What are the best layover cities in the world?
And how to make the most of your layover there? These are the main questions you’ll find answers to in this guide to top layover cities. Because, yes, there’s a huge difference whether you’re having a layover in Singapore or Bangkok, or in Bhubaneswar, India (I’ve been there). Bhubaneswar airport isn’t a fun place.
In fact, it’s true with most airports and a lot of cities. They aren’t interesting for tourists simply passing through. At the same time these cities, with or without stop-over programs, are perfect for a long layover or stopover.
10 Best Layover Cities
Here’s the list – 10 best cities for a layover.
For extra tips see our layover FAQ at the bottom of the page.
Singapore is one of the very best layover cities.
If you have a connecting flight with a long layover in Singapore, consider yourself a lucky person. In our experience, Singapore is hands down the best layover experience in the world. According to countless sources, Singapore Changi Airport has been one of the best airports for layovers for a long time now. And Singapore Airlines is one of the best airlines in the world.
If your layover is at least 5.5 hours long, take advantage of the free city tour for layover passengers. There are two tour routes to choose from:
- Heritage Tour (historical monuments)
- City Sights Tour (modern architecture)
What are Singapore layover requirements? Nationals of many countries (e.g., EU, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, etc.) don’t need a visa to travel to Singapore. They just stamp your passport, and you’re free to go. Getting back into the airport is the same as easy — the immigration check-in is 100% automated, no one stamps your passport on departure from Singapore, and security control is separate for every gate, and it’s at the gate.
If you don’t that have much time, explore Singapore Changi Airport which is one of the best airports in the world. The most famous attraction in the airport is Jewel Changi Airport — a nature themed retail and entertainment complex opened in October 2019. It is where the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, Rain Vortex, is located. The waterfall is surrounded by trees and plants from all around the world. It’s hard to believe that all of this is indoors!
In addition to that, there’s a Light and Sound show at Jewel, and Rain Vortex lights up in colors and music.
If your layover is during the day (12 pm to 9 pm), have a relaxing swim in the pool! Changi is one of the few world’s airports that boast a pool. It is located at Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel at Terminal 1 and offers runway views. There’s also a jacuzzi and poolside bar. All of it for just 20 SGD (around 14 USD / EUR).
If you have more time on your hands, consider going into the city on your own. It’s very easy and quite fast to get into the city. Singapore has a great public transportation system. Alternatively, you can always take a Grab (“Asia’s Uber”).
There is an airport train to Singapore city center. You’ll have to change to another line to get to the heart of Singapore, Singapore Marina, though. It is where many of the most famous landmarks are located. But don’t worry, using Singapore metro is easy. It’s also very cheap.
If you have time, do not miss famous Singapore street food markets and hawker centres. For that visit Chinatown and Little India.
Bangkok is a very popular layover destination in Asia.
If you are flying from Europe or USA, most probably you will have a layover in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Bangkok is a great city for a layover, especially if you have a flight with a long layover in Bangkok. There are direct flights to Bangkok from many major European cities.
If your layover is at least 6 hours long, explore Bangkok. To make the most of your Bangkok layover, join a join a guided Bangkok city tour for transit passengers. The guide will take you to all most famous spots of Bangkok. You’ll visit impressive temples and palaces, try some local dishes and visit a shopping center. Some of the best Bangkok layover tours are rather expensive (more than 100 USD!) — at the same time you get to see Bangkok.
What are Bangkok layover requirements? It’s very easy to travel via Bangkok. Nationals of many countries (e.g., EU, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, etc.) don’t need a visa to travel to Thailand. Your passport will be stamped at passport control. You might be asked to show an onward ticket, though. But it’s not a problem for layover passengers.
If you don’t that have much time, stay at the airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport is large, and offers good shopping and dining. Have lunch or dinner, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a slice of cake. Relax in an airport lounge or enjoy a Thai massage at an airport spa (Chang Massage and Spa).
Try Pad Thai noodle dish, if you want to try something Thai.
If you have a long layover (at least 8 hours), you can go to the city on your own. There’s an airport train that is cheap and easy to use. It’s easy and fast to get into the city. The train terminates at Phaya Thai, one of Bangkok’s affluent and modern neighbourhoods. From there, you can take a taxi to the oldest part of Bangkok, Rattanakosin district, where impressive historical temples and palaces are located. Or you can spend your time in the area of Phaya Thai.
