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8 hour layover at airport.Can we visit the city?Visa needed?

Sandton, South...
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8 hour layover at airport.Can we visit the city?Visa needed?

We have a layover in June at Istanbul airport of around 8 hours. We would like to know of it is possible to spend a few hours in the city and then return to the airport in time for our connecting flight? Also we are South African citizens and online it is unclear if we have to obtain and pay for a visa to exit the airport for a few hours. Can anyone please help?

Istanbul, Turkey
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1. Re: 8 hour layover at airport.Can we visit the city?Visa needed?

Yes,you can obtain a visa at the airport on arrival to be able to go into the city.

What time of day will you arrive?This could decide whether it is worth it or not.Also will your luggage be checked all the way to your final destination or will you have to collect and store it?

The reason I ask is because all these things take a little time off your 8 hours.Expect to lose around 30-45 minutes clearing the airport depending on how busy it is.It will then take around an hour to get into the heart of the city to somewhere like Sultanahmet,depending on how you travel-metro/tram or taxi and depending on traffic.

You need to be back at the airport 2 hours before your onward flight and need to allow an hour to get back there(again traffic etc .etc.).

So all in all this could reduce your 8 hours to around 4.If you still feel it is worth it for the cost of visa's,possible luggage storage,tranport then go for it.You would have time to take a quick look around Blue Mosque,Aya Sofya,maybe a very quick look at the Arasta Bazaar nearby before returning to the airport.

Hopefully this tiny taste will encourage you to visit Turkey properly sometime in the future :)

Sandton, South...
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2. Re: 8 hour layover at airport.Can we visit the city?Visa needed?

Thank you for the great advice!

We arrive at 4pm and our outgoing flight ia at 12am. We can book our baggage so that is goes all the way through to our final destination. We want to take the quickest route into town, which I assume is the metro. Then if we end up with approx 4 hours it would def be worthwhile as I have always wanted to visit Istanbul even if for only a few hours :)

Which are the best metro stops to get off?

Istanbul, Turkey
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3. Re: 8 hour layover at airport.Can we visit the city?Visa needed?

Take the metro from the airport to Zeytinburnu,get off there and transfer to the tram at the stop nearby.This will drop you right in the heart of Sultanahmet.Total cost around 4TL :)

If you check through the threads on the Istanbul forum,Buraksan posted up a thread a day or so ago with the summer opening hours for attractions in the city.That will help you plan which one to hit first!

Sandton, South...
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4. Re: 8 hour layover at airport.Can we visit the city?Visa needed?

Thanks again for you wonderful advice! I can't wait to get a snippet of Turkish life :)

Johannesburg, South...
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5. Re: 8 hour layover at airport.Can we visit the city?Visa needed?

Good day

I see from an article that you were going to visit Istanbul during a 8hr stop over, did you manage to visit the city and was it worth while? I am also South African and I am told we dont need visas is this true?

Istanbul
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6. Re: 8 hour layover at airport.Can we visit the city?Visa needed?

Bubbles, I can't answer for "Iloveshoesalot" who probably is not checking the forums any more but I can tell that SA citizens are exempt from visa requirements when entering Turkey. What a great priviledge! So make use of it.

enigma...

7. Re: 8 hour layover at airport.Can we visit the city?Visa needed?

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