For many travelers, airports are a necessary evil. They are places that travelers must pass through regularly to get from A to B. While many airports around the globe try to offer at least a basic range of facilities for passengers, being stuck in an airport generally isn’t high on anybody’s wish list. There are, however, some pretty cool and interesting airports in the world that may truly make you change your mind-set towards airports.

1. Singapore Changi Airport

There aren’t many airports where you can enjoy a tropical butterfly garden, a vibrant sunflower garden, nature trails and a pond filled with koi – Singapore Changi has got to be the only one. Other natural attractions in Singapore Changi Airport include a rooftop cactus garden and a water lily garden. The interactive Social Tree is a great place to share pictures and videos of your time in Singapore, and the Enchanted Garden is a delight for people of all ages.

You can unwind in one of the free relaxation and rest areas or indulge in a spa or beauty salon treatment. You could even head to the swimming pool or Jacuzzi, and there’s an aircraft viewing area as well. If you need to catch up with some work, the modern business centers will come in handy. Stroll around and admire the various art installations and let younger passengers have fun at the art workstations. There are several children’s play areas, in addition to an enormous indoor slide.

TV lounges, movie theaters, gaming areas and entertainment areas also help to keep boredom at bay, and you’ll find an extensive selection of restaurants, cafes, and shops. Singapore Changi is certainly one of the most interesting airports in the world – and with so much to do, you might even want to get there early!

2. Helsinki Airport

Helsinki Airport boasts numerous entertainment and leisure options, some of which are open around the clock. In addition to the regular selection of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, the airport has a free relaxing lounge. Free for everyone, Kainuu Lounge features furnishings made from fallen trees. There’s also a free book exchange in the lounge.

Have fun in the games area, complete with air hockey, dance mats and table football. Avid plane spotters can head to the viewing terrace. Other features for aviation enthusiasts include an old aircraft engine and a small historic plane suspended from the ceiling. If you want to work in peace and quiet, Suvanto has semi-private work spaces you can use for free.

Helsinki Airport has several pieces of interesting artwork, including sculptures called Ruovikko and The Kiss. There are art displays, photography exhibitions and photo galleries to enjoy too.

3. Seoul Incheon International Airport

Seoul Incheon International Airport is one of the most interesting airports in the world for cultural experiences and displays. You’ll find fascinating features around almost every corner!

In addition to plentiful art work and regular music demonstrations, the airport has a special area that focuses on Korean history, heritage and culture. Take a step back in time at the Korean Culture Museum and get hand-on at the Traditional Culture Experience. You can even have a go at making traditional items, such as fans and bags, while you wait for your flight.

Get active at the ice rink and golf course or relax in the spa, garden, movie theater or rest zone. There’s also a modern IT Experience Center and play areas for kids. Alternatively, you can chance Lady Luck at the nearby airport casino!

4. Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport

Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport is interesting because of its striking architecture. The futuristic-style new Terminal 1 building was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, a London architect firm. The building stands at 16 meters tall and features sloped walls, a rooftop garden, protruding metal supports and lots of glass.

Inside the airport you can pass the time in the games area, or visit the selection of eateries and shops.

Don’t miss seeing the spectacular TGV station that serves the airport too. Another architectural marvel, the gleaming building looks rather like a robot when viewed front-on from the outside. From other angles, it can resemble a spaceship.

5. Dubai International Airport

In keeping with the rest of the dazzling city, it will probably be no surprise to find that Dubai International is among the most interesting airports in the world. The huge airport has myriad leisure and entertainment options for passengers to enjoy.

Nervous flyers might benefit from spending some time in the calming ambiance of the Zen Garden. Tinkling water and lush greenery are great for soothing the mind. There are also several spas and beauty salons, offering a range of pampering and wellness treatments.

There’s an onsite health club, complete with a swimming pool and state-of-the-art fitness center. Need to work? Visit the Business Center. Traveling with little ones? Take them to the Kids Zone. You can also sample cuisine from all around the world in one of the restaurants or cafes and shop till you drop in the extensive array of stores.

Some of these airports are so cool that you might want to book to stay nearby with AirportHotels.com. Staying close to the airport is a good idea in any case, especially if you have a late arrival or an early departure.

Honorable mentions for other interesting airports around the world go to Wellington International Airport in New Zealand for its huge statue of Gollum and interesting architecture, Nepal’s Lukla Airport for its dicey landings and takeoffs and Scotland’s Barra Airport for its disappearing runway. Kansai Airport occupies its own artificial island. Marrakech Menara showcases local designs and culture.

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