Back in the old days, airports didn’t really have much to offer other than a snack area and a waiting lounge. However, today’s ultra-modern airports offer so much more. These are eight of the best in the world for layovers.
1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Dubai International Airport
Dubai’s airport, like the city, has quite a bit to offer and keep you busy. It’s about 50,000 square feet in size and offers duty-free shopping and a lot of luxury. If you’d like to work off some calories while waiting for your next flight you will find a swimming pool and gym. You will also find a Zen garden to relax in and there are play areas for children.
2. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – Vancouver International Airport
On Fridays in the summer months you’ll find something called Take Off Fridays. This is a carnival-type atmosphere where you’ll find free food as well as talented buskers such as local acrobats and musicians. There’s a huge 31,000-gallon aquarium tank on display which features about 5,000 sea creatures as well as a smaller jellyfish tank. There are several fine-dining establishments, such as a
revolving sushi bar. If you’re into art, you’ll find some fine North American native pieces from the Pacific Northwest. In fact the airport is home to one of the world’s largest native art collections.
3. Munich, Germany – Munich Airport Centre
In Munich, you’ll find a beer garden where you can sample the local brews and cuisine as well as a Christmas market during the winter holiday season. This market features an outdoor skating rink where you can practice your figure eights while waiting for your flight.
4. San Francisco, California, United States – San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco’s airport houses an Airport Museum where you’ll find plenty of cultural, science, and art displays and exhibits. If you’d like to see some interesting marine life you can visit the Steinhart Aquarium. The airport also has a yoga studio and numerous children’s play areas and programs. To top things off you’ll also find the Exploratorium science museum.
5. New York, New York, United States – John F. Kennedy International Airport
JFK is best known for the original TWA terminal which was built back in 1962. It was reopened as the airport’s terminal five in 2008 and is the home base for JetBlue. The airline likes to entertain its passengers and it often hosts live musical performances in the terminal with popular and well-known acts.
6. London, England – Heathrow Airport
London is famous for its shopping and Heathrow is no different. One of the newest stores to open here is Harrods department store. The shop is 11,000 square feet in size and is located in terminal three. There are plenty of other shops, lounges, and restaurants. These include luxury boutiques such as Thomas Pink and Burberry. You can also rent rooms by the hour in terminal four in a space-station themed hotel where the rooms are similar to pods.
7. Singapore – Changi Airport
Singapore’s airport has some wonderful koi ponds and tranquil gardens where you can escape the hustle and bustle and relax. There’s a live butterfly garden and 20-foot waterfall to add to the peacefulness. There are also a couple of movie theaters where you can watch a free film as well as plenty of shops. If your layover is for several hours, there’s a free tour of Singapore available which lasts for two hours.
8. Amsterdam, Holland – Schiphol Airport
This fantastic airport features a branch of the national Rijksmuseum. It’s entirely free and you’ll be ableto check out some famous paintings by van Gogh and many others. There’s also a casino on hand at Schiphol and numerous shopping opportunities. For those who don’t want to gamble in the casino they can take a chance by getting married in the wedding chapel. If you have the time, you can go downtown via one of the airport’s high-speed trains.