How to Spend a Layover in Istanbul and 6 Fun-Filled Layover Tours


Taking advantage of a layover is art. There’s the longing to not squander 5 or 10 hours simply lounging around an airport, yet besides the dread that something will turn out badly and you’ll fail to catch your plane. Yet, a layover in Istanbul is one spot we suggest you simply go for it! A layover in Istanbul can be excessively fulfilling, regardless of whether you just have a large portion of a day. Turkish Airlines has made this much simpler by offering free visits for their travelers with long delays in Istanbul, yet observing the city is likewise absolutely conceivable. Keep reading to learn where you can see and which tours you can join!

The incredible news is that the centerpieces of Istanbul are too walkable, in addition to the cable car is extremely proficient and goes through the significant zones. We’ve just expounded on the best way to see the greater part of the significant sights in Istanbul in only one day, and a large number of similar standards apply to a much shorter visit. It helps that a large portion of them are gathered intently together. In any case, contingent upon to what extent you have, you will need to organize and pick what’s generally essential to you.


Take a Tour of Sultanahmet Square

Finding a workable pace the air terminal is a breeze on Istanbul’s Metro. Take the M1A to Zeytinburnu and afterward move to the T1 cable car line, which goes straightforwardly to the Sultanahmet stop. From here, you’re simply steps from Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Basilica Cistern, which are on the whole near one another at Sultanahmet Square. You can likewise visit Topkapı Palace, a five-minute stroll from Hagia Sophia, and on the off chance that you have a great deal of time, look at the Istanbul Archeology Museum, which is directly opposite the castle.

Go out on the Town to Shop at the Grand Bazaar

In case you’re in the state of mind to shop, particularly for trinkets and some genuine Turkish products, take the T1 cable car to Çemberlitaş and walk directly into the Grand Bazaar. One of the world’s biggest secured markets, the labyrinth-like lanes are fixed with slows down offering everything from earthenware production and collectibles to materials and gems. On the off chance that you become really hungry while you’re here, scramble toward one of the numerous nourishment merchants presenting sweet-smelling and modest eats.



Explore Eminönü and the Spice Bazaar

For the globetrotting gourmets among us, Mısır Çarşısı, or the Spice Bazaar, is an excellent nourishment shopping experience. Take the T1 tramline to Eminönü and walk around the market to get crisp neighborhood cheeses, flavors, Turkish pleasure, tea, dried natural products, nuts, thus substantially more. If you happen to be eager, Hamdi Restaurant simply happens to serve probably the best kebab in the city – just search for the detectable structure in the square (a piece of information: enormous sign). Appreciate some superb kebab assortments and lahmacun (Turkish “pizza” with minced meat) on the eatery’s highest floor, which likewise has a lovely perspective on the cityscape.

Walk Around Karaköy

If you’ve been to Istanbul previously and would prefer to see something past the ordinary traveler hotspots, proceed on the T1 cable car right to Karaköy and investigate this hip neighborhood by walking. In the past one of the city’s most significant ports and focuses of business, Karaköy is presently loaded with in vogue boutiques, bistros, displays, and eateries, situated around the Necatibey, Hoca Tahsin, and Mumhane boulevards. A fantastic refueling break for nourishment is Karaköy Lokantası, where you can test Turkish works of art in a cutting edge condition.

Find the Balat Neighborhood

If you have more time and are an aficionado of memorable structures, at that point, Balat is your ideal delay goal. Take the T1 tramline to Eminönü and afterward jump on the 36CE transport to the Fener stop. From here, you can begin your walk around the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul (which incorporates the Church of St. George) and proceed with Yıldırım and Vodina roads to see all the delightful, old Greek Orthodox houses, just as the new bistros and shops that have jumped up in recent years.



Visit the Blue Mosque and Exhibition Halls

At the point when you come to Sultanahmet, you will find that Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Square are just a couple of steps away. You can visit Topkapi Palace, which is a five-minute stroll from Hagia Sophia, and the Archeological Museum, right over the road.

Take Photographs of Balat’s Cats

On the off chance that you need to visit the chronicled lanes and the shops with old fashioned shops, go to Balat. You need some more opportunity for that. You can find a good pace taking the T1 line from Sultanahmet by cable car and from here you can take the 99A, 99Y or 41 İETT transport to Balat. On the off chance that you need to utilize the main methods for transportation, you can go to Sultanahmet by 99, 36CE, 44B, 99A.

In any case, we might want to advise you that the excursion time will be expanded. From here, you can begin meandering around the Ecological Patriarchate of Istanbul (counting St. George’s Church) and walk around the avenues of all the wonderful, old Greek-Orthodox houses. Lately, Balat has gotten notable for its brilliant trendy person bistros and a wide assortment of flavors.

