Got a Hefty Airport Layover?
Here are eight airport layover tours
Four of them are free!
By Kirsten McCroskrie, Cheapflights Travel Expert
It’s not uncommon to find yourself with a long layover at a hub airport en route to your final destination. And, increasingly, you can turn that connection into another travel experience with options to escape the airport and explore. Cheapflights.ca, has compiled their list of the “Top 8 airports for fast and affordable layover tours”. When your travels take you through these major connection points, embrace the journey and see the sights with a tour designed with the layover passenger in mind, getting you back to the airport on time for your next flight.
Changi Airport, Singapore
If you’ve got at least 6 hours on your hands, Changi Airport offers free tours around the island state of Singapore. There are several tours throughout the day and transit travelers can choose from a Heritage Tour, which explores Singapore’s past and present architecture, or a City Sights Tour, which includes the Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Flyer. Cost = free.
Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
If your Qatar Airways flight includes a layover in Qatar itself, you can arrange a Complimentary Doha City Tour if your transit is between 5-12 hours long. There are about four tours a day that run on a first-come, first-serve basis. You’ll get a quick snapshot of Doha, with stops at the Dhow Harbour, the Museum of Islamic Art and the Katara Cultural Village. Cost = free for Qatar Airways passengers.
Incheon Airport, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul’s Incheon Airport runs Free Transit Tours of one to five hours, which cover a range of times and locations depending on the length of your layover. Those opting for the five-hour tour, for example, can choose from attractions including Gyeongbokgung (a 14th-century palace), Myeong-dong (one of the city’s main shopping streets) and Namsan Seoul Tower. Cost = free.
Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo’s Narita Airport offers free tours to in-transit passengers, as well as visitors staying at a hotel near the airport. There’s a choice of guided tours or self-guided tours available that’ll suit culture vultures, foodies and shopaholics alike, with trips to nearby shopping outlets, restaurants, temples and shrines. Cost = free (tours that include food or shopping may incur extra fees).
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands
A tour from Amsterdam Layovers offers a great overview of the Netherlands’ capital, with a walking and canal tour lasting roughly 4 hours (including the drive to and from the airport). You’ll get to see some of Amsterdam’s main attractions and stop off at the Rembrandt Windmill during a drive through the picturesque Dutch countryside. Amsterdam’s historic canals were built during the Dutch Golden Age spanning the 1600s in which Dutch trade, science, military prowess and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. Cost: €150 (approximately USD$177)
Keflavík International Airport, Reykjavík, Iceland
Flying with Icelandair or WOW air to get to Europe and beyond involves a layover at Reykjavik’s Keflavík International Airport. Although these airlines do allow you to take an extended, multi-night stopover, you can get a quick snapshot if you schedule (or find yourself with) a long break between connecting flights. Make the most of your time with a tour that hits the nearby highlights and gives you at least a flavor of Iceland. Travice, offers tours lasting 3-4 hours, which will include a breakfast buffet, a stop at the Blue Lagoon and several quintessentially Icelandic towns. Cost: 12,700 ISK (approximately USD$107); kids 11 years and younger are free.
We invite you to do your homework on two more layover tours out of Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Canada and Los Angeles International Airport, California, which also offer budget-friendly options to help you make the most of your layover.
Follow Up FactsEach of the airport tour websites offers the terms and conditions and eligibility for the tours. Of the four free tours, Japan’s Narita Airport is the only one that allows those staying overnight at hotels in the airport area to take their tours. You are only allowed to participate in one guided tour per day (there are also self-guided tours available) and all guided tours return to the airport by 2pm.
Travelers should also check the visa requirements for each country they are transiting through to find out if they require a visa to leave the airport.
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