Keep in mind that there are two airports in Bangkok: Suvarnabhumi and Dong Muang. Suvarnabhumi is the main airport. It is used for long-haul flights to Bangkok. If you are flying from Europe or USA, for example, with Thai Airways International, you’ll be landing in Suvarnabhumi (BKK). If you are flying to Bangkok from an Asian country, especially on a low-cost airline, most likely, you’ll land in Don Mueang Airport (DMK). If you’re planning a self transfer through Bangkok — pay attention to this.
3. Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is another popular layover destination for those traveling to Asia / Southeast Asia.
Just like with Singapore and Thailand, there are direct flights to KL from several major European cities. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is one of Southeast Asia’s best and busiest airports. It is also a main base to AirAsia (a major budget airline in Asia) and Malaysian Airlines. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is a great airport filled with shops, boutiques, restaurants and cafes.
If your layover is longer than 6 hours, explore the main sights of Kuala Lumpur on a KL layover tour. To make the most of your layover, join a guided tour of KL. There are a number of options to choose from, but the shortest tours take around 5 to 6 hours. These guided city tours of KL are cheap. You can book a spot for about 25 USD / 25 EUR (minimum 2 people per tour).
What are Kuala Lumpur layover requirements? Just like with Bangkok and Singapore, Kuala Lumpur doesn’t have any specific requirements for transit passengers. Nationals of many countries can visit Malaysia without a visa. You’ll need to go through passport control where your passport will be stamped. You may need to show an onward ticket, though.
If you don’t that have much time, stay at the airport. KLIA may not have great attractions as Singapore Changi Airport has, but there are a few decent attractions for those who have a layover in Kuala Lumpur.
What to do in Kuala Lumpur’s airport? Explore KLIA Jungle Boardwalk. It’s a tiny forest inside the airport, with paths, man-made waterfalls and thousands of trees and plants. Located in KLIA1, it’s free to visit. There is also a small car museum located near the Kuala Lumpur airport — National Automobile Museum. If you have a spare hour, visit this museum! It’s located only a short taxi ride away. Entry to the museum is free.
If you have a long layover (at least 8 hours), hop on a train and get into the city! The best and fastest way to get into the city is to take KLIA Ekspres train. It is a direct non-stop express train. It takes around 30 minutes to get from the airport to the main station, Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station. The ticket costs around 12 USD / EUR one way (55 RM).
- You can explore the city on your own, or get onto a Hop On Hop Off Bus from KL Sentral Station (the main station in KL).
- The best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur are: the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, KL TV Tower (Menara KL), historical Merdeka Square, Chinatown, busy Central Market and the bustling Bukit Bintang neighbourhood.
If you have a long layover, you may have enough time to visit Batu Caves, an impressive limestone hill known for its recently renovated Hindu temple complex. It is located 15 km from central Kuala Lumpur, and can easily reached by a train.
Pay attention to the terminal when you are transiting through KLIA. There are two terminals in the airport: KLIA1 and KLIA2. KLIA1 is for full service airlines, but KLIA2 — for low cost airlines. Both are connected via train (KLIA Transit and KLIA Ekspres). So, you won’t have any problem commuting between the two. There’s also a free shuttle bus between KLIA1 and KLIA2.
4. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a popular layover destination in Asia.
Thanks to the large and modern airport, and great sightseeing, Hong Kong is a wonderful layover city. What to do on a Hong Kong layover?
If you have a few spare hours, go into Hong Kong City. Take the Airport Express train to get into the city. It takes about 30 minutes to get from the airport to the heart of the city by the express train.
- Stroll along Victoria Harbour and Causeway Bay.
- Take the cheap Star Ferry to get to the other side (Kowloon).
- And explore Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui.
- Stroll along the Avenue of Stars.
- Admire the skyline of Hong Kong island.
Do you need a visa for a layover in Hong Kong? No. Even if you want to leave the airport and explore the city during your layover, most probably you won’t need a visa. The citizens of 140 countries can visit Hong Kong without a visa. If you don’t need visa to visit Hong Kong, you can leave the airport easily during your layover / stopover.
