26 Best Airports For A Long Layover

Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Layovers can be a traveler’s worst nemesis. They make a long trip even longer, and sitting around waiting for the next flight is nothing but boring. That is, unless you book smart and stop at one of the best airports for a long layover! There are many airports offering great amenities, fun things to do, and some that are close enough to a city for you to hop on a train or bus and explore while waiting to continue your journey.

Best Airports For A Long Layover In Asia

Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei, Taiwan
Airport Code: TPE

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

The Taipei Taoyuan International Airport is one of the airports I don’t mind a long layover in. I’ve had layovers here quite a few times now, and while smaller, it’s one of the most well-designed and modern airports I’ve been to in Asia.

Some amenities at TPE to look forward to if you plan on staying at the airport:

  • Cozy seating options for sleeping
  • Free 24-hour shower rooms
  • Luggage lockers
  • Mini art galleries
  • Massage services
  • Duty-free shopping of travel shops & international brands
  • Easy sky train for terminal transfers

While there, you can try a diverse range of restaurants and eateries with both local Taiwanese street food and international cuisine. Note that most restaurants close around 10 pm.

If you have lounge access, Taipei Airport has several lounges where you can relax, enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages, and exclusive showers to freshen up during your layover.

If you have an extended layover of more than 7 hours, Taipei City is easily accessible by bus, taxi, and airport MRT. A train ride to the city will take around 30 minutes, and 1 hour by bus.
The airport also provides free half-day tours where you can explore sites like Lungshan Temple, National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, and Yongkang Street. If you take a night tour, you get the addition of a night market.

So if you find yourself with a layover at TPE, rest assured you’ll have lots of options to pass the time.

Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea
Airport Code: ICN

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Whether you have a choice for a long layover or just get stuck because of delays, the Incheon International Airport in South Korea is an ideal place to pass the time. The massive airport features a ton of amenities. It honestly felt like a super mall, and although I had hours to kill, I wasn’t able to explore all of it. If you’re not interested in shopping or dining, you will find a variety of lounges that are perfect to relax or take a snooze, but none of them are free. If you’re looking for a free place to sleep, a few of the waiting areas feature benches that can be used as a bed in a pinch.

On the dining front, you will find almost everything you can think of — fast food, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, and more. I will note that if you’re vegan, you might struggle a bit. If you have time, consider checking out the vegan scene in Seoul. Just keep in mind that the city is 40 minutes to an hour away by car. If you have a full-day layover, heading into Seoul is a great idea.

If you don’t have time to experience Korean culture, you’re not out of luck. One really unique thing that the airport hosts is a changing of the royal guard ceremony. The ceremony happens a few times a day near gate 121 and features sword and martial arts performances. 

Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore
Airport Code: SIN

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Singapore Changi Airport has been voted as one of the world’s best airports, and it’s not hard to see why. Located around a 30-minute drive from Singapore’s city center, it’s not too far away from Asia’s popular island country. 

Here, you’ll find a variety of amenities that make it perfect for a long layover. These include a free movie theatre, pay-to-use showers, entertainment areas, and free WiFi.
If you want to catch some sleep, there are plenty of sleeping chairs, designated rest zones, and hourly nap rooms. You’ll also find transit hotels on-site. 
There are several lounges at Singapore Changi as well, with at least one in each terminal. You won’t be short of dining options either. Restaurants include the Asian Street Kitchen, Burger King, Hard Rock Cafe, and McDonalds, among others.

Our favorite part of this airport has to be Jewel Changi. This ten-story hub is linked to terminals 1, 2, and 3, and is known for its futuristic architecture and shopping opportunities.

However, the highlight of Jewel Changi has to be the ‘HSBC Rain Vortex’. Stretching over seven floors and standing 40 meters (131 feet) tall, it’s the largest indoor waterfall in the world. This makes it one of the airport’s prime attractions! 

For those who have an extra long layover, you can easily head into the city to explore. Just be aware that you may require an immigration visa to exit the airport.

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Terminal 2), Mumbai, India
Airport Code: CSIA

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), also known as Terminal 2 (T2), is one of my favorite airports worldwide, and not just because it’s in my adopted city of Mumbai. I appreciate its well-maintained, expansive space and its quintessentially Indian character, featuring eateries serving local specialties, shops with unique handicrafts, and, best of all, the airport serves as a fantastic museum! It boasts over 7,000 astounding pieces of traditional and contemporary Indian art, crafts, murals, and textiles, providing a glimpse into India’s rich cultural heritage. One can spend hours looking at them, and they also offer many photo ops!

