Attention all travelers, this is the final boarding call to discover the best airports for layovers. Please have your boarding pass and passport out and buckle up for the creme-de-la-creme of terminal extravagance!
Do you know what the worst part of traveling is?
No, it’s not economy seats, the lack of legroom, or the subpar airplane food.
It’s not even the long lines at Heathrow immigration.
It’s long layovers.
When you’re stuck in an airport with nothing to do but sit outside your gate and stare at the tarmac (I’m looking at you, Ethiopia), it can make eternal purgatory feel fleeting.
Luckily, some airports around the world are setting the bar for spectacular layover experiences.
I’m talking about IMAX movie theaters, golf courses, waterfalls, Michelin-star restaurants, ice skating rinks, and aquariums.
And if your passport is itching for an extra stamp, some airports below are close enough for a quick jaunt into the city.
Next time you are facing a long connection, try to get your flight routed through one of these airports for an experience you won’t forget.
Changi Airport in Singapore
What’s not to love about Singapore’s Changi Airport?
It’s home to the world’s largest indoor waterfall, an 11-cinema Imax theater, a Rain Vortex, and a five-story garden.
With so much going on before you even step foot in the food court and shopping district, it’s no wonder Changi Airport has won over 400 awards, scooping the best airport in the world seven years in a row.
Want to explore Singapore during your layover? Changi is only a short MRT train ride into the city, giving you easy access to discover Singapore’s top attractions.
Munich Airport in Munich, Germany
If you’re visiting Germany over Christmas, plan a layover at Munich Airport.
Every year in late November, the airport turns into a yuletide dream with plenty of gluhwein, an ice skating rink, and a German Christmas market.
But if you visit Munich any other month of the year, you’re still in for a good time.
The airport houses some of the best brews in the world. Stop by at Airbrau, a Bavarian tavern, and sip on a beer while listening to live music. If that’s not enough, you can go on a behind-the-scenes brewery tour.
Keflavík International Airport in Iceland
For U.S. travelers, Iceland has been the go-to stopover for flights to Europe for decades.
What makes it so unique?
It’s in proximity to one of Iceland’s top attractions, the famous Blue Lagoon. Check your luggage into one of the airport lockers, and take a trip to the geothermal spa while waiting for your next flight.
All you need is five hours to breathe in, breathe out, and rejuvenate your skin with the lagoon’s silica clay mask.
Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s airport is all about futuristic fun.
Sprawling across 110,600 hectares, you’ll find dozens of things to keep you busy while waiting for your next flight.
- The world’s first airport IMAX theater
- An outdoor nine-hole golf course
- An iSports simulator for car racing, soccer, and basketball
Not enough to fill up your time?
Take a trip to Disneyland.
The land of Mickey Mouse and your childhood favs is only a 30-minute MRT subway train ride away.
But if you’d rather stay as close to your boarding gate as possible, check out the multiple Michelin-star restaurants, head up to the Aviation Discovery Center, and use the airport’s magic mirrors to see what you’d look like with different makeup or clothing items.
Incheon International Airport in South Korea
Holding the title of the largest airport in South Korea, Incheon lives up to all the hype.
Not only can you challenge your travel mates to a game of golf on top of the airport, but the airport is full of fantastic cultural experiences.
Watch traditional harp performances, learn the art of Korean paper crafts, wander around a museum, or unwind in one of seven perfectly manicured gardens.
Looking for a dash of adventure?
Rent a pair of skates at the ice rink or sign up for one of the free tours into Seoul.
Yup! You read that right.
For $0, you can go on a tour to visit nearby temples, palaces, historic attractions, or the beach.
*Towels not included.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands
“Calling all stoners, please proceed to boarding gate 420.”
Amsterdam is famous around the world for its weed culture, but that’s not the only thing the city has to offer.
For starters, Schiphol Airport.
It’s over 100-years old, with the first airport landing in 1916. Inside its historic walls, you’ll find the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Museum. It’s free with artworks by some of the top Dutch artists.
For bookworms, you can get lost in the world’s first airport library with books in over 29 different languages.
If the meditation center, indoor street food market, and saltwater aquarium aren’t enough to keep you busy, Amsterdam is only 12km away.
With a long enough layover, you could visit the Van Gogh museum, see Anne Frank’s house, or feast your heart out on delicious pancakes.
I’d love to hear from you! Do you think these are the best airports for a layover? If I missed one of your favorites, comment down below, and I’ll add it to my list.