I don't like to stay for a long time at the airport on a transit, which is so boring. So I want to get out of the airport to enjoy the city if at all possible.

But many major hubs are so far away from the city centre that you won't get any decent chance to enjoy it.

For example, from Incheon Airport to Seoul station, it takes you 43 minutes even on express rail. In Hong Kong's case, it takes you 24 minutes from Hong Kong Airport to Hong Kong station. It's not so bad, but it still takes about an hour on return-trip, after adding the average waiting time of a next train.

I don't like to enjoy the "around the airport" atmosphere; it's the "center" of the major city that I want (e.g. Gangnam or Myeongdong, not Incheon, Shibuya or Roppongi, not around Narita; and I assume international airports).

Is there any international hub that is close to the center of the city, possibly within 20 minutes? I want to make my travel plan by taking it into consideration, especially when it comes to a cheap layover ticket.

I don't mind a country or city as long as it is an international airport.


Sorry, in international airport, I meant any airport where there is significant connecting traffic for international flights. I didn't mean just any airport that serves any international destination, which is the technical definition.

  • 2
    Tegel in Berlin comes to mind, also because it shows why this is uncommon: It was still there at the beginning of the 90s due to Berlin's peculiar history but is now supposed to close very soon to limit noise nuisances and to be replaced by a more spacious airport further away from the center. The same thing happened to Hong Kong and many other places years ago. It also has limited facilities for transit and fewer long-haul flights than Germany's major airports (Frankfurt, Munich...)
    – Relaxed
    Jul 29, 2016 at 22:08
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    Lots of them: London City, Berlin Tegel, Warsaw Chopin come to mind.
    – JonathanReez
    Jul 29, 2016 at 22:12
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    Schiphol in Amsterdam is not too bad. Out of the city but excellent and rather cheap public transport connectcions make the city center very accessible.
    – Relaxed
    Jul 29, 2016 at 22:12
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    I think there are way too many possible answers. I don't think 20 minutes is uncommon for smaller airportss, for instance Copenhagen airport is within 20 minutes of the center, but you probably won't find many trips with a layover in Copenhagen. Jul 29, 2016 at 22:13
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    Toronto City airport is about ten minutes walk from the downtown, with flights to New York and Washington. Jul 30, 2016 at 2:17

4 Answers 4


Toronto City Airport has regular scheduled flights to Washington DC and New York, and is literally 25 minutes walk from the CN Tower, the unquestionable centre of downtown Toronto. A substantial chunk of that 25 minutes is getting out of the airport. The airport doesn't have a direct transit link to the city.

After that there's a big tie at 13-15 minutes (source: Google Maps, public transit time, directions destination in parentheses).

There are probably many other airports with similar travel times from their city centers; this is a community wiki answer, so other people can expand it with other airports.

  • Boston (from the airport to the "Boston" Google Maps marker): 13 minutes
  • Amsterdam (from the airport to Amsterdam Centraal): 14 minutes
  • Copenhagen (Copenhagen C): 14 minutes
  • Sydney (Central): 14 minutes
  • London Heathrow (Paddington): 15 minutes
  • Tokyo Haneda (Hamamatsucho station): 14 minutes
  • Zurich (Downtown): 10 minutes
  • San Diego: 10 minutes by local bus.
  • 1
    I think the only way this question should stay open is if it becomes a CW. The answers are endless
    – Berwyn
    Aug 1, 2016 at 14:27
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    That was my thought; in cases like this where the answer to a question seeking a superlative is a many-way draw, there are just too many correct answers otherwise.
    – Urbana
    Aug 1, 2016 at 14:31
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    Is Toronto City Airport a "primary hub" per the question's title?
    – Urbana
    Aug 2, 2016 at 22:31

The airport in Eilat, Israel is not just close to the city, it's in the city. The terminal entrance is only ~500m from the beach and many hotels: https://goo.gl/maps/Znhsv8FNzBT2

That said, it's primarily a domestic hub, although it does serve some charter flights, and it's scheduled to be replaced next year by a new airport. Visit while you still have a chance!

But as far as major international airports go, it's hard to beat Sydney, which is just 13 minutes from Central station. (To the international terminal, that is, the domestic terminal is just 10 min away!) And yes, Central really is quite central, although you can sit in the train for a few more minutes to get to Circular Quay and see the Opera House if you want.

  • 1
    Very true. Indeed, the airport beacon light for the Eilat airport is actually on top of a neighboring hotel building, presumably due to the amount of stuff built up right along the perimeter of the airport. I watched arrivals and departures for a while from my hotel balcony there. Most of the runway was in view.
    – reirab
    Dec 28, 2016 at 8:05

Frankfurt is not too bad. Less than 15 minutes by local train which is very reliable on runs every 10-15 minutes or so.

Downside: it's a huge airport. It's likely going to take a you a lot longer getting from your gate to the train station than the actual train ride. On an international layover you also have to go through immigration and customs on the way out and through security on the way back in.


I think Dubai Airport wins this one. It is located in the city itself (technically the area is called Diera); and is only 6 minutes away (3.3 kilometers) to the nearest shopping center / mall.

Dubai Mall (Burj Khalifa) is 14 minutes. Mall of the Emirates (with the indoor ski area) 23 minutes (by taxi).

Dubai itself is a very small place, so nothing is too far from the airport. There is a left luggage facility at Dubai and the metro runs regularly (except on Fridays, where it has a delayed schedule). Taxis are plentiful as well.

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