they drive different highway routes!

Meters are usual. Don’t accept if they refuse opening a taximeter and try to bargain. Make clear that this is (above) what you pay. He will take the shortest way:) After midnight there is no bus or tube service. You have to take a taxi.


2. How to get from Taxim square to Büyük Londra Hotel

From Taksim Square the easiest way is to take a taxi to the Hotel Büyük Londra. If the taxi driver does not know this hotel he will know Odakule building which is a well known office tower. The Fare is about 4 liras.

Walk from Taksim square: (10-15 minutes) go into Istiklal street, pedestrian area, following the monorails of the ‘nostalgic tram’ which start at the Taksim monument. After about 1 km, you will recognize on the right hand side the only skyscraper on this street, the Odakule Tower. Take the passage underneath Odakule, linking Istiklal St. and the Mesrutiyet St. where the Büyük Londra hotel is located. Turn right, after 10 meters you are at the entrance.

From Taksim you can also take the historical tram departing in front of the monument on Taksim. You get of at the Odakule Tower and walk the remaining 50 meters to the Hotel as described above.

In any case, here again the address of the hotel: just take a print.

Grand Hotel de Londres / Büyük Londra Oteli
Mesrutiyet Caddesi. No: 117
34430 Beyoglu, Istanbul

Under this link you also find the hotel’s own directions and maps (which are advisable to have a brief look at beforehand):



3. How to get to Santral Istanbul

Those who would arrive at the hotel later than 2.00 pm, should go to Santral Istanbul directly.

If you arrive at Sabiha Gökcen Airport or want to travel by public transport, again the starting point of this journey is Taksim square. Shuttle buses to Santral Istanbul depart in front of the Atatürk Cultural Center (big cubic glass-facade building at the end of the square, Atatürk Kültür Merkezi in turkish). They don’t wait: They just stop (every 20 minutes) and take passengers for free. The buses are very easy to recognize: the phrase Santral Istanbul is written in big letters on every bus. In doubt, ask students taking the shuttle.

If you arrive only shortly before the opening starts at Atatürk Airport, you should take a taxi directly to Santral Istanbul campus of Bilgi University at Silahtaraga in the Eyüp district (quite the same distance from Atatürk airport like to Taksim, 20 minutes, 30 Lira). Make sure before getting on that the driver knows where this is. The organizers of the taxi stop will help you to find a suitable driver.

This is how you reach Santral Istanbul by public transport directly from Atatürk Airport: You take the Metro from the Airport to its final destination in Aksaray. Here you change to the tram (in the direction of Kabatas). Get off in “Eminönü”. Here you walk to the bus stop (which is on the same side of the river on the western side of the bridge) and take one of the busses 44B or 399B. Get off at the stop “Silahtaraga Caddesi” (the stop before this one is “Sakarya Mahallesi”). This journey takes like 1 to 1,5. hours.

This is the address:
Santral Campus
Eski Silahtarağa Elektrik Santralı
Silahtarağa Mah. Kazım Karabekir Cad. No: 1
34060 Eyüp , Istanbul

4. Troubleshooting

If you got lost on your way, don’t hesitate to call Kat (+9 (0) 534-6533738) or Julia (+9 (0) 539-260 52 66).


Note: Tickets for public transport – Akbil

When you plan to travel a lot by public transport (which might be the case if you leave the retreat earlier by public transport or do a homestay, for instance), it is worth buying an electronic ticket, called “Akbil”. You can rent an Akbil for 6 Lira at every bigger station (not at the airport though, but for instance at Taksim) and charge it with money. This not only saves money when you change your vehicle during your trip, but also saves some nerves as not all busses sell tickets inside the bus. After your stay, you can return the Akbil and get your money back.

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