Date: October 17, 2015
Our list of the best airports in Europe includes a collection of terminals that have figured out how to make flying comfortable, easy and relatively entertaining. From book swaps and libraries to casinos and breweries, right through to great food and museums, each of these airports puts a unique twist on travel that makes time spent here a little more memorable. In 2015, we saw a few tiny and innovative terminals bump long standing favourites out of their coveted top spots. This shuffle goes to show how far a long way a few couches, free Wi-Fi, a clean modern setting and a positive attitude can take you!
These are the Top 10 Best Airports in Europe based on overall airport experience as determined by voters in our 2015 Airport Survey:
1. Munich International Airport, Germany (MUC)
I was really happy to find a FREE coffee machine around door 38. I don’t know if it was a promotion or it’s always there – a traveller
This year, Munich emerged from its third-place standing to claim the title of best airport in Europe! Unsurprisingly, Munich International Airport is run with true German precision. Efficient, speedy and impressively organized, layovers through MUC are delightfully straightforward and reliable. These precise terminals are not without their comfort and frills either. Free coffee near gate 38 and the free relaxation zones are both welcomed by the budget-conscious, while those willing to splurge delight at the Terminal 2 NapCabs, the airport brewery and the Fit & Fly Spa. Free and unlimited Wi-Fi is happy addition to all passengers, and the casino, cinema, on-site mini golf and surfing competitions give a unique flair to this German travel hub. See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Sleep Pods ($) • Airport Brewery ($) • Airport Tours ($) • Casino ($) • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Rest Zones • Showers ($) • Cinema • Mini-Golf ($). For more information, visit our Munich Airport Guide.
2. Helsinki Airport, Finland (HEL)
Very quiet airport, very clean and modern. All the great things about Finland in one place. – a traveller
The innovative and transit-friendly Helsinki International Airport continued to impress travellers, this year it was their introduction of sleep pods in March, which generated the most positive feedback. Though there were some complaints about crowded gates and armrests, voters really appreciated the ample charging points for plugs and USBs, the free book swap, and of course the free and unlimited Wi-Fi. All these great features are hosted in clean, fresh, modern and easy to navigate terminals that are peppered with friendly and helpful staff. Other treats within these Nordic terminals include art galleries, a spa, work stations and loads of eateries and shops. Though none of the inventive TravelLab installations like the yoga studio or the sleep rooms have become permanent fixtures just yet, we suspect this airport will continue to impress in the years to come. See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Free (and Paid) Sleep Pods ($) • Airport Tours ($) • Book Swap • 24-Hour Food Options • Luggage Storage ($) • Rest Zone • Workstations. For more information, visit our Helsinki Airport Guide.
3. Zurich Kloten International Airport, Switzerland (ZRH)
Nice, neat, clean, efficient small airport with some interesting shops – a traveller
Similar to Munich, Zurich’s International airport is precise, efficient and tidy. The low lighting and impeccably clean surroundings make this a calm and soothing place to navigate. Those who sleep here are treated to relative darkness and quiet until 4 or 5am, where they can tuck away on couches and armrest-free benches with plenty of plugs around. That said, voters do hold onto a few warranted frustrations at ZRH – the biggest of which is the high prices. Though there are plenty of good shops, restaurants and a transit hotel, they all demand a hefty number of Swiss Francs for their goodies. And, Wi-Fi is limited to 60 free minutes. The frugal can find reprieve at the landside grocery stores, where sandwiches and snacks are sold at a digestible price. See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounge ($) • 60 minutes Free WiFi • Transit Hotel ($) • Airport Tours ($) • Bicycle, Inline Skates and Nordic Walking Pole Rentals ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Zurich Airport Guide.
4. Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, Portugal (OPO)
The airport is really clean and easy to get around. I’m aware of it being small but compared to some other small airports I’ve been to Oporto is definitely the highest rated one. – a traveller
Portugal’s small and charming Porto regional airport continues to climb in our rankings this year. Though it offers little in terms of flashy amenities and entertainment, what it does do is keep travellers reliably comfortable and calm. While the benches have armrests, there are recliners in the designated rest zones. You can also find plenty of plugs and even free phone charging cables throughout, which is particularly helpful for the forgetful among us. Other perks include free Wi-Fi, free computers, free drinking water and free showers! For sleepers, the terminals feel decidedly safe and dim their lights overnight, giving you half a chance at getting a good night’s sleep! See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Free Showers • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Porto Airport Guide.
