Whether your layover is two hours or 20, there are some airports that you’ll avoid a layover at, at all costs (and we mean all costs — sometimes avoiding that layover can get pretty pricey). Whether it’s a lack of dining and shopping options, or just outdated and dingy terminals, some airports just aren’t worth the stop.
On the other hand, there are a few around the world that you actually might find yourself wanting to stop at during your journey. Don’t believe us? Here are the seven best airports for layovers around the world.
How We’re Determining the 7 Best Airports for Layovers
A range of factors go into what makes the best airports for layovers. For our purposes, we’re looking at amenities like shopping and dining, services particularly aimed at passengers laying over, terminal age, lounge options, destination accessibility for those with longer layovers, and other key indicators. Given this, here are our seven best airports for layovers, in alphabetical order.
Dubai International Airport
Dubai is known for its extravagant luxury, and the destination’s airport is no exception. Dubai International Airport offers the largest duty-free shop in the world, so you can splurge, splurge, splurge on all your favorite luxury brands. Beyond the top contenders you’d expect, from Gucci to Louis Vuitton, you’ll also find opportunities to shop for rare finds, like precious metals.
If you don’t have cash to spare, you can still find affordable, much-appreciated traveler amenities throughout the rest of the airport, from nap pods to zen gardens, fitness centers to swimming pools.
Hong Kong International Airport
This airport is almost like a city in of itself. You can shop for plenty of duty-free finds, dine at Michelin-starred eateries and have a little fun, whether you’re enjoying an IMAX film or a round of simulated golf. Avgeeks and families alike will also enjoy the airport’s Aviation Discovery Center.
Incheon International Airport
An award-winning airport outside Seoul, South Korea, Incheon International is the largest airport in South Korea.
How can you stay busy while here? How about a stop at the 18-hole putting course? For those hoping to actually leave the airport, easily accessible shuttle buses will whisk you away to a 72-hole golf club. Not into golf? You can always take a turn about the ice rink, regardless of the season, or book a treatment at one of the multiple spas, or even try your hand at a little gambling at the casino. And if you’re just up for a leisurely stroll, you can find it in one of the airport’s more than half-dozen garden spaces.
Incheon International Airport also brings Seoul culture into the passenger experience with lots of cultural events taking place throughout the airport.
Keflavik International Airport
While this small airport, which just underwent some major renovations over the last few years, doesn’t offer too much in of itself, it does make this list for one primary reason. It’s absolutely perfect for those looking to see a bit of Iceland in a very short timeframe. Only have four or five hours before your next flight? Book a trip from the airport out to one of Iceland’s most famous attractions — the Blue Lagoon. Just a short bus ride away, the lagoon is well-equipped to deal with layover passengers, with lockers and storage for your luggage.
Experience the culture of Munich, without ever setting foot outside the airport! Munich Airport offers truly unique experiences for travelers laying over in the city. It boasts its own brewery, so you can try some German beers created right on-site, in the beautiful beer garden. The airport also offers curious travelers behind-the-scenes tours of the airport on a regular basis. Live music and shows at the airport are a staple. Munich Airport truly comes alive during the wintertime, though, when you’ll find an amazing display of holiday cheer, with ice skating, a traditional Bavarian marketplace, Christmas trees galore, visits from Santa and more.
Singapore Changi Airport
This award-winning airport is constantly innovating and improving its offerings for passengers. If you’re stopping over in Singapore for a day, then you have a nearly endless amount of activities at your fingertips. Visit the only butterfly garden at an airport in the world, check out a film in one of the two movie theaters, take a dip in the rooftop pool or sign up for one of the airport’s complimentary tours of Singapore, so you get a quick hit of the city before you’re on your way again.
Vancouver International Airport
With amazing access to Vancouver, as well as Richmond, British Columbia, Vancouver International Airport gives guests an awesome opportunity to explore some of the area while passing through. If you don’t have enough time to take the train out to one of these fun destinations, where you’ll find picturesque city streets, fun food scenes and local shopping, you can still have a great layover just in the airport itself. One of the airport’s main attractions? An outpost of the Vancouver Aquarium, which more than 5,000 marine animals call home.
Have a favorite airport for layovers that was left off the list? Let us know in the comments!