Traveling to India often involves transiting through Mumbai, a common scenario for tourists en route to more popular destinations like Kerala or Rajasthan. If Mumbai comes up as a transit stop, do not hesitate to book it. In case your layover is long, you can get a room in the Niranta Transit Hotel. Alternatively, you can spend time at O2 Spa while getting pampered. It’s also possible to leave the airport for sightseeing, but a visa is required in advance. Luggage storage is available at the airport. Once out, you can consider exploring the highlights of Colonial Mumbai (called ‘Town’) within 6 hours using a pre-booked private tour, which is a safe, inexpensive, and easy option.

Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
Airport Code: HKG

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

The Hong Kong International Airport is a major transportation hub for those traveling to and from the Asian continent with flights to more than 220 destinations worldwide. But the airport’s proximity and ease of access to major tourist sites also makes a long layover in Hong Kong a great opportunity for sightseeing in the special administrative region of China. 

One thing that makes Hong Kong a great layover destination is that travelers from 170 countries including the United States, Canada, and those in western Europe do not need a visa to leave the airport and explore Hong Kong. Additionally, the Airport Express train connects the airport to the city center, making it convenient and easy to get from the airport to Hong Kong Central Station in just 24 minutes.

There are several unique places you can visit during a long layover. Perhaps the most visited attraction in Hong Kong, Victoria Peak, is a popular destination to visit on a layover. You can take the tram up to Victoria Peak where you can enjoy sweeping views of the harbor and the city’s skyline – filled with countless skyscrapers.

You’ll want at least 6-8 hours if you plan to leave the airport. If your layover is less than 6 hours, the airport has plenty of lounges, restaurants, shopping, and even a transit hotel where you can book a day room to relax and recover from jet lag.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Airport Code: KLIA

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Located in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur International Airport serves as an international and domestic airport with the airport code KUL. KLIA offers a range of special amenities to enhance passengers’ travel experience.

These include nap pods or sleeping pods for transiting travellers looking for a quick rest, luggage storage facilities for those wanting to explore the city, airport hands-free, and shower facilities for freshening up after a long flight. The airport also has several lounges throughout KLIA. These lounges offer comfortable seating, complimentary snacks and beverages, showers, and business facilities.

KLIA has diverse eateries catering to various tastes and dietary preferences. From local Malaysian cuisine to international fast-food chains and upscale restaurants, travelers are spoilt for choice when grabbing a bite.

Personally, I love KLIA for its amenities, efficiency, modern facilities, and seamless connectivity.  Additionally, the airport provides free Wi-Fi to all passengers, making it easy to stay connected during layovers or while waiting for flights.

KLIA is conveniently connected to Kuala Lumpur City Centre via public transport and taxis. There are high-speed KLIA Ekspres trains that allow visitors to take the opportunity to explore the city during transit hours.

Haneda Airport, Tokyo, Japan
Airport Code: HND

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Haneda Airport (HND), is one of two major international airports located in the greater Tokyo area of Japan. Haneda Airport is located about 15 kilometers from Tokyo Station, making it a great airport for long layovers.
With a minimum of 7 hours for a layover, it is possible to take the train from the airport to explore parts of Tokyo. Visitors can pay a visit to one of Tokyo’s famous shrines, try cuisine at a local Japanese restaurant, or simply take in the city sites around Tokyo Station.

If you are planning on staying at Haneda Airport, there are activities, shops, and restaurants that are meant to occupy time. Restaurants at Haneda vary, but visitors can find traditional Japanese restaurants serving local dishes, whether it be fresh sushi or bowls of ramen.

If you are looking to explore Haneda during a layover, there are places to store luggage. Luggage storage can be used anywhere from an hour up to 2 weeks.

There are lounges throughout the airport, but they do charge fees and can be found at every terminal. There is also a relaxation salon, massage chairs, shower rooms, an observation deck, and many more services.

I’ve traveled through Haneda Airport many times, and it is one of my favorite airports worldwide. The main reasons it remains one of my favorites is due to the proximity in location to attractions and restaurants in Tokyo, cleanliness, an abundance of delicious restaurants, and the interesting shops found throughout.

Best Airports For A Long Layover In The Middle East

Muscat International Airport, Muscat, Oman
Airport Code: MCT

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Compared to some other big hubs in the Middle East, Muscat International Airport may be considered one of the most underrated airports in the world. 

