Making a stopover on your outward and / or return journey. Not only it is a good possibility to stretch your legs for a while before or after a long (international) flight. It is also a nice way to discover another city on your way to your final destination. 2 cities for the price of 1. Sounds good, right? Here, discover the 10 best known and lesser known destinations for a stopover!
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
Is your trip going to Canada or the United States? Then a stopover on the beautiful Iceland is certainly not a bad idea. The airline Icelandair offers the possibility to make a stopover in Iceland for a maximum of 7 days. And even without additional costs regarding your flight ticket.
Taking a stroll around the capital, Reykjavik, relaxing in the Blue Lagoon or explore the Golden Circle with a rental car. The ideal way for a first introduction to the land of fire and ice.
Do you want to get to know the modern, yet authentic Asia. Then visit Singapore. It is the perfect city for a stopover on your way to your final destination in Asia or Oceania.
Singapore is seen as the cleanest city in Asia.
Visit the Singapore Zoo (The World’s Best Rainforest Zoo), have something to eat at one of the many restaurants at Clarke Quay, taste the perfect Singapore Sling at the bar of the famous Raffles hotel or enjoy the view of the skyline while you swim around in the infinity pool of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. There is plenty to see and do in this metropolis.
3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Are you flying with Emirates and is Africa, Asia or Australia your final destination? Then you will change planes in Dubai and a stopover is the perfect opportunity to visit this oil state in the United Arab Emirates. Every year they keep breaking records here and you will not be able to believe your eyes.
Visit the highest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Kalifa, go shopping in the biggest shopping mall in the world, the Dubai Mall, get into a 4×4 for a ride through the beautiful desert of Dubai or go for a swim in the largest water park of the Middle East, Aquaventure. And if you have some budget left, you can always decide to stay in the Burj Al Arab, the luxury 7-star hotel of Dubai!
4. Hong Kong
Is your trip going to for example Australia or New Zealand and / or do you fly with Cathay Pacific? Then you will make a stop in Hong Kong during your flight.
If you have always wanted to get acquainted with China, then it is definitely recommended to stay in Hong Kong for a few days. Gaze at the skyscrapers of the Hong Kong skyline from the Victoria Harbor, take a look at the Temple Street night market, go to Ngong Ping Village on Lantau Island by cable car to visit the Tian Tan Buddha and the adjacent Po Lin Monastery, attend a horse race in Happy Valley, find the statue of Jackie Chan on the Chinese Walk of Fame, the Avenue of the Stars or see the huge cruise ships dock at the Ocean Terminal.
Also do not forget to take the Star Ferry from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon. Once on the other side, you can take the Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak and have a wonderful view of the Hong Kong skyline and the many skyscrapers.
Do not miss out on the Symphony of Lights! A spectacular light and music show in which the skyscrapers have a leading role, and which can be seen daily at 20.00hr (08.00pm) from the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade on Hong Kong Island.
5. New York, United States
The Big Apple, or New York! It is a city that can be found on many bucket list as the ultimate city trip destination. On the other hand, New York is also highly recommended as a stopover on the way to another destination in North, Central or South America.
For example, combine New York with a roadtrip across Sunshine State Florida or along the west coast of America.
Enjoy the view of the city from Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building, run or walk in Central Park, sail past the Statue of Liberty or shop until you drop! You will certainly not get bored during your visit to “the city that never sleeps”. And do you also want to wake up with a view of the New York skyline, then spend the night at the Z NYC hotel in Queens!
6. Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei, the capital of the Republic of China, or Taiwan. It is definitely a totally different city than for example Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur and therefore definitely worth a stop!
You can visit one of the dozens of colorful temples, look out over the city from the tallest building in Taiwan, the Taipei 101, have a meal in the Modern Toilet Restaurant (no, I am not joking!), walking around one of the busy night markets, attend the change of the guard at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall or climb the Elephant Mountain and be rewarded with a beautiful view of the city.
Are you looking for a nice place to stay in the centre of Taipei? Then I can definitely recommend the Houze Hostel & Capsule Hotel (which also offers private rooms)!
7. Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is a destination you probably will not think of when you are planning to make a stopover. But with the often favorable rates Finnair has got to various destinations, a visit to the capital of Finland can easily be combined with your trip.
The center is very compact, so you can easily explore the city on foot in 1 or 2 days. Walk around the historic center past the Helsinki Cathedral, the Senate Square or the Market Square near the harbor. Shop at the Esplanade or at Stockmann department store , the largest in Scandinavia according to the Finns. Take a look inside the Uspenski cathedral on the Katajanokka peninsula, where the Russian influence on Finland is still clearly visible. And off course you cannot leave before you have visited a real Finnish sauna!
8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
In terms of atmosphere and sights, in my opinion Kuala Lumpur is less vibrant than for example Bangkok or Singapore. But if you are in the area, then the capital of Malaysia is certainly a great city to stretch your legs for a few days before you continue your journey.
Walking between the old colonial buildings, shopping in the shopping district of Bukit Bintang, visiting the oldest mosque in the city, the Masjid Jamek, taking a look at Chinatown or catch the train to the Batu Caves just outside Kuala Lumpur.
And of course you can not ignore the famous Petronas Twin Towers. From the walkway between the buildings or from the 86th floor you have a nice view over the city. But if you want to see the Petronas Twin Towers together with the skyline, then visit the observation- or skydeck of the KL Tower. Because of its location on a hill you even have a wider view of the city’s skyline from here.
9. Lisbon, Portugal
When you travel to Latin America, you will most likely travel with TAP Air Portugal and will make a stopover in Lisbon. So why not take a break from your long trip to for example Brazil, by visiting the capital and largest city of Portugal?
Enjoy the delicious Pastéis de Belém while you gaze out at the Torre de Belém, visit Lisbon’s most famous castle, Castelo de São Jorge, stroll through the lively streets of the Bairro Alto district, or work on your Portuguese language skills for a while before you set foot on Latin American soil.
Tip to spend the night: the Garden Rooftop by Imperium! This delightful bed and breakfast is not only located in the center of Lisbon, but has also got a swimming pool and a rooftop terrace with an amazing view of the city!
10. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is not only one of the cheaper destinations in Asia to fly to. It is also a good place for a first stop on the way to other beautiful places in Asia and / or Oceania.
With an estimated population of 15 million people, Bangkok can certainly be called a metropolis. And you can definitely have a good time here for a few days. Taste the delicious Thai food, cruise the Chao Phraya river, visit the many temples that can be found in Bangkok, take a look at the colorful markets or maybe have a meal, drink and dance on the well-known Khao San Road.
Are you looking for a good accommodation in Bangkok? I stayed at the Casa Nithra Hotel. A hotel with decent rooms, a tasty breakfast and a lovely swimming pool on the roof to relax for a few hours after your visit to the busy centre of Bangkok!
Do you need a visa?
There are countries where you can stay for a maximum number of days without a visa and therefore do not need a visa for your stopover. However, there are also countries where you need a visa for your visit (as soon as you leave the airport). Are you planning to make a stopover? Then check before you definitively book your flight and / or accommodation:
- if you need a visa for your intended stay;
- what type of visa you need;
- which conditions apply regarding to a visa.
There are also countries which offer you the opportunity to visit the country for a maximum number of hours. This is also known as the so-called transit visa. Do you want to know if you need a visa for a stopover? Then please contact a local visa office for personal advice.
What is your favorite stopover destination?