On my way to Barcelona, I had a 18 hour layover in Vienna, Austria. I specifically booked a flight like that so that I would have some time to explore Vienna. While traditionally I prefer spending more days in a city to get a better feel of it, a long layover is a great way to visit a place you ordinarily wouldn’t, or at least in the near future.
Tips on organizing a long layover:
Research transportation – Figure out how to get from the airport to the city. For my trip, I booked a round trip ticket online for a bus that took me into the city from the airport. This information can be easily found on the airport’s website and usually if you buy the tickets online or buy them roundtrip, it comes out cheaper (if you plan on using the return ticket within 14 days).
Find a place to stay close to public transportation – When planning for Austria, I looked for a hostel that was close to the bus stop; the hostel ended up being only 5 minutes away walking distance. This way, I saved time getting to/from the airport and it was a lot easier to get to places. Also, most hostels let you check in after 2:00pm, but give you the option of leaving your bag in the luggage room so that you can drop them off to go out and explore!
Plan out your day and where to go – On such short trips, I recommend taking a free walking tour – most big cities offer these. Most tours are 2-3 hours, offer great insight into the city, and at the end you leave the tour guide a tip of your own discretion. Unfortunately, Vienna did not have any free tours, so I looked up various things to see and mapped them out. I ended up just walking around town and having dinner there, were I met a wonderful family from the US.
Don’t miss your flight – Most connecting flights (after a long layover) are in the morning…. mine was at 7:00am and so I had to wake up at 4:40am 🙁 . I opted out of going out the night before to make sure that I woke up that early, which is a difficult feat as it is. Fortunately, most bus airport buses run from 5:00am, so transportation shouldn’t be an issue for the most part!
Here are some of my pictures from Vienna! :