There are around 3,676 flights setting off from London to Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport (IST) – the city’s main hub for flights – every single week. So if you’re planning a trip to this east-meets-west destination in Turkey, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from.
Flights on this route set off from several London airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and London City – so if you’ve set your sights on cheap flights from London to Istanbul it’s worth comparing them all. London Heathrow (LHR) has the highest number of flights on offer, so you’ll often find a great deal on tickets from here, and several airlines – including British Airways – fly direct, saving you time. It’s also worth looking at London Stansted (STN) for low-price flight tickets with Atlas Global.
As for when to go, the most popular time for visitors is around July and August, so flight prices peak around this time of year. This is also when temperatures soar – up to around 33°C – so the city can feel very hot and humid. That said, rain is fairly common here even in summer, so it’s always worth packing an umbrella.
By comparison, November can be a much cheaper time to visit Istanbul. Both flights and hotels are cheaper at this time of year, so try and be flexible with your travel dates. This is autumn in Istanbul, which is usually still mild and pleasant, but evenings can be a little chillier and that brolly is likely to get some use.
FAQs about flights from London to Istanbul
Which airlines fly from London to Istanbul?
You can fly from London Heathrow to Istanbul with airlines including Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Aegean Airlines, Aeroflot, Air France, KLM and Egyptair. From Stansted you can fly with Atlas Global and Air Moldova, and airlines including Ukraine International Airlines fly from Gatwick airport. Plus, KLM operate indirect flights from London City airport.
Which airlines have the cheapest flights to Istanbul?
British Airways and Atlas Global often offer the cheapest flights from London to Istanbul.
Can I fly direct from London to Istanbul?
Yes, you can fly direct to Istanbul from London Stansted with Atlas Global, from London Gatwick with Turkish Airlines, and from London Heathrow with Turkish Airlines and British Airways.
Which London airport offers the cheapest direct flight to Istanbul?
London Stansted is probably your best bet for the cheapest direct flight from London to Istanbul, although it’s also worth trying London Heathrow.
How long is the flight from London to Istanbul?
The shortest flight time is around 3 hours and 55 minutes.
How do I get into Istanbul from Atatürk Airport?
There are various ways to get from Istanbul's Atatürk Airport to the city centre, which is about 14 miles away. Efendi Travel run 24-hour private airport transfers, which start from €25 for journeys to local hotels. They’re slightly more expensive than taxis, but you know what you’re paying before you set off and are less likely to be caught out with a hefty fare. As for public transport, your best option may be to board a Metro train at the airport and change at Zeytinburnu, where you can transfer to the Kabatas tram and reach various city centre locations. To access Istanbul’s bus network, get off at Otogar for the bus station instead.
What are the top things to do in Istanbul?
Istanbul is a city like no other – the whole place is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site – so you’re going to want plenty of time to explore. First, tick off guidebook greats like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, which are Istanbul’s landmark sights for good reason. Then get lost in the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar in the atmospheric Old City, explore The Bosphorus Strait by ferry and head deep underground to discover the sixth-century Basilica Cistern.
Do I need a visa to travel to Istanbul?
Yes, British nationals need a visa to enter Turkey, unless you’re a cruise ship passenger briefly visiting a port. Turkish visit visas are valid for multiple stays up to a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period. You should apply for an e-Visa online before you travel. Although it’s currently possible to get a multiple entry sticker visitor visa on arrival, this option is likely to be phased out – so it’s best to sort your e-Visa before.