I only have 2 and a half hours in Istanbul, I was wondering if I can go see the Blue mosque and the Hagia Sophia just to take a couple of pictures and head back. Is this possible? Will I be able to see both places? Will I be able to leave the airport? What's the best way to do this if possible? I have US and Bosnian passports. Do I need a visa? Sorry I don't travel a lot and want to see as much as I can:)

  • Which airport? Ataturk?
    – Relaxed
    May 16, 2017 at 22:05
  • Yes Ataturk airport
    – Senad
    May 16, 2017 at 22:06
  • 5
    How can you risk leaving the airport on a 2.5 hour layover of an international flight? It is a no no no and the other questions become moot in light of that. Unless you're a VVVIP who will be escorted by motorcade it is not recommended. May 16, 2017 at 22:09
  • Figured I could make it since the sights are not far from the air port
    – Senad
    May 16, 2017 at 22:24
  • According to Google maps it is 51 minutes one way during the day. That's two hours of commuting. Then clearing security etc. You're not making it back onboard if your plane leaves on time. May 16, 2017 at 22:46

2 Answers 2


No, you can not.

THY (Turkish Airlines) give their passengers free tours of the city if your layover is long enough. 2.5 hours, by a long shot, is not long enough of a layover to get to the centre of the city.

Depending on how much time you have after getting off your plane, and depending on how busy passport control is, a very good metro line connects the airport with the city. Even just two stops away from the airport, you can find several local restaurants and cafes that are cheap and good. (I spent a short night there, on an eight hour layover, not too long ago.)

However, 2.5 hours is so short I wouldn't risk it.


I once had a ~16 hour layover in Ataturk and took the exact same route to the city.

Istanbul is a huge and crowded city and it could take hours just to move from one place to another; Ataturk Airport is even more congested than the city. Unless you want to achieve a mission impossible badge it's not logical to go to the city in 2.5 hours! In my opinion you'd need at least 10 hours to do so.

Regarding the visa requirements, I guess you could enter with your Bosnian passport without any need for a visa.

  • Is there anything around the airport worth going out for? A good place to eat, like a small local place?
    – Senad
    May 16, 2017 at 22:51
  • 1
    Not that I'm aware of - the airport itself is beautiful though and you could easily spend some hours there strolling around.
    – hatef
    May 16, 2017 at 22:59

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