Oman Air may not be as big as the other major airlines like Emirates or Qatar Airways, but they have over 40 international destinations on top of their domestic flight operations that connect Muscat to countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. 

There is the Muscat First & Business Class lounge where you can enjoy the buffet meals and drinks in between flights, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re a budget traveler since transit in Muscat can be expensive on its own. The lounge fee is around 25 OMR (around $65) for three hours. However, there are also “rest zones” in some designated areas where you can get comfortable seating and recliners to relax while waiting for your flight. 

At this airport you will find international food chains like KFC and McDonald’s, but you can expect to pay around 10 OMR (around $25 USD) for the most basic meals. 

Muscat International Airport is definitely one of the most expensive airports for a layover in the Middle East, but it’s also one of the cleanest and most convenient airports for a long layover in the world. Compared to the other airport hubs like Doha or Dubai, Muscat is less crowded, which makes it easier for you to explore during your layover. The airport staff stands by around the terminal, so it’s easier to get assistance when you catch the next flight. 

Citizens of over 70 countries can enter Oman with a free visa for up to 14 days, so you can easily leave the airport for sightseeing. You can go to the “Seal & Go” luggage storage at the departure terminal if you need to leave your bags, and there is a public bus you can take from the ground floor at the airport.

Dubai International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Airport Code: DXB

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Dubai International Airport is the second busiest in the world, and chances are you’ll pass through it one day. It has three terminals, and if you’re flying on Emirates Airline, you’ll be in Terminal 3, while other major airlines go through Terminal 1. 

There’s plenty to keep you busy during your long layover like spas, gaming rooms, play areas, shops, and several lounges for all classes.
There’s a wide variety of places to eat and drink, from fast food to fine dining. If you’re in the business lounge, you’ll find tasty bites to snack on. 
If you just want to rest, head to Sleep n Fly, where you can rent a pod with a reclining chair, or a bigger pod with a double bed or bunk beds, all with work spaces. Alternatively, book yourself into the Dubai International Hotel in T3. 

If you’d like to go out for sightseeing, check the rules for your passport. Some get a visit visa on arrival and others need a transit visa (only possible with UAE-based airlines.)

Living in the UAE, I fly from DXB regularly, and I love the shopping choices. I usually buy presents for myself, such as perfume or travel accessories, and I buy gifts for family like jewellery, dates, and other local food items. As with any airport, souvenirs may be a bit more expensive, but I like the ease of shopping with everything in one place.

Best Airports For A Long Layover In North America

Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Airport Code: ORD

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

O’Hare offers travelers a wide range of amenities and services to make extended wait times more enjoyable. Airport amenities include yoga rooms, lactation pods, service animal relief areas, and CLEAR lanes that allow you to quickly get through the airport.  

To refuel your energy for the next leg of travel, O’Hare has many restaurants and cafes that offer everything from quick bites to fine dining. It’s easy to find bars and grills, food-to-go, and snacks in every terminal.  
If you want a taste of the native Chicago’s culinary scene, stop at Uno Pizza Express for a slice of Chicago-style pizza, Gold Coast Dogs for a Chicago-style hotdog, and Eli’s Cheesecake. 
The Windy City is a foodie town that is very proud of its gastronomic landscape and cuisines from around the globe.

When you need a moment of quiet, make your escape to an Admirals Club or United Club airport lounge with comfortable seating, WiFi, and snacks (memberships are required). 

Did you forget to pack something? O’Hare is like a mini-mall with brands like MAC Cosmetics, Vosges Haut-Chocolate, and Coach. And there are lots of newsstands, retail kiosks, and duty-free shopping! 

Spending more time at the airport can only get better at the Fly with Butch O’Hare Pop-up family lounge. It’s a great place for kids to run around after a flight while parents relax.  

I love this airport for all the amenities and how easy it is to get there. 

John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City, New York, USA
Airport Code: JFK

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

One of the best airports for a long layover is JFK. Known as John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK for short), this airport is located in Queens, NYC. Upon arrival, take the Airtrain to Jamaica station. You can then catch the LIRR and take it into midtown Manhattan at either Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal. In total, the journey should take no more than 30 minutes. From here, you can spend the day in NYC exploring highlights like Times Square, Bryant Park, the New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park.

