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8 hr Istanbul layover, is it enough for a visit?

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8 hr Istanbul layover, is it enough for a visit?

I have an 8.5 hr layover in Ataturk, arriving at noon. Is a tour of the city doable in that time? I am reading about a lot of concerns about traffic and time at immigration controls

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Ataturk Airport
Ataturk Airport
Istanbul, Turkey
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1. Re: 8 hr Istanbul layover, is it enough for a visit?

CMB123NDS456, Yes, it is a doable. You have 4.5 hours net in the city. You can visit Sultanahmet area and see the historical attractions there. Otherwise you can take one of the free guided tours of the Turkish Airlines if both of your flights are with this airline. Have a look: "istanbulinhours.com".

good luck,

enigma...

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2. Re: 8 hr Istanbul layover, is it enough for a visit?

Yes most definitely you would have at least 4 hours in the city.

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3. Re: 8 hr Istanbul layover, is it enough for a visit?

Thank you. Are taxis the best option for me then? Also what are the rush hours so I know if I have time crunch?

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4. Re: 8 hr Istanbul layover, is it enough for a visit?

The date and time of arrival and departure is important to comment…

Usually it takes roughly 1 hour to exit the terminal if you don’t have too many luggage… You may also need a valid Turkish visa depend on your nationality (please check www.evisa.gov.tr )

You have to be at the airport 2 hours before your flight… So you roughly have 4,5 – 5 hours to kill in the city… I highly recommend to go to Sultanahmet Sq for sightseeing around Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace and Haigh Sofia… If you are not a vegetarian, I also recommend Asitane Restaurant for Ottoman Place Cuisine and/or Tarihi Sultanahmet Koftecisi for classiv Turkish meatballs and beans salad…

Taxi is the best option from the airport... Becareful at the taxis at Sultanahmet Sq, ıf they ask fix rate in USD or Euro, dont ride with them...

Edited: 11 June 2018, 14:37
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5. Re: 8 hr Istanbul layover, is it enough for a visit?

We did this kind of trip in February. Quite early in the morning. The Passport line was very long, but finaly I took I think half an hour. We did´nt need visa and had´nt luggage. So we took a metroo (the lines are easily find on map) and with one change, we reached in Taksim square. It took prox 50 min (only the metroo ride with line change). We had 3 hour in the town, visited SIMIT place, some shops, Turkish delight shops, and the ride back also took near an hour. Entering to Airport (International flights) took also more than half an hour. There are several controls and lines ( may be crowded). But this was nice short visit instead of sitting in airport !

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6. Re: 8 hr Istanbul layover, is it enough for a visit?

Hi there,

Doing the correct math and assuming an average case scenario you would only have approximately 3 hours to spend in the city, as mentioned by eriiw66.

The passport control process may take up to 1 hour and assuming you don't have any luggage to wait for, your trip to the historical peninsula can take almost 1 hour (by using public transportation).

You need to be at the airport AT LEAST 2 hours before your flight (in theory it should be 3, but anyway), which means you have to leave to the airport 3 hours before your flight. That gives you a total of 5 hours spent.

If your total layover time is 8 hours that will give you 3 hours to see some places.

Using taxis to go from and to the airport may give you an additional 40 to 60 mins, but taxis going to the airport may try to scam you, so be careful about it.

If you want to visit the museums, Hagia Sophia can take 30 to 60 mins and the Topkapı Palace 1.5 to 2 hours. You should purchase the entrance tickets online in advance so you don't have to wait in the long ticketing queues.

You can alternative just walk around the Sultanahmet Square and see from outside Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

I guess you would need to eat, so keep this in mind as well ;)

Cheers!

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