A stopover during a long-haul trip offers time to stretch your legs but also an excellent opportunity to explore an exciting new destination without the price tag, as most airlines offer free stopovers. Whether you fancy soaking up the culture over 24 hours or staying a few extra days, here are some of the best places to stop over on a long-haul flight...
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Travelling to North America can be a killer but you can break up the journey with a stop in Reykjavik to soak up the buzzing nightlife, dramatic scenery and fingers crossed, the Northern Lights, when you fly with WOW Air
. Whether your final destination is Boston, Washington DC or Los Angeles, what could be more wonderful than experiencing the unique beauty of Iceland before arriving in the States? From the iconic Blue Lagoon to the lesser-known Fjaorargljufur Canyon, a mini-break in this icy destination is the ultimate way to kick off your American adventure.
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Flying across the world to New Zealand can be a treat thanks to some of the greatest cities located along the way. Vancouver, Singapore and Tokyo are just a few of the amazing gateway points on Air New Zealand
’s network, while San Francisco offers something for every budget. Highlights of the city include $7 burritos at La Taqueria, the fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge and infamous Alcatraz. While in San Francisco, you can ride the historic cable car, wander through Union Square and spot the squawking sea lions at Fisherman's wharf.
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Almost slap-bang in the middle of the map, Dubai is one of the biggest and best stopover destinations on the Emirates
network before hitting the likes of the Maldives and Mauritius for a beach break. On a city stopover in Dubai, you will have world-class shopping, top-notch hotels and diverse dining at your fingertips. For those who would like to get out of town to discover the sprawling desert, a 4x4 safari over giant sand dunes awaits. In just 48 hours, you can indulge in Friday brunch at a luxury hotel, spend an afternoon finding out about the local customs at the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding and marvel at the views from the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
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Fancy a taste of Asia before arriving in Oz? Hit the green city-state of Singapore on a stopover with Singapore Airlines
. Capturing the essence of a British colonial past and throwing the best elements of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures into the mix, Singapore is a modern, hi-tech, world-class city full of incredible hotels, restaurants, bars, museums and attractions for the whole family. With a range of options for every budget and everything you need for a short break, it more tranquil and relaxing than many other stopover destinations to Australia and seamlessly blends authentic Southeast Asian culture with 21-century style. Some of the best things to do include flying a kite at Marina Barrage, walking the Southern Ridges and getting soaked at Wild Wild Wet.
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It's not the most obvious choice for a stopover being barely an hour's flight from the UK, but Amsterdam offers more than canals, floating flower markets and world-famous museums for its stopover guests continuing to places like Aruba, Tanzania or Sri Lanka. By spending more than 24 hours in the city before your onward journey to a long-haul destination with KLM
, you will save £58 on Air Passenger Duty, compared with paying £71 by flying direct to a far-flung spot from the UK. During your trip to Amsterdam, you should rent a bike to explore the Dutch city like a local, delve into 800 years of history at the Amsterdam Museum and treat yourself to a night out at one of the many bars and clubs.
Quatar Tourist Board
As a key stopover destination for onward journeys to the likes of Thailand and the Maldives, Doha is a wonderful city to explore for travellers flying with Qatar Airways
. You won't want to spend your stopover stuck in your hotel as Qatar's capital is filled with Middle Eastern delights. On a 48-hour stay, you can sample authentic Arab street life and local architecture at Souq Waquif, stroll along waterfront promenade Doha Corniche and visit the magnificent Museum of Islamic Art, which covers 14 centuries of the finest art and artefacts from across the Islamic world. Desert safaris, dhow cruises and UNESCO World Heritage Site Al Zubarah, located 100km north-west of Doha, are more must-dos in Doha.
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Flying to India, the Philippines or Malaysia? Experience a taste of Arabia by stopping over in Muscat before your Asian getaway with Oman Air
. From visiting the lavish Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which can hold up to 20,000 worshippers, to browsing the bustling Mutrah Souq, one of the oldest markets in Oman, there are some fantastic things to do in this top Middle Eastern destination. For those who fancy a trip to the seafront, there are plenty of beautiful places to rest and go for a spot of swimming, including the Al Bustan Palace Hotel
which has fantastic food and 200 acres of private beach.
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For a fun stopover in an up-and-coming city, Colombia's capital is vibrant, steeped in history and as cool as an urban spot gets. With superbly preserved colonial buildings, 300-year-old churches and an array of bars and restaurants, Bogota is the ideal place to spend a few days before continuing your journey to Cuba, Patagonia or Peru with Avianca
. The Museo Botero, the view from Cerro de Monserrate and bohemian neighbourhood La Candelaria are just three places you won't want to miss on your stopover.