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7 Hr. Layover at Istanbul Airport -- Time to See Anything?

7 Hr. Layover at Istanbul Airport -- Time to See Anything?

Feb 5th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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7 Hr. Layover at Istanbul Airport -- Time to See Anything?

We are a family of 4 who will be traveling to Egypt in March. The kids and I have been to Turkey before, and spent time in Istanbul. My husband/their father, however, has never been to Istanbul. We have time to kill, it appears. But the flights were free, so I can't complain (much).

We have a very long layover in Istanbul airport. We arrive at 4:10 p.m., and don't fly out again until 11:35! That's over 7 hours. Too long to sit in an airport, but could we comfortably get into the historical areas to see anything. I can't remember how far the airport was from the Hagia Sofia, etc.

TravelTrio is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 03:17 PM
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Unfortunately, you would be hitting the rush hour traffic and getting to the historic areas may take too much of yor time, especially if it is Monday, Friday or Saturday.

however, even under the worst case scenario, you will have 90-120 minutes at Sultanahmet.

the museums will be closed, but the Blue mosque will be open, except for the short evening prayers and you could walk around the hippodrome and the Arasta bazaar. you could also walk around the Hagia Sofia and sea the gates of the Topkapi palace.

As an alternative, you could go to beyti restaurant in florya close to the airport for out-of-this-world lamb chops or to Yesilkoy to a fish restaurant for dinner.

A third alternative would be Gelik restauranjt at Bakirkoy with excellent slow roast lamb and the Galleria mall just next to it.

I do not know if you would need to buy visas at the airport for such a short stay. you should check that.

Also, if you are flying THY all the way, they had a promotion which gave you a free tour of the city.
otherchelebi is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 03:25 PM
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Yes, we are on Turkish Airlines for both legs -- how do I find out more about the free tour?
Our layover is on a Saturday -- How do you think the traffic would be at that time on a Saturday?

The dinner options sound great also, especially that slow roast lamb. Perhaps the walking around would do us more good, but I will take all of this into consideration. Thank you for your thoughts! Please send along any further suggestions you might have. Much appreciated.
TravelTrio is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 04:29 PM
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Here's the link:


you can also google THY free istanbul sightseeing tour

However, the bad news is that the tours appear to be in the morning. But, you should check with THY before your flight and at the hotel desk at arrivals in any case.

Unless the weather is very good, the coast road into the city may not be so crowded on a saturday. The same road will have some congestion from Sultanahmet towards the airport between 19:00 and 20:30.

Too many suggestions may make life more difficult for you. but, since you asked for it :

take a taxi to Bakirkoy to the fast ferry landing next to gelik restaurant.
take a ferry to Kadikoy, every 60 minutes half past the hour. and takes 30 minutes.

walk around the pedestrian shopping and the market area. Have dinner at the regional Mesopotamian Ciya Restaurant (Ciya Sofrasi, and not Ciya Kebap), especially if you like exotic foods cooked with plum or cherry sours. Ride the antique tram and back.

- Return ferries are every hour on the hour until 21:00 TO bakirkoy, which is a ten to fifteen minute taxi ride to the airport.
otherchelebi is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 04:12 AM
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1-From Ataturk Airport to City Center (Sultan Ahmet Square - Old Town)

a- By Taxi (Yellow Cab): 22 km via coastal road (Kennedy Street) costs about TL30 ($20) and takes about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the traffic. (Rush Hours: 7 - 10 hours in the morning, 5 - 8 hours in the evening)

b- By Light Rail System (Metro) and Tram: 20 km, takes about 45 minutes and costs TL3 ($2) per person. You have to buy 2 tokens at the Airport Station and transfer at Zeytinburnu Station to go further for Sultanahmet which is in the heart of historical peninsula.

c- By Shuttle Service: This service is provided by Havas (you will see this as a sign on the large buses besides the advertisements). You will have to get of at Aksaray on the way to Taksim. Takes about 35 minutes and costs TL10 ($7).

d- By Private Transfer: This could be arranged by you or by your travel agent in advance your arrival. This is the most convenient way to get your hotel, takes about 25 minutes and it may cost more than a cab like TL40 - 60 ($25 - 40).
Menedo is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 05:08 AM
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Since there are 4 of us together, it seems the taxi option would be best. We will be doing this on a Saturday, so I am hoping traffic will not be an issue (am I wrong?)

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. Really appreciate this forum!
TravelTrio is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 09:53 AM
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The traffic on Saturdays considerably low in Istanbul.
Menedo is offline  
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