5 Airlines That Offer Stopovers In Amazing Cities (For Free)

If you’ve ever had a connecting flight with a long layover, you are aware that some airports are not an exciting place to hangout. In some circumstances, it can be a downright nightmare. But what if you could turn that dull layover into an exciting stopover and enjoy 2 destinations?

Well, there is some good news, you can! Even better news…some airlines even encourage it. In fact, some airlines will even pick up the hotel tab too.


Just for clarity, here are the definitions:

  • LAYOVER: A layover refers to a connection point between cities, sometimes as short as 30 minutes or as long as 23 hours.
  • STOPOVER: A stopover refers to staying longer than 24 hours in any given city.

So, here’s a list of 5 airlines that encourage the 2-for-1…

Qatar Airways

Doha, Qatar

PROGRAM: Qatar+ Stopover

This may be one of my favorite stopover programs as I have used it more times than I can count. When flying with Qatar Airways, you can take advantage of a free hotel night (or two) and enjoy the city of Doha. The stopover program offers many excellent hotels!

Note: I’ve written about this program many times but more recently the program has changed the rules adding a minor surcharge to hotels but it’s still a bargain.


Reykjavik, Iceland

PROGRAM: Icelandair Stopover

Take a look at any Instagram travel account and you’ll see that Iceland is a buzz! Iceland has become an extremely popular destination with it’s amazing nature backdrops. 

Icelandair gives you the option to stopover, up to three days, at no additional cost. After you read this blog, you can never say that I didn’t share with you the greatest way to see volcanoes and glaciers on the cheap.


Helsinki, Finland

PROGRAM: Finnair Stopover

If nature is your happy place, this should be your go-to program!

During winter in the northern areas of Finland the sun does not rise at all for several months and in the summer, it does not set for up to 73 days. Finnair’s stopover program offers you the opportunity to stay in Helsinki, up to 5 days without any additional flight costs, so will have plenty of time to discuss sunrises/sunsets while you are sitting in one of the 3+ million saunas found in Finland.

Pro-tip: This is an excellent way to experience the Northern Lights for the cheap and if you need a guide, don’t forget to “Rent A Finn.


Dubai, UAE

PROGRAM: Emirates Stopover

Dubai….ahh, Dubai! If you’re connecting in the electric city of Dubai, it will likely be on Emirates and they make it extremely easy to experience so many five-star luxury resorts. While you’re there, don’t forget to get in some great shopping, and experience the beaches and phenomenal food options.

Pro-tip: You can score some amazing discounts by just showing your boarding pass at locations throughout the city.

TAP Portugal

Porto, Portugal

PROGRAM: TAP Portugal Stopover

Portugal is one of the most underrated countries in the world! Similar to Finnair, TAP Portugal’s stopover program allows you to stopover (in either Lisbon or Porto) up to five nights at no additional airfare costs.

The stopover program also offers discounts on hotels and other experiences turning this 2-for-1 into an amazing deal.

Pro-tip: Recently, TAP offered a 10% discount on all flights that lasted beyond the promo dates so give it a try with code “TAP10FLY”.

Were you aware that some airlines offered stopover programs? So who is inspired to take advantage of these airline stopover programs?


  1. You’ve mentioned Doha so much now i gotta make it there. Almost took qatar to thailand a while ago but decided on air canada. Boy do i regret this lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is why we need you. As many times as Ive been to Europe, I was always confused that my layover options in Iceland were always very short, when they always advertise staying there for multiple days. I had no idea there was a complete separate site for me to search for them (or that they were called “stopovers”)

    Thanks for this info!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To be honest, I don’t know why the airline(s) do not make it clearer. Trust me, they want you to connect in their country, spend your money, and continue onto your destination. It’s hard to fathom where Dubai would be without super-easy stopovers / long layovers with Emirates. The Middle Eastern carriers have done a phenomenal job in implementing this strategy. But stay tuned, I will have a continuation to this blog.


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