I am heading back to Europe from India in November and I have a day worth of a layover in Istanbul. I have got my e-Visa for a single entry and really looking forward for spending a day there. I am going to check myself in at the HOTEL DESK by Turkish Airlines where they offer complimentary stay since I have a flight the next day (approx. 23 hours).

I did some research as to which hotels they usually check the travelers into. The comprehensive list is as below (Source):

Marriott Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel (72% TripAdvisor–most common)
Akgün Istanbul Hotel (44% TripAdvisor–common–far from the airport)
Wow Airport Hotel (56% TripAdvisor–common)
Wyndham İstanbul Petek (92% TripAdvisor)
Radisson Blu Conference & Airport Hotel (53% TripAdvisor)
Hilton Garden Inn
Courtyard by Marriott Istanbul International Airport
Gonen Hotel Istanbul

Should I ask at the Front Desk if they provide tours into the city or should I go about on my own? Are there reliable public transport services in Istanbul since I am a low budget traveler and Taxis might be expensive.

P.S.: Also since 1 day isn't enough, but any travel tips and suggestions would be appreciated along with the answers.


Be careful about Turkish airline hotel stay. I traveled multiple times through Turkish airlines, twice unable to get an accommodation at Ataturk airport. On both airport stay, I stayed more than 10 hours and still couldn't get any free complimentary hotel accommodation . Even I was told by my travel agent that I am entitled to get a stay for flights more than 10 hours. The reason was there were many travelers on que already and some of them were waiting already, the customers service said they are fully booked for today. The reason could be Turkish airlines is a popular low cost carrier especially to EU and USA. Although it doesn't necessarily means they never provide any hotels, it has happened to me twice. It is also mentioned in Special Service Request that passengers are entitled for a complimentary stay if staying more than 10 hours (economy class) , therefore consultation with travel agent or airline prior departure regarding complimentary stay is always recommended.

Answer to you second part is it feasible to go by your own?

Yes, because you are asking the cheapest option to travel within Istanbul tourist attraction. There is a good Metro network to and from Ataturk Airport which is quiet cheap to travel. The most famous tourist area is SultanAhmet which is easily accessible from Metro . Below is the Website information Regarding routes to Istanbol from Attaturk Airport.


Answer to your last question for 1 day trip, I think Sultanahmet area (sultanahmet Mosque, Hagia Sofia and Grand Bazaar is really worth and can be easily accessible by walking )

  • I did realize the clause for not receiving a accommodation and I am ready for it whatever comes by but is there a cloak room or baggage room where I can keep my baggage and travel the city and pick it up again if I do not get an accommodation? – Shan-Desai Oct 30 '16 at 6:42
  • 1
    @shan-desai well there is also a baggage facility on departure hall where you can leave your luggage and hand luggage for small fee – Ali Awan Oct 30 '16 at 6:43

I can only answer part of the question. I enjoyed just wandering around for a few days, walking along the waterfront, along the top of the old wall, wandering through a huge cemetery, etc. I took a tram easily when something was too far to walk. And subway from airport to golden horn, and bus from there to the other airport. BUT, I recommend a good GPS or map (preferably both), as a couple of times I had trouble finding my way back to where I was staying!

But I can't comment on the hotels you mentioned. I stayed in some guy's AirBNB place near the IST airport the first night, in hotel "Butik Pendik" near the Sabiha Gokcen airport the second night before going to Van. Stayed in a cheap hotel when I came back to İstanbul.

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