Alternatively, if you are looking to relax and watch the planes roll down the runway, then book a room at the TWA hotel. Located in Terminal 5 of the airport, it’s a fantastic 1960s-themed hotel that is filled with stunning red decor. It’s the perfect place for photos and even has a heated outdoor pool. This way, regardless of the time of year, you can sit in the pool and watch the planes cruise down the runway. You can also grab a cocktail at Connie Cocktail Lounge and watch the sunset over the city.

All in all, JFK is a very large, very accessible airport. You can either chill in the airport during your layover or use public transportation to quickly and easily explore all that this amazing city has to offer.

Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, USA
Airport Code: DEN

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Denver International Airport (DEN), is located 25 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado, and is one of the United States’ busiest and largest airports. It’s actually the second largest airport in the world by land area (behind Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd International Airport)! Denver International serves over 200 destinations, and it is a popular airport for travelers connecting from the East Coast to the West Coast, and from dozens of other domestic and international destinations as well. 

Given its vast size and scope of operations, Denver International Airport is one of the best airports for a long layover because there are a ton of options to choose from for food, beverages, and entertainment. Plus, DEN is home to some great lounges including the American Express Centurion Lounge (my personal favorite), several United Clubs, Delta Sky Club, American Airlines Admirals Club, and more. 

One of the coolest features about this airport is that there are outdoor decks and fire pits open to travelers in every concourse. This means that not only will you get to soak up the sun during your long layover, but you’ll also get some pretty epic views of planes landing and taking off! Denver International Airport also has a wonderfully curated selection of artwork throughout each concourse and in the main terminal area. Even the architecture of the main terminal itself is a work of art! 

If you need to find someplace to sleep during your long layover, I recommend going to the upper levels of any of the concourses. These areas are generally much less crowded and quieter, so you won’t have trouble finding a spot to spread out for a few hours. Concourse A also has a “Rest & Recharge area” that features comfortable lounge seating and privacy partitions. This area tends to fill up, so be sure to grab a spot if you see one available!

It’s possible to leave the airport and venture out into the downtown Denver area if you have a long layover – in fact, I’d encourage it! It takes just under 40 minutes to get from Denver International Airport to Union Station in downtown Denver on the A line. It won’t break the bank, either, with fares only being $10 USD each way! This option is much cheaper than ordering an Uber there and back, though that option does exist if you prefer private transportation.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Twin Cities, Minnesota
Airport Code: MSP

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Consistently named one of the best airports in North America, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Minnesota is an excellent airport for a long layover. Located equidistant between the two Twin Cities, you can easily take the light rail from the airport into downtown Minneapolis if you want to catch a Twins or Vikings game, or just do some sightseeing during your layover. 

As a Delta hub, MSP offers the most amenities for Delta fliers, including three Sky Clubs. The newest MSP Sky Club, located near G18, is a 21,000 square ft lounge that can seat 450. In addition to the Delta lounges, you’ll find a United lounge, an Armed Forces Service Center, and Centurion partner lounge.

However, regardless of which carrier you fly into MSP, you’ll find plenty of amenities including dozens of restaurants – many of which are branches of popular Minnesota restaurants – and a central shopping mall area. Family friendly amenities include a playground and nursing pods. Personally, I really enjoy MSP’s cleanliness and ample seating areas. Be sure to check out the rotating art exhibit in C concourse. 

If your layover stretches overnight, you can access the InterContinental hotel directly from the terminal. This is a handy option if you’re traveling with carry-on luggage only. Otherwise, you can grab a shuttle to one of dozens of nearby airport hotels.

Harry Reid International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Airport Code: LAS

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Las Vegas International Airport, known as Harry Reid International Airport, is the primary airport serving Las Vegas in the state of Nevada in the United States. It has two terminals: Terminal 1 (domestic terminal) and Terminal 3 (international terminal).

Las Vegas is all about gambling & casinos, and you can see that at the airport! There are so many slot machines for gaming and gambling for you to spend your time while you are waiting for your next flight! There are nearly 1,400 slot machines located throughout the airport! There is also Cannon Aviation Museum, located in Terminal 1, above the baggage claim, which is a great activity for the kids to explore the history of aviation in Southern Nevada. There is also an aviation-themed kids’ play area to keep them busy.

The Club LAS lounge offers complimentary shower services and all-day dining. There are numerous restaurants, snack shops, and coffee shops available throughout all the gates.

But sadly, Las Vegas airport does not have sleeping pods or capsules to catch a short nap. Also, there are no luggage storage facilities or lockers at LAS Airport, but there are some companies in the vicinity that offer it!

