It’s safe to say that we’ve all bought a flight with a multi-hour layover in an effort to save some cash before. And while overpriced food and tacky gift shops may seem enticing at first, any airport loses its appeal after about four hours. Thankfully, there's a certain seven cities out there that offer free tours with your layover, so you don’t have to suffer killing time in the terminal.
Changi Airport, Singapore
Changi Airport in Singapore is the first of many cities to offer layover passengers a free city tour, as long as you have at least five and a half hours. There are two tours for you to choose from: The Heritage Tour, which runs four times a day every day, and The City Sights Tour which runs twice daily. On Singapore’s Heritage tour, visitors travel through the most historic parts of the city, while the City Sights Tour stops off at some of Singapore’s more modern attractions such as Merlion Park and the famous Marina Bay Sands.
Incheon Airport, Seoul
Next on our list is the Incheon Airport of Seoul, South Korea. While The Incheon Airport Culture Tour only lasts roughly an hour and a half, it takes visitors first to a traditional craft gallery, then to watch the 15-minute daily Walk of the Royal Family. Afterwards, visitors are taken to the Korean Culture center to learn all about the traditions of Korean lifestyle. The tour ends with a fantastic classic concert, which let's be totally honest, you would never find waiting at an airport terminal.
Narita Airport, Tokyo
Found yourself in an exceptionally long layover in in Tokyo? If you’ve got a few hours to spare, Narita Airport has an amazing city tour worth checking out. Whether you prefer a guided tour of the city or a self-guided tour on your own, Narita Airport has you covered. Visiting the Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple (one of Japan’s most famous tourist destinations) or Shibayama Town (which hosts some of the best traditional styled Japanese restaurants in the area) are both on the list. Typically the guided tours last around three hours, but a self-guided tour can be made to suit your schedule.
Ataturk Airport, Istanbul
Known as Touristanbul, this free layover service is operational between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm daily, though it changes depending on the day, time, and length of your layover. The shorter tour takes visitors to some of the most popular landmarks (like the legendary garden groves of Yildiz Palace) between 8:30 am and 11 am, whereas the longer tour, running from 9 am till 3 pm offers breakfast, lunch, and detailed tours of Istanbul's most scenic spots (like the beautiful seaside view of Ortaköy). Make sure to keep an eye on the time here — it's a little too easy to get caught up in all the beauty and miss your flight.
Taoyuan Airport, Taipei
If you happen to find yourself with a long layover in Taipei's Taoyuan Airport, we recommend you take advantage of their fantastic city tour. Like with some of the others, there are two options to choose from: a tour of the Sansia and Zushih Temple and the lush countryside of Yingge, or a tour of the city's heart and some of its best-known landmarks. The first is better if you have a 3-4-hour layover, whereas the second would be preferable if you have half a day. Whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Alas, an airport in the states that's ideal for a domestic layover. Unlike the others previously listed, Salt Lake City Airport is no more than five minutes from the city itself, meaning the moment you touch ground you're within reasonable distance of skiing down the slopes or wandering around Temple Square. With plenty of taxis and shuttles operating in the area, transportation to the Great Salt Lakes, Bonneville Salt Flats, and plenty of other famous national parks is easy. Dare we say a layover in Salt Lake City might be more exciting than your final destination?
Doha Hamad Airport, Qatar
Last on our list is the luxurious Doha Hamad Airport in Qatar. Complementary of Qatar Airways, visitors can experience a stunning 2 hour and 45-minute tour of the city of Doha, starting with the Pearl-Qatar. Here you can shop at some of the most luxurious storefronts in the country before letting your guide take you through the Katara Cultural Village to learn about the rich Qatari heritage. Afterwards, the tour passes through the Museum of Islamic Art before it closes with a lengthy stop at the Souq Waqif; a traditional Arabian market situated at the heart of the city. Here visitors can shop for traditional jewelry, spices, and handicrafts sold by locals. With so much to do during your layover at Doha Hamad, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you stayed in the terminal.
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