This is part of the Been There, Done That series, where our expert globetrotters travel the world to get the insights and information you require for a seamless travel experience.
By Ra'eesah Manack, iVisa Travel Journalist
Heading to the sun-drenched shores of the Aegean, my quest to explore all the major airports in Turkey led me to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB), a gateway that fuses the ancient charm of Izmir with the sleek efficiency of modern travel.
Nestled amidst the historic landscapes that echo tales of millennia, Izmir airport is named after Adnan Menderes, a prime minister who shaped modern Turkey.
As an essential hub for both domestic and international travelers, it boasts an impressive footfall, offering a glimpse into the vibrant pulse of this coastal city.
As we flew into Izmir, the two runways and terminals stood out from the lush green fields and golden mountains.
Armed with my notebook and an insatiable curiosity, I delved into the heart of Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, unraveling its amenities, cultural touches, and streamlined services. Join me as I explore!
Before you go: Izmir travel checklist
Before you embark on your next journey to or from Izmir Airport, ensure a seamless departure with these essential tips tailored for Adnan Menderes Airport:
Arrive early: The allure of Izmir is no secret, and neither is the activity at its airport. Get there at least two hours before departure to manage check-in and security comfortably.
Document check: Keep your passport, Turkey eVisa, and any other necessary travel documents handy and in order. Always recheck the visa requirements for your destination or any transit points.
Baggage know-how: Familiarize yourself with your airline’s baggage policy to sidestep any last-minute fees or repacking dramas.
iVisa tip: A little packing strategy goes a long way! Distribute some essentials among your travel group's luggage to avoid inconvenience in case a bag goes on an unplanned journey (as happened to me at Istanbul Airport!).
Hello Izmir: My arrival experience at Adnan Menderes Airport
My journey began with a flight from Oman to Izmir, including a stopover at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
I already completed passport control during my Istanbul layover, a standard entry requirement for Turkey. This eliminated the need for an additional passport check in Izmir upon arrival.
However, if you fly straight to Izmir, here’s some handy info for visa holders:
- For Turkish eVisa holders: Your eVisa status automatically appears on the screen when they scan your passport.
iVisa tip: Your Turkish eVisa is electronically linked to your passport, but we recommend always carrying a printed or digital copy as well– in case of any tech glitches.
- For Turkey Embassy Visa holders: The officer will verify the visa sticker in your passport, checking its validity and your travel dates.
iVisa tip: If you, like me, arrive in Izmir from another Turkish airport, follow the signs for international baggage claim, even though you'll land at domestic arrivals. The signage is straightforward, and staff are on hand to help, well aware of the frequency of these passenger transitions.
Arriving at the domestic terminal in Adnan Menderes Airport.
Trolleys are accessible in both terminals for a nominal deposit paid to an attendant. Note that trolleys from the domestic terminal can't be taken to the international one. I recommend determining your baggage claim area before obtaining a trolley to avoid losing your deposit in the haste of locating your bags.
Customs process: Nothing to declare
Upon arriving at Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport from an international destination, I was immediately faced with the decision familiar to many travelers: choosing between the green and red channels for customs clearance.
Green channel (nothing to declare): For those who do not have any goods that need to be declared or are carrying goods within the permitted customs limits.
Red channel (goods to declare): For those carrying goods that exceed the allowance or are prohibited or restricted, you must declare them at the red channel:
You can find the limits here.
If you need to declare items, you may need to complete a customs declaration form. This form is available through the red exit and should list all items subject to declaration.
For goods that exceed the allowances or are dutiable, you may need to pay the relevant fees.
If you're unsure whether items need to be declared, it's always better to ask for assistance from customs officials or look for information signs at the airport. They can guide you on what needs to be declared and the next steps in the process.
Get connected: Buying a local SIM card (and a snack)
After leaving the customs section, you'll find a variety of amenities designed to cater to your immediate needs as you prepare to head into the city.
Right after you collect your bags and head towards the exit, look out for the Vodafone booth. It's a convenient spot to purchase a local SIM card, ensuring you stay connected during your stay in Turkey. The staff can help set up your phone with a suitable plan.
Feeling peckish, I made a beeline for Cake&Bakes, a well-known airport haunt, for a quick snack and coffee before heading out. I treated myself to a selection from their tempting array of pastries, sandwiches, and beverages, a perfect pick-me-up before city adventures.
Other facilities and services
Besides the usual, some other facilities might come in handy when arriving at Izmir Airport, especially for those on a layover or passing through:
Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/T2CeFvBve7ZVLgau7
For those with early flights or layovers, the TAV Airport Hotel is a great choice. Just a minute's walk from the passenger terminal at İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport, this hotel is easy to get to. It is also just 18 km from the Izmir International Fair exhibition center.
Departing from Izmir Airport
Leaving the warm Mediterranean climate of Izmir for the colder climes of Russia was a journey marked by several steps, detailed here to provide a comprehensive account of the departure process from Adnan Menderes Airport.
Entering the airport and initial security screening
Upon arrival at Adnan Menderes Airport, all passengers, regardless of their destination, must pass through an initial security screening to enter the departures terminal, before checking in and dropping off luggage.
This involves a brief scan of all luggage and a walk through a metal detector. It's a standard procedure to ensure the safety of all within the airport.
A quick security check before checking in for my flight.
Check-in and baggage drop-off
My attempt to self check-in at the kiosk for my flight with Turkish Airlines faced a hiccup due to a system glitch. This wasn't uncommon and was handled efficiently by the airline staff.
Self check-in machines at Adnan Menderes Airport in Izmir.