Photo courtesy of ruialves / Instagram
5. Tallinn International Airport, Estonia (TLL)
Love the seating. Love the free internet. Love the small free library and business card wall. Love the amount of thought that has been put into it. – a traveller
Voters confirm Estonia’s assertion that Tallinn’s airport is the continent’s cosiest! Different themed boarding lounges with bean bag chairs, couches, sleep pods, loads of plugs and plenty of colour give the terminal a delightfully homey feeling that is easy to relax or even nap in. A favourite area is the library-inspired gate, which is complete with red velvet arm chairs and a real library where you can rent books to be returned before you board or after you return! This year Tallinn airport even introduced free sleep pods. Clean bathrooms, great coffee, free Wi-Fi and extremely helpful staff take this terminal above and beyond, leaving passengers gushing about the time they spend here. Though it remains a destination rather than a major transit hub, those that pass through sing literally nothing but praises! See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounge ($) • Free WiFi • Free Sleep Pods • Library • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Tallinn Airport Guide.
6. Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, Netherlands (AMS)
It’s a great airport if you are a transit passenger. Very comfortable and passenger friendly airport. – a traveller
Amsterdam took a hard fall this year, dropping from its long-term first place standing down to sixth! Sure, it continues to be well-laid out, spacious and easy to navigate with great entertainment options like a satellite Rikjs Museum, a library, a casino, rest zones, showers, a spa and free Wi-Fi. However, voters were annoyed by a lack of seating at gates, long distances, the disappearance of rest zones during construction, and some seriously slow, frequent and laborious security processes. Some also felt the cleanliness of the terminal has taken a nose-dive, though this may be related to a particularly high amount of construction over the past year. We also wonder if after years of singing praises for AMS, the terminal just couldn’t live up to expectation? We will see what’s in store for Amsterdam Schiphol next year! See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Transit Hotel ($) • Casino ($) • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Library • Luggage Storage ($) • Museum • Rest Zones • Showers ($) • Spa ($). For more information, visit our Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Guide.
Photo courtesy of rosansay on Instagram
7. Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, Greece (ATH)
It has the easiest transit I ve ever experienced. – a traveller
In Athens, voters sing praises for its cleanliness, its ample seating and its staff of pleasant and helpful people. Though complimentary internet is offered for only 60 minutes, there are a number of free computers available for use at all times. The free Exhibition of Archaeological Findings is another unique feature that offers a taste of ancient Greece through its exhibits of Helladic and Byzantine artefacts. That all said, what irritates passengers is that the terminals remain noisy and bright overnight, and that shopping and dining options are a little uninspired and unoriginal. However, given the frequency of other Greek airports on our Worst Airports in Europe list, this number 7 spot is really saying something! See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • 60 minutes Free WiFi • 24-Hour Food Options • Luggage Storage ($) • Museum. For more information, visit our Athens Airport Guide.
8. Stockholm Arlanda International Airport, Sweden (ARN)
Wandered to SkyCity and found some nice couches to lay on. – a traveller
Stockholm Arlanda Airport collected plenty of votes from travellers for being comfortable, not especially busy and pleasantly modern. For those in dire need of rest and with a bit of cash to spare, a hotel is directly attached to the airport between terminals 4 and 5. And, The airport does limit its free internet access to 3 hours or 100mb, which can be a bit of a frustration for those with long layovers. However, voters suggested a few ways to get around it – including lingering around the concessions where there seems to be an unprotected signal. Otherwise, you can expect fairly standard amenities at ARN, including 24-hour restaurants, showers and luggage storage. See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • 3 hours Free WiFi • 24 Hour Food ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Stockholm Arlanda Airport Guide.
