Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Europe > Europe
Reload this Page >

7 hour layover in Istanbul

7 hour layover in Istanbul

Old Apr 27, 19, 5:00 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: LIM and DCA
Programs: Delta DM
Posts: 237
7 hour layover in Istanbul

Landing in Istanbul at 12:20 and departing at 19:15 (itís an international flight) that same evening. Enough time for trip downtown? Any ideas or suggestions?
Thanks!
powerful pete is offline  
Old Apr 27, 19, 6:33 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: K+K
Programs: *G
Posts: 4,318
assuming all flights are on time, with the old airport, one could have taken a tram to sultanahmet, walk through one of the sights (such as blue mosque), enjoy a meal, and tram it back to airport.

however since sabiha gokhen just moved to over new airport, no idea about the connection. surely they have bus connection but i wouldve felt more comfortable with tram
deniah is offline  
Old Apr 27, 19, 7:13 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: LIM and DCA
Programs: Delta DM
Posts: 237
Good point I had forgotten about the new airport - is it not well connected by Metro and/or is it farther from town?
powerful pete is offline  
Old Apr 28, 19, 7:38 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Programs: BAEC Silver, TK M&S Elite Plus, KE SPC, PC Bolbol, KK Brnz, LCA Silv, HH Blue, Bonvoy
Posts: 2,049
If your first flight arrives on time, 7 hours would be only enough to see one of the major places in Istanbul. You could simply visit one of Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, Archeology Museum, Basilica Cistern within that period. There is no metro at the current airport but it doesn't mean that it's not easily accessible. You could use the Havaist shuttle to Sultanahmet which runs every 20 minutes during the day and after a 45min-1h ride, you would be in the Historic Town of Istanbul. A plan like this would work;

13:20 Take the Havaist shuttle to Sultanahmet
14:30 Visit one of the following: Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, Archeology Museum, Basilica Cistern
- If you have time you could see the interior of the Blue Mosque which won't take longer than 10 minutes.
16:20 Take the Havaist back to the airport

If you don't like museums or historical places; I could give advise for shopping, entertainment... depending on your choice.
ISTFlyer is online now  
Old Apr 28, 19, 8:04 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: US Air, UA BA LH AI DELTA MARRIOTT CHOICE SGP
Posts: 9,788
OP, whatever you decide, do not go to a hamam unless a local recommends it. One we went to was a scam ! Sloppy work, rush in-rush out, hands out all the time, paid $ 58 about five years ago !
HMPS is offline  
Old Apr 28, 19, 8:07 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Programs: BAEC Silver, TK M&S Elite Plus, KE SPC, PC Bolbol, KK Brnz, LCA Silv, HH Blue, Bonvoy
Posts: 2,049
Originally Posted by HMPS View Post
OP, whatever you decide, do not go to a hamam unless a local recommends it. One we went to was a scam ! Sloppy work, rush in-rush out, hands out all the time, paid $ 58 about five years ago !
$58 for a hamam. It was definitely a tourist scam.
ISTFlyer is online now  
Old Apr 29, 19, 1:50 am
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: LIM and DCA
Programs: Delta DM
Posts: 237
Thanks folks - no interest in a hammam.

I am interested more in shopping and/or having a very nice meal than a museum or historical site... any advice appreciated!
powerful pete is offline  
Old Apr 29, 19, 5:54 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: AMS-IST
Posts: 256
Originally Posted by deniah View Post

however since sabiha gokhen just moved to over new airport, no idea about the connection. surely they have bus connection but i wouldve felt more comfortable with tram
Uhm - no. Sabiha Gokcen is still where it was, on the Asian side of Istanbul.
It's Ataturk airport that is now closed - services have been moved to the new Istanbul Airport.

Make sure you plan at least an hour between the city and the airport for transfer. You can take a Havaist bus to Taksim, from there walk down the Istiklal Caddesi and there are plenty of restaurants and shops there.
ISTFlyer likes this.
dutchgirlDH is offline  
Old Apr 29, 19, 1:40 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: New Orleans
Programs: SPG, AA, IHG, Southwest
Posts: 88
Came here, since we have similar situation, but different question: Land at 12:05a coming from TLV, looking to get on 6:35a flight to NAV. Is there a good hotel / lounge option to kill those 6 hours? I Googled and the new airport doesn't seem to have the airport hotel options as Ataturk.
currid7 is offline  
Old Apr 29, 19, 1:45 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Programs: BAEC Silver, TK M&S Elite Plus, KE SPC, PC Bolbol, KK Brnz, LCA Silv, HH Blue, Bonvoy
Posts: 2,049
Originally Posted by currid7 View Post
Came here, since we have similar situation, but different question: Land at 12:05a coming from TLV, looking to get on 6:35a flight to NAV. Is there a good hotel / lounge option to kill those 6 hours? I Googled and the new airport doesn't seem to have the airport hotel options as Ataturk.
It won't be worth to leave the airport for a 6 hour layover. In addition, you would need to clear immigration at arrival as well. If you have access to the domestic lounge, try to rest over there. Otherwise, the only option would be pay the Landside YOTEL for 4 hours for a Ä95 + VAT (%8) price unless you would pay a full day hotel fee to rest 2 hours in a hotel outside of the airport in addition to the transportation costs.
ISTFlyer is online now  
Old Apr 30, 19, 4:53 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: K+K
Programs: *G
Posts: 4,318
Originally Posted by dutchgirlDH View Post
Uhm - no. Sabiha Gokcen is still where it was, on the Asian side of Istanbul.
It's Ataturk airport that is now closed - services have been moved to the new Istanbul Airport.

