What to do in a short time in Istanbul? Do you have any recommendations for Istanbul layover? Is it worth leaving the airport for a short layover in Istanbul?
The answer is yes! Especially if you’ll arrive at Ataturk (IST) airport which is just 30 minutes to the old city Sultanahmet.
It’s possible to take a taxi from Ataturk (IST) airport to Sultanahmet- generally it’s a painless procedure. Make sure you have the word Sultanahmet printed on a paper and hand it to the driver.
Make sure you have Turkish Lira (TL) before you leave the terminal and that the driver turns the meter on. Taxi drivers are notorious and they are not very different in Istanbul, either.
so, yes, he will speed… yes, he will get lost at the back streets… yes, he knows a carpet dealer…yes, his English is basic …
You can choose to take the public transport which is efficient but crowded. Before you leave the airport, purchase an Istanbul Card transportation card ( You can share the same card in one group) and follow the signs to metro. The rail system will get you to Sultanahmet – you will need to change once. So, it is very acceptable really.
During your layover, you can choose to book our Istanbul Express tour ( only 3 hours) which is a great immersion to the city and then you will feel more navigated.
When you are with a professional guide from Walks In Istanbul, your guide has priority admission at museum entrances and will purchase museum tickets for you. If you are covered with our tours, you do not need Istanbul Museum Pass. They are included.
Children under 12 don’t need to buy tickets at museums in Istanbul. Please carry a form of ID that shows age and date of birth.
A short trip to Sultanahmet area in Istanbul will include a walk around the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace and the Grand Bazaar.
It all depends on your timings and preferences of course. You can add the Spice market and a 2 hour Bosphorus Cruise.
Please note Blue Mosque is closed until end of noon prayers on Fridays. Topkapı Palace is closed on Tuesdays.
Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.