If you don’t that have much time, explore Hong Kong International Airport. It is one of the best airports in Asia, and offers a few attractions. While it doesn’t offer such an amazing array of attractions as Singapore Changi Airport does, you won’t get bored in Hong Kong Airport. There are a few nice things layover passengers transiting through Hong Kong can do there. You can watch a movie at an IMAX cinema, visit Aviation Discovery Centre, play virtual sports at i-Sports and relax and have a massage at a spa.
If your layover is in the late afternoon or evening, and you have time, head to Victoria Peak. It offers great views of Hong Kong’s skyline. When it gets dark, the city lights up wonderfully. There’s one more viewpoint on Victoria Peak which faces the surrounding islands. The views from Victoria Peak during the day are wonderful, too. To get to Victoria Peak, get on the Peak Tram. You can buy tram tickets online in advance.
The Peak Tram stop is located only 10 minute walk away from the central Hong Kong station where the Airport Express terminates.
Dubai is a popular layover destination in the Middle East.
Dubai International Airport is the main hub for Emirates, one of the best airlines in the world. As it also is one of the world’s largest airlines (by number of countries served), it’s understandable, that Dubai International Airport is a major airport with plenty of facilities.
Use your Dubai layover to go sunbathing on the beach — it is possible! Some 6 hours in Dubai is enough to go to the beach. It takes about 1 hour to get to the beach from DXB airport. Get off at a metro stop Dubai Marina. Then spend 1-2 hours on the beach. And in 1 hour you can easily get back to the airport.
So, why not go to the beach in Dubai during a layover?
Anything starting from 6 hours is also enough to see a bit of the city.
Dubai entry requirements are simple. If you are a EU, UK or US citizen, you don’t need Dubai layover visa. You can enter the UAE without a visa. Citizens of many other countries don’t require a visa to UAE. At the airport they stamp your passport, and you’re free to go and explore (if that’s what you wish to do during your layover in Dubai).
If you have a short Dubai airport layover, spend it in the airport. Dubai airport is large, and offers good shopping and dining. Have a lunch or dinner, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a slice of cake. Relax in an airport lounge or enjoy a massage at an airport spa. Want to work out? Head to G-Force Health Club (located at Dubai International Hotel).
Does Emirates provide hotel for long layover?
Are you flying through Dubai with Emirates? Read this!
You have to check out the Emirates overnight layover / Emirates long layover in Dubai program. Because if your layover time in Dubai is 10 to 24 hours, you could be entitled to Dubai Connect service which offers complimentary hotel and transfers. Keep in mind that Dubai Connect has to be booked in advance (at least 24 hours before the flight). Terms and conditions apply.
If, for example, there are better connections (shorter flights) available for your journey, you won’t be entitled to Dubai Connect service. For example, you are flying from Riga to Bangkok, and you have to choose between a 3-hour layover in Dubai or 12-hour layover in Dubai. If you choose 12-hour Emirates layover, you won’t be entitled to Dubai Connect as there was a better, shorter connection.
Dubai Stopover packages / tours (including desert safaris).
That’s another thing offered by Emirates.
Click here to learn more.
Keep in mind that there are two airports in Dubai. If you are flying with a full-service airline (e.g., Emirates, Turkish Airlines or Qatar Airways), you will land in Dubai International Airport (DXB) which is the main airport. Dubai World Central / Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), the second airport, is served only by a handful of airlines, most of them being low-cost, like Wizz Air, or charter airlines.
Home to Hamad International Airport, Doha is a popular destination for layovers in the Middle East.
Hamad International Airport is the hub airport for Qatar Airways, a 5-star traditional airline, and one of our favorite airlines. If we look at the numbers and reviews, Qatar Airways is also one of the largest and best airlines in the world. They were also one of the busiest airlines throughout the pandemic. And because of that, the Doha airport is very busy.
So, what to do during a Doha layover?
If you have a rather long layover in Doha, go on a tour. If you have an 8-hour layover in Doha, or more, take advantage of Doha layover tours. For example, Qatar Airways offers inexpensive Doha layover tours. They’re available to everyone flying with Qatar Airways, and makes flights with long layovers even more appealing — a layover flight can be fun. More expensive desert safari tours are also available, for those who have an 8-hour layover in Doha, or more.
