As a big fan of air travel, I'd like to figure out which airports a keen traveller should consider putting on their bucket list - considering the airports as a destination in themselves, or at least a noteworthy place to travel through - rather than simply a way of getting from A to B. I would nominate as a starting point:

  • London Heathrow (Terminal 5) - a lovely, modern, airy airport terminal - huge and impressive. Perhaps not the friendliest or always most efficient of destinations, but nevertheless outshines many western airports.

  • Vancouver - like being in a jungle-themed mall or theme park, fun, airy, and pleasant.

I'm thinking primarily here about the architectural or artistic merits aspects of the building or complex itself, not so much about customer service or other such aspects, in an attempt to keep this question focused. I'm not looking necessarily for personal opinions, more airports where there's always a good documented consensus that they are noteworthy.

  • 5
    I am afraid that the answers will depend on personal opinion mainly
    – user141
    Oct 2 '13 at 19:58
  • @Frietjeoorlog, as I say, I'm looking for answers where there's already a consensus as to their noteworthiness - ideally with references that can be cited. Oct 2 '13 at 19:59
  • 3
    Even though this will depend on personal opinions, I think this question is nice and adds value to the website. +1 Oct 2 '13 at 21:20
  • I would rather ask for extraordinary features of Airports (like the butterfly garden in SG) instead of the airport itself.
    – uncovery
    Oct 3 '13 at 5:53
  • There are many books or guides about architecture, that's one way to base an answer on something else than personal opinion (+1 to the question).
    – Relaxed
    Oct 3 '13 at 8:12

One of the nicest airport where I've been is Funchal in Madeira. The airport itself is small, but it has a nice balcony to see the airplanes arriving and departing. You can have a beer and relax while you see all the activity around planes (if you like it). It's also very confortable, with sofas here and there where people can sit and look at the magnificent Ocean view.

Varanada aeroporto funchal sea view funchal

The landing field won a major engeneering prize due to its unique structural construction

Landing field landing field

The landing itself is also quite an experience. And watching the airplanes aproach in such a dramatic landscape is also intersting.

Funchal airport
(source: iabse.org)


SIN (Singapore Changi). Clean, theater, gardens, and a tour of the city. As a major international hub, it's easy to connect through. I find the main terminal to be architecturally pleasing, but you'll have to pass through customs to see it.

  • I didn't downvote it but I am not sure this answer addresses the question.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 3 '13 at 8:14
  • 1
    When wandering around though during a transfer, do remember the place is enormous and it will take time to get to your next gate. Also, security screening is performed at each gate, so allow time for that too. Every time I'm there I always end up rushing to the gate because I keep underestimating how far away the gates are (and for some silly reason SQ likes picking gates at opposite ends of the complex for transfer).
    – Sam
    Oct 18 '13 at 22:52

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