Passenger airplane taking off at sunset

Did You Know? You Can Score Free City Stopovers on These 6 Airlines

It doesn't matter what kind of traveler you are, when it comes to long-haul flights, layovers are the worst. Trust us: no one wants to waste their precious PTO hauling around carry-on luggage, fighting jet-lag, searching for WiFi, and dealing with gate changes. The good news: when you book a trip with one of these six airlines, you can score a free city stopover at no extra cost. Tacking a vacation onto your vacation? We can't think of a single reason not to do it.

Senior Editor, Jetsetter | @lindseytravels |

See recent posts by Lindsey Olander

Row of houses in Reykjavik Iceland
Ariel view of Reykjavik Iceland

Reykjavík with Icelandair

It's one of the many reasons why Iceland continues to pop up on traveler's itineraries: Icelandair, the country's flagship airline, has been offering an incredible stopover deal between North America and Europe since the 1960s. The scoop: you can spend up to seven days on Icelandic soil before your connecting flight—at no extra cost. That's enough time to squeeze in glacier hiking, waterfall spotting, bar-hopping in Reykjavík, and multiple trips to the Blue Lagoon. (Owing to the amount of incredible Instagrams tagged with #MyStopover, their marketing campaign is working.) Choose from a number of scenic destinations including Glasgow, Scotland; Bergen, Norway; Paris, France; and many more.

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Trolly car in Lisbon Portugal
View of Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon with TAP Portugal

Taking a long-haul flight on TAP Portugal? You can spend up to five nights in Lisbon—or Porto—for no additional charge before your connection flight to Africa, Europe, Brazil, or the U.S. Headed elsewhere in Portugal but still want to spend some time in one of those two cities? The offer also applies if your final destination is Madeira, Algarve, or the Azores. (Plus, they tack on a few extras to make your trip extension that much more worth it, including hotel and museum discounts and restaurant meal add-ons.)

RELATED: 12 Tips for Surviving a Long-Haul Flight

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Balat is popular tourist attraction in Istanbul, Turkey.
Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul with Turkish Airlines

The good news: you scored an amazing round-trip flight on Turkish Airlines! The bad news: you have to connect in Istanbul and—brace yourself—the layover time exceeds 20 hours. The silver lining: you're in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, and Turkish wants to help you see it in the limited time you have. Those who quality for their stopover program—accepted arrival points from the U.S. include Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Southern Europe, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Iran, and Kazakhstan—get a free night’s stay at a central Istanbul hotel (one night at a four-star if you’re in Economy Class; two nights at a five-star if you’re flying Business). Squeezing in a visit to the beautiful Hagia Sophia mosque-turned-museum? Challenge accepted.

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"The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar."
The Pets Market, Souq Waqif

Doha with Qatar Airways

Consistently ranked among the world’s best airlines, Qatar Airways truly knows how to sell its brand and its country, from its roomy cabins, stellar service, and direct routes linking the U.S. to points abroad to their program that puts the Middle East within easy—and safe—reach. Flyers from 80 countries (including the U.S.) making connections through Doha have no reason NOT to take advantage of their stopover program: we’re talking visa-free entry into Qatar, a free night’s hotel stay, round-trip transfers between the airport and your hotel, and added perks like free breakfast and late check-out.

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Crowded Aleksi street, Helsinki, Finland
Liisankatu street in Kruununhaa district. Helsinki, Finland
Skyline of Helsinki Finland

Helsinki with Finnair

With its creative energy and dynamic design scene, Finland's oceanfront capital is a gorgeous jumping-off point for seeing the country—even if you've only got a few days. Travelers flying on Finnair can book a layover of anywhere from five hours to five days for no additional cost, either on their departing or returning flight. No other perks are included, unfortunately, but Finnair's partnership with Finland Tours makes planning your layover time a cinch. Pick and choose from a handful of hours- and days-long itineraries, which pack in everything from restaurants to saunas to Northern Lights excursions up in Lapland.

RELATED: 9 Underrated European Cities You Probably Haven't Visited Yet, But Should

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Temple in Tokyo Japan
View of mountain in Tokyo Japan

Tokyo with Japan Air

If you are one of the unlucky ones flying on Japan Airlines without official business in Tokyo, you can still snag a stopover if you’re coming from North America and connecting through the city. The offer depends on your destination, but here’s the clincher: dependent on visa approval, there is no limitation to how long your layover is. Flight prices are sporadic depending on dates, so we suggest playing around on their multi-city/stopover booking page to see what deals are available now.

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