Layover in Europe? Make the Most of It in These 10 Cities

by Emese Graham
a laughing couple embraces on a canal bridge in amsterdam

The next time you’re booking flights to Europe and come across a multi-city option, don’t think “ugh… I was hoping to avoid a layover”. Think, “Score! Now I can zip into the city for a selfie at the Eiffel Tower!”

With so many European city centres conveniently close to major airports and well connected by public transportation, our Travel Experts love to take advantage of layovers as much as possible. Check out some of our favourite cities to explore if you only have 24 hours or less.

Best European Cities for Layover Flights

Rome, Italy

When in Rome… for heaven’s sake leave the airport and make the most of it! With traffic between Fiumicino airport and the city centre usually on the heavier side, we recommend opting for either a longer layover or asking your Travel Expert to turn it into a stopover instead to give you the most time to explore. The must-sees: the Colosseum, the Vatican, Teatro di Marcello, Circus Maximus, Via Condotti fashion district, and anywhere selling creamy gelato.

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Dublin, Ireland

Flying Aer Lingus into continental Europe means you get a chance to stop in Dublin and explore. Check out The Winding Stairs, a bookshop and cafe bar just across from Ha’Penny Bridge. Stretch your legs with a long walk in Phoenix Park. Or pop into a distillery for a tour and whiskey tasting!

Brussels, Belgium


Come for the chocolate, stay for the chocolate, have some more chocolate, wait – what were we talking about? Belgian sweets aside, Europe’s capital offers plenty for the curious traveller. Have a picnic lunch at Parc Du Cinquantenaire, snap a photo of the Atomium, and tour the city’s seemingly endless historic landmarks and beautiful buildings.

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Lisbon, Portugal

On your way to Morocco? Flying TAP to your European vacation? Lucky you’re in Lisbon! This historic multi-cultural city is just as exciting on your fifteenth visit as it is on your first. Find hidden views in miradouros, ride the iconic Tram 28, book a tour of the Tower of Belém, and fill up on port wine and pastel de nata. 

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Copenhagen, Denmark

Perfectly bikeable. Surprisingly sustainable. Exquisitely Copenhagen. Whether you’re getting a behind-the-scenes look at Amalienborg Palace, trying out fun science experiments at Experimentarium, or rollercoaster hopping at Tivoli Gardens, this Scandinavian city proves itself worth the visit every time.

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London, England

If your itinerary includes a stop at Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world, you’ll definitely want to answer London’s call! The city centre is a little further away from the airport than some of the other destinations on this list, but with heaps of guided tours to choose from, epic sights, and tasty pub fare, you won’t regret the extra few kilometres.

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Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Am I dreaming or am I in Amsterdam? A short train ride from Schiphol airport will get you the latter. Take a boat tour through UNESCO-listed canals, chow down on stroopwafels, and visit as many museums as the clock will allow.

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Düsseldorf, Germany


Not just a financial district, this unique city offers a world of adventure for shopaholics and art-lovers. Not to mention the tasty altbier that’s always on tap.

Bring your empty suitcase to Königsallee, Düsseldorf’s luxury fashion neighbourhood. Then browse modern and post-modern artworks (both in the museum and on the streets). Or just charge up your phone and take yourself on a photo safari through Altstadt (Old Town).

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Reykjavik, Iceland

Thinking of extending your layover into a stopover? You can add anywhere between one and seven days in Iceland with no additional airfare charge when you fly with Icelandair. Cool, right? And speaking of cool, Iceland’s winter is just as fascinating as its summer. Explore ice caves and witness the aurora borealis during one season, then tour the Golden Circle and take a dip in the Blue Lagoon in another!

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Paris, France

Boasting the second busiest airport in Europe, Paris is both a popular layover city and (obviously) an essential destination in its own right. Not unlike Rome, you’ll want to set aside some extra time to travel to the city centre from Charles de Gaulle airport. Once there, you can stroll through Montmarte, hop on a river cruise on the Seine, book a Parisian cooking or patisserie class, and take that cheesy photo in front of the Eiffel Tower.

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