One of the worst parts of any airline trip is a lengthy layover during your flight. Your time may be spent browsing the internet, trying to catch a nap on uncomfortable seats or window shopping the same stores over and over again. Although airports try to provide diversions like movies, arcades and sports bars, six hours can be hard to take. Happily, there are some airports that offer free tours lasting from a few hours to as much as six hours that you can take at no cost while you wait for your flight.
There are many options to take guided tours or tour on your own to see the sights. Because you are considered an “in transit passenger” you will not need a visa to take these tours. Here are three cities that allow for a quick getaway before your flight.
Salt Lake City International Airport
If you have a few hours, you can take a shuttle from the airport to Temple Square, Utah’s most popular tourist destination. It is located right in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City and the tour is free. The site is replete with historic structures for those history buffs. At Christmas, the lights are stunning and said to be the best on the West Coast. From one of the many rooftop restaurants you can get spectacular views of the city while you dine on local fare.
Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
Choose a self-guided tour or hire a local tour guide to point out the sights of the city. There is the famed Narita-san Shin shoji Temple or the wonderful cherry blossom gardens for a stroll. Sample the local cuisine or visit an iconic Japanese shrine. One of the scheduled tours takes visitors to the Museum of Aeronautical Science. For a self-guided shopping tour a shuttle bus can take you to Shusui Premium Outlets or AEON Mall Narita.
Ataturk Airport Istanbul,Turkey
If you have a 6 hour layover and are a passenger on Turkish Airlines, you can see Istanbul on one of five tours offered daily. A shorter tour of 2-1/2 hours is also available. Stops include The Grand Bazaar, the world’s biggest and oldest covered market, Hagia Sophia for a view of Byzantine architecture, the Walls of Constantine and of course shopping. Depending on the time of your tour, you may also be treated to free lunch or dinner.