Walk Through the Basilica Cistern

While it wouldn’t be at the highest priority on my rundown with a brief timeframe, the Basilica Cistern is directly beside Hagia Sofia so it makes an advantageous expansion to your agenda. It is likewise very cool, enormous underground storage from the sixth century. It’s the length of two football handle underground, a noteworthy accomplishment for such a long time prior. It very well may be a fast visit (especially in case you’re there right on time and beat the groups), so check the site to make certain about the hours.



Visit Spice Market

For one thing, the Grand Bazaar is exaggerated. You can go, yet it’s not so much that extraordinary. In case you’re searching for a notable market understanding, rather evaluate the Spice Market. It’s as yet insane however is considerably fewer bonkers than the Grand Bazaar, and has no different stuff, simply more affordable. Get some cool flavors to bring home, enjoy some lovely hued ceramics, or discover your mark fragrance at the perfumer Arifoglu. I’ve sketched out a portion of my preferred keepsakes to purchase in Istanbul, in case you’re in the market for something unique!

Find the Balat Neighborhood Get Some Baklava and Everything Else in Sight

Turkish desserts are the outright bomb, probably the best on the planet! What’s more, as somebody whose expressed life crucial to “eat every one of the baked goods in every one of the nations”, how would I be able to not enjoy while in Turkey? Burden up on all the special and delightful baklava and different baked goods insight, however, don’t stop there—attempt kunefe, doner kebab, lahmacun, pide, thus significantly more. Fundamentally, if you see it and it doesn’t resemble a shop only for travelers, stop and get some nourishment. Like… there’s your life plan.



Take a Ferry Ride

Since you’ve stacked up on baklava, how about we go for a ride. This is something a ton of vacationers with a short excursion pass up, yet it will be one of your supreme FAVORITE activities! If the climate is pleasant, get out on a ship and appreciate the wonder of the Bosporus and Golden Horn!

In case you’re lacking in time, the goal doesn’t make a difference to such an extent… simply jump on the vessel leaving soonest and afterward turn directly around and return. We went to Üsküdar last time, figured I do cherish Kadiköy. In case you’re not exactly as in a hurry, stroll around for a piece and have dinner over on the Asian side, which is considerably more private and less touristy.

Where Else?

If you have come to Istanbul previously and need to see different spots than Sultanahmet, we prescribe Taksim and Karaköy. You can come to Taksim by open vehicle vehicles from the air terminals. It takes around 1 hour and a short way from Istanbul Airport to Havaist to Taksim. Transportation from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Taksim is roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes. These occasions may differ as indicated by city traffic.

After coming to Taksim Square, slip to the Metro Station, take the funicular to the Tunel. The excursion takes 5 minutes. In the wake of getting off at Tunel, go to Galata Tower, at that point you can stroll to Karakoy. This hip neighborhood was at one time the most significant port and exchange focus. It is presently loaded with famous boutiques, bistros, displays, and eateries. Appreciate a fine dinner at Karakoy Restaurant, where you can taste great Turkish rarities in a cutting edge setting. While in Karaköy, stop by Karakoy Gulluoglu and eat baklava.



On the off chance that you have time, stroll from Karaköy to Tunnel and afterward to Taksim Square. Walk around Istiklal Street, one of the world’s never-dozing avenues. The biggest Catholic church in Istanbul, St. Anthony of Padua, Santa Maria Draperies Church, Union Church of Istanbul, are among the holy places you can visit. For shopping, attempt the Atlas Passage, Aznavour and Aleppo Passage. Terkos section is in the outlet or deficient garments and they are modest.

Private Layover Tour from Istanbul Airport & Hotels

  • from $131.13
  • 4 to 6 hours (Approx.)
  • Hotel pickup offered
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English

Exploit broadened delay time in Istanbul on a full circle voyage through city features from the air terminal, altered to suit your inclinations and calendar. Dash effortlessly between famous sights, for example, the Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, or Topkapı Palace, and advantage from notable and social bits of knowledge gave by your expert guide. Swap the inauspicious takeoff relax for the dynamic city. Round-trip move from the air terminal guarantees an issue free encounter. Enjoy the customized understanding of a private visit. Unwind on an included Bosphorus pontoon voyage, where time licenses.



What’s Included

  • Local taxes
  • Professional guide
  • Private tour
  • Round-trip private transfer
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Food and drinks

Departure & Return Departure Point

Explorer pickup is advertised. After you get off of the plane and go through the identification controls and customs checks, if it’s not too much trouble stroll to the exit ( inside the air terminal ) where it is Meet and Greet point. Directly after you leave you will see numerous individuals holding signs. If you don’t mind keep your eyes for the sign M44. Advise your name to this individual and he will go with you to the driver.

If you don’t mind note that, the sign holders are the outsider and their English is restricted. If you have any issues make them call Salih + 90 535 200 5565. The subsequent stage is that he will go with you to the driver and the driver will carry you to the middle where you will meet your guide. The driving length to the middle is around 60 minutes.

