Airports are an essential part of our travels and also our lives. They are a point of departure and arrival, transitional spaces, points of meeting or separation…
Every time we fly, we spend at least a few hours in the airport, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when the airport is comfortable and it’s an added bonus if it is architecturally interesting and beautiful as well.
Take a look at our annual study about the best and worst airports in the world according to the opinion of 65,000 eDreams clients.
Here are 10 of the most beautiful airports in the world – both functional and complex works of art and architecture – just looking at them can relieve all the stress of travelers passing through their doors!
Incheon International Airport, Incheon, South Korea
Inauguration date: 2001
Interesting fact: The largest airport in South Korea and one of the largest and busiest in the world. Since 2005, it has consecutively been rated as the best airport in the world by the Airports Council International and has received the full 5 stars in ranking from Skytrax. It has a golf course, spa, private dorms, a casino and indoor gardens.
Dubai World Central International Airport, Dubai, UAE
Inauguration date: 2010
Interesting fact: When it’s fully completed in 2017, the Al Maktoum International Airport will be the largest in the world with five runways and four terminals, with a maximum capacity of 160 million passengers and 12 million tons of cargo per year.
Menara International Airport, Marrakech, Morocco
Inauguration date: 1952
Interesting fact: The only airport in Marrakech and although it is very small and simple (eg no boarding jetways), it is one of the most beautiful in the world due to its façade created during a recent expansion.
Denver International Airport, Colorado, USA
Inauguration date: 2010
Interesting fact: The airport is quite curious on a symbolic level which has led to many theories which together make up “The Denver Airport Conspiracy”. Throughout the building there are several references to Nazism: the runways form a swastika-like shape, there is a picture in the mainhall representing a Nazi soldier attacking the dove of peace, and at the entrance of the airport there is a horse that fits the biblical description of the horse of the Apocalypse. Another interesting piece is the granite monument which is said to contain a “time capsule” that can only be opened in 2094.
Bilbao Airport, Bilbao, Spain
Inauguration date: 2010
Interesting fact: The Bilbao Airport is among the six most profitable Spanish airports. It is popularly known as “La Paloma” (The Dove) because it was designed to look like a bird taking flight.
Carrasco International Airport, Montevideo, Uruguay
Inauguration date: 2009
Interesting fact: This new terminal at Carrasco International Airport was designed by the renowned architect Uruguayan Rafael Viñoly. It symbolizes a milestone for the country in terms of investment, architecture, high quality services, technology, and innovation.
TWA Terminal, John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, USA
Inauguration date: 1962
Interesting fact: The architect Eero Saarinen designed the terminal to look like the wings of a seagull in flight. The beautiful TWA Flight Center has appeared in several Hollywood movies such as Catch Me If You Can, with Leonardo di Caprio.
Terminal 4, Madrid-Barajas International Airport, Madrid, Spain
Inauguration date: 2006
Interesting fact: The airport’s architecture highlights simplicity, adaptability, robustness and flexibility, with the main objective being to convey peace, tranquility, calmness and lightness to travelers passing through. The materials used in its construction (integrated steel and bamboo) are environmentally friendly and take advantage of as much natural light as possible.
Terminal 3, Beijing Capital International Airport, China
Inauguration date: 2008
Interesting fact: The constructuion of Terminal 3 at the Beijing Capital International Airport was designed by the architectural firm Norman Foster. Its purpose was to welcome the athletes of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Its design is influenced by a blend of traditional Chinese culture with modern architectural trends, creating the form of a fish, with parts of the structure in the form of scales, and using red and yellow flag as symbols of China.
Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan
Inauguration date: 1994
Interesting fact: The construction of the airport took 38 months and involved the work of about a million employees. It is built on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, Japan with a runway that is 4km long. The materials used ensure that it is resistant to natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons.
Do you remember any other airport you were surprised because of its beauty or uniqueness? Have you ever traveled to a city specifically to visit the airport?