If you have a layover of more than 5 hours, it is highly recommended to take a quick tour of the Las Vegas strip. The Las Vegas main strip is just 4 miles from the airport, and shuttles and buses are easily available. It is possible to spend a few hours on the strip while gambling or visiting the beautiful casinos and hotels! After all, Vegas is all about the glitters!

Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia, Canada
Airport Code: YVR

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

One of the best and most gorgeous airports perfect for long layovers is the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in Canada. Filled with beautiful architecture and sculptures, from the Rivers Monument to Snuw’uy’ulth, this airport is truly a piece of art.

The Vancouver Airport also offers a wide range of amenities, including a spa, baggage storage, and nursing pods. There are several lounges, including the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Plaza Premium Lounge, Cathay Pacific Lounge, and SkyTeam Lounge.

YVR is a comfortable place to stay overnight; in 2023, Skytrax named YVR as the cleanest airport in North America, the best airport in Canada, and the second-best airport in North America.
While there aren’t any designated napping areas, I find it quite easy to find a more isolated spot to lay down and take a nap. I recommend walking around until you find a slightly secluded place to sleep at the airport!

Hungry? There are several restaurants perfect for filling your stomach, such as Tim Hortons, the Stanley Park Taphouse, Salmon n’ Bannock On The Fly, and the Canucks Bar & Grill.

And if you have a long layover that’s not overnight, it’s easy to leave YVR for some sightseeing! There’s a Skytrain that can take you from the airport to downtown Vancouver in 30 minutes. There are also some beautiful locations closer to the airport, including Iona Beach Regional Park.

Benito Juárez International Airport, Mexico City, Mexico
Airport Code: MEX

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City is the busiest airport in Latin America, so lots of people end up with a layover here. If that is you, you’re in for a treat. If you have five or more hours, you can leave the airport and experience the magic of Mexico’s capital city.

If you have five to six hours to spare, choose one of Mexico City’s neighborhoods to explore. My top choices are Coyoacan, Roma, or Condesa. Once home to Frida Kahlo, Coyoacan is a vibrant historical neighborhood full of art and rich culture. Meanwhile, neighboring Condesa and Roma are trendy areas that are full of greenery, cute cafes, delicious street food, and plenty of hidden gems. These neighborhoods are also a great place to stay if you have an overnight layover in Mexico City. 

If you have a full day or longer in Mexico City, consider a picturesque boat ride down the floating gardens of Xochimilco, a day trip to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, or explore several neighborhoods.

If you have less than five hours and want to stay at the airport, you’ll have several lounges in both terminals. I usually opt for the Terraza Premier Aeroméxico by Heineken, which is a smaller, more intimate lounge that has an open bar, a refrigerator full of coconut water, beer, and soft drinks, and often has snacks and light meals available.

There are also a diversity of places to eat in the Mexico City airport. My favorite spots for healthy, filling food are Vuela Carmela in Terminal 2 and Buena Tierra in Terminal 1. 

Best Airports For A Long Layover In Europe

Nikola Tesla Airport, Belgrade, Serbia
Airport Code: BEG

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

No matter if you visit Belgrade in winter or summer, you might experience flight delays, layovers, or early arrivals at Nikola Tesla Airport. There are countless reasons for spending extra time at the airport, but there are also numerous activities to pass the time. From shopping at duty-free stores to visiting museums within the airport, there’s no shortage of options. Whether you’re alone, with friends, family, or business associates, the duty-free shops offer a range of tax-free products, including brands like Hugo Boss and Swarovski.

This is a great opportunity to buy gifts for those waiting for you at home. The duty-free shops offer a variety of sweets, quality beverages, perfumes at attractive prices, and other products perfect for gifting. Btw, Victoria’s Secret products, only available at the airport in Serbia, should not be missed. Even if you prefer not to spend money before your trip, window shopping can be an enjoyable pastime.
This is a great opportunity to buy gifts for those waiting for you at home. The duty-free shops offer a variety of sweets, quality beverages, perfumes at attractive prices, and other products perfect for gifting. Btw, Victoria’s Secret products, only available at the airport in Serbia, should not be missed. Even if you prefer not to spend money before your trip, window shopping can be an enjoyable pastime.

