Often there is nothing worse than a lengthy airport layover while on your way to that perfect destination. The dull sights of the airport waiting rooms, duty-free shops and irritated passengers can quickly make you forget the adventures you have planned ahead. Things are, however, changing. Many airports around the world now offer free city tours while you wait for your connecting flight. Here are the top three airports offering free city tours that will leave you speechless and wanting more.
Airports Offering Free City Tours
Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar
While facing a few spare hours in the Capital of Qatar, the tour of the capital city is practically a must vist among the airports offering free city tours. For nearly three hours you will be surrounded by the best the city has to offer. You will see the world-famous Pearl-Qatar, the artificial island built to showcase the very best of the shopping and dining Doha has available. There, no doubt, you’ll pick up a gem or two.
The tour also takes you to another must see landmark, The Museum of Islamic Art. A must see for any art lover. Become fully immersed and surrounded by the wonders Islamic has been offering the world for over a thousand years.
The tour continues its artistic theme further with a visit to the Katara Cultural Village. Built with the idea of becoming a cultural beacon for the Middle East area, it offers numerous attractions. Those include the pigeons towers, Katara mosque, Amphitheatre and the Golden mosque.
After all that cultural intake, the tour allows you to witness the everyday Qatari street life by taking you to the Souq Waqif. A legendary destination for selling souvenirs, traditional textiles and spices. And don’t forget to take a peek inside one of the many Shisha lounges, where you can observe and even learn from the locals on how to truly relax. No doubt that this mini tour of the capital will leave you aching to come back in the future and further explore the worlds of the Middle East.
Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore
If you are passing through Singapore airport with around six hours until your next flight, you would be foolish not to embark on the free tour of the most wonderful and culturally enriching cities in the Far East. Depending on how much time you have to spare you can take advantage of the two options available to you. The Heritage tour (requires 5.5 hours) or the City Sights Tour (requires at least 6 hours).
The Heritage tour
Through the first tour, you will mainly visit five very distinct areas of the city. The trip also includes a break at the Merlion Park. Certainly a must see for any traveller. Prepare yourself to embark on a cultural feast here. You will visit the National Gallery of Singapore, take a stroll through the city’s famed financial district as well as a visit at the Chinatown part of Singapore. Here you will witness the meeting of the old East with its pre-war shophouses, and the new East with the backdrop of modern skyscrapers. Your tour will also take you through the Little India part of Singapore. Lose yourself in the colours and smells of flower vendors amongst stools offering you the wonders of the Far East.
The City Sights Tour
For those lucky enough ones who have a bit more time to spare, the City Sights Tour will create memories you will hold dear for a very long time. You will be transported to the Singapore Flyer for a 60-minute ride on the world’s second tallest observation wheel, catching the panoramic city view. Another key feature of the City tour is a visit to the Marina Bay Sands. Famed for the assortment of restaurants, shopping opportunities and the Art Science museum theatre, the area certainly will keep you mesmerised. However, the biggest attraction of the tour is the Gardens by the Bay. A visual marvel in the heart of the city. Prepare yourself to be amazed by the Avatar-like tree structures that will no doubt leave you breathless. The only question is how long you want your layover to be to have enough time for airports offering free city tours.
Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah, USA
A layover at this airport is another great example of how waiting for a connecting flight doesn’t have to be monotonous or dull. Perhaps most famous for hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, the airport offers a shuttle tour of the Temple Square, organised by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You will be taken to a cultural marvel located in the city centre. You will be able to soak up the rich history of the town and area, marvel at the architectural accomplishments of the city and enrich yourself by learning what it was like to for the early pioneers. What obstacles and troubles they faced and what made them settle the area.
When visiting the Temple Square, make sure to also swing by The Tabernacle, made famous by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Hopefully you will be lucky enough to catch the choir in action. And if you’re thinking of diving into your family history, the Temple also includes the biggest genealogical library in the world. A perfect start to building that family tree. These are only some of the attractions that you can taste with a two hour or more layover.
Remember, stopover flights certainly do not have to be tiresome. With a little research on airports offering free city tours, your journeys don’t have to start at your particular destination.