I have just returned from a mini Euro tour for my 30th birthday, and it was fun all around. I flew from Lagos [Nigeria] on Turkish Airlines for two reasons:

  1. I battled in my head, and went back and forth because I really wanted to do Virgin Atlantic, mainly because of my miles [trying to hit flying club gold asap, ya know?]. However Turkish Airlines was more attractive because of the layover in Istanbul with the option of the free tour. I’m of the opinion that if you can throw in a new city/country on a trip elsewhere, you should definitely go for it! 
  2. It was very cheap; and I wanted to have as much money as possible to actually enjoy myself on the trip.
I really wasn’t interested in going to London again [even though I still ended up in London at some point, *lol*]. So I bought a ticket on Turkish Airlines to Paris, and picked the flight with a 13.5hr stoppover in Istanbul. The flight cost a total of about N123,000 [around $700] which was definitely a steal.
We arrived Istanbul around 7am on a Saturday morning, and went straight to the “Hotel Desk”. That’s where you sign up for the free tour [stoppover of at least 6 hours] or get a free hotel room [stoppover of 10 or more hours for economy, less for business class].
You have the option of the 6 hour tour [9am – 3pm/12pm – 6pm] or the 9 hour tour [9am – 6pm]. Both have free breakfast and lunch inclusive. And the difference is 1 or 2additional sites/attractions on the 9 hour tour, including the Grand Bazaar. Of course I didn’t want to miss any of the attractions, so I opted for the 9 hour one.
The flights were okay. I unfortunately couldn’t sleep through the Lagos to Istanbul leg of it because I was sick. My friend however slept through it, so I guess it was a decent flight. The wanderer in me decided to change my travel plans, because I found myself in Amsterdam at the very last minute and I hadn’t planned to go there. I asked Turkish airlines if I could fly back to Lagos through Amsterdam instead of Turkey, and they charged me 60euros for that. Not bad at all! I was quite pleased with that. They initially charged 100, then they called me back that they needed my card to process a refund of 40euros. Every dollar/euro counts!

Please note:

  • You need to have an international transit flight through Istanbul to get the free tour.
  • You can get more information on the dedicated website.
  • Also, if you’re traveling with a Nigerian passport, you can buy a visa on arrival which costs around 35euros. In order to qualify for a visa on arrival, you need to have a valid British, Schengen or American visa [multiple entry] that you have used at least once [with a Nigerian Passport] AND you MUST travel by Turkish airlines. 
  • You can also get an e-visa on the Turkish Embassy website before you travel
I’ll do a very detailed post next on the very interesting day I spent in Istanbul. Read HERE about my experience of getting lost in Istanbul.
Damola. xxx


  1. Hiya! Amsterdam was great. Was there for about 36 hours, and I think the must-sees/must-dos are:

    Day time – The Rijksmuseum (if you're into the arts)

    Evening – Canal Cruise – I used a company called "Lovers" – you can buy the ticket a few steps from where the cruise sets off. They have different options, I opted for a one hour cruise. They had longer ones with dinner inclusive.

    Sex Museum – It was funny for me. Not the typical stuff I'd do, but I'm glad I saw it

    The area around the sex museum, the canal cruise, etc has great bars, restaurants, and a huge mall. I'd advise that you also walk around the inner streets to see more of the city, away from the touristy areas. I found the best waffles on earth in one of those inner streets. Everything looked nicer at night because of the Christmas lights!

    And you can take the tram to all these places. Your hotel should be able to guide you on which one to take.

    Let me know if you need more info on anything at all! xxx

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