Departure Point: Air terminals Istanbul Airport, Tayakadın Terminal Street No. 1, Istanbul 34283 (7:00 AM)

Return Details: Comes back to unique departure point.



What To Expect

Itinerary Pass By Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya)

For the morning appearances, Hagia Sofia is an alternative to visit from inside with paying an affirmation expense of $10. This is one of the most visited fascinations in Istanbul. Worked as a congregation in 6 c AD, changed over to a mosque in 1453 and the exhibition hall in 1935. It is an exceptional structure in the wold which grasps Islam and Christianity inside one single structure.

Duration: 60 Minutes Admission Ticket Not Included

Stop At: Blue Mosque The greatest and most visited mosque in Istanbul. This was worked in 1609 by the Ottoman sultan Ahmet and still host petitions five times each day. After the imploring is close it is available to guests.

Duration: 30 Minutes Admission Ticket Free. This experience is eligible for hotel pickup.

When your purchase is finished, you’ll have the option to organize pickup subtleties legitimately with your administrator. Extra Info Confirmation will be gotten at the time of booking, except if booked inside 2 days of the movement. Right now will be gotten inside 48 hours, subject to accessibility Not wheelchair open Dress code is keen easygoing Stroller open Service creatures permitted Infants must sit on laps Infant seats accessible Most explorers can take an interest This is a private visit/movement. Just your gathering will take an interest.



Whistle-Stop Istanbul: Beat the Layover Blues

from $89.46

Beat the delay blues and benefit as much as possible from your time in another city – regardless of whether it is just for a couple of hours. Go along with one of our hosts in a customized experience where they’ll empower you to see Istanbul through the eyes of a nearby that knows it back to front! From famous mosques to tangles of boulevards and bazaars that improve its social decent variety there is such a great amount to take in and that is actually what you will do with this completely redid experience custom fitted to accommodate your time, spending plan and interests.

See the city’s most well-known attractions such as a notable craftsmanship display of castle or investigate a close-by neighborhood and absorb the nearby way of life. Having a host close by implies you’ll avoid the shams and crash into the main thing. Regardless of whether you’re remaining for a night, or visiting for a shorter timeframe, there is bounty to keep you engaged. Whatever your inclination, benefit as much as possible from your time with a host that can hardly wait to flaunt their city.



What’s Included

  • Private and personalized experience 5 hours with a host (includes travel time)
  • Your host will meet you at the airport Transfers to and from the airport via taxi Walking experience ( other transport can be arranged at an additional cost)
  • Food and drinks
  • Tickets to any attractions
  • Additional transportation costs (optional)

Departure & Return Departure Point

Ataköy 7-8-9-10, Airport AVM, 34158 Bakırköy/İstanbul, Turkey

Return Details: Returns to the original departure point

What To Expect

Itinerary Pass By Eminonu Pier Joins a like-minded host to explore Istanbul’s unique districts and discover hidden local gems along the way.

Important: As this is a private and customized understanding, the spots you visit may contrast from those recorded and these will be picked by your host dependent on your inclinations and inclinations. Admission Ticket Free Pass By: Grand Bazaar Jewelers Explore anything you desire from the city, telling your host the things you’d generally prefer to see or let them prescribe the features.

Important: As this is a private and customized understanding, the spots you visit may contrast from those recorded and these will be picked by your host dependent on your inclinations and inclinations. Admission Ticket Free. Additional Info Confirmation will be gotten at the time of booking. Wheelchair open Stroller is available. Service creatures permitted. Near open transportation. Most explorers can take part. This is a private visit/action. Just your gathering will take an interest.



3-Nights in Istanbul Two Continents Tour: East Meets West

  • from $359.00
  • 4 days (Approx.)
  • Pickup from select hotels
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English and 1 more

See all of Istanbul with your private guide on a 5-day visit. Appreciate the accommodation of air terminal pickup and drop-off and all morning meals and snacks. Notwithstanding the city’s top attractions you and your private guide take a comfortable voyage along the Bosphorus and make the intercontinental drive over the Bosphorus Bridge. After each stuffed day of touring, you’re allowed to set out and discover the eatery based on your personal preference for supper.

Get a relaxing night’s rest at your remembered inn before plunging into touring Feast for included morning meals and snacks, with the opportunity to investigate without anyone else for supper Enjoy roundtrip air terminal vehicle, alongside visit preparation by close to home operator Experience the entirety of Istanbul’s most well-known attractions with a private guide.



What’s Included

  • 3 nights accommodation
  • Professional guide
  • Breakfast (3) Lunch (2)
  • Drinks

Departure & Return Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered. They provide free pick up from Airports, Cruise Ship Ports and Centrally located Hotels.

