What are the best airports in the world?
Heading to the airport is not only an essential part of going on holiday but, for some, an exciting prospect too. This is usually due to the fact that it’s the start of your adventure and a quick exit from reality back home. While most airports are your standard point of departure, arrival and transitional spaces, there are others that really stand out from the norm.
Around the world there are some exceptional airports, which are worth visiting just to say that you have been and ticked them off of your bucket list. Whether they are host to some exceptional architecture, breath taking water features or are just comfortable and relaxing – these are some of my favourites:
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
This wonderful airport is superbly close to the city centre and will only take 11 minutes by train end to end. It features plenty of shopping and restaurants for tourists and locals alike, offering some delicious cuisines and high end brands. The duty-free stores here are highly unique as they include a wide selection of tulip seeds and bulbs for sale which you won’t find anywhere else.
While you are walking around admiring the architecture, fragrances and food, be sure to keep a look out for the rotating selection of works from the famed Rijksmuseum. Here you will find some of the world’s leading art collections which will definitely keep you entertained.
Copenhagen Airport (CPH)
The CPH is the main hub for Norwegian Air Shuttle and Scandinavian Airlines and offers some very stylish Danish design and architecture which you will certainly marvel at when you touch down. It is super close to Denmark’s capital and will only take you 12-minutes by train to reach.
This airport is quite unique as you can arrange half-day tours which makes it an ideal place to have a layover and get some Danish adventure while waiting for your next flight. Supplying the usual variety of restaurants and bars there is definitely something for everyone here as well its extremely large duty-free shopping centre.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
This is one of my favourite airports in the world and it is also home to Cathay Pacific which is a top-rated airline. Travellers love Hong Kong International as it is super-efficient to pass through without many issues. Getting to and from the city centre only takes 24 minutes via the Airport Express and it also a central hub with service to 50 destinations in mainland China.
It is always worth having a layover in Hong Kong, just purely for the food, culture and of course the electronics where you can pick up tax free items for relatively cheap. If you don’t fancy leaving the airport though there are a wide array of premium class lounges, nap rooms, an IMAX cinema and the Regal Airport Hotel which is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best airport hotels.
Incheon International Airport (ICN)
This fantastic airport can be found in Seoul as its main international airport which opened 20 years ago in the port city of Incheon and has since opened a second terminal in 2018. Home to Korean and Asiana airlines, you will be able to find plenty of VIP lounges for some comfort and relaxation, as well as being waited on hand and foot.
Did I mention it also has an indoor skating rink? This unique feature really makes this airport stand out and when you add the spa facilities, its local cuisine on ‘Cultural Street’ and stunning architecture you can definitely see why people from around would want to visit. While it’s 30 miles from the capital, a high-speed rail link makes the trip from terminal to city centre in 43 minutes.
Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
This is definitely one of the world’s best airports and routinely takes top spot in any vote or competition. While it is home to renowned Singapore Airlines, travellers often use Singapore Airport as the perfect hub for plenty of connections and locations in the region.
The airport is a destination itself, with an awe-inspiring indoor waterfall, gorgeous butterfly garden, and open-air decks and restaurants. Passengers with at least six hours to spare can take a free city tour, lounge by the swimming pool, or binge-watch flicks at the free 24-hour cinema. I also liked the self-boarding gates and free and fast Wi-Fi which is a life saver after being without for a significant amount of time. It is also friendly to family travellers as they can appreciate the vast play areas.
Venice Airport (VCE)
When it comes to location, Venice is certainly a winner. When you touch down here it near enough deposits you at the front step of the most beautiful city on earth. Venice Marco Polo, serves 11 million passengers annually and is the main gateway to explore the beautiful canals and culture that Venice has to offer. The best part is that it is less than five miles from its fabled hometown, reachable by a quick ride by water taxi or vaporetto ferry.
After spending a long weekend being punted around the waterways, departing travellers have plenty of ways to dispose of leftover euros at the souvenir shops, especially the gourmet goods stand—where you can pick up authentic locally made salami, cheese, and exceptional Venchi chocolates as final mementos for friends and family.
Zurich Airport (ZRH)
As Switzerland’s largest international airport, Zurich is also the main hub for Swiss International, which operates no fewer than nine lounges. Here you will find the definition of luxury, with champagne and whiskey bars galore to keep you entertained for hours on end. There are more than 80 shops here to browse and of course the perfect place to pick up some of that famous Swiss chocolate to either horde for yourself or take home for friends and loved ones.
With a huge variety of restaurants and bars, certainly won’t go hungry. Surprisingly you can even find grocery stores there for that essential food shop. If the weather is also cooperating, there is an outdoor observation deck with sweeping views of the action on the runways.
Dubai International Airport (DXB)
One of the three busiest airports in the world overall, Dubai often gives London's Heathrow a run for its money for the amount of international passenger traffic that passes through its doors. As the base for the superb airline Emirates, Dubai is also served by around 140 airlines. It also has one of the world’s biggest duty-free shopping centres where you are able to shop until you drop.
There's free Wi-Fi throughout DXB, so you can always use up time scanning Instagram or playing Words with Friends. If that's getting old, there's also the G-Force Health Club to burn off a few calories (plus have a shower, a sauna or a swim), a business centre, a paid-entry lounge (as well as a huge Emirates lounge), and an airside hotel for transit passengers.
Be sure to check out my website for more information and travel advice as well as my Twitter @TakeLeapTravel and Instagram @taketheleaptravel.
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