With over 445 million business trips taking place each year, frequent flyers spend a lot of time at airports. If you thought airports were all about check-in, customs agents and business lounges, think again. Some airports feature a host if interesting perks to help pass the time until you board your next flight. Here is a list to help raise awareness of the amazing activities happening at the top 10 most traveled airports in Europe (according to VATBox data). Have a safe flight!
#10 Brussels, Belgium – Lots and lots of chocolate
Brussels Airport is the world’s largest sales outlet for chocolate, selling over 800 tonnes annually. Unlimited free WIFI is available for all and it is so fast that you can watch Netflix on your phone while you wait. There are tons of shops if you have a long layover that you can explore and some areas with outlets. Recommended though to take the train to Brussels, as the airport is 15km from the city center and there is lots to do in the city.
#9 Copenhagen, Denmark – A special Lego store
With free Wi-Fi coverage across the entire airport, Copenhagen offers exceptional-quality food options, with many run by chefs with successful pre-existing restaurants in the city center. Take the time to hit the shops: you will find H&M, Victoria’s Secret and some smaller Danish boutiques as well. For some easy-to-carry souvenirs, head over to the A Gate, where you will find a special LEGO store that can keep you (and any little ones) occupied for the duration of your layover.
#8 Rome, Italy – Delicious ice cream and Italian styling
For a true taste of Italy, there is no need to leave Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport. In the food court you will find a gem of an eatery, San Crispino Gelato, which is considered by many locals to be the best in Rome. The amazing creamy gelato will make the layover so worth it! Besides delicious ice-cream, you can treat yourself to a haircut, styling and full body massages in the Arrivals hall. If you need to freshen up your laundry while on layover, a dry cleaner in the arrivals terminal will have the clothes cleaned, pressed, and ready to wear in time for your next flight.
#7 Stockholm, Sweden – Jumbo jet hotel
If you have you ever dreamed of sleeping on a jumbo-jet, you can turn those dreams into reality at Jumbo Stay at Stockholm airport. Spend the night in a decommissioned Boeing 747 that is chock full of cool features, including a café (open to the public) and a cockpit suite with panoramic views of the airport. You will enjoy an amazing view, as well as private rooms with their own bathrooms and showers. As an added bonus, take a stroll out on the observation wing for an incredible view of the runway.
#6 Paris, France – Luxureous lounge for all the best airport restaurant in the world
CDG also offers free lounge access to all connecting passengers, not just those flying in business and first class. The “Instant Paris” lounge includes a library, spacious lounge areas with luxurious seating, and plenty of electrical outlets that integrate European, US, British and USB plugs and voltages (no adapters needed!). A short-stay Yotel hotel is available in Terminal 2E for those with longer stopovers. We all know that France is famous for its delicious food and to keep up with the tradition, Terminal 2E has opened its doors to I Love Paris where the 3 star French chef, Guy Martin, masterminds the menu. Currently, the restaurant is accessible only to passengers carrying tickets for Asia or the United States.
#5 Zurich, Switzerland – Behind the scene sightseeing and a treasure hunt
Zurich is one of the few airports that offer sightseeing tours “behind the scenes” to its passengers. You can enjoy a close-up view of aircraft landing and taking off. Tour duration: 1 hour 15 min. And if you are traveling with with kids at Zurich Airport, you can keep them occupied with the Treasure Hunt. The activity tests their knowledge while exploring the airport in search of hidden treasures. Free guide at the Service Center or at the ticket desk for Observation Deck B.
#4 Frankfurt, Germany – 24/7 shopping and silent pods to rest
Frankfurt airport has many perks for those traveling through Germany. Complimentary WIFI, 24/7 shopping, two yoga rooms that enable the stressed-out traveler ample space to ohm, and free silent chairs (a day-version of the sleep pods) to tune out the unrelenting airport bustle, giving you a space to get some work done or simply relax. The silent pods are located in Terminal 1 (opposite Gates A58 and Z58) and Terminal 2 (Gates D4 and E5).
#3 Schiphol, The Netherlands – The airport Rijksmuseum and a library
Schiphol is a gem for travelers. It has so much to offer that it is almost a shame to get on the plane. You can visit the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol, the first-ever museum in an airport terminal. Located between the E and F Pier, the museum contains a permanent exhibition of works from the Golden Age. Open from 7:00AM – 8:00PM. Schiphol is also the first airport that has a library where you can read books, or listen to music on iPads. The YotelAir hotel, located in Lounge 2 in the airside or transit area of the main terminal near Pier D is ideal if you are in transit or travelling through any time of the day or night.
#2 Munich, Germany – Surfing the waves and on-site brewed beer
If you are a surfing fan and lucky enough to have a lay-over at Munich Airport, we suggest that you try your luck on the stationary wave that the airport set up – it opens to the public in August. As the first 5 star airport in Europe, Munich is one of the few airports that offer free and unlimited Wi-Fi, and it boasts an on-site brewery, casino, cinema, on-site mini golf and the new surfing competition. The complimentary coffee near Gate 38 and the free relaxation zones are always welcome while traveling.
#1 Heathrow, United Kingdom – Michelin starred cheffs and on-board picnic hampers
With 400 stores and the only airport terminal with two restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs, a delayed flight out of London is no cause for concern. Another big perk is Terminal 2’s independent lounge, Plaza Premium, which admits all passengers, regardless of their ticket type. Travelers enjoy access to the first-class lounge, boasting a champagne bar, private relaxation rooms and wellness spa. For those running late, Heathrow offers the world’s first on-board picnic service. This service is available from all 118 restaurants across its 5 terminals. The hampers vary in price and size according to venue, and are designed to be easily stowed away under the plane’s seat or in the overhead locker. And should you find yourself in need of medical help, look for the London Ambulance Service, whose first responders operate in all terminals on mountain bikes.