Alternatively, you can use the metro to get into the city and explore the city on your own. That’s one of the best things about these layover cities — you can easily travel from the airport into the city.
Doha entry requirements are simple. If you are a EU, UK or US citizen, you don’t need a visa for Qatar. At the airport they stamp your passport, and you’re free to go and explore (if that’s what you wish to do during your layover). But do double-check the entry requirements and rules before you travel — this applies to ALL COUNTRIES, not only Qatar.
If you don’t that have much time, explore the luxurious Doha Hamad International Airport. It has beaten Singapore Changi Airport in being the best airport in the world, according to Skytrax. Hamad Airport is a huge airport with sleek and shiny metallic architecture, numerous installations and great restaurants where you can enjoy a wonderful meal, or several. It’s just a nice place to walk around, and is huge. Make the most of Doha airport layover and get your 10,000 steps at the airport!
Does Qatar Airways provide hotel for long layover? Qatar Airways offers their layover passengers discounted hotel rates. If your layover or stopover is at least 12 hours long, you may get a heavily discounted 4-star/5-star hotel stay.
Istanbul is one of the best layover cities in the world.
Partly thanks to Turkish Airlines, which is one of the best and most popular airlines in the world. It is the largest airline in the world by number of passenger destinations. At the moment of writing, Turkish Airlines flies to 125 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
If you have a long layover with Turkish Airlines (6 — 24 hours), you can go on a free Istanbul tour, and explore Istanbul. The tour will take you to Istanbul’s most iconic sites, and you won’t even have to pay for this. Learn more about Touristanbul on their website. How to book Touristanbul? Click here.
Turkish Airlines also offers free hotel stays in Istanbul. If your stopover is longer than 12 hours, you may get a free hotel stay for one night. You can learn more about Turkish Airlines free hotel service here.
What are Istanbul entry requirements? If you are a EU or UK citizen, you don’t need a visa for Turkey. At the airport they stamp your passport, and you’re free to go and explore the city. If you are from the US, you have to apply for an e-visa to leave the airport in Istanbul. If you won’t be leaving the airport then you don’t need a visa for a connecting flight.
If you have a shorter layover (less than 6 hours in Istanbul), then stay at the airport. It takes a lot of time to get to the city and back to the airport. Chances are that you won’t make it in time for your flight. There are plenty of dining options in the airport, as it is so huge. There are also airport lounges and special “Nap zones” where you can rest.
Istanbul airport is far away from the city.
The new Istanbul International airport is located some 25 miles / 40 km from Taksim Square, the most popular and touristic area of the city. It takes about 1.5-2 hours to get from the airport to the city, depending on the traffic. Right now the bus and taxi are the only options. There are no fast trains or metro from Istanbul airport to the city. So make sure you have plenty of time on your hands. You don’t want to be late for your flights.
If you have a long layover (10 or 12 hours), it’s enough to visit the most popular sights in Istanbul on your own without joining a guided tour.
London is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
The city offers so many attractions and entertainment options. Even if you have just a few hours, you’ll find something to do in London.
If you have a long layover at Heathrow or Gatwick airport (at least 8 hours), you can manage to see a few popular landmarks in Central London. These two airports are connected to Central London by an express train (Heathrow Express and Gatwick Express). Get off at Victoria Station or Paddington (depending on which airport you are traveling from).
- Visit Hyde Park.
- Check out Buckingham Palace.
- Cross Westminster Bridge.
- And marvel at Big Ben.
What are London entry requirements? If you are a EU or US citizen, you don’t need a visa for Portugal. If you’re traveling from somewhere else, check out the visa policy of Portugal. Portugal is a EU country. You can start here.
If you have a short layover in Heathrow Airport (let’s say, 5 hours), head to Myrtle Avenue which is a wonderful plane watching spot right next to the airport. It takes about 15 minutes to get there. Use the metro (Piccadilly line) to get to Myrtle Avenue. Get off at Hatton Cross and walk the remaining 0.4 miles.
On Myrtle Avenue, you will see planes flying low overhead. It’s a very popular plane watching spot, and it can get quite crowded. From there, you can walk back to the airport, if you have time. It’ll take about 40 minutes.
