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One day layover--where?

One day layover--where?

Old Dec 3, 18, 10:49 am
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One day layover--where?

I'm planning to go to Greece in September 2019 (departing from Des Moines). I don't think I'll be able to afford Business for First Class so I was thinking of trying to break up the trip with a 15-20 hour layover at a European location that would be relatively en route to ATH.

Is there anywhere that you would recommend for an interesting sight-seeing stop between DSM and ATH? Please keep in mind that this would just be a long day layover, not much time to go too far from the airport location. thanks
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Old Dec 3, 18, 11:03 am
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I'd think in terms of places with easy/frequent/cheap transportation between airport and city that takes you into an easily walkable area of the city.

AMS is an obvious choice, although instead of going into Amsterdam, The Hague is not much farther and the area around the train station (be careful about which one as The Hague has two on separate train lines, with some construction when I was last there) is nicer (versus Amsterdam CS being on the edge of the red light district and close to the scuzziness of The Dam (square).

From FRA, you can similarly take the train to Mainz or Wiesbaden rather than Frankfurt. DUS is nice, but doesn't have many TATL flights. MUC now has the train right at the airport, two lines with different routes that end at the main station IIRC. [Formerly it was a shuttle to a suburban light rail line.] VIE has an express train to a minor train station in a modern shopping mall on the edge of a park which is a long walk from the historic downtown area, but IIRC there are other slower options to other locations.

From CDG, there are buses and the RER to downtown areas, but the service is fairly expensive and can be prone to strikes and traffic jams at certain times.

From LHR, there's an expensive nonstop train, but the tube is pretty cheap and takes you to far more locations. IIRC it's also easy to go to Windsor from LHR, although Cambridge and Oxford and long trips by bus (called coach in England for the long distance ones) or train.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 11:37 am
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I have a bit of a problem with that idea as really anywhere you stop is not likely to be more than a couple of hours flight time from Athens. I see most flights from DSM connect in ORD (Chicago). I might just as easily suggest an overnight stop there. It would really all depend on actual arrival/departure times, prices and which airlines you prefer to fly with.

Of all the most likely transit airports in Europe you might look at, the easiest I believe to be able to visit the city, would be Zurich. It is about as easy an airport to navigate, take the train from the airport into the city centre and back as you could find. But even then, I would not plan on just a long (within the day) connection time but would plan on at least spending one night and then taking a comfortable departure time from there to Athens.

At all costs, I would avoid LHR. It is top of our list of 'to be avoided at all cost' airports in Europe.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 1:26 pm
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Not knowing what airline you're flying (which matters if you want to avoid multiple connections in the US), and considering major airports with connection options, I'd probably vote for one of the following, in this order:

1. Amsterdam
2. Munich
3. Brussels

All are fairly easy to take the train from the airport into town. I disagree somewhat with MSPeconomist. While his post is accurate, I don't think that's such a bad area of Amsterdam. You can walk through the red light district quickly to a more interesting part of town, or if you turn right-ish when leaving Centraal station, you'll soon be in the Jordaan district, which is very nice. Lots of shops and pubs, as well as a couple historic churches and the Anne Frank house.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 1:35 pm
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I didn't consider BRU because it wouldn't be a common routing for USA-EU-ATH. Also, the three train stations make it somewhat confusing, with some of the nicer areas such as Avenue Louise not walkable from downtown. Also, I would assume--but don't know for sure--that the bombing damage to the airport has been completely restored with transportation functioning as usual without stops for security checks upon approaching the airport.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Also, I would assume--but don't know for sure--that the bombing damage to the airport has been completely restored with transportation functioning as usual without stops for security checks upon approaching the airport.
Good point. I haven't been there since that occurred. I still think AMS is the obvious choice anyway, for ease of transit, and the fact that it's one of my favorites in Europe .
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Old Dec 3, 18, 3:27 pm
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Itís worth pointing out that Amsterdamís red light district is more a tourist attraction than anything else. I personally find it quite amusing and worth a look if youíre in Amsterdam. Donít let it put you off. I think Amsterdam Centraal Station is well located.