I was redirected to the manned check-in counters and quickly assisted. The clerk checked in my luggage and provided printed boarding passes for my flight, including those for the connecting flight from Istanbul Grand Airport.
iVisa tip: If you're journeying with others, reconfirm your seating arrangements if there's any change in your check-in process to avoid being separated, particularly for separately booked flights.
Passport control and security
After checking in, I continued to passport control, where an officer meticulously checked my travel documents. As they stamped my passport, marking my official farewell to Turkey, I couldn't help but joke, “See you next time, right?” The officer cracked a small smile — a rare win!
Remember, this stamping ritual is a must-do for all international departures. Then, it was off to the security checkpoint, the next adventure in airport navigation.
Keep an eye out for the signs reminding you of the dos and don'ts for your luggage.
As you approach security, prepare to place all carry-on items, including electronics and liquids, on the conveyor for x-ray screening. Then, step through the body scanner. This process is meticulous yet swift, taking me less than 10 minutes.
Exploring the departures terminal
Once past security, you'll enter the departures terminal. Here, you can find shops, restaurants, and seating areas.
International departures terminal at Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport.
With an open design dotted with greenery and art, the terminal is pretty calming compared to some airports I have been to. Whether sinking into a chair at your gate or setting up in a sleek business zone, it's a space that caters to relaxed wanderers and busy professionals alike.
If you’re hungry, like I am usually after all the walking at the airport, you’ll be spoiled for choice. From my favorite Ege Türk Restaurant which offers local Aegean cuisine, to Fly-Inn Bistro for a quicker bite before your flight, there is something for everyone.
For those craving something more familiar, Caffe Nero is nestled amongst the many duty-free shops where you can enjoy a coffee or pastry.
If pre-flight jitters have you seeking liquid courage, SkyBar is a favored retreat for many travelers. With an array of beers, wines, and spirits, it's the perfect spot to loosen up or mingle. For a more laid-back atmosphere, Brewmark Pub offers a casual setting with a wide selection of local and international brews, ensuring there's something for every taste.
Other facilities and special services
Beyond restaurants and shops, the departure terminals also offer:
Free Wi-Fi and charging stations: The free Wi-Fi was reliable throughout the lounge, and ample charging stations meant I could easily keep my devices powered up.
Information desks: The information desks (Danışma) stood out, staffed with friendly faces ready to offer assistance for any last-minute travel inquiries or guidance needed.
Restrooms and shower facilities: The restrooms were in excellent condition, and the availability of shower facilities was a welcome luxury for travelers on long journeys or those wishing to freshen up before their next flight.
Lounge: Just as its domestic counterpart, the international terminal features its own Primeclass Lounge, a haven of relaxation. Dive into an array of amenities, including TV, reading materials, and an endless buffet. The children's playroom, a delightful touch for families on the move, certainly caught my attention.
Accessibility: The airport has facilities catering to families and disabled passengers, including designated restrooms, priority seating, and assistance services upon request.
Prayer rooms: Adnan Menderes Airport provides four dedicated prayer rooms located at both airside and landside areas of the domestic and international terminals, ensuring spiritual needs are respectfully accommodated.
Children’s play areas: Adnan Menderes Airport features children's play areas in several locations for the convenience of traveling families. Play areas can be found on the departures floor of the International Terminal, accessible from both the air- and the land side.
The boarding process
Monitor the flight information screens for any gate changes or boarding announcements. When your flight is called, head to the gate, have your boarding pass ready, and board the aircraft as directed by the ground staff.
As the boarding call echoed, I joined the line. The staff gave my boarding pass and passport a final review before I embarked on my flight. The process was a seamless march of efficiency, smoothly transitioning each passenger from the gate to the plane.
Goodbye lovely Izmir, see you next time!
Izmir Airport transport: Airport to anywhere
Whether just landing or jetting off, getting to and from Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport is a breeze. Buckle up and prepare for a seamless journey into the heart of Izmir or back to your cozy airplane seat.
Airport taxi services
While you won't find Uber or other ride-sharing services for your airport-to-city journey, the official airport taxis at Izmir Adnan Menderes are trustworthy. They offer fixed fares based on your destination zone, ensuring a surprise-free ride.
You'll easily spot the taxi rank, conveniently located just outside the terminal.
iVisa tip: Always confirm the fare with the driver before hopping in. The average cost for an Izmir airport taxi to the city center is €4 (43 Turkish Lira) - although this price may go up in peak season. Taxis accept cash, and many can accept debit and credit card payments, but always check this beforehand.
Only use taxis with the official TAKsi signage.
The leading bus service to and from Izmir Airport is the Havaş shuttle, which costs about €2 (20 Turkish Lira) This service specifically connects the airport with various major spots in the city, offering a convenient and budget-friendly option.
Additionally, the ESHOT city buses, particularly the "202" line, provide regular service between the airport and central Izmir. These buses are well-integrated into the local transport network, making them a reliable choice for getting to your destination. Always check the latest schedules and routes to ensure the most accurate travel plans.
Information desks inside the arrivals terminal can help you navigate the bus network and provide exact information on your route and destination.
Several car rental agencies operate at the airport’s arrivals terminal, providing a range of vehicles for those who prefer the flexibility of driving themselves around.
However, note that you’ll likely need an international driver’s license.
Driving to the airport and parking facilities
The airport offers both short-term and long-term parking options close to the terminal. Rates vary based on the parking duration, with clear signage indicating the areas designated for each type.
The adjacent multi-story car park is massive! With spaces galore, a friendly local I chatted to happily shared that they always found that parking is incredibly easy at Izmir Airport.
More airport guides for Turkey
As a globe-trotter frequently flying internationally, I aim to experience and document the world’s airports, including those of Turkey, sharing insights and tips to enhance travel for fellow voyagers: