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The World’s 10 Most Beautiful Airports

zurich international

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If you’ve ever been stuck at an airport, whether that’s due to inclement weather, mechanical issues, or simply an unavoidable layover, you know that terminal scenery can get to be a bore. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if the airport you were visiting was actually something entirely breathtaking? There are airports around the world that are architectural sights to behold. Utilizing materials native to the land, mixing form and practicality, as well as sustainable practices, the airports we’re observing are sure sights to see. So if you’re looking to travel to the world’s most beautiful airport, you’ll find it in one of our ten picks.

From detailed floor-to-ceiling designs to awe-inspiring innovations in material and style, these airports have our jaws on the floor. Thematic styles that combine rich history with function are abundant inside these tourist hubs. If you’re thinking of renting out a quaint Airbnb anytime soon, you may want to consider passing through one of these airports. And if you’re looking for a last-minute vacation, here’s the perfect opportunity for your day of travel to be just as beautiful. So settle in and admire the view of these stunning traveler paradises.


Hamad International Airport (Doha, Qatar)

hamad interior airport

Courtesy HOK.

Qatar’s “gateway to the world” pays homage to its Arabian Gulf with dramatic curves and arches, particularly inspired by water. Beneath a wave-shaped roof, Hamad International Airport’s light-filled departure terminal features sleek metal and glass surfaces, terrazzo-style floors, as well as an unexpected assortment of modern art. It’s no wonder why it’s regarded by many as the world’s most beautiful airport.


Zürich International Airport (Zürich, Switzerland)

zurich international

Courtesy Zürich Airport.

The Zürich International Airport is also deeply focused on its design and infrastructure. The crystal chandelier and soft glow of tiny lights lining the ceiling and railings that we see here both serve as illuminating centerpieces to the airport’s shopping and dining rotunda (The Circle). Zürich Airport is almost as robust as a small town, with a convention center, beautiful outdoor park, and outpatient health center.


Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Seattle, Washington)

seattle tacoma international airport

Courtesy HOK.

The natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest was the inspiration for Sea-Tac Airport’s Concourse D annex. An all-glass curtain wall and light color palette contribute to the whimsy of the natural surroundings, while the distinctive glue-laminated timber truss system speaks to its integrity. They constructed the system from locally-sourced Douglas firs, which also helps reduce the building’s emissions.


Heydar Aliyev International Airport (Baku, Azerbaijan)

heydar autoban airport

Photo by Kerem Sanliman.

From hexagonal skylights to a rhombus patterned floor, Heydar Aliyev International Airport is pure eye candy. Perhaps one of the most striking design elements, however, are the wooden cocoons seen here. Finished with diamond-shaped shingles covered in oak veneer, each pod houses cafes, bars, shopping kiosks, as well as areas to lounge. As deemed by many as the world’s most beautiful airport, it’s also one of the most stylistically interesting.


Pulkovo International Airport (St. Petersburg, Russia)

st. petersburg airport

Photo by Grimshaw Architects.

The folded geometric ceiling at Pulkovo Airport is a shining example of form meeting function. The gold-colored soffit creates a warm glow reminiscent of the gilded domes and spires of St. Petersburg, while the folds help distribute the weight of heavy snowfall. Skylights inset between the panels provide additional natural light while also directing passengers through the building.


Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (Mumbai, India)

mumbai international airport

Courtesy SOM.

Incorporating regional patterns and textures into the design of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is both culturally symbolic as well as hypnotically intriguing. Thirty oversize columns connect a sprawling canopy, which alludes to India’s tradition of open-air pavilions. The ceiling’s diamond-shaped patterns also nod to the tail feathers of the country’s national bird, the peacock.


Denver International Airport (Denver, Colorado)

denver international

Courtesy Denver International Airport.

The Denver International Airport is full of beautiful intrigue and mystery, both in its form as well as its design. The architects behind the Denver Airport, in particular Curtis Fentress (a protégé of I.M. Pei) took all mechanicals off of the roof and replaced it with a fabric ceiling, creating a cutting-edge canopy oozing with soft light. The airport also continues to stand as one of the most eco-conscious airports in the country. In August 2008, 2 MW of solar power was installed, making it one of the largest solar installations in a public airport.


Ben Gurion International Airport (Lod, Israel)

ben gurion

Warm stone contrasts the sleek reflective ceiling and metallic construction inside Israel’s largest airport, the Ben Gurion Airport. A sprawling modern rotunda filled with calm colors and an open-air design encourages both a sense of ease as well as an inspiring feel. Passengers enter the building through a 26-foot-deep wall, an intentional metaphor of the transition from air to earth. The grandeur entrance symbolizes the country greeting its visitors with open arms.


Singapore Changi International Airport (Changi, Singapore)

singapore airport living wall

Photo by Roslan Rahman.

The world’s only airport butterfly habitat can be found inside Changi Airport‘s modern steel-and-glass Terminal 3 building. Blooming with flowering plants, lush greenery, and a waterfall nearly 20 feet high, the tropical garden houses around 1,000 butterflies. The airport also features an astonishing living wall that spans the length of three football fields. It features more than 110,000 plants, bringing life into a metropolitan atmosphere.


Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport (Bucharest, Romania)

bucharest lounge interior

Photo by Cosmin Dragomir.

The Bucharest Henri Coandă Airport lounge is pouncing with color, shape, and texture all at once. Its playful persona is no accident, either. The lounge was intended to mix straight, geometrical angles, luminous surfaces, and subtle optical distortion harmoniously. What’s created is a place of comfort and conversation. The design also reduces terminal noise by way of its privacy pockets.

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