I disagree quite considerably about LHR being awful. Immigration queues can be long, they can also be short.

Decide on the city you want to visit, those mentioned above, then research travel options to and from the city centre. If there are no major red flags for you, then just book it.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 4:12 pm
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Istanbul
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Old Dec 3, 18, 8:42 pm
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Originally Posted by cagcag View Post
Istanbul
As a stopover point from the US to Greece???
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Old Dec 4, 18, 3:54 am
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If you're going through Chicago then WAW is another option for a stopover. It's one of the most centrally located hubs in Europe and very easy and cheap to get to the centre of town by train or even directly to the old town by bus.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I didn't consider BRU because it wouldn't be a common routing for USA-EU-ATH. Also, the three train stations make it somewhat confusing, with some of the nicer areas such as Avenue Louise not walkable from downtown.


It's definitely walkable, I've done it dozens of times and it's only 15-20 minutes to Louise station (where Avenue Louise begins) from Grand Place, and you can go through the Sablon area, which is very nice, especially for food and drinks, and then past the massive Palais de Justice.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 10:45 am
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Originally Posted by :D! View Post
As a stopover point from the US to Greece???
If the OP is going through ORD anyway (from Des Moines), there's a nonstop on Turkish, and then just a short hop to ATH vs. somewhere like London or Amsterdam, so it's not as crazy as it sounds. And actually TK offers free city tours which the OP could take advantage of on a long layover, if desired.

But it did seem in the initial post that the OP was looking to have two shorter flights to get out and stretch a little rather than one even longer flight.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 1:49 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I didn't consider BRU because it wouldn't be a common routing for USA-EU-ATH. Also, the three train stations make it somewhat confusing, with some of the nicer areas such as Avenue Louise not walkable from downtown. Also, I would assume--but don't know for sure--that the bombing damage to the airport has been completely restored with transportation functioning as usual without stops for security checks upon approaching the airport.

Airport situation in Brussels is as it was before the bombing. The only thing that is different since then is the location of the drop-off zone which is moved 100 meters away from the terminal instead of right outside the building. Public transportation is right under the terminal building so quick access to the center (or should be quick the few moments the Belgian railroads manage to get the trains to ride on time)

On topic: if I look up possible routes from Des Moines to Athens I find some via Copenhagen. Seems like a nice stop to me as the airport is not that far from the city center and public transportation is only 15 minutes.

Last edited by TimDP; Dec 4, 18 at 1:56 pm
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Old Dec 5, 18, 7:47 pm
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Originally Posted by :D! View Post
As a stopover point from the US to Greece???
yes.
my brother flew with Turkish from US to Istanbul and connected to Athens.
he said it was a quick and painless connection
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Old Dec 5, 18, 7:49 pm
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I wonder if the OP has ever been to Europe.
If she/he has not then I would recommend CDG
I think Paris is the quintessential "European city" and if you have never been to Europe then I cannot imagine a better/more complete city to visit; even if it is only for 12 hours.
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Old Dec 11, 18, 7:29 am
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I'm a little confused about why the stopover is necessary? Because a J or F ticket DSM-ATH is too expensive, so the journey has to be split into two Y trips to break up the journey?

I'm not familiar with DSM at all, but a bit of fare hunting, and it seems like there is a direct AA ORD-ATH next Sept with reasonable prices in Y. I imagine picking a European city to break up the journey will only increase costs, without much benefit, especially as the layover is only a very short sub-24 hour one.

I can't see any reason to break the journey elsewhere in Europe unless that intermediate point is either a logical transit spot (so a major hub) or the OP wants to specifically go there. Saying Ghent is a lovely city, so stop there, will only become a major logistical challenge, with no cost benefit. Otherwise, book the direct (or a through) ticket to ATH, and get on with the Greek trip.

If longhual Y isn't comfortable enough, BA/AA have ORD-ATH fares for around $1500 in premium economy, and you can also open jaw to fly back from somewhere else like JTR/JMK/SKG/CFU etc.
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