Six stopover city tours that are completely free

Airport stopovers can be a drag. Most of us opt for direct flights to our long-haul holiday destinations just to avoid the dreaded, long layovers, but we've finally found a reason for you to fly indirect - city tours courtesy of your airline or arrival airport. And they're completely free!

SEE ALSO: Why Hong Kong is more than just a stopover

SEE ALSO: Weird things to do at the airport

A great way to add an extra day trip to your holiday and make the most of your free time before the next leg of your journey, these complimentary tours allow you to take in some of the world's major cities and offer perfect tasters of places you've never visited, with the likes of Singapore, Salt Lake City and Doha providing trips into town.

We've picked seven of the best free city tours to make your stopover a more enjoyable experience....

Salt Lake City

If you're landing at Salt Lake City International Airport for a layover of two or more hours, you can register at the airport information desk in Terminal 1 or 2 for the free shuttle to take you into Utah's capital city for a tour of Downtown's Temple Square. The tours leave every hour between 11am and 4pm, taking you to the beautifully landscaped 10-acre site where you can see highlights including Assembly Hall, Beehive House, Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Salt Lake Temple and the Tabernacle. Visa requirements for UK transit passengers: ESTA.


Transit passengers at Changi Airport can explore Singapore's sights and sounds on the Free Singapore Tour. If you have at least 5.5 hours to spare before your connecting flight, you can join the 2.5-hour guided Heritage Tour, which runs four times a day, or the two-times daily City Sights Tour if you have at least 6 hours before your next flight. The Heritage Tour takes you through Singapore's past and present, visiting the colonial and cultural districts of Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam, while the City Sights Tour showcases modern Singapore, with a short stopover at Merlion Park and Gardens by the Bay. Visa requirements for UK transit passengers: None.



Flying into Narita Airport is a treat if you have a few hours to spare before your next flight. The Narita Transit Program offers several options for visitors to experience the beauty of Japan, as well as some culture, history and shopping. Choose from Volunteer Guide Tours or Self Tours. The three-hour Volunteer Tours are run by local guides who take you to Narita City to visit the famous Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple, the town of Shibayama to discover aeronautical science history and an aircraft pilot experience, or on an exploration of Japanese country life in Tako. The Self Tours take in the Shisui Premium Outlets or the AEON Mall Narita. Visa requirements for UK transit passengers: None.


Qatar Airways passengers who have connections of more than five hours can receive a complimentary tour of Doha to take in some of the city's most famous sights. There are four tours during the day - simply look for the Doha City Tour on arrival at the start of Concourse B. The tour takes two hours and 45 minutes and visits the Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Centre, the Pearl-Qatar and Souq Waqif. The tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be booked. Visa requirements for UK transit passengers: Free Transit Visa with Qatar Airways.

Topkapi Palace before Marmara sea, Istanbul, Turkey


Turkish Airline passengers with a waiting time of at least six hours in Istanbul can visit historical places and beautiful restaurants on the free TourIstanbul from Ataturk Airport. Simply visit the Hotel Desk 30 minutes before the start of one of the three-times daily city tours, which even include entry to museums and meals. Some of the sites on the schedule include Topkapi Palace, Obelisk of Theodosius, Blue Mosque, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts and the Grand Bazaar. Visa requirements for UK transit passengers: e-Visa

South Korea

Have a few hours' waiting time at Incheon International Airport? There's a taste of local culture to be had on the exciting transit tours which take in the popular sights and sounds of Korea. The Free Transit Tours are for passengers with as little as one hour to spare or even five. Choices include the Incheon City Tour, Seoul City Tour, Temple Tour and more. Each tour is accompanied by an English-speaking guide and visits a wide range of sights, from Korea's historical treasures to shopping in the trendiest districts. Visa requirements for UK transit passengers: None.

Weird things you can do at the airport
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Weird things you can do at the airport

Passengers at Munich Airport don't have to sleep on uncomfortable airport chairs as there are special self-service Napcab cabins offering a comfortable space to sleep before your flight. And to ensure you're far from the stress of the terminal, there's mood sound and lighting, entertainment and even an alarm you can set so you won't miss your flight.

Last year, San Francisco International Airport opened a serene space for yoga bunnies - the first of its kind Yoga Room in Terminal 2. Located just past the security checkpoint, it allows travellers to leave the stress of the airport behind and step into a space devoted to contemplation and self-reflection. The noise and mobile-free room is free to use and comes complete with yoga mats so you don't have to worry about extra baggage!

Travellers waiting for a flight at Dallas Airport can put their time to good use and learn how to save a life, as the American Heart Association and American Airlines have placed a Hands-Only CPR machine in Terminal C for six months allowing hands-on practice with an actual CPR mannequin. The machine gives you an introduction and a practice session before testing your compression rates and hand placement.

Fancy trying an aerobatic flight? At Cambridge Airport, you can take to the skies in a high performance aerobatic aircraft similar to those used in the Red Bull Air Race series. Free of the logistical difficulties of learning to fly in London’s aerospace, you'll learn while enjoying one of the most beautiful aerial views in the country - of colleges and churches! Lessons are supervised by a highly experienced instructor and after you've been through a series of breathtaking loop-the-loop-style manoeuvres, you can take the controls and try your hand at some basic manoeuvres.

If you've got a few hours of waiting time during a stopover at South Korea's Incheon Airport, you'll want to go on an exciting (and free!) Transit Tour to get a taste of the local culture and see the stunning sights. Whether you've got a couple of hours or six, the free tours take in beautiful temples, the city of Seoul at night or Incheon Grand Bridge and the port.

There's no need to get bored waiting for your flight at Zurich Airport, as you can go on a guided tour of the airport and find out what goes on behind the scenes. From a sightseeing tour of the flight operations areas by bus, to visiting the aircraft maintenance facilities and repair services, there are various tours and visits for aviation enthusiasts.

A proposal at an airport could be really romantic (if you're a plane spotter), but how about actually tying the knot at one? At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, couples can say 'I do' with a unique wedding ceremony before escaping abroad for a honeymoon. Choose from a contemporary aviation-style wedding ceremony to nuptials styled in the aviation days of yesteryear, a "quickie" before jumping on the plane. You can even have a full-on wedding party on a plane.

What's the best way to enjoy the airport views? From a rocking chair, of course! America's Charlotte Airport was the first to place more than 100 rocking chairs around its terminal. Passengers can take in the views of the runway with a coffee in hand or relax in the tree-lined atrium and soak up the sunshine while waiting for a flight.

You don't even have to leave Incheon Airport to get cultured in South Korea as the Cultural Museum of Korea is located in the Transfer Lounge, displaying a collection of relics that cover a 5,000-year timeline. At the museum you'll find the Mugu jeonggwang dae darani-gyeong, the oldest known wooden slab print in the world, Jikji, the world’s oldest existing book published by movable metal type, and Yong-bi-eo-chun-ga and Wol-in-chon-gang-ji-gok, two of the earliest works printed in the Korean alphabet.

Singapore's Changi Airport might just be our favourite airport in the world. There's so much to keep you occupied here that you really won't want to catch the flight home. For a start, it's home to a Balinese-themed rooftop swimming pool and poolside area. And if going for a swim as you wait for your flight isn't enough, you can share your photos and video memories on a Social Tree, visit the Butterfly Garden and take a stroll through Cactus, Sunflower and Orchid Gardens. Or just enhance your airport experience by visiting the Changi Aviation Gallery. Who knew that being stuck at the airport could actually be fun?


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