Since an airport might be the first and last impression of a destination that travellers get, different cities around the world are starting to focus attention on turning their airports into havens, rather than just sparse, functional necessities.
Air travel can be stressful, but some of the world’s coolest airports now offer a truly unique travel experience. Here are the top 10:
Changi AirportSingapore’s Changi Airport is taking traveller relaxation to a new high with the installation of lush butterfly garden and award-winning orchids. If this gorgeous hub is just a layover on the way to somewhere else, Changi Airport even provides free, two-hour guided tours of the city.
Vancouver International AirportWith an aquarium housing more than 800 marine animals and a functional indoor creek, Canada’s Vancouver International Airport seems to be more about water than air. Airport guests can grab a bite at one of the many cafes and enjoy their meal next to the soothing sounds of a gently flowing stream.
Munich AirportTravellers with kids will deeply appreciate the effort that Germany’s Munich Airport has put forth when it comes to entertaining tired, cranky children. Families can relax and take in a free kids’ show at the airport’s theatre, take a stroll in the visitors’ park or even play 18 holes at the airport’s mini golf course.
Schiphol AirportLocated in Amsterdam, the Schiphol Airport’s many traveller amenities are what sets it apart from the rest. The busy travel hub boasts a casino, massage lounge and swanky hotel facilities. Dining at Schiphol runs a delicious gamut from hip espresso bars to Irish pubs, and there’s even a museum with originals from a few of the Dutch masters.
Wellington AirportNew Zealand seems to have fully embraced its role in “Lord of the Rings” culture, and Wellington Airport features a gargantuan, eerily lifelike sculptural installation of Gollum. The giant Gollum replica is grasping at huge fish sculptures suspended from the ceiling around it, and was actually made by the popular movie trilogy’s prop designers.
Denver International Airport
The Denver International Airport in Colorado has one of the most uniquely designed terminals in the world. Made of fiberglass as thin as a driver’s license, the Jeppesen Terminal resembles the mountainous vistas of the Colorado Rockies. There are a variety of interesting murals throughout terminals that could potentially cause a person to miss his or her flight just by staring for too long.
The airport also boasts a transparent bridge where visitors can watch planes prepare for takeoff beneath their feet. And, of course, outside the airport is the notorious red-eyed “Blue Mustang” statue.