6 Free Airport City Tours Ideal For Long Layovers

Part of travelling frugally can often mean long layovers in airports. However, gone are the days where you’re confined to an airport terminal. In fact in many countries (subject to visa requirements) you’re actually able to embark on a completely free tour.

By planning your trip in advance, you just might be able to take advantage of one of these six completely free airport city tours available. Not only is this a great way to pass some time before your connecting flight, it’s also a fantastic way to see a small part of a city in the meantime.


Singapore – Singapore Changi Airport

If your layover is five and a half hours or longer then you can sign up for one of two tours that Singapore Changi offers. These include a Heritage Tour or City Sights Tour of Singapore. Tours are completely free and run throughout the day however it’s important that you register ahead to time to ensure your spot.

 Singapore Changi Airport not only offers free city airport tours but free cinema showings too

However, free airport tours aren’t the only benefit of a long layover at Singapore Changi Airport. That’s because the airport also play hosts to a number of 24 hour free movie theatres and five gardens – including a butterfly garden. The airport also has a free DIY art studio allowing you to try out the once popular art form of woodblock rubbing.


Suddenly a long layover in Singapore doesn’t sound so boring after all.


Japan – Tokyo Narita Airport

If you’re lucky enough to have a layover of more than five hours in Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Then you can take one of five different three-hour tours. The tours include visiting the museum of aeronautical sciences, a nature work, a visit to the Shinso-Ji temple and a trip to the local shopping outlet.

The shinsho-ji temple is a fantastic place to visit on a free airport city tour
Despite the tour being free some will require the cost of public transport and entry fees. Registration for these airport city tours can be done in one of two ways.

You can sign up in person at the Narita Transit Tourism Counter inside both terminal one or two however the desk is only open from 9am until 12 midday alternatively you can sign up in advance online.


Utah – Salt Lake City Intl Airport

If you have a layover of more than two hours in Utah’s Salt Lake City airport then you can sign up for a free tour of the Temple Square.

Take a free city airport tour to Temple Square
This particular airport city tour leaves every hour between the hours of 11am and 4pm. To register for the tour simply visit the information desk in terminal one or two.


Taiwan – Taoyuan International Airport

For this particular airport city tour you need to be unlucky lucky enough to be left with at least a seven hour layover. I’ll call you lucky for such a layover because you get to do so much in those seven hours on this particular tour.

Starting with a visit to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial hall, then moving onto the Taipei 101 tower, Sanxia, the Zushi temple and more.

An airport city tour in Taiwan includes a trip ti Zushi temple
Due to the length of these tours there are only two a day. The first one leaves at 8.15am and the second one at 1.45pm. Each of the airport city tours provided are bookable upon arrival at the tourist service centre. Located in the arrivals lobby of both terminal one and terminal two.


Qatar – Doha International Airport

Without a doubt the best airport I have ever been to. Helen and I had a very short transfer here when travelling to and from Thailand in 2016. Which unfortunatly meant we didn’t get to explore more of the amazing country that is Qatar.

Free airport city tours aren't the only benefit of a long layover in Doha
However, if you’re left with a transfer of more than five hours then register at the Doha City Tour desk. Located between the departures board and the Chanel / Dior duty-free shop. Tours are available between the hours of 4am and 7pm. They visit the Museum of Islamic art (except Tuesdays), the Souq Waqif, the Pearl-Qatar and the Katara Cultural Village.


Turkey – Ataturk International Airport

Before I begin explaining the tour of Istanbul leaving from Ataturk International Airport there are somethings to note. Firstly, you need to be flying with Turkish Airlines to be eligible for the tour. Second, in-transit visa’s have changed in a lot in Turkey recently. So be sure to check whether you need an in-transit visit to take part on the tour.


There are three tours leaving Ataturk International Airport. Each require a minimum layover time of six hours. The airport city tours on offer include cultural highlights such as the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome Square and Aya Triada Church.

an airport city tour in Turkey includes a trip to the blue mosque
The tours leave twice daily once at 9am and again at 12 midday. You’ll need to arrive and register for the tour at least half an hour before it starts. Registration takes place at the hotel desk in the international arrival hall.


Let me know in the comments if you have previously been on / or are planning on going on any one of these airport city tours. Alternatively if you know of a free airport tour that we’ve not listed? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to keep this list as up to date as possible.



  1. philip March 21, 2017 at 10:56 am - Reply

    I have done a few layover tours like this. Brussels and Chicago. Chicago was abit tight. did it under 3 hours. But I think they are totally worth exploring even when you have such a short time. Because you never know if you would be able to come back to that city.

    • TMM March 21, 2017 at 11:00 am - Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experience Philip. I completely agree, it’s a fantastic facility that the tourism board / airport has set up. I hope more countries and cities will follow in the future. 🙂

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