As someone who loves to travel (but does not really have that much resources to spare, i.e. money), I always try to look for discounted/free stuff when traveling. Yes, I do love piso fares and all that. So when we had a chance to travel to the US for work, we did some research on cheap travel routes and stopovers we can afford. My workmates found that Turkish Air offered the lowest fare that time and luck enough, we found out that they offered free tours in Istanbul!
TourIstanbul offers free half-day and full-day tours of the city. We had an 8-hr layover that time which was good enough for the morning 8:30 – 11am tour. Tour Options include: 8:30am – 11:00am; 9:00am – 3:00pm; 9:00am – 6:00pm; 12:00 – 6:00pm; 4:00pm to 9:00pm.
If you want to know more about TourIstanbul, you can visit their website in this link.
As it’s free, you really just need a transit flight to Istanbul via Turkish Air and sign-up about 30mins before the actual tour. And of course, you need a visa. For this trip, we were qualified to apply for an E-Visa only so it was not that hassle. We apply via this link.
It was the first time I’m flying Turkish Airlines so I was kind of amazed by how huge their lounge area is. It’s a 2-floor lounge with a mini-cinema, library with a billiard/pool table, indoor/virtual golf area, and a great selection of food.
After we had our breakfast, we went to the Hotel Desk and registered to the TourIstabul 8:30 schedule. Our itinerary below.
- Departure from Istanbul Ataturk Airport
- Hippodrome or Sultan Ahmet Square
- Hippodrome: German Fountain
- Serpentine Column
- Obelisk of Theodosius
- Hagia Sofya
- Blue Mosque
- Return to Istanbul Ataturk Airport
We were back at the Airport just in time for lunch and a little siesta before our flight in the afternoon. How efficient! ^_^
Aside from the fact that it was a free tour, I was happy and thankful I got to see a piece of Istanbul in just a few hours.
Thank you Turkish Air!