Although most visits to an airport involve long security lines, frustrating flight delays and huge crowds of people, not every airport experience is the same. Some airports go above and beyond to offer visitors a delightful experience during their time in the terminal.
Here are 10 of the coolest airports around the world.
Winter is a great time to visit Germany’s Munich Airport because the facility hosts an annual Christmas and Winter Market throughout November and December. The airport becomes a winter wonderland complete with live music, programmes for children, over 40 food and retail vendors, and even a large rink for ice skating.
Even if you’re not visiting the airport during the holiday season, the airport also has an on-premises brewery called Airbräu that offers brewery tours and beer year-round.
Pampering is a priority at Dubai International in the United Arab Emirates, the self-described world’s busiest airport. While at the airport you can take laps in a swimming pool; unwind in the jacuzzi, sauna, or steam room; and even take a free shower between flights if you’re feeling less than pristine.
Plus, the airport has multiple spa facilities if you’re looking for a massage, pedicure, or manicure.
Hamad International Airport in Qatar has a unique, aquatic design. According to the airport, they feature this water-based design because the airport is all about “the smooth flow of passengers.” The airport’s overall structure – which comprises materials sourced from 40 different countries – resembles Arabian Gulf waves.
The Emiri terminal resembles sailboats and the mosque is shaped like a drop of water. You can also experience actual water – for a small entrance fee, you can go for a dip in the airport’s temperature-controlled indoor swimming pool or relax in a hydrotherapy tub.
Singapore’s Changi Airport is so entertaining that you might just miss your flight on purpose. In addition to 350 vendors offering retail and services, the airport features butterfly, cactus, water lily, sunflower, orchid, and enchanted gardens to help guests find some serenity.
Visitors looking for more excitement can take advantage of video game stations and two movie theatres. Or, they can ride the world’s tallest slide inside an airport.
Art aficionados will love Helsinki Airport in Finland, which launched an ArtPort campaign in 2015 to help fill its terminals with artwork.
Passengers will find galleries, exhibitions, and permanent art collections throughout the terminals, all with a focus on native Finnish artists and calming pieces to help viewers relax amid the hubbub of the busy airport.
Hong Kong International Airport is sure to keep individuals of every age entertained. It features the largest IMAX screen in Hong Kong, with seating for 350 people. Viewers can experience crystal-clear images and laser-aligned digital sound while taking in IMAX 2D and 3D movies.
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There’s also plenty of interactive entertainment. The airport’s Dream Come True Education Park allows kids to roleplay as pilots, flight attendants, and astronauts via 20 attractions.
The airport also features the world’s first Demae Iccho Factory, where participants can make noodles by hand, and the first My Cup Noodle Factory outside of Japan, where people can design their own cups of noodle soup.
Embrace the culture of South Korea at Incheon International Airport. Throughout the facility, visitors can encounter cultural experiences including K-pop concerts, masked dance performances, art installations, historic exhibits, and historic reenactments.
Several Korea Traditional Cultural Experience Centres invite visitors to made traditional crafts and enjoy traditional musical performances. Visitors are also invited to experience the Korean Cultural Street, a replica of a traditional Korean house where they can relax, take in views, and enjoy other cultural exhibits.
Get up close with British Columbia’s marine life at Vancouver International Airport in Canada.
It features two satellite Vancouver Aquarium Marine Exhibits: a 114,000-litre main aquarium, home to more than 5,000 creatures, and a smaller 1,800-litre jellyfish aquarium. Visitors can also learn more about the area by viewing the diverse art and architecture collections inside of the airport.
San Francisco International Airport has a yoga room and museum. The airport has a yoga room as well as an Aviation Museum & Library right in the airport. The museum is free to the public and its unique architecture is inspired by the airport’s passenger lobby from the 1930s.
The design of Madrid Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport is focused on the traveller experience. The architecturally-stunning Madrid Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport in Spain was built with passengers in mind. The country’s largest terminal was designed to feature plenty of natural light, stay cool in Spain’s hot summers, effectively direct passenger traffic, and maximise views of the aircraft and nearby mountains.
It’s also environmentally sound thanks to its stratified cooling system, zoned lighting, and rainwater reuse for landscape irrigation.
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