Complimentary City Tour in Istanbul from Turkish Airlines


Galata Port Shopping Tour

Last week, I was once again able to take advantage of the complimentary touristanbul provided by Turkish Airlines during my transit in Istanbul. I have previously done the Bosphorus tour a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Not all passengers can take part in this free tour but the easiest way is to check the Turkish Airlines website with your itinerary and if you see the icon touristanbul, then you are good to go. 

Sample itinerary with the icon touristanbul 👍

In general, you must have a connecting international flight in Istanbul with a lay over between 6 and 24 hours, and then check if there is a tour matching your transit time. Another rule is you need to be flying with Turkish Airlines operated flights and most importantly, you have to check if you need a visa to enter Turkey. All the details of this tour can be found on the airlines website.

As of December 1, two new tours have been added: Biblical tour and Shopping tour.

Last week, I arrived in Istanbul around 5:20pm and had a connecting flight to Singapore at 1:50am. Luckily they had the Galata Port Shopping Tour which started at 6pm and ended at 11pm which was perfect for my transit time.

Below are some of the photos from the tour:

When you exit the customs, turn right and follow the sign to Free Tour. You will then find the Hotel Desk and touristanbul Desk right next to each other. Be sure to come about 30 minutes before the scheduled tour although I saw that most passengers were still able to register even with only 15 minutes left before 6pm.

Each of us were given this touristanbul card which ended up as a souvenir 👍

After the roll call, we then headed outside the terminal, to where the buses were parked. On this tour, two buses were used to accommodate all of us. We left the airport around 6:30pm.

Around 7:30pm, we reached Tamara Restaurant where we had our wonderful dinner.

Drinks, salads and dessert were already waiting for us.

Salad, dessert and water

Lentil soup

The bread was very good 😋

Grilled beef and chicken, rice

Dinner was very good I have to admit. After dinner, we drove for the shopping tour. The weather was cold and windy unfortunately although I would imagine this tour to be very popular as there were lots of cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating offering nice views, as well different shops.

Galata port shopping tour

Galata port shopping tour

Galata port shopping tour

Galata port shopping tour

We were given about 45 minutes to do the shopping tour and left for the airport at 9:30pm. There was no traffic at all and we reached the Istanbul Airport before 11pm. It is always great to be able to see the city during this lay over and I was glad to have taken advantage of this touristanbul provided by Turkish Airlines. Hopefully you guys can also try one of their tours during your lay over in Istanbul 😉