The white zone is for merrymaking only

A whirlwind tour of the world’s most tourist-friendly airports

Published February 28, 2024

Tuscany is the heart of Italian winemaking, a true oenophile paradise. And soon its biggest airport will have a rooftop flush with grape vines. 

That’s right: In the coming years, you’ll be able to order a glass of chianti at the Florence-Peretola Airport, grown from a vineyard above your head. The terminal roof will be transformed into a 19-acre vineyard, planted on gentle slopes evoking the rolling hills of Tuscany. Keeping with local tradition, the grapes will be harvested by local vintners, and the wine will be produced and aged on-site.

This will definitely make your time at the Florence airport more interesting. And it got us wondering what other unique airport attractions may be out there. Maybe some of these will make you hate your long layover a little less. 

KUL Rainforest

The fountain inside KLIA’s Jungle boardwalk
image credit: Descon7, CCA 3.0

In Kuala Lumpur, there is a rainforest… in the airport. It’s not just a couple of palm trees, either: Planted in 2003, this forest is home to 3,660 trees from 39 species, some of which tower up to 65 feet. A boardwalk runs through it, letting passengers decompress and take in some of the native Malaysian flora. But if you want to see fruiting and flowering trees, you’ll have to leave the airport—wisely, planners realized ahead of time that birds and airplanes don’t mix. 

DMK Golf Course

One round in Bangkok makes a hard man humble! You can tee right up at Don Mueang Airport, which has a full 18-hole golf course nestled between its two-mile runways. Even better, there are no fences or walls separating the course from the runways; you get an unimpeded view of all the takeoffs and landings. Bring your earplugs, and keep an eye out for rogue balls from the party behind you—any “fore” warning might be drowned out by the sound of jet engines.

ZRH Nature Park

Zurich Airport Park
image credit: Zurich Airport

If you have some time to kill in Zurich, Switzerland, you can get some fresh air in its attached 20-acre airport park, which offers woodlands, meadows, water features, a campfire spot, and a funicular up to a panoramic lookout. The park even offers bike, inline-skate, and walking-pole rentals. If all that activity works up a lather, it’s no sweat: There are showers available for your post-nature visit. 

YVR Giant Aquarium

Aquarium inside Vancouver International Airport 
image credit: Ken Eckert, CCA 4

In Vancouver, you can get a close-up view of the rich native marine life at an eye-popping 30,000-gallon aquarium that houses some 5,000 sea creatures. But you’ll get some culture in too: The airport has its own art foundation awarding scholarships and awards to young BC First Nations artists, and displays many First Nations artworks throughout the terminal. 

SIN Sensory Overload

Butterfly Garden at Changi Airport, Singapore
image credit: Andy Mitchell, CCA 2.0

Singapore’s Changi Airport is so jam-packed with things to do and see you may just miss your flight on purpose. Rated the World’s Best Airport 2023 by Skytrax, it offers a kaleidoscope of entertainment options: A thousand-strong butterfly garden; a 130-foot indoor waterfall, a slide that’s nearly 40 feet tall, a hedge maze, a suspended trampoline, a “crystal garden” and a cactus garden, to name only a few.