Istanbul, as well as being a top tourist destination, is well-connected to cities across the world. If you’d like to make the most of your trip to Turkey to visit other countries, you’ll have no problems finding flights.
Fortunately, most COVID-19 restrictions have now been lifted across Europe. Nevertheless, be sure to check what documents you need when planning your trip.
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Istanbul has 2 international airports: Istanbul International Airport (IST) on the European side, and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) on the Asian side. Both offer lots of options to travel destinations in Spain, France, Italy, and beyond.
Here are 5 European countries you can fly to directly from Istanbul to get inspired.
Spain boasts some of Europe’s top travel destinations. Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia are all fantastic places to visit and easy to reach from Istanbul.
If you are considering traveling from Istanbul to Spain, check Spain’s entry requirements for your nationality. You may be able to visit Spain without a visa for a limited time.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) was approved in 2016 and has been under development since. The system was scheduled to become a requirement for all visa-exempt travelers —including U.S. passport holders— from 2021, onwards. Also note that the ETIAS start date was recently pushed back again until 2025
There are direct flights from Istanbul’s international airports to these Spanish cities:
- Madrid—the Spanish capital with top-class museums, visitor attractions, and restaurants
- Barcelona—a Spanish city by the sea. Home to the Sagrada Familia and other architectural masterpieces
- Malaga—located in the Spanish region of Andalusia, Malaga is a charming town with lots of historical and cultural heritage
- Bilbao—here you can visit the Guggenheim museum and try traditional pintxos
- Valencia—this port city has beaches, an excellent aquarium, the City of Arts and Sciences, and more
Flights from Istanbul to Spain take around 4 hours and 30 minutes.
One of the most visited countries in Europe, France is another great travel option. As well as Paris, there are many interesting cities well worth visiting in France. Like Spain, France is an EU country. Depending on your nationality, you may be eligible for short visa-free vacations. Be sure to check the entry requirements.
You can take a direct flight from Istanbul to these French destinations:
- Bordeaux—known for its excellent wine, it also boasts stunning countryside and magical castles.
- Lyon—historical and architectural landmarks make Lyon well worth a visit
- Marseille—top sights in Marseille include the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, and the Old Port
- Nantes—Nantes Cathedral is a highlight for visitors, there are also beautiful gardens and castles
- Nice—situated on the French Riviera, Nice offers lovely beaches, great restaurants, and stunning views
- Paris—the capital of France and one of the most visited cities in the world, the Eiffel Tower is an iconic landmark
- Strasbourg—there is lots to do in the capital of the Alsace region of France, just on the border with Germany
- Toulouse—one of the best cities to try French cuisine including cassoulet and Toulouse sausage
Flights from Istanbul to France take between 3 and 4 hours, depending on your destination.
Italy is known for its delicious cuisine including pasta, pizza, and risotto. It also boasts stunning countryside, impressive architecture, and beautiful beaches.
If you’d like to experience Italy for yourself, you can take a direct flight from Istanbul to any of these Italian destinations:
- Bologna—a city with impressive architecture, an unbeatable food scene, and a lively atmosphere
- Milan—the Duomo di Milan and the Galleria Vittoria are unmissable attractions. Be sure to try the Milanese risotto
- Rome—the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, this list of reasons to visit Rome goes on and on
- Venice— the City of Canals, visit Venice for a gondola ride and to wander around the beautiful streets
- Bari—with access to the best beaches in Italy and a thriving culinary scene, you might want to consider adding Bari to your travel itinerary
- Naples—famous for its pizza, and historical and cultural heritage, Naples is another top Italian destination
- Catania—one of Italy’s most influential cities during the Renaissance period, Catania is a must-visit for travelers interested in culture, arts, and history
Flights from Istanbul to Italy are in the region of 2 hours and 30 minutes.
It’s just a short flight across the Aegean Sea to reach Greece from Istanbul. Being so close, it is an excellent option if you want to explore more of Europe from Istanbul.
These are your direct flight options from Istanbul:
- Athens— the Acropolis and several other famous landmarks make Athens the most visited city in Greece
- Thessaloniki—this Greek port city by the Aegean Sea is pretty and welcoming, it’s also a great base for seeing more of northern Greece
Flights from Istanbul to Greece are around just 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Austria has something for everyone all year round. Whenever you’re taking a trip to Istanbul, Austria could be the perfect choice for onward travel. From winter skiing vacations and Christmas markets to beautiful summer landscapers, Austria has it all.
From Istanbul, you can fly directly to airports in these Austrian cities:
- Vienna—the Austrian capital offers some of the country’s best museums and places of cultural and historical interest
- Salzburg—the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is another top destination for visitors to Austria
Flights from Istanbul to Austria take around 2 hours and 30 minutes.
These are just 5 of the many European countries you can visit from Istanbul. Flight availability varies depending on the time of year, make sure you check the latest options available.
With so many international flight options available, your trip to Istanbul offers the perfect opportunity to discover these top destinations.