The main tourist season runs from April to the end of October, with the busiest period July and August. Flights to Istanbul are most expensive during these peaks months so it’s best to search for flights as early as you can to try and save some money. If you travel in June or July you might catch the International Music Festival which is held in the city. It showcases classical music, opera, ballet and traditional music performances. To try and find the cheapest flights to Istanbul, you’ll have to search well in advance.
The winter tends to be very wet and cold so tourism is at a low, that being said you’ll find cheap flights to Istanbul and get good hotel deals too. September to October has mild weather and less tourists than the peak summer months. Flights to Istanbul are generally cheaper too. There is the Tulip Festival in either March or April which lasts for 10-15 days and the last two weeks of March has the International Istanbul Film Festival. Flights to Istanbul will vary around these events so book earlier on in the year to save money on your flight tickets.
To find the cheapest flights to Istanbul, try to book as early as 8 weeks before you wish to travel. Sometimes you might grab a deal on flight tickets 2 weeks before departure, although generally 6-8 weeks is the sweet spot. After this the prices will rise more the closer it gets to the day of travel. If you don’t have a specific date you want to travel then you can shop around for your flight tickets to grab the best prices. January and February offer the cheapest flights to Istanbul so if you book at least a few weeks before you should be able to save money. Sitting on the left side of the plane gives you the best views as you approach Istanbul, although this is dependable on the wind and air traffic congestion.
Flights from London (All airports) to Istanbul – 3 hours 45 minutes
Flights from Manchester to Istanbul – 4 hours 0 minutes
Flights from Birmingham to Istanbul – 3 hours 55 minutes
Flights from Glasgow to Istanbul – 5 hours 50 minutes
Depending on where you’re flying out from, the airline will vary. The main ones that operate the route are KLM, Air France, British Airways and Turkish Airlines. One option is choosing KLM for one direction and Air France for the return flight, giving you the cheapest flights to Istanbul due to the competitive prices.
The busier of the two airports is Istanbul Atatürk Airport, this is 23km from the city on the European side of Turkey. The second, and newer airport, is located 30km away in the Asian side. All flights from the UK will fly to Istanbul Atatürk Airport though unless you specifically chose Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. The fastest way to leave to airport and get on your way is a taxi. There are taxis 24 hours a day outside the airport but can end up more expensive than alternative options. Havatas operate a bus from Istanbul Atatürk Airport to the city centre. It’s a great option if you have a lot of baggage as the buses have lots of room and are fitted with air-conditioning. You can opt to take the metro straight from the airport, the trams operate every 15 minutes or so but are almost always extremely busy, meaning if you do have a lot of luggage it might not be the best option.