Surprisingly, the airport in Belgrade can also be explored like a museum! Many travelers are unaware of the diverse cultural and artistic content it offers. Don’t miss the chance to explore these during any delays or early arrivals. Reproductions of works by renowned artists, pointing to the rich collection of the National Museum in Belgrade, are located between gates C2 and C3.

In Terminal 1’s hall, you’ll also find the mural “Flight from Icarus and Daedalus to the Universe,” created by Miloš Bukinac in 1962. On the same terminal’s floor is another mural by Zuka Džumbur, inspired by female figures.

Make sure to visit the Aviation Museum. The mushroom-shaped building near the airport, surrounded by civilian and military aircraft and radars, is actually the Aviation Museum. Even if the topic doesn’t initially interest you, exploring the museum’s permanent exhibition can be educational and a great way to enrich your time at the airport.

Keflavik International Airport, Keflavik, Iceland
Airport Code: KEF

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Keflavik International Airport in Iceland is one of the best airports for a long layover, especially if you are wanting to get out of the airport and see a little bit of Iceland. If you fly transatlantic with Icelandair, you can add a 1 to 7 day layover for no extra charge. This means you can get two vacations out of one trip and go see the amazing waterfalls along the southern coast.

If you have a layover of a couple of hours, you can leave the airport and soak in the Blue Lagoon, a natural hot spring. You could also visit Viking World, a museum just a 12 minute drive from the airport. Another option is to hike Iceland’s most recently active volcano, Fagradalsfjall.

Inside KEF there are not a lot of amenities, and it only has one terminal. There are a handful of places to get food, but if you are planning on leaving the airport, make sure to stock up on alcohol at the duty-free store as it is heavily taxed in Iceland. There aren’t any nap cabs or luggage lockers or lounges. There is a program called Nap-and-Go where local hotels and guesthouses offer rooms for a few hours at a discounted rate.

There isn’t anything special about KEF that makes it stand out, but the unique thing about it is the opportunity to add an extra long layover at no additional cost.

Copenhagen Airport, Copenhagen, Denmark
Airport Code: CPH

Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

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If you travel to or around Europe and fly with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), chances are that you will have a layover at Copenhagen Airport (CPH). Copenhagen is one of SAS’ main hubs, and your layover could vary as little as an hour to as long as 20 hours or more. If you have at least 7 hours, consider leaving the airport and taking a city break to the capital and largest city of Denmark.

The airport is located in Kastrup, a suburb around 15-20 minutes away from Copenhagen. There are a variety of ways to get to the city center; the most affordable way would be to take the train or bus at Terminal 3. You can also ride a taxi, though it’ll cost more.

During your long layover, the first thing you need to do is to go to Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s most popular attraction with colorful houses lined over the canal (one of them used to be Hans Christian Andersen’s house). Along Nyhavn, there are restaurants, shops, and cafes. You can even take a short cruise along the canal!

Don’t have a long layover? There’s plenty to do at the Copenhagen Airport, with restaurants and gift stores. Make sure to at least try smørrebrød, the Danish open-faced sandwich for a taste of the cuisine. For a moment of peace and rest before your next flight, you can go to the Silent Lounge to close your eyes.

And since the Danish pride themselves on cleanliness and efficiency, you’ll be happy to know that journeying across the Copenhagen Airport is smooth sailing!

Madrid-Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain
Airport Code: MAD

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Madrid, the capital city of Spain, boasts an airport that offers travellers a seamless and enjoyable experience. Madrid-Barajas Airport is a transportation hub and a gateway to Spain’s rich culture and history.

One of the unique amenities that sets MAD apart is the availability of nap cabs and comfortable rest areas. Travelers can recharge in peace, ensuring a well-rested journey ahead. Additionally, the airport provides luggage lockers for those who wish to explore the city without the burden of their bags.

For culinary delights, Madrid Airport offers a wide range of dining options. From authentic Spanish tapas to international cuisines, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Lounges are also available for passengers seeking a more exclusive and relaxing atmosphere.

If you have a long layover or want to catch some rest, you’ll find various sleeping options, including on-site hotels like the elegant Hilton Madrid Airport Hotel.

What sets Madrid-Barajas Airport apart is its convenient location. It’s just 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) from the city centre by train, making it easy to leave the airport for a quick sightseeing excursion during extended layovers. You can explore iconic landmarks like the Royal Palace, Puerta del Sol, and the Prado Museum, immersing yourself in the vibrant Spanish culture.