If don’t have that much time, stay at the airport. Have lunch or dinner, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a slice of cake. Relax in an airport lounge.
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal.
It is one of the most beautiful and most visited cities in Portugal. This lively and vibrant city is known for cobbled streets, colorful buildings and the old town, Alfama, with its classic red roofs. What to do in Lisbon during a layover?
If your layover is 8 hours long, get a metro into the city. Unlike other capital cities, Lisbon is quite compact. The city center easily can be explored on foot. Many of the popular sights are within walking distance.
- Explore Lisbon’s Old Town, Alfama.
- Admire Lisbon from above (Miradouro da Senhora do Monte).
- Have a lunch at Time Out Market.
- And try the famous Portuguese custard tarts.
Guided layover tours of Lisbon are available too, but they are quite expensive (usually around 100 EUR).
What are Lisbon entry requirements? If you are a EU, UK or US citizen, you don’t need a visa for the United Kingdom. If you’re traveling from somewhere else, check out the visa policy of the United Kingdom. You can start here.
If don’t have that much time, stay at the airport. Unfortunately, there is not much to do in Lisbon Airport. You could check into a lounge to get some work done, or to relax. Alternatively, find a quieter spot to read a book or watch a movie. Have lunch or dinner, or a cup of coffee.
If you are flying with TAP Air Portugal, you can have a stopover in Lisbon or Porto (for 1 to 5 days), without paying the stopover fee. TAP Air Portugal offers hotels at special rates and discounts for restaurants and guided tours for their stopover passengers. Look into that when booking a connecting flight with TAP.
10. San Francisco
Know for its vibrant vibe, San Francisco is a wonderful layover destination.
Being among top 20 busiest airports in the US, San Francisco airport is quite popular for layover and stopover passengers. And San Francisco is one of the best places to visit on the West Coast of the USA. This makes the city one of the best layover cities in the world.
If you have a long layover in San Francisco (at least 8 hours), you can go sightseeing in San Francisco. It’s easy to get into the city. Trains connect San Francisco International Airport (SFO) with downtown San Francisco. Well, you won’t manage to see much of the city, because it’s a large city full of wonderful landmarks, but you’ll be able to see some of it.
- Explore Union Square and Chinatown.
- Visit Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Take a taxi to the Golden Gate Bridge and admire it from various viewpoints in the area. This place is iconic.
What are San Francisco entry requirements? You’ll need either ESTA or visa for a layover in the US, even if you don’t plan on staying in the US. It’s necessary also if you are only transiting through without leaving the airport.
If don’t have that much time, stay at the airport. Have lunch or dinner, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a slice of cake. Relax in an airport lounge or enjoy a massage at an airport spa.
1. Definition of Layover
Flight layover is a stop between flights.
How does a layover work? You have a connecting flight. This means that you have not one but two or more flights, and layover is a stop between these flights. Sometimes it’s referred to as a connection. You have your first flight, and you stop at a layover airport to take the next flight. If you have more than two flights, you will have two or more layovers.
Keep in mind that layover is not the same thing as a stopover.
2. Stopover vs Layover
The main difference is length.
Stopovers, basically, are long layovers. A stop between flights that is longer than 24 hours is considered a stopover. You can book stopovers using a multi-city flight booking option on airline websites. Experienced travelers use stopovers to see more of the world by paying little or nothing extra.
Some airlines even offer free layover hotel stays.
Read more: Stopover vs Layover
3. How to Book a Flight With a Long Layover?
You may want to explore the city you are having a layover in.
Are you flying through a city that you have wanted to visit for some time? Take advantage of a long layover or stopover. So, how to book a flight with a long layover? There are a few options.
1. When booking a connecting flight, just choose the one with a longer layover time (see image below; second and third options have twice as long layovers as the first option). It may be more expensive though, but not always.
2. If you want to stay at a layover city for more than 24 hours, you’ll need to book yourself a connecting flight with a stopover. You can do it by using a multi-city flight booking option on airline websites. Sometimes there are special deals on stopovers. For example, Etihad Airways has such a deal.
Etihad Airways offers both discounted and free accommodation, depending on how you are you planning to stay in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The offer is available for transiting passengers only.
Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways offer similar deals.
