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Istanbul - 3-day layover

I am taking a tour of Jordan and Israel in October/November. I need to arrive in Amman by mid-day on Sunday, October 11.

I want to take about 3 days before the tour to visit a city in Europe for an extended layover to get past jet lag. I was thinking Rome, but the only direct flight from Rome to Amman arrives there at 3:10am, which I think will destroy whatever benefit I get from my layover.

I just looked at Istanbul as another option, and Turkish Airlines has a good itinerary, with a morning flight arriving in Amman at 8:35am.

I haven't been to Istanbul (or anywhere in Turkey) before. My question is, as an independent solo traveler, is it a good option to spend three nights, adjust to the time change, and get a satisfactory overview before moving on? Or would I be smarter to save Istanbul for a future trip when I can spend more time there.

Also, any positive or negative experiences with Turkish Airlines? If I do this, I would probably fly on Turkish Airlines from Atlanta to Istanbul and then at the end of my tour, back to Atlanta from Tel Aviv (with another short layover at the airport in Istanbul).

Thanks!

Posted by
1174 posts

I visited Turkey and Istanbul in 2000 and was delighted by it. I think 3 nights there would be great.

Posted by
2502 posts

Istanbul is a great place to visit and 3 days allows you to see the major sites in the city. I’ve flown Turkish Airlines and have always been satisfied with flights and service.

Posted by
193 posts

Istanbul is a great city. Full of interesting sites, lots to see, fascinating museums, good food. I'm a big fan - we spent 10 days there last time and never got a chance to get bored.

I've flown Turkish airlines several times - never had any issues with them - comparable to any other airline IMO.

Posted by
6061 posts

Great airline (prices, service, food) plus brand new modern airport which is supposedly impressive (I flew into the old one several times). Three days isn't much for a megacity like Istanbul (I spent over two weeks there) but it's a great way to sample it for no extra cost. I would definitely do it. You will need a cheap e-VISA but you can get it online ahead of time (https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/).

Posted by
11152 posts

Istanbul has many days of sights, but many of the top sights are in a relatively small area, and are connected by a single tram line. So, in 3 days you can see a lot. I say go for it! Rick's Istanbul book will lay out your options and logistics very well.

I flew Turkish Air in 2011, and they were very good. The food, in particular, was much better than I'm used to in coach.

Posted by
266 posts

I have had excellent experiences on Turkish Airlines, and I am getting ready to fly them again soon. When I started planning for my upcoming trip, I chose Turkish over Delta without the slightest hesitation.

I was with a tour on my first visit to Istanbul, but my second visit was solo. I have always felt safe and comfortable in Istanbul. Rug touts are bothersome and taxi drivers will try to overcharge you -- but both are avoidable. Try to book a hotel in SultanAhmet, and see if the hotel can provide transportation from the airport -- many hotels will do that (for a fee, of course).

As someone else mentioned, Istanbul is huge. You really need more than a couple of days to do it justice, but even a couple of days would be well worth your while.

Posted by
1285 posts

Thank you all for the confirmation that this is a good plan.

I may be able to swing more than three days to give myself a fuller experience.

Cheers!

Posted by
885 posts

Three days will give you a nice taste of the city, which is an exciting blend of old and new. Loved my flight on Turkish Airlines, best coach flight I've had with a refurbished plane, amenities kit and slippers and enough food and drink.

Posted by
13904 posts

I've flown Turkish the last 3 or 4 times I've traveled to the US as well as a couple of shorter trips from here in Israel. The prices are good, the service and the food are better than most, to me the seating in coach feels a little roomier and the entertainment menu is extensive - important on long flights!

Turkish is a good choice because they have several flights a day from Tel Aviv. BTW mid-October is a good time to start a tour here . . . you'll miss the extreme heat of summer and probably won't see much - if any - rain.

While you could easily spend a week in Istanbul, it's also a good stop for 2-4 nights. And on a future trip to see more of Turkey, you'll still have lots to explore in Istanbul.

Posted by
613 posts

I agree with everybody who recommends Istanbul. Don't miss a night visit to the Blue Mosque area.