Madrid Airport is known for its combination of modern amenities, accessibility to the city, and warm Spanish hospitality that welcomes travellers to embark on an unforgettable journey through Spain’s capital.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Airport Code: AMS

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Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, located in the Netherlands, is a great airport to be stuck at for a long layover. The airport has great and unique amenities catering to a variety of interests. 

Art enthusiasts can visit the Rijksmuseum outpost at the airport. Free and open 24 hours, this small museum features rotating exhibits with works from famous Dutch painters. If you’re visiting Amsterdam with kids, there are many play areas, including a science center with activities from the Nemo Science Center. 

The airport also has a free library for anyone looking to spend their long layover nose-deep in a book. If you want to refresh yourself before your next flight, the Mercure Hotel and Yayhotel within the airport offer shower facilities, complete with toiletries, for a nominal fee.

If you get hungry during your layover in Schiphol, there are numerous dining options, from sushi and bubble tea to Dutch pastries, catering to all tastes. 

If you have a full or half-day layover, you can easily pop into Amsterdam city center for a bit of sightseeing. The train conveniently connects the airport to the heart of Amsterdam in just under 30 minutes. 

I’ve flown in and out of Schiphol multiple times, and it’s one of my favorite airports. I love looking at the art at the Rijksmuseum and that there are play areas for my kids to blow off steam before a flight.

Munich International Airport, Munich, Germany
Airport Code: MUC

Recommended by Leslie from Backpackers Thailand

Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Munich International Airport in Germany is a busy travel hub with excellent facilities for a long layover. You can easily spend the whole day exploring it and even run some in-between-the-flight errands. If you wish to nap, Munich Airport has plenty of free recreation areas with lounge chairs and a few pay-per-hour Napcabs (minimum stay is 2 hours for 34 EUR). You’ll also find a few large duty-free shops, a Chi-Mas Institute massage salon, a pharmacy, left luggage, smoking lounges, showers (17 EUR per use), restaurants, and many authentic German bars.

Munich airport offers six lounges to chill between flights: Airport Lounge World, LH Lounge, Air France KLM Lounge, Airport Lounge Europe, Emirates Lounge, and VipWing Lounge.

If you have more time, you can visit the Mountain Hub Spa at the Hilton Munich Airport, which offers two-hour access, or book a night at this hotel.

Choose food from more than 50 restaurants and bars. Dallmayr Bistro has takeaway and eat-in dining options, serving snacks and local dishes. Käfer is another good restaurant with quick service and traditional Bavarian food. If you’re looking for a quick coffee, Lufthansa coffee machines serve decent coffee for just 3 EUR.

Munich airport is well connected with the city by S1 and S8 S-Bahn trains (40 minutes), Lufthansa express bus (45 minutes), and Flixbus (20 minutes). The connections are frequent, so if you have at least 5 hours between the flights, this should be enough to explore the top city sites and return to the airport.

Munich is one of my favorite airports because no matter how busy it gets, you’ll always find a place to sit comfortably and charge your devices. And I can never walk past the takeaway sushi at Dallmayr Bistro.

London’s Heathrow Airport, London, England
Airport Code: LHR

Recommended by Goya from Goya Galeotta.com

Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

London’s Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom is an ideal destination for a long layover, offering a wealth of amenities to ensure your comfort and convenience. From luggage storage to spas, hairdressers, showers, and beyond, you’ll find it all at Heathrow!

Feeling peckish? Heathrow is home to several dining options. You can grab a quick bite from popular outlets like Pret, or treat yourself to a meal at Gordon Ramsay Plane Food. And if you’re in the mood for something decadent, you can pay a visit to Caviar House for some seafood and bubbles!

If you’re flying Premium Economy or Business on a OneWorld member airline, you’ll have access to BA lounges. Alternatively, other lounges can be accessed by paying an entry fee. Sleeping pods are available in select (and let’s be honest, pricey) lounges such as the British Airways Forty Winks Lounge, Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, and No1 Lounge — perfect for catching some shut-eye during longer layovers.

For those with longer connection times (5+ hours), sightseeing is an option given certain conditions are met. Be sure to check with your airline about visa requirements, stop-over rules, and exit immigration regulations before planning your mini excursion.

Why do I love Heathrow? It’s the little things — like the comfort and the runway views of the lounges, the quality of food, and the shopping opportunities, where I can pick up quintessentially British treats like Fortnum and Mason teas and cookies for friends and family (or Harry Potter memorabilia for nephews/nieces or friend’s kids). Plus, its proximity (20 minutes by car/taxi!) to picturesque spots like Kew Gardens and Richmond Riverside makes it easy to enjoy some fresh air during a longer layover. Heaven!