3. Book a self transfer flight. In other words – book two separate flights.
This is the least safe option. If the first flight gets cancelled or delayed, and you miss your connection, it falls on your shoulders to book a new flight to your final destination, as well as to book yourself accommodation. It’s your responsibility, not your airline’s. Mostly you also aren’t entitled to flight compensation.
Your travel insurance may come in handy, though. Make sure you have a travel insurance that covers delays and changes in itinerary.
Book protected self-transfer connection with Kiwi.
How to Book?
Flight booking websites, or airline websites.
Want to be on the safe side? Add insurance right away.
Read more: How to Book Connecting Flights?
These are three ways how to get a long layover or stopover.
4. Do You Need a Visa for a Layover?
Do you need a transit visa for connecting flight?
No, in most cases, you won’t need a visa for layover.
However, it depends on:
- the type of your connecting flight;
- country you are transiting through.
If you have an airline-protected connecting flight that has been booked as a single journey, there’s a chance you won’t need any visas for connecting flight. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, the United States of America, Canada and Australia. While you may not need an actual transit visa for US, Canada and Australia, you need to get an electronic authorisation before you travel. But these countries are just a few exceptions.
Most countries don’t require visa for layover passengers. As long as layover doesn’t exceed 24 hours. Especially if you aren’t leaving the airport.
However, if you are traveling on a self-transfer flight, you may need a visa for your connection. It depends on a country you are transiting through. If a country requires visa for entry, then you’ll need to apply for a visa before your self-transfer flight. Because when you have a self-transfer, you are entering the country — you can’t stay at the departures terminal.
You need to go through passport control to access landside area of the airport where check in counters are located. Since self-transfer connecting flights consist of multiple separate flights, you need to check in for each flight — you can’t do it at departures terminal.
Always check entry requirements when you are booking a self-transfer flight. It is always best to refer to official information before relying on Facebook groups and internet forums.
5. Do You Need a Visa for a Stopover?
You may need a visa for a stopover.
Countries allow to have a visa-free layover at an airport, as long as the layover doesn’t exceed 24 hours. But what if you want to leave the airport? Of if it’s a layover that is longer than 24 hours? Or both?
You may need a visa for that. If a country requires visa for entry, then you’ll need to apply for a visa before your flight for your stopover. Always check entry requirements when you are booking a stopover flight.
6. Can You Make it in Time?
Sometimes, even a long layover is not enough for sightseeing.
- Keep in mind that your long, 8-hour layover, will actually become a 3 or 4 hour layover once you account for travel time.
- Don’t forget also that you have to be back at the airport at least 2 hours before departure! This shortens your layover even more.
- There are also times when an airport is located very far away, and it takes more than an hour to travel one way.
- Other times the transport system is just not efficient, and you can’t get to the city as easily as in Hong Kong, for example.
- There may also be some other obstacles, like long lines at the airport or more busy than usual traffic in the city.
That’s why sometimes it’s better to stay at the airport.
You may even decide to spend a night at the airport.
6.1 Getting Into the City
Find out how much time does it take to get to the city, and back.
It’s best you don’t use bus or taxi during the rush hour. Make sure you arrive back at the airport in time for your next flight (2-3 hours before the time of departure). If you miss your flight, and it’s due to your fault not airline’s, you won’t be entitled to a free ticket to your destination or flight compensation. Because it was due to your fault (bad planning) that you missed your flight.
7. What to Do With Luggage?
If your layover is less than 24 hours, your hold baggage stays at the airport.
In this case, airport staff takes care of your luggage. You don’t need to collect and recheck it before your next flight. Mostly you don’t even have access to it. This is how it works with connecting flights. So, what if you want to leave the airport? You can do so if you wish. But your luggage will stay at the airport.
You can learn more about baggage on connecting flights here.
So, that’s why it’s important to pack a change of clothes and all the necessary items in your carry-on. Your carry-on bag stays with you through the journey.
If your carry-on is too heavy to be carried around, and you want to explore the city for a few hours without the heavy load, you can leave the bag in luggage storage. Many airports offer luggage storage. If there’s no luggage storage at the airport, there may be one at a railway or bus station.
What is your experience with layovers? Have you ever had a long layover in any of these cities? Did you go to the city too?