  • Airports Istanbul Airport, Tayakadın Terminal Street No. 1, Istanbul 34283
  • Istanbul Turkey Sabiha Gokcen
  • Istanbul Turkey Ports Salipazari Cruise Ship Port

What To Expect

  • Itinerary Day 1 Arrival to Istanbul
  • Meet and Pick up
  • Transfer to Hotel 1 Stop Day 2 Full Day
  • Byzantine & Ottoman Relics Tour (Best of Istanbul City Tour)
  • 5 Stops Day 3 Full Day Bosphorus Cruise and Asia Tour 4 Stops Day 4 Departure / Transfer to Airport or Cruise Ship Port 1 Stop Hotel Pickup

This experience is qualified for lodging pickup. When your buy is finished, you’ll have the option to organize pickup subtleties legitimately with your administrator. Extra Info Confirmation will be gotten at the time of booking. Wheelchair open. Child rate applies just when offering to 2 paying grown-ups. Children must be joined by a grown-up. This visit/action will have a limit of 16 explorers.



Istanbul Layover Tour

  • from $375.00
  • 4 to 6 hours (Approx.)
  • Pickup offered
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English

Disregard spending your long delay in the air terminal nourishment court and take a private visit around Istanbul. Alter your visit to suit your calendar and interests, while your guide deals with private transportation and ensuring you return to the air terminal with adequate time to get your flight. Decide to visit the city’s top attractions including the Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia Museum) and Topkapı Palace Museum or spotlight exclusively on Turkish food.

Tweak the visit to suit your inclinations and time constraints. The visit coordinator orchestrates the agenda around your flight. Cover one of the most critical urban communities on the planet in a couple of hours. Enjoy brief and private transportation in a luxurious Mercedes minivan.

What’s Included

  • Round-trip private transfers
  • Tour with a quality, private, local guide Food and drinks Gratuities
  • Museum tickets

Departure & Return Departure Point

Voyager pickup is advertised. Meeting with the guide at the Istanbul air terminal: Pass through the visa controls and customs checks, and stroll to the exit inside the air terminal, where it is Meeting and Greeting area. You’ll see numerous individuals holding signs. They’ll be there!

Departure Time 9:00 AM

Return Details: Returns to the original departure point



What To Expect

Itinerary Stop At Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya)

Visiting Hagia (St) Sophia Museum

This will be closed to visitors on Mondays from the date November 01, 2019, until April 01, 2020 Duration: 45 Minutes Admission Ticket Not Included

Stop At: Blue Mosque Visiting Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque ( to be visited only from outside because of restorations)

Duration: 30 Minutes Admission Ticket Free

Additional Info Confirmation will be gotten at the time of booking. Not a wheelchair available. Not suggested on the off chance that you have less, at that point 3 hours. Travelers ought to have a moderate physical wellness level. This is a private visit/action. Just your gathering will take an interest.

Layover Tour – Glimpse of Istanbul

  • from $345.00
  • 4 to 8 hours (Approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English and 6 more

Try not to stay nearby the terminal during your extra-long delay. Rather, appreciate a short private voyage through Istanbul. Full circle transportation guarantees that you’re agreeable and back in time for your corresponding flight. The schedule is 100% adjustable, in light of your inclinations and time limitations. Visit the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and that’s just the beginning.



The visit administrators will assist you with amplifying your touring time to understanding however much of the city as could reasonably be expected. Unwind in full circle air terminal transportation. Maximize your delay to incorporate a day-visit Customize the agenda to suit your inclinations. Bypass the long ticket lines at historical centers from $345.00. Lowest Price Guarantee Check Availability.

What’s Included

  • Professional guide
  • Airport (Istanbul Airport) pickup and drop-off Transport by air-conditioned minivan
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Landing and facility fees
  • Meals

Departure & Return Departure Point

Istanbul Airport

What To Expect

Itinerary Pass By Experta Tours Admission Ticket Free.

Additional Info Confirmation will be received at the time of booking. Wheelchair accessible Infant seats are available. This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate.



Private Istanbul Layover Tour

  • from $425.00
  • 7 hours (Approx.)
  • Hotel pickup offered
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English and 4 more

Most explorers spend their delays holding up in the air terminal. Take advantage of your time in Istanbul during this quick-paced touring visit, which moves you back to Ataturk Airport to get your next flight. Settle once more into an agreeable, cooled van and tune in to foundation on Istanbul’s rich history from your private guide, while finding the features of the previous Ottoman capital.

A delay voyage through Istanbul’s top sights: Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, and more Discover the city’s champion attractions in a solitary quick-paced visit, with definite foundation Get front-entryway pickup from Istanbul Airport and ensure you’re back on time to fly out Cover a huge number of long periods of history, from a Roman dashing track to an Ottoman royal residence and mosque.



Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I love Istanbul. I have been to 10 different countries. Istanbul is in the top 3 cities. I like to play soccer too :)

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