Image source: Flickr - Enric Martinez
The amount of time travelers spend in airports seems to be on the rise and, with that, choosing a vacation destination is sometimes dictated by the ease of travel to and from the region. Europe is easily home to some of the best airports in the world, but it is also recognized for some of the worst and most frustrating options.
If you are planning a vacation abroad, here is a look at some of the best airports in Europe.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is surprisingly huge versus how small a country the Netherlands is. It’s one of the busiest airports in Europe, yet Schiphol manages to keep a rather intimate feel. It’s possible to spend an entire day shopping and eating your way through its massive terminals with everything from Dutch grocery stores to retail outlets like H & M. For those worried about long delays, Schiphol has a lounge area with sleeper rooms and even hotels onsite. If you are a Skyteam Elite member with lounge access, KLM has a stellar lounge with sleep rooms, shower facilities, a decent selection of eats and drinks and, of course, free Wi-Fi.
Travelers to southern Europe should consider Athens as the primary airport option. Aside from providing access to some of the most historical sites in Europe, Athens airport has won a number of awards over the years. Unfortunately, Greece’s financial crisis has definitely impacted air travel in the region with a number of carriers severely cutting back on flights. Look for 2014 to be a better year with a number of carriers increasing flights and the return of many summer seasonal flights, including Delta’s JFK option.
Vacationing to northern Europe? Look at Copenhagen Airport, which was recently recognized as number one for the world’s best and most friendly security process. Frustrations with TSA and the worry about security measures abroad keep some travelers grounded with road trip options only. If you’re game to give things a try, Copenhagen is the best bet for renewing your faith in the business of air travel. Copenhagen Airport is the busiest airport in Scandinavia and receives flights from major international carriers as well as smaller regional ones. Going to have a short connection in Copenhagen? Check out the airport’s online duty free shopping where you can order ahead and pick up your items on arrival.
Munich is a much less crowded option over airports like Frankfurt and is the gateway to the Bavaria region. Whether you are looking to hit the slopes or experience major events like Oktoberfest, Munich is an ideal airport for international travelers. Going to have a few hours to kill on a layover? Aviation geeks will delight in offerings like airport tours and behind the scenes film screenings. Prefer to shop and eat? Munich Airport is home to a number of high-end retail stores like Bottega Veneta and Emporio Armani, and features its own brewery and beer garden. If you are booking a trip during the holiday season, check out dates for Munich Airport’s on-site Christmas Market!
Regarded as one of the cleanest airports in Europe, Zurich is another airport worth considering. It continues to win awards as a top airport in Europe and is the principal hub of Swiss International Air Lines. Zurich features day rooms with options for shared or private facilities. Traveling with kids? Several departure areas include kids lounges with spacious playrooms with toys, breast feeding facilities, and a trained childcare staff. And, speaking of children, how about celebrating your child’s birthday in an airport? Believe it or not, Zurich Airport offers airport themed birthday party options for groups, but be advised, they are so popular reservations for 2014 are nearly full already! What’s your favorite airport in Europe?