Even with the best laid travel plans, layover’s are still inevitable. Whether you have an hour break to find your gate and grab a healthy snack or have a brutal 8 hour wait until your next flight, killing time in an airport can range from excruciating to mind numbing (even if your Kobo is stocked). However, just like airlines, not all airports are created equal. We’ve found 5 national and international airports that are actually enjoyable to get stuck in. Seriously.
1. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
At this international hub you’ll find more than a few ways to kill a few hours — from getting a manicure at the Xpress Spa or gambling some Euros at the Holland Casino — you could be stuck here for a couple days and still be entertained. If you want to take in some culture during your layover, how about wandering through the free Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol, to view masterpieces by Rembrant and Van Gogh? There are also more than a handful of hotels to catch some zzz’s including the clean, but simple Hotel Yotel that includes Wi-fi, full bed and bathroom. Arrive totally refreshed with a day pass at the 24-hour Sheraton Fitness & Spa, for a quick run on the treadmill followed by a sauna session and even a massage. You can even do some sightseeing straight from the airport via The Flying Dutchman. It may feel a little cheesy, but if you’ve never seen the city it’s a great way to catch some of Amsterdam’s famous sights in this 2 3/4-hour water/land tour.
Get more info at: schiphol.nl
2. Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
Between the free Wi-Fi and movie screenings, and many shops absorbing the tax for you, aside from the fact everyone is toting around luggage and boarding passes, you’ll hardly feel like you’re wandering around an airport. And even if you don’t want to indulge yourself in a spa treatment (there are many opportunities to), strolling around one of the airport gardens or taking a snooze in one of the napping areas, will have you refreshed in no time. Pack your bathing suit because you can take a dip in a Balinese-themed swimming pool for a small fee, which also includes a towel, use of the shower facilities and a non-alcoholic drink at the bar. Have 5 hours or more to kill? You can book yourself a free 2-hour sightseeing tour of Singapore.
Get more info at: changiairport.com
3. Zurich International Airport (ZRH)
Whether you’re in the mood to do some upscale shopping or would rather wine and dine at the Radisson Blu Hotel, your time at the Zurich Airport will zip by. The airport offers free Wi-Fi in specific hot spots, a handful of dining options including the Swiss-owned marketplace style restaurant Marché and a few lounges open to the public at a cost. We suggest the Panorama Lounge (36 CHF) where you’ll find great views of the tarmac and Alps, a buffet of snacks and drinks, computers with Internet access, magazines and comfy leather seating. In the market for a Swiss watch? Before you head to your gate be sure to check out one of the many high-end jewellers including Chopard, Bucherer and Bulgari. And who’s kidding, who. Don’t forget to take off without packing some chocolate either!
Get more info at: zurich-airport.com
4. Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Need your shirt cleaned or even your teeth? You can get both of those accomplished in a layover at the Vancouver International Airport. Other highlights of this airport include the Absolute Spa, which can be found in four locations within the airport, as well as the Fairmont Vancouver Airport (no shuttle required). The hotel’s spa is full-service, so whether you want a quick blow-out or a full-body massage, you can find it here. Hoping to squeeze a workout in too? You can drop into the hotel’s heath centre for $16. Although there is free Wi-Fi throughout the airport, if you’re looking for a quieter place to get some R&R, the Plaza Premium Lounge is a great destination offering a buffet, workstations, cozy seating and rest areas.
Get more info at: yvr.ca
5. Munich Airport Center (MUC)
It’s no surprise this airport has been voted in as a top contender by the World Airport Awards — it has plenty of activities, facilities and shops to keep time flying, not to mention it’s an architectural masterpiece. If you have more than a couple hours, swing by the Kempinski Hotel located right in the airport, where you can swim a few laps in the pool, relax your tired muscles in the whirlpool or book yourself into the spa for a massage or facial. Though we don’t normally suggest drinking and jetting, where else can you find an airport brewery? The Airbräu is a huge beer garden that serves up home-brewed pints and traditional German favourites like schnitzel. Want to have a nap without checking into a hotel? You may want to try Napcap, a rentable, private pod complete with flat-screen TV, workdesk, full bed and Internet access.
Get more info at: munich-airport.de