Stopovers are often seen as somewhat of an inconvenience when travelling, with the mere mention of the word conjuring up unappealing thoughts of hours of boredom sat in a busy airport lounge - but that doesn't have to be the case. Turning a stopover into a mini-break can be an ingenious way to enhance your holiday experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in another culture with minimal extra travel and for great value for money. Read on to discover some of our favourite stopover destinations…
New York City, USA
New York, New York; The Big Apple; The City that Never Sleeps… so illustrious is New York City that it barely needs an introduction. New York is a bustling metropolis filled with some of the world's greatest art, culture, cuisine and history - and at around half the size of Greater London, you'll find that you can pack a surprising amount into a day or two, making NYC the perfect place to enjoy a stopover visit.
If you're a first time visitor to The Big Apple, or simply want to immerse yourself in the bustling NYC atmosphere, a trip to Times Square is almost obligatory. Instantly recognisable, the vibrant intersection goes by the epithet 'The Centre of the Universe' due to unique energy that it radiates, with flagship shops, iconic restaurants, stylish hotels and Broadway theatres all framed by its emblematic flashing neon lights and billboards. Times Square is almost always packed with crowds, so grant yourself enough time to take the requisite tourist photos and soak up the electric atmosphere before continuing your explorations of the city.
For an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Central Park. A verdant oasis in the middle of Manhattan, Central Park offers 843 acres of greenery and wildlife, as well as attractions including a castle, boating lake, zoo, and the largest art museum in the United States - The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Alternatively, enjoy a stroll along the High Line. This 1.5-mile-long elevated public park in Manhattan's West Side is built on a disused railway line, and offers a truly spectacular experience; enjoy lush greenery, fantastic artworks, seasonal food vendors and incredible views of the surrounding cityscape, all from a unique vantage point above the streets.
Shopping enthusiasts will delight in a stroll along Fifth Avenue, an unrivalled shopping destination with an abundance of upscale shops and department stores. The thoroughfare is also home to a number of National Historic Landmarks, including the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Centre, both of which boast spectacular observation decks for truly stunning views across the city.
A sprawling and vibrant urban hub which mixes rich culture, incredible cuisine and world-class tourist attractions, Singapore is one of the world's most popular stopover cities. Compact, safe and with much to offer its visitors, Singapore is the perfect introduction to Southeast Asia.
Singapore is a food lover's paradise, with a fantastic gastronomy scene offering everything from innovative haute cuisine in upscale, award-winning restaurants (Singapore boasts an amazing 29 Michelin starred eating establishments), to affordable, authentic street food served by street vendors in open-air hawker centres. Virtually any street in Singapore will present a myriad of enticing food options for the hungry traveller, with a mouth-watering array of cultural influences. Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Indonesian cuisines all inform the incredible gastronomic scene here, and food choices are extensive; you'll spot trendy sushi bars serving freshly sliced sashimi, bustling cafes serving South Indian inspired fish curries, and stalls serving classic Singaporean fare - chicken and rice, noodles, and chilli crab are some must-try traditional dishes.
Dating back to 1859 and boasting the title of the first and only UNESCO World Heritage listed botanical garden, Singapore's breathtaking Botanic Gardens provide a serene, tropical escape in the heart of the city and are a must-see for visitors to the area. Take some time to unwind and appreciate the tranquillity of nature amidst your explorations; wander around the beautiful National Orchid Garden, visit the cascading waterfall in the Ginger Gardens, and explore the Gardens' small but delightful tropical rainforest.
Though not one of the first stopover destinations that comes to mind, enhance your holiday with a stopover in laid-back Goa and you can enjoy pristine sandy beaches, shimmering turquoise oceans, and an enticing blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures.
The state of Goa is small (India's smallest, in fact), yet rich in fascinating cultural influences and lush scenery. Goa's popularity surged when it became known as a spiritual hippy retreat in the 1960's, and it is now a popular luxury destination. Under Portuguese rule from 1510 until 1961, you will find an unmistakeable Portuguese heritage still evident in Goa, making it quite unlike anywhere else in India. Your time here is best spent relaxing and indulging in Goa's unrivalled sun, sea and sand, with stretches of gorgeous sun-kissed beaches just waiting to be discovered.
Goan food is culturally diverse, taking influence from Portuguese and Indian cuisine in almost equal measure. As a coastal state, seafood is an important staple of the Goan diet, along with spices - the chilli pepper was introduced to Goa by Portugal and is now an essential cooking staple throughout India. When visiting Goa, take the opportunity to sample authentic Goan fish curry and rice - a simple yet flavoursome dish made from delicate white fish and a richly spiced, fragrant curry sauce.
For the adventurous traveller, South Goa offers a more authentic regional experience and has much to explore if you chose to venture further inland. Explore towns and villages where imposing colonial architecture and grand whitewashed churches sit amongst kaleidoscopic bazaars and intricate Hindu temples - a valuable insight into the fascinating cultural history of this beautiful destination.