Free European Stopovers

In the air


Visit two places for the price of one with these two new programs

Photo courtesy: Swiss Air Lines

Photo courtesy: Swiss Air Lines

Why go?

I’ve long been an advocate of adding long layovers and even longer stopovers to international itineraries. It just makes good economical sense to visit more places on a single airline reservation.

Now two European carriers, both part of the Lufthansa Group and Star Alliance, are introducing new stopover programs to encourage travelers to spend time in each of their respective countries.

Photo courtesy: Swiss Air Lines

Photo courtesy: Swiss Air Lines

Swiss International Air Lines is offering the Stopover Switzerland program for travelers who are connecting through Zurich on their way to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. This program allows you to spend one to four nights in Switzerland without incurring additional fees. You can book packages through the airline’s partner, Switzerland Travel Centre, to see Zurich, Lucerne, Zermatt, Montreux, and Interlaken. Or you can book one of Switzerland’s legendary train trips on the Bernina or Glacier Express. These packages, of course, cost extra, but they’re a lot cheaper than booking airfare to Switzerland on a separate trip. Costs are discounted for kids.


Brussels Airlines is introducing a similar program for travel in Belgium. Passengers connecting in Brussels on their way to other destinations in Europe or Africa can take an extra day or up to five extra days to explore. Brussels Airlines also is offering free access to some tourist activities and museums in Brussels, Antwerp, Charleroi, Eupen, Ghent, Leuven, Liège, Louvain-la-Neuve, Mechelen, Mons, Namur, Tournai, and Ypres - all cities easily accessible by train. And because the country is so small, you’ll likely have time to visit several places or even take a train to nearby Amsterdam.

Need help finding other potential layovers or stopovers that you can book at no additional cost? AirTreks specializes in putting together multi-stop itineraries. The website has an easy-to-use mapping tool to get you started. AirTreks also offers travel specialists to help with the details. Check them out here.

Please know that we love its product so much that KidTripster has decided to partner with AirTreks as an affiliate. That means if you use our link to book, we get some coffee money from them. There’s no additional cost to you. Just wanted you to know!

Editor Shellie Bailey-Shah once booked around-the-world tickets for her family of four with multiple stopovers. By the time the family actually flew, she’d made 100 changes to the family’s reservation!

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