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The World’s Most Beautiful Airports

These terminals are so beautiful, you’ll wish you had a longer layover.

If you’ve ever been stuck at an airport due to inclement weather, mechanical issues, or simply an unavoidable layover, you know that the terminal scenery can get old, fast. We’ve rounded up ten airports around the world that are so stunning, you’ll actually want to settle in and admire the view.   

Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar

Qatar’s gateway to the world pays homage to its coastal location on the Arabian Gulf with dramatic curves and arches inspired by water. Beneath a wave-shaped roof, Hamad International Airport’s light-filled departure terminal features sleek metal and glass surfaces, terrazzo floors, and an unexpected assortment of modern art.

Photo: Tim Griffith  

Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, Wichita, Kansas

Built in 2015, Wichita Eisenhower National Airport celebrates the city’s rich aviation heritage with historical exhibits displayed throughout the terminal. The curvilinear design of the roof above ticketing, baggage claim, and the concourse resembles the interior of an airplane. Hanging from the ceiling is a 330-foot-long art sculpture made of cable and laminated dichroic glass that evokes feelings of flight and space as well as ascent and descent (minus the turbulence). 

Photo: Visit Wichita

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington

The natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest was the inspiration for Sea-Tac Airport’s new Concourse D annex. An all-glass curtain wall and light color palette contribute to the building’s outdoor aesthetic, as does the distinctive glue-laminated timber truss system. Constructed from locally sourced Douglas firs, the system also helps reduce the building’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Photo: Heywood Chan, YE-H Photography/courtesy of HOK

Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Baku, Azerbaijan

From hexagonal skylights to a rhombus patterned floor, Heydar Aliyev International Airport is eye candy for geometry-loving travelers. Perhaps the most striking design elements, however, are the wooden cocoons on the top floor of the neutral-hued terminal. Finished with diamond-shaped shingles covered in oak veneer, each pod houses cafes, bars, and shopping kiosks as well as other useful amenities like a children’s play area and luggage storage space.

Photo: Kerem Sanliman

Pulkovo International Airport, St. Petersburg, Russia

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

Photo: Yuri Molodkovets

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, India

Incorporating regional patterns and textures in its design, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport’s Terminal 2 feels both futuristic and culturally symbolic. Thirty oversize columns connecting to a sprawling canopy alludes to India’s tradition of open-air pavilions, while the ceiling’s diamond-shaped pattern is a nod to the tail feathers of the country’s national bird, the peacock.

Photo: Robert Polidori

Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado

From a distance, the Teflon-coated fiberglass peaks of Denver International Airport resemble the layered mountains of the nearby Colorado Rockies. The fabric allows sunlight to brighten the terminal, giving the impression of a big white cloud above a giant indoor-outdoor space.

Photo: Denver International Airport

Changi International Airport, Changi, Singapore

The world’s only airport butterfly habitat can be found inside Changi Airport‘s modern steel-and-glass Terminal 3 building. Filled with flowering plants, lush greenery, and a waterfall nearly 20 feet high, the tropical garden is home to 1,000 butterflies from as many 40 species. The airport also boasts an impressive living wall that spans the length of three football fields and features more than 110,000 plants.

Photo: Changi International Airport

Ben Gurion International Airport, Lod, Israel

Warm stone contrasts the sleek glass and metal construction of Israel’s largest airport, located outside Tel Aviv. The heart of Ben Gurion is a spacious rotunda, where water flows through the oculus skylight of an inverted dome ceiling, giving the appearance that it’s always raining—beautifully—inside the modern building.

Photo: Safdie Architects

Henri Coandă International Airport, Bucharest, Romania

The Bucharest Henri Coandă airport boarding lounge features a cheerful color palette and bold color-blocking—a playful departure, so to speak, from staid airport decor. Designed with comfort and conversation in mind, the lounge’s soft surfaces and geometrically arranged seating areas reduce terminal noise while offering pockets of privacy for individuals or small groups.

Photo: Cosmin Dragomir

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