12 Most Beautiful Airports in the World

On a good day, the airport is a warm escape from the wearying flights. On a bad day, an airport is a crowded place where flights are delayed, and everything is getting on your nerves. It takes some serious effort to make an airport a place people love.

With the hike in the number of people taking flights for travel, the airports are also getting crowded as the years pass by. Today, airports are not just a place where you board on flights; they represent a city and even a country in entirety.

Airport architecture has undergone revamping in the past decade. These high tech, brilliantly designed airports now make you want to travel. Splurging luxury in every manner, airports now reflect the ideas of distinguished architects from all over the world.

What you see below are the best and the most beautiful airports in the world that will absolutely take your breath away.

1. Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport

Heydar Aliyev airport

The giant wooden cocoons of the Heydar Aliyev airport terminal, designed by Turkish firm Autoban,  is stunning and will take away all your prejudices about glum airports. Located in the capital of Azerbaijan, the airport, handles more than 5 million passengers a year and has plenty of natural light flooding through its concave external glass walls.

There are a number of cocoons, each having different amenities like cafes, bars, and play areas. Another striking feature here is the diamond floor patterns that blends perfectly with the pattern of the cocoons.

2. Madrid Barajas International Airport

Madrid airport

The yellow wavy roof of the Spanish city capital Madrid airport shines brightly against the bright blue skies. Upgraded in 2006, the roof is inspired by trees that poke holes in the roof to let in natural light to the upper terminal. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners took up the addition of the new part. With colors of red and yellow, the color scheme is a warm welcome against the greys and whites of typical airports.

3. Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport

Designed by Fentress Architects, Denver airport stands out from the rest of American airports. Mimicking the snow-capped Rocky mountains of Colorado, the airport’s roof is made of fabric that resembles tents. It is an inspiring sight to watch at any time of the day, from the land or the sky.


4. Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport was built to alleviate the crowding at the Osaka International Airport. Designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano, the first of the ocean airports is located at the bay of Osaka.

When it was built, the airport’s terminal was the longest at the time. The curved roof still is iconically stretching over 1,7 kilometers creating a space that is most enthralling.


5. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

Mumbai Airport

India’s latest addition of Terminal 2 to the Mumbai Airport was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The mushroom columns blooming to the canopy of the roof above reflects the light to the patterns inspired from the peacock feathers, the national bird of India. There are many other aspects in the airport portraying the vernacular architecture of India including pavilions and drop off zones to accommodate the departure ceremonies close to Indian culture.

6. Beijing Capital International Airport

 Beijing Airport

With a 2 mile long Terminal 3, Beijing Airport is one of the biggest airports in the world. Completed just before the 2008 Olympics, the striking design of the airport is conceived by Foster + Partners. The bright red and yellow hues prominent in Chinese culture has created an outstanding mesh to let in daylight and beauty.


7. Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

With bits of influence from different aspects of Malaysia, the roof canopy of Kaula Lumpur Airport anchors over the silhouette. With Islamic influence in shading and form inspired from the trees in Malaysian rainforest, Japanese Architect Kisho Kurokawa demonstrates the perfect blend of traditional architecture using modern materials like stainless steel in one of the largest airports in the world itself.

8. Marrakech Menara Airport

Marrakech Menara Airport

The perforations in the roof of the Marrakech Menara Airport in Morocco create beautiful shadow patterns in the facade. The 24 rhombuses and three triangles have now, again inspired by motifs of Islamic ornamentations filters light and create a stunning effect that changes through the day.  Designed by Swiss Architects E2A Architecture, the airport is another example of incorporating the country’s indigenous values into modern settings.

9. Changi Airport

Changi Airport

Changi airport is still holding its position as one of the best airports in the world, owing most of the credit to its design. Whether in interior or exterior, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill have outdone themselves here. The design of Terminal 3 stands out with a steel and glass roof with glass skylights and aluminum louvers. During the day, sensors control the light, and at night, the reflections are magical enough to make you forget that you are in an airport. The other features include the many beautiful gardens and installations raking it first of the world’s best airports.

10. Queen Alia International Airport

Queen Alia International Airport

Queen Alia’s entrance on first sight looks like that if a palace. Located in Amman, Jordan, the concrete domes tower over the roof. Architects Foster + Partners also made way for a spectacular fountain that creates mesmerizing impressions at night.

The domes, each is embossed with the texture of leaf on its underside, and the color scheme sticks to the beiges and browns of the desert.

11. Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport

Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport

The new building of Terminal 3 at the Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in China has a sparkly roof that is breathtaking. Perforated with honeycomb patterns on metal and glass, the roof has three levels and comes together to form a spectacular sight. The glass allows light inside without making it obvious, and the patterns make the whites more appealing.

12. Samui Airport

Samui Airport

Being on an island, the interior of Samui Airport near Bo Phut Beach perfectly resembles its surroundings. Privately operated and owned by Bangkok Airways, the airport was built in the 1980s. The airport's design is still worth mentioning because of how earthy and picturesque it looks compared to the plain monotones of the usual airports. Using local materials like rattan, palm wood and with an open-air design, the building is well integrated to the island.

If you consider the top airports in the world, it is not always that the brilliance of the architecture come into consideration. So next time you are in one, look up and see how the roof or the walls have transformed the boring hallways.

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