Istanbul Airport, Istanbul, Turkiye
Airport Code: IST

Recommended by De Wet & Jin of Museum of Wander

Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Istanbul Airport (IST) in Turkiye is a new airport which started operations in 2018. The enormous airport, the busiest in Europe, is located on the European side of Istanbul and is one of our favourite airports for several reasons.

Istanbul Airport is the hub of Turkish Airlines – a carrier serving more international destinations than any other airline worldwide. Turkish Airlines can get you pretty much anywhere in comfort and without bankrupting you, which is reason enough to fly via Istanbul.

Istanbul Airport has shopping and dining options galore, and they operate around the clock. We like how the restaurants are scattered throughout the terminal building and not grouped together in a food court. Besides shopping and eating, the Istanbul Airport Museum displays cultural artifacts from all corners of the country. Due to its size, exploring the entire airport building will take a big chunk of your layover time.

There are more than enough places to relax, and a few quiet areas designated for those who want to get some sleep. Those looking for a more comfortable rest can book a room at the Airport Hotel inside the terminal. These rooms are available by the hour.

The only lounge is the iGA International Lounge, which is available to eligible passengers, or you could buy a pass.

Many nationalities can apply for a Turkish e-visa, issued instantly, making a little trip into the city an excellent option for a more extended layover. The option to see Istanbul is why we book flights via Istanbul Airport with long layovers.

Turkish Airlines has an office in the arrival area where you can book a city tour, or it’s pretty easy to get there by public transportation.

Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France
Airport Code: CDG

Recommended by Christine Rogador of Journey To France

Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Located in Paris, France Charles de Gaulle Airport is often considered one of the best airport layover destinations due to its extensive amenities, efficient transportation options, and proximity to the city of Paris.

CDG Airport is just 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) Northeast of Paris, making it easily accessible for travelers who want to explore the city during a layover.

CDG offers a wide range of amenities to keep travelers comfortable and entertained during their layover. From duty-free shops and luxury boutiques to restaurants serving both French and international cuisine, there’s plenty to see and do within the airport.

For those with access to airline lounges or third-party lounges, CDG boasts several lounges offering comfortable seating, complimentary refreshments, and Wi-Fi access, providing a relaxing space to unwind during a layover.

Travelers flying in economy class have the option to purchase passes for airport lounges, many of which offer shower facilities. Terminal 2A and 2E offers the most comfortable couches where you can relax and take a nap. Additionally, there is a motel located within the airport premises that provides “shower-only” packages.

You can also leave the airport and visit some nearby attractions if you have a longer layover. There are transport options that offer Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Paris Center transfer services. CDG Airport offers a convenient and enjoyable layover experience, allowing travelers to make the most of their time in Paris, whether they’re exploring the city or simply relaxing before their next flight.

Zurich Airport, Zurich, Switzerland
Airport Code: ZRH

Recommended by Anne of Packing Light Travel

Girls Who Travel | Best Airports For A Long Layover

Of the world’s major airports, Zurich, Switzerland, must be the best for a long layover. With the trend to build bigger airports located a considerable distance from a city centre, Zurich is a refreshing contrast. By train, it’s a short ten-minute ride from the airport to downtown. The city is recognized as having an efficient public transportation network, so with such dependable service, passengers can leave the airport with confidence to experience some of what Zurich has to offer.

Two other factors make this possible. One is that the airport is relatively compact, with short distances between gates and terminals. Depending on where you’re from and where you’re going, it’s possible to navigate the airport to get to and from the airport station (Bahnhof Zürich Flughafen) within 30 minutes from and to arrival and departure gates. The other factor relates to the size of the downtown. It, too, is compact and walkable. From the Zurich Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), it’s possible to easily walk or take a tram down Bahnhofstrasse to Lake Zurich and explore some of the Altstadt (Old Town) along the way.

A five-hour layover would leave you with two hours to explore downtown, and a lot could be accomplished in that time. With a longer layover, you could easily squeeze in a cheese fondue! For more information, check out 8 tips on how to make the most of a Zurich layover.


Jenny grew up in Germany. All she ever wanted out of life was to leave and have adventures. Jenny always traveled as much as the budget would allow, and when she met her husband traveling became a full-time thing. You can follow Jenny on her blog and Facebook.

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