Turning flight stopovers into mini vacations
Sometimes seeing a flight itinerary with a “Stopover” can be frustrating when you really just want to get to where you need to be. Other times, especially on long journeys, they are also unavoidable. But, often times stopovers can save you money and break up a long trip. If you treat the stopover as a mini vacation, you may find yourself enriching your travel experience.
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Great stopover locations to Europe or points East.
Most flights from the US to Reykjavik land early in the morning and there are plenty of evening and morning flights to Europe from Iceland as there are now 26 airlines servicing the small North Atlantic airport ideally situated halfway between North America and Europe. It is the perfect 1-day stopover opportunity. Take a day trip to Thingvellir National Park where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates crest (you can walk or even dive between them), soak in the Secret Lagoon or Blue Lagoon, hike a glacier or venture into the city of Reykjavik for some shopping, art and great nightlife. In winter, you could also likely catch the Northern Lights. Or, see more attractions in the summer due to the endless sun. Google’s Travel Trends 2016 report just named Iceland the #1 fastest rising destination for travel-related search.
Ever considered a culinary stopover? A short stopover in Vienna to the imperial city center can open your palate and expose you to some of the world’s most treasured culinary delights. Why not consider a quick culinary class? Whether Schupfnudels, pancakes or a gorgeous piece of Sacher-Torte – Vienna is full of the highest quality food creations. Along the way, take a stroll to see St. Stephen’s Cathedral, State Opera and Naschmarkt in one of the most beautiful city centers in Europe. By the way: we highly recommend you try the best Tafelspitz in the world!
Wellness Oasis Paris
Everyone seems to love Paris. But did you know a quick stopover could rejuvenate your mind, body and soul? The city of love offers some of the best all-inclusive packages and even offers quicker treatments at its seven different spas right within the Charles de Gaulle Airport. You can choose Paris for everything from full-body massage to waxing to meditation and wellness coaching.
Alluring Abu Dhabi
With a state-of-the-art airport that includes many luxury amenities and cheap, quick access to some of the city’s top attractions, more people are considering Abu Dhabi as a great stopover location. The airport is located 30 kilometers from the city center, but the public transport for tourists is excellent! Sightseeing buses leave the airport every 40 minutes to historical places like the majestic Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Emirates Palace, the Observation Deck at 300 and the unique Falcon Hospital. While you do not need to secure a visa before travel to Abu Dhabi, you do have to get a transit visa from the immigration office at the airport before heading into the city.
Spine-chilling Transylvania and Sighisoara
Bucharest’s revamped old town provides an array of interesting shops, architecture and bars. But if you have a day to explore, venture to the medieval city Sighisoara (UNESCO World Heritage site), the birthplace of Vlad Tepes (Dracula) and home to the Torture museum. It’s one of the best preserved medieval towns in the world. There are many architectural, historical & heritage tours departing from Bucharest. . Likewise, Transylvania day tours offer exciting landmarks like Dracula’s (Bran) Castle, Peles Castle and Rasnov Fortress.
For those who enjoy letting their hair down and want to check out the scene should look for stopovers with well-know nightlife – like Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid and Reykjavik in Europe or Bangkok, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Shanghai in Asia.
Stopover in bed
Want that one quiet night before you reach your destination? Skip the agony of trying to make a terminal bench your bed and opt for a comfy well-priced hotel night stay. Or, if your time is too short for a hotel but too long for wait in the terminal, consider the stopover cities that offer great additional amenities. At Zurich Airport, for example you can get a nap stay for the equivalent of $20 USD (€18) at the Transit Hotel. In Munich Airport you can rent a lockable cabin for $17 (€15).
Pro tip: the less you pay for your flight, the more luxurious you can make your stopover!