Welcome to Istanbul Airport, one of the busiest and most modern airports in the world. As a traveler, you might find yourself with a layover at this airport, which can range from a few hours to overnight. Layovers can be challenging, but they can also be an opportunity to explore a new city or simply relax before your next flight. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive layover guide to help you navigate the chaos of Istanbul Airport and make the most of your layover. In this guide, we will cover everything from visa requirements to what to do and see, and provide you with essential tips and tricks for a smooth layover experience.

Types of Layovers

  • Short layovers (less than 6 hours): stay in the airport
  • Long layovers (6 to 12 hours): leave the airport for a short time to explore the city
  • Overnight layovers: spend a night at the airport or a nearby hotel

Before we dive into what to do and see at Istanbul Airport, it’s important to know some essential information about navigating the airport. First, check if you need a transit visa to leave the airport during your layover. You can find visa information on the Istanbul Airport website or by contacting your airline.

Layover Istanbul Airport, women check flight

Istanbul Airport Transit Guide

Once you’re at the airport, use the Istanbul Airport map to find your way around. The airport is well-signed and easy to navigate, but it can be busy, so give yourself plenty of time to get to your gate. If you have lounge access, you can use the lounges to relax, work, or grab a bite to eat. There are several lounges located throughout the airport, and you can access them by purchasing a day pass or using your lounge membership.

If you need to exchange currency or withdraw cash, there are several ATMs and currency exchange offices throughout the airport. You can also store your luggage at one of the baggage storage facilities located in the airport, so you can explore the city without worrying about your bags.

What to Do in Istanbul Airport

What to Do in Istanbul Airport

Now let’s explore what you can do and see during your layover at Istanbul Airport. If you’re looking to relax and unwind, there are several options for you. You can book a sleeping pod or a private room that comes equipped with a bed, TV, and other amenities.

If you’re hungry or thirsty, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in the airport to choose from. You can also shop for souvenirs or duty-free items, which is a popular activity among travelers. If you’re interested in sightseeing, there are several layover tours available that will take you to some of the city’s most famous attractions. There are also several attractions located within the airport, such as the library and art exhibitions, that you can visit.

Sleeping Pods

What Are Sleeping Pods?

If you have a long layover or an overnight layover at Istanbul Airport, you might want to consider using a sleeping pod. A sleeping pod is a small, private space designed for travelers to rest or sleep during layovers or delays at airports. These pods usually come equipped with a bed, pillows, blankets, and USB-port. Sleeping pods are a convenient and comfortable option for travelers who need a place to rest but do not want to leave the airport.

Recently, Istanbul Airport introduced a series of sleep cabins called “IGA Sleepod” at the International Flights, Departure Terminal. These sleeping capsules can be rented on an hourly basis, with prices ranging from €6-9.

What to Expect?

The sleep cabins at Istanbul Airport are state-of-the-art capsules that can be converted into private flat beds, offering travelers a comfortable place to rest. They include USB ports and power sockets for charging electronic devices, as well as a private compartment for storing hand luggage.

Disposable sheets are provided at a cost of €15 between 07:00-19:00 and €20 between 19:00-07:00.

If you need an additional blanket and pillow, you can get one for an extra €3. All materials are sent for dry cleaning after each use, so you can be sure of a clean and comfortable experience.

How to Find and Book a Sleeping Pod

The IGA Sleepod” sleep cabins are located in the departure terminal for international flights. You can usually find available sleeping pods by walking up to one and booking on the spot, so there is no need to book in advance.

Visa Requirements

Transit Visa Requirements

If you are traveling to a country that requires a visa, you may need a transit visa if you have a layover in Istanbul Airport. The transit visa allows you to stay in the airport for up to 72 hours without leaving the transit area. However, if you want to leave the airport and explore Istanbul, you will need to apply for a regular tourist visa.

How to Apply for a Transit Visa

To apply for a transit visa, you can visit the Turkish government’s e-Visa website and fill out the online application form. Pay the visa fee of $50 USD online with a credit card. After we approve your application, we will email you an e-Visa which you should print out and bring with you to the airport.

How to Avoid Needing a Transit Visa

If you have a connecting flight and do not need to leave the transit area, you do not need a transit visa. However, if you have a long layover and want to leave the airport to explore Istanbul, you will need to apply for a regular tourist visa.

Istanbul Airport Hotels

If you have a longer layover or an overnight stay at Istanbul Airport, staying at a hotel near the airport can be a great option for rest and relaxation.

If you’re interested in reading more about hotels near airports, check out our full guide about hotels in airport. We provide tips on finding the right hotel for you, including those with amenities such as a pool, gym, or free shuttle service.

There are several hotels located near Istanbul Airport that offer shuttle services to and from the airport. Examples include YotelAir Istanbul Airport, Crowne Plaza Istanbul Florya, and Tav Airport Hotel Istanbul. These hotels offer comfortable rooms, amenities such as restaurants and bars, and easy access to the airport.

To book a hotel room near Istanbul Airport, you can use online booking platforms such as Trip.com or Agoda. Be sure to check the hotel’s shuttle service schedule and availability before booking to ensure a smooth transit experience.

If you’re stopping over in Istanbul and need a hotel nearby, we’ve got you covered. Our article on hotels close to the airport provides tips on finding the right hotel for you. We help you find hotels with the amenities you want, such as a pool, gym, or free shuttle service.

Istanbul Airport Tips

Here are some additional tips to help you make the most of your layover at Istanbul Airport:

  • Arriving at the airport: Be sure to arrive at the airport early to allow enough time for security and immigration procedures. Check the airport’s website for up-to-date information on check-in and boarding times.
  • Departing from the airport: Check your boarding pass and flight information display screens (FIDS) regularly to stay informed about any changes to your flight schedule.
  • Layover activities: Take advantage of the airport’s many amenities, including shopping, dining, and sightseeing options. Consider booking a layover tour or visiting one of the airport’s attractions.
  • Packing tips: Pack a carry-on bag with essential items such as a change of clothes, toiletries, and any medications you may need during your layover. Be sure to also pack a portable charger for your electronic devices.
Istanbul Airport Tips


Whether you have a short layover or an overnight layover, Istanbul Airport has plenty to offer. From shops and restaurants to lounges and sleeping pods, there are plenty of ways to pass the time during your layover. With this comprehensive guide, you will be able to make the most of your layover and enjoy all that Istanbul Airport has to offer. So, what are you waiting for? Book your layover in Istanbul today and experience this amazing city for yourself!

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