Top airports to spend a 12-hour stopover
Booking a flight with a long stopover is often cheaper than a direct flight. But, stopovers can involve clock-watching and snacking too much. Our list of top airports to spend a 12-hour stopover will make sure you aren't wasting your time.
All our suggestions have good city transport links but, a note of caution - check out luggage storage and the visa situation before leaving the airport and plan plenty of time to get through security and passport control on your return. Where possible, plan long stopovers for local daytime but we've added a couple of suggestions for evening fun.
Step straight out of Amsterdam Centraal Station onto a canal boat for a city canal cruise. Hop on and off to dip into treasures such as the Rijksmuseum or the floating flower market. A short walk from Centraal Station is the Nemo Science Museum. With its four floors of hands-on activities, it's perfect for family fun while the roof terrace is the highest city square in the Netherlands. Once back at Schiphol, soothe away travel stress in the airport's free meditation centre.
Let the London Heathrow Express whisk you quickly into the city centre then take the tube to the Tate Modern. Soak up its contemporary art before strolling along the banks of the River Thames. Take in views of HMS Belfast, the Tower of London and the Millennium Bridge before shopping for a picnic lunch in Borough Market or dining in luxury at the OXO Tower. If you really need to catch up on some sleep when back at the airport, book a Japanese-style sleeping cabin at the YOTEL.
If it's your first trip to Singapore, start in the Marina Bay district. Gardens by the Bay is full of huge metal trees that are lit up at night. Walk across the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck taking in fascinating sea and city views. Stop for a coffee break here – the beauty of having a whole 12-hours is that you don't have to rush. Escape the city heat by spending a few hours in the ArtScience Museum. For an architectural contrast and a tasty meal head to the maze of streets that makes up Chinatown. The perfect way to see this is with a night rickshaw tour.
A stopover at Boston Logan is all about food whether you stay in the airport or head downtown. The Legal Sea Foods restaurant in the airport serves up the same fresh seafood as its partner in the city. Also highly recommended is the Union Oyster House in Haymarket. If you've still got room for food, the Faneuil Hall Marketplace houses eateries and shops while entertainment is provided by street performers. Work off your lunch by walking some of the Freedom Trail or if this is too strenuous jump onto a Boston Duck Tour. Still got time to kill? Then Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium.
Hop on the Metro and head to Canton Tower. At 600 metres it is the tallest tower in China and the second tallest in the world. Take the world's highest Bubble Tram to the top from where the views are spectacular, both day and night! Much of Guangzhou's history can be found on Shamian Island with its well-preserved European colonial buildings. Here you can dine on steamed vermicelli rolls, clay pot rice and Wonton noodles. If you're in Guangzhou during the evening, take a night cruise along Pearl River for a different perspective on the city's skyline.
Ride the tram up to Victoria's Peak and stretch out your legs with a brisk walk. From the Peak, Hong Kong is laid out at your feet. Back at sea level, stroll around Repulse Bay or relax on the beach for an hour or two. There could be no more iconic activity in Hong Kong then taking a junk trip to a fishing village in the Aberdeen district. While there tuck into dim sum, fresh fish and other local delicacies in a floating restaurant. Before heading back to the airport, shop for souvenirs in Stanley Market or visit the Wong Tai Sin Temple.
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