Make sure you plan at least an hour between the city and the airport for transfer. You can take a Havaist bus to Taksim, from there walk down the Istiklal Caddesi and there are plenty of restaurants and shops there.
i was never good at formal names
deniah is offline  
Old Apr 30, 19, 9:33 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SFO
Programs: TK *G, HHonors Gold, UA 0.547MM and ex-1K but we gave up on each other
Posts: 142
If you're flying Turkish Airlines, they offer these free tours for layovers of 6 hours or more. I think you'll just miss the noon tour, though.

Turkish is a great airline, but everything connects through Istanbul, often with long layovers. For layovers over 9 (economy) or 12 (business) hours, there are also free hotel rooms.
bilofsky is offline  
Old Apr 30, 19, 9:37 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Programs: BAEC Silver, TK M&S Elite Plus, KE SPC, PC Bolbol, KK Brnz, LCA Silv, HH Blue, Bonvoy
Posts: 2,049
Originally Posted by bilofsky View Post
If you're flying Turkish Airlines, they offer these free tours for layovers of 6 hours or more. I think you'll just miss the noon tour, though.

Turkish is a great airline, but everything connects through Istanbul, often with long layovers. For layovers over 9 (economy) or 12 (business) hours, there are also free hotel rooms.
The OP's schedule didn't allow him taking one of the tours, as you have mentioned he would miss the tour departing at noon, that's why I haven't mentioned about it.
ISTFlyer is online now  
Old Apr 30, 19, 1:21 pm
  #14  
formerly dave h.
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Seattle - it's not Hell, but you can SEA it from here!
Programs: SkyMiles, IHG nobody, HH nobody
Posts: 167
i was just there a couple weeks ago.

plan an hour each way from the airport. i used cabs, it wan't too bad. there is no airport express train yet, they're still working on it.

the Blue Mosque doesn't take very long because there isn't really a lot to see. the main dome is blocked from view by a 2nd floor they've built into the thing, that you can't get to. just take a few pictures of the outside and call it good.
i've seen pictures of the Hagia Sophia interior, and it's impressive, but i didn't wait in the hour-long line.

if it's shopping you want, then go to the Grand Bazaar and wander around for a while. it's a labyrinth and a gauntlet all in one. i found one little stall with a guy selling what appeared to be real antiques. i saw this lamp (typical Aladdin's Lamp style) and asked how old it was? "how old do you want it to be?" walking around, i saw a few one-off items that may have genuinely old, but it turns out most stuff is new, they just make it look old.

getting lunch is no problem. there is no end to the cafes and restaurants in the old town. you don't even have to be on the main road between Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar.

go into Istanbul knowing that everyone gets in your face, wanting to sell you something, and everyone sells everything. it's a non-stop assault. if they approach you with "hello my friend", walk away. actually, if you see them even looking at you, just walk away. even my cab driver, on the way to the airport, tried to sell me a guided Topkapi tour. no thanks, i'd prefer that you just take me to the airport.

overall, i was not very impressed. just a bucket list item checked off.

Last edited by Dave737; Apr 30, 19 at 1:32 pm
Dave737 is offline  
Old May 1, 19, 6:44 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: K+K
Programs: *G
Posts: 4,318
Originally Posted by Dave737 View Post
i was just there a couple weeks ago.

plan an hour each way from the airport. i used cabs, it wan't too bad. there is no airport express train yet, they're still working on it.

the Blue Mosque doesn't take very long because there isn't really a lot to see. the main dome is blocked from view by a 2nd floor they've built into the thing, that you can't get to. just take a few pictures of the outside and call it good.
i've seen pictures of the Hagia Sophia interior, and it's impressive, but i didn't wait in the hour-long line.

if it's shopping you want, then go to the Grand Bazaar and wander around for a while. it's a labyrinth and a gauntlet all in one. i found one little stall with a guy selling what appeared to be real antiques. i saw this lamp (typical Aladdin's Lamp style) and asked how old it was? "how old do you want it to be?" walking around, i saw a few one-off items that may have genuinely old, but it turns out most stuff is new, they just make it look old.

getting lunch is no problem. there is no end to the cafes and restaurants in the old town. you don't even have to be on the main road between Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar.

go into Istanbul knowing that everyone gets in your face, wanting to sell you something, and everyone sells everything. it's a non-stop assault. if they approach you with "hello my friend", walk away. actually, if you see them even looking at you, just walk away. even my cab driver, on the way to the airport, tried to sell me a guided Topkapi tour. no thanks, i'd prefer that you just take me to the airport.

overall, i was not very impressed. just a bucket list item checked off.
you might want to see it a bit more, especially beyond that tourist trap of a bazaar. it was the capital of the roman empire. its got a serious mix of old and new. and also IMO the most underrated cuisine in the world.
deniah is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread