15 layover airports that are so cool you’ll never want to leave

The world’s best layover airports for when you need to break up that long flight to/or from Australia.

Layovers can be a necessary evil when travelling, but they don’t have to involve endless hours wandering through terminals or sitting on uncomfortable chairs as you wait for your next flight. These layover airports are so impressive they could be destinations in their own right.

Each is unique in its own way and all of them are equipped with enough dining, shopping and entertainment options to keep the fussiest of travellers happy.

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Top 15 Layover Airports in the World

1. Singapore Changi

Singapore Changi Airport has won over 400 awards and offers something for travellers of all ages and interests. Highlights include the world’s only butterfly garden in an airport, child-friendly facilities (check out The Slide at Terminal 3), entertainment area and movie theatre and complimentary 2.5 hour guided tours of Singapore.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Singapore Changi:

  • Scoot: Fly budget airline Scoot from Australia and stop in Singapore on the way to various Asian destinations.
  • Singapore Airlines: Singapore Airlines flies to most major destinations in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
  • Virgin Australia: VA is a codeshare partner of Singapore Airlines, so you can book with the airline and have your Singapore layover too when flying further in to Asia or Europe.

2. Incheon International

South Korea’s largest airport gives travellers a taste of Korea through cultural performances and an impressive museum. There's a movie theatre that plays Korean hits, a year-round ice rink and an 18-hole putting course on top of seven gardens to keep you entertained.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Incheon International:

  • Korean Air: Stop by Incheon International on the way to the Americas, Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe, Russia and the Middle East
  • Asiana Airlines: South Korea's other major airline, Asiana can see you stop by Incheon International enroute to Japan, China, Central Asia, Russia, the Americas and Europe.

3. Zurich Airport

Sit back, relax and indulge in world famous Swiss chocolates during your next layover at this busy European airport. Inside there are free showers and play areas for kids. For something more adventurous, explore the area around the airport by bike or skates.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Zurich Airport:

  • Swiss: Swiss doesn't operate direct from Australia but does from major Asian hubs like Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. From here a stopover in Zurich opens up flights to Europe and the Americas.

4. Taoyuan International Airport

The themed lounges of the Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan have achieved worldwide fame. From Hello Kitty to textile art and sports, these unique lounges have comfortable seats, charging stations and interesting exhibits to keep you entertained. For kids, there are gaming stations and art exhibits.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Taoyuan International Airport:

  • EVA Air: Taiwanese carrier EVA air can take you from Australia through Taoyuan and onto its network of destinations including Asia, North America and Europe.

5. Dubai International Airport

The Dubai International Airport is luxurious, extravagant and utterly unforgettable. Shop famous brands, gold bars and everything else at the world’s largest duty free shop, take a swim, hit the 24-hour gym or visit the Zen Gardens and then relax in one of its snoozecubes.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Dubai International Airport:

  • Emirates: One of the world's most luxurious carriers stops at its base airport in Dubai on its way to many European destinations.

6. Munich Airport

A layover isn’t so bad when you get to sample some of the best brews in the country. At Munich Airport, you’ll get to do that at its on-site breweries and tavern houses as well as go behind-the-scenes with a Munich Airport tour. With a cabaret programme and live entertainment for the young and old, this is one airport you won’t mind stopping at.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Munich Airport:

  • Qatar: There's not much in the way of layovers through Munich unless you make an effort to do so. Qatar can get you there after a stopover in Doha though.

7. Amsterdam Schiphol

The Amsterdam Schiphol Airport adds a touch of culture to your layover, with art exhibits, thousands of books and a traditional Dutch cafe. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take advantage of its wedding services, visit the free Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Museum or drink Champagne around an aquarium.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Amsterdam Schiphol:

  • Singapore Airlines: You'll have to go out of your way to stop by Amsterdam but Singapore Airlines will do a good route for you. You'll even get to stop by Singapore Changi on your way, too. Bonus!
  • KLM: Stopping at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, KLM can transfer you between Australia and Amsterdam to take a peek at its airport on the way through a longer European trip, top.

8. Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport thrills both business travellers and those looking for fun between flights with its many services and amenities. Check out the Aviation Discovery Centre, IMAX theatre and simulation golf courses, diner in Michelin-starred restaurants or shop till you drop at duty-free outlets.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Hong Kong International:

  • Cathay Pacific: Flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific offers stopovers from Australia on the way to various destinations including Europe and Asia.
  • Finnair: A flight with Finnair, which is operated by Cathay, can get you that layover on your way to Finland and other European destinations.

9. Vancouver International Airport

Vancouver International Airport is where beautiful art, nature and marine life come together. Be awed by the impressive art and architecture that reflects British Columbia’s diverse landscapes and culture and witness the impressive Vancouver Aquarium Marine Exhibits. It consists of a 114,000 litre main aquarium and a smaller 1,800-litre jellyfish aquarium, with over 5000 marine animals.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Vancouver International:

  • Air Canada: Boasting the only direct flight between Australia and Vancouver, Air Canada can take you through Vancouver and onto destinations within the US, Alaska and down to Cuba.

10. London Heathrow

One of the busiest airports in the world, Heathrow is sophisticated and classy with personalised services and world-class dining, entertainment and shopping options. It offers complimentary personal shoppers and over 100 restaurants, high-end retail outlets and duty-free shops.

Airlines that offer stopovers at London Heathrow:

  • Qantas: With direct flights between Sydney and London now, Qantas is a choice option for those seeking a London layover on their way further into the UK and Europe.

11. Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport handles the majority of Japan’s international flights. It has a range of facilities for shorter layovers and has passes for the bus and train lines if travellers want to go further afield. The airport lounge is opened 24-hours and has free Wi-Fi and coin-operated showers and you can also visit the Sky View Observation Hall, which is both an aviation museum and an observation deck.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Kansai International:

  • Jetstar: Those flying from Cairns can nab themselves a layover at Kansai International on their way to other destinations in Japan and Asia.
  • Qantas: Those looking to travel further afield can fly Qantas to stop in Kansai before travelling further with its international network of carriers and destinations.

12. San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport sports unique exhibits, dedicated play areas for children and express spa options. The SFO Museum has exhibitions on cultural, art, historical and scientific topics and the Aviation Museum is popular with all ages.

Airlines that offer stopovers at San Francisco International:

  • Qantas: Travelling through the USA? Qantas flies into San Fran where you can nab a layover before heading further into the nation or beyond.

13. Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Friendly people, affordable dining and shopping options make Kuala Lumpur International Airport an attractive terminal for a layover in Southeast Asia. If you have a lot of time on your hands, the KLIA Express train takes you to the city in 30 minutes if you have time to explore.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Kuala Lumpur International:

  • Malaysia Airlines: Servicing routes worldwide, Kuala Lumpur is a popular stopover destination for Malaysian Airlines to refuel on its way to Europe, Asia and the UAE.
  • Air Asia: From Sydney, Air Asia offers many flights that transit through Kuala Lumpur onto further Asian destinations.

14. McCarran International Airport

This Las Vegas airport has all the vibes of Sin City, with eccentric art and slot machines to keep you entertained. Get a little exercise in with the McCarran Fly Fit Program, visit the Aviation Museum or marvel at the various art exhibits that reflect the community the airport serves.

Airlines that offer stopovers at McCarran International:

  • Qantas: While there's no direct flight to McCarran from Australia yet, Qantas will take you through Los Angeles where you can transfer over to this hot destination and then further into the USA.
  • Virgin Australia: Similar to Qantas, Virgin can transfer you up to Los Angeles and through to McCarran on a domestic flight.

15. Tokyo International Haneda

Eat sushi for breakfast when you stop over at one of the busiest airports in Asia. You can also pass time watching planes on the panoramic terrace or indulge in other delicious Japanese cuisine before your next flight.

Airlines that offer stopovers at Tokyo International Haneda International:

  • Jetstar: Those flying from Cairns can nab themselves a layover at Haneda International on their way to other destinations in Japan and Asia.
  • Qantas: Flying further afield? Fly Qantas to stop at Haneda before travelling further with its international route network.

Which airports are open 24/7?

  • Singapore Changi
  • Incheon International
  • Munich Airport
  • Tokyo International Haneda
  • Hong Kong International Airport
  • London Heathrow
  • Kansai International Airport
  • Amsterdam Schiphol
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Dubai International
  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport
  • McCarran Airport
  • Taoyuan International Airport
  • Zurich Airport

Which airports offer airport accommodation?

  • Singapore Changi
  • Incheon International
  • Munich Airport
  • Tokyo International Haneda
  • Hong Kong International Airport
  • London Heathrow
  • Kansai International Airport
  • Amsterdam Schiphol
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Dubai International
  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport
  • McCarran Airport
  • Taoyuan International Airport
  • Zurich Airport

Which airports have lounges with Priority Pass?

  • Singapore Changi
  • Incheon International
  • Munich Airport
  • Hong Kong International Airport
  • London Heathrow
  • Kansai International Airport
  • Amsterdam Schiphol
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Dubai International
  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport
  • Taoyuan International Airport
  • Zurich Airport
Priority Pass Priority Pass

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Which airports have lounges with Book FHR

  • Singapore Changi
  • Munich Airport
  • Hong Kong International Airport
  • Amsterdam Schiphol
  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Dubai International
  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport
  • Zurich Airport

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