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Layover in Istanbul's Ataturk Airport

Hello,

I am traveling to Qatar with 6 students and we have a 7 hour layover in Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. The students want to leave the airport even if we need to pay a visa fee (some students don't need to pay due to their nationality). I've been to Istanbul, but never to the Ataturk Airport. Is it possible to go to the city for a quick trip during the 7 hours?

Thanks!
Ann

Posted by
1357 posts

Yes, 7 hours is ample time to go into the city. We did this last summer when returning from N. Cyprus. We already had Turkish visas, however, this will take no more than 5-10 mins to get - just have the right amount in the correct currency available.

You can then just take the train or a combination of train/tram to get to Sultanhamet. Definitely worth doing so long as jet lag is not a major factor.

One thing to make this easier is to make sure you have your onward boarding pass before you leave the airport. You will sometimes get this when you start your journey; if not, get it at the transfer desk at IST. This way, your return to the airport is a little stress free - you just need to go through security, passport control and to your gates.

Posted by
990 posts

Given your time frame, I'd be inclined to splurge for a taxi. It will save a good bit of time compared to using public transit. With seven total, you ought to be able to do it in two cabs.

Posted by
1357 posts

Before taking a taxi, I would try and find out what the traffic is like - a lot of the streets in Istanbul seemed to be backed up during the day.

The advantage of the Tram especially is that you get a chance to see the local culture - the folks riding on the tram and the scenery outsite. For this reason I would suggest if going this route to switch at the earliest spot from the train to the tram (I believe this is the 6th station from the airport)

Posted by
990 posts

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