9. Vienna International Airport, Austria (VIE)
Excellent free unlimited wifi all over the terminals, nice and comfortable couches. – a traveller
True to the city’s character, Vienna’s international airport ushers travellers in with soothing classical music, setting a pleasant tone for time here. Life is made exponentially better when you happen upon one of the many large comfortable couches, where one voter wrote a particularly gleeful review from using the internet’s fast and free Wi-Fi. Productive travellers loved the independent work stations, equipped with a small table, a plug and blinders for a little privacy – and weary travellers loved the reclining lounge chairs not too far away. All these features are located within terminals described as being fresh, clean, and generally pleasant to be in. See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Vienna Airport Guide.
Photo credit by magicberlin on Instagram
10. Warsaw Chopin International Airport, Poland (WAW)
After opening of new terminal – great improvement ! Free wifi and lots of great Eco Food cafes and bars! – a traveller
Warsaw International first impresses visitors and voters through its proximity to the city centre. With multiple public transit options connecting WAW to the capital for a reasonable price, travellers tend to arrive at the terminal in good spirits. Once there, travel is made simple with the helpful staff, the fantastic signage and the free Wi-Fi. Though flashy amenities are in generally short supply, the basics – including a few 24-hour restaurants, lots of charging points, luggage storage and some children’s play areas – are available to those passing through. Comfortable, armrest-free seating may be in short supply, but at least the terminals are kept clean and tidy! See also Best Airports in the World and Best Airports for Sleeping.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers ($) • 24-Hour Food Options. For more information, visit our Warsaw Chopin Airport Guide.
Top 50 Best Airports in Europe
We are often asked how other airports ranked in the survey, so below you will find a list of the Top 50 Best Airports in Europe as voted by travellers in our 2015 Airport Survey:
- Munich International Airport, Germany (MUC)
- Helsinki International Airport, Finland (HEL)
- Zurich Kloten International Airport, Switzerland (ZRH)
- Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, Portugal (OPO)
- Tallinn International Airport, Estonia (TLL)
- Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, Netherlands (AMS)
- Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, Greece (ATH)
- Stockholm Arlanda International Airport, Sweden (ARN)
- Vienna International Airport, Austria (VIE)
- Warsaw Chopin International Airport, Poland (WAW)
- Dublin International Airport, Ireland (DUB)
- Copenhagen Kastrup Airport, Denmark (CPH)
- Oslo Gardermoen Airport, Norway (OSL)
- Frankfurt am Main Airport, Germany (FRA)
- Madrid–Barajas Airport, Spain (MAD)
- Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, Serbia (BEG)
- Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport, Poland, (GDN)
- Larnaca International Airport, Cyprus (LCA)
- Prague Václav Havel Airport, Czech Republic (PRG)
- Luqa Malta International Airport, Malta, (MLA)
- Shannon Airport, Ireland (SNN)
- Billund Airport, Denmark (BLL)
- Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, Albania (TIA)
- Rzeszów–Jasionka Airport, Poland (RZE)
- Düsseldorf International Airport, Germany (DUS)
- Moscow Vnukovo International Airport, Russia (VKO)
- Riga International Airport, Latvia (RIX)
- Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport, France (NCE)
- Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport, Romania (OTP)
- EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, France (BSL)
- Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, Hungary (BUD)
- Hamburg Airport, Germany (HAM)
- Geneva Airport, Switzerland (GVA)
- London Gatwick Airport, England (LGW)
- Barcelona–El Prat Airport, Spain (BCN)
- Lisbon Portela Airport, Portugal (LIS)
- Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport, Russia (SVO)
- London Heathrow Airport, England (LHR)
- Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, Turkey (SAW)
- Brussels Zaventem Airport, Belgium (BRU)
- Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Turkey (IST)
- Keflavík International Airport, Iceland (KEF)
- Edinburgh Airport, Scotland (EDI)
- Milan–Malpensa Airport, Italy (MXP)
- Glasgow International Airport, Scotland (GLA)
- St. Petersburg Pulkovo International Airport, Russia (LED)
- Birmingham Airport, England (BHX)
- Katowice International Airport, Poland (KTW)
- Manchester Airport, England (MAN)
- Bristol Airport, England (BRS)