Layover - What to do?
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Aug 29, 2013 12:15 AM Last Post By: thomajd
Aug 28, 2013 12:46 PM
Layover - What to do?I have just over a 7 hour layover in the morning coming home from a trip to Spain. I was wondering if it would be worth going into Istanbul. I have never been, and would love to walk around. I'm planning on checking my bag on the way back. I will have my boarding pass, and I just saw that I could get a visa in advance online.
Aug 28, 2013 1:02 PM
1Welcome to the forum!Is your 7 hours clear time or the time from landing to take off?It will take c.30-40 minutes to clear the airport and then another 45-50 minutes on metro&tram to reach Sultanahmet.You will need to be back at the airport to check in 2 hours before departure time so this means leaving the city centre almost 3 hours ahead of that time.
So your 7 hours could actually only be 3 or 4 hours.....
This wouldn't be enough time to visit much but you could look at places from outside and stroll around the area,beats sitting at the airport for all that time I guess :)
Aug 28, 2013 2:08 PM
Aug 28, 2013 5:37 PM
3A 7 hour layover? If you plan to walk out of the airport you'll need to purchase a Turkish visa upon arrival and that will cost you will cost you twenty bucks. The wait and travel times to and from the airport which were already given are accurate. The airport is at the terminus of the "Red Line" metro (subway) and you'll need to trasfer from "Rad" to the "Blue Line" to get to anything really tourist oriented. A taxi is not an option as Istanbul traffic is in the top five of the worst I've ever seen.. At best you'll have time for lunch and a few fast photos before heading back to the airport. I'd pass on the layover plan, but that is just me.
Aug 28, 2013 6:14 PM
4I think you should do it.
Sarikanarya has given accurate time frames.
A couple of hours in Sultanahmet is definitely worth the effort for not much cost, compared to sitting in the airport. I honestly cannot remember the traffic being that bad in Istanbul, maybe do not consider a taxi in peak hour though.
Just a note with the Metro when transferring lines. I transferred from the Metro red line to a tram, not to the blue line as markinrancho stated. I caught the red line until Zeytinburnu and transferred to the tram that takes you into the heart of Sultanahmet. I had to get out of the metro and walk a few hundred metres to the tram. It got a bit confused myself to which side, so ask someone, even if they do not know English, just ask "blue mosque" and they will point you in the right direction.You will see the iconic blue mosque and know this is the stop to get off the tram.
Aug 29, 2013 12:08 AM
5Even with a visa in advance, recent experience suggests that it could take considerably longer to clear the airport - up to 1¼ hours on a bad day (though this was certainly exceptional). Another ¼ hour to orientate yourself and work out the jeton machines, and at least ¾ hour to get to Sultanahmet. Allow 1¼ hours to get back to the airport check-in area, and 2 hours to check in for your next flight, and we're looking at perhaps 1½ hours max. in Istanbul even if your first flight gets in on time. Presumably you will want to eat during that time. Personally I wouldn't bother. I would perhaps take a taxi 10 mins. to Yeşilköy and spend a couple of hours wandering along the sea front. There are no great monuments to see, but it's a pleasant enough area with some decent restaurants.
If this is the only chance in your life you'll ever have to see Istanbul, on balance I might go for it. But if you think there's a reasonable chance of getting back there another day, leave it till then, and save yourself the stress of worrying whether you're going to get back to the airport on time. A personal opinion, and admittedly slightly pessimistic. :)
Edited by: thomajd
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