Travel can be fun and exciting, but waiting for connecting flights while on lengthy layovers can take the positive energy out of your journey. Thankfully, these seven airports and their host communities offer free tours that are available to travelers who are stuck until their next plane arrives.
Each of these tours has their own fine print. In some places there may be Visa requirements; you might need proper authorization to leave the airport. Don’t expect to be able to bring all of your luggage with you — you may need to rent a storage locker at the airport — alternatively, you may be expected to lug around all of your carry-on gear for the duration of the tour. Also, these tours are split as to whether they are first-come-first-serve, or whether you need to make a reservation in advance. Make sure to read-up on the specific details for each of these tours before leaving home so that you can make the most of your layover.
Also, these tours are split as to whether they are first-come-first-serve, or whether you need to make a reservation in advance. Make sure to read-up on the specific details for each of these tours before leaving home so that you can make the most of your layover.
Salt Lake City – Temple Square Tour
“If you have a layover of two hours or more, take advantage of a free tour of Temple Square, in the heart of Salt Lake City,” writes the Temple Square website.
In the summer, shuttles travel between the airport and Temple Square every half hour from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. In the spring and winter, it’s every hour with reduced hours in the winter and on Sundays.
“Free [45 minute] tours of the thirty-five acre historic Temple Square are a must-do on your visit to Salt Lake City. Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and volunteer guides are available for tours and information about Utah’s number one tourist attraction.”
Taiwan — Half-Day Immersion Excursions
There are morning and afternoon tours from the Taipei airport.
The morning tour lasts from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., local time. On this five hour journey, you’ll get a chance to visit the Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple, an “Ornate Daoist temple; founded in 1769,” which also includes many pieces of modern art. From there, you’d visit the historic Sanxia Old Street, the New Taipei City Hakka Museum, and two towns famous for artisanal work, including the “Pottery Capital of Taiwan,” Yingge.
The afternoon tour runs from 1:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. On this slightly shorter tour, you’ll get to see one of the world’s tallest buildings, Taipei 101. The bus then rolls past some iconic landmarks before stopping at the Longshan Temple, which dates back to 1738. The last stop on this tour is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall & Memorial Park, “an exquisitely landscaped park; gleaming white marble hall and palace-style National Theater and Concert Hall.”
Doha, Qatar — Four Landmark Tours
There are four two-hour and 45-minute tours of Doha each day, all compliments of Qatar Airways and the Qatar Tourism Authority.
Each tour explores “Four key landmarks including : The Pearl-Qatar, for the finest quality shops and restaurants; Katara Cultural Village, a center dedicated to celebrating arts and heritage; Souq Waqif, for traditional jewelry, spices and handicrafts; and the Museum of Islamic Art, for its stunning architecture and beautiful seaside park. All of this, while you wait to connect with your next flight.”
Four More Tours
There are also tours available in Singapore, where you can explore the sights and sounds of the island-state. If you find yourself in Narita, Japan, look for the temple and cuisine tours. If you’re passing through Istanbul, Turkey, their airport offers complimentary historic and culinary tours. Finally, the Incheon airport in South Korea also offers a variety of temple and cultural tours to travelers waiting on connecting flights.
Don’t let layovers take the wind from beneath your wings, make the most of your travel days with free tours!