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incredible airports around the world

Montevideo, Uruguay

Aeropuerto de Carrasco

In 2009, a project created by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly transformed the 1947 building: covered by a 1,312-foot [400 m] long arch, it features a sunlit hall that would resemble an old train station if it weren’t all white. On the top floor, plane aficionados gather on a terrace to watch the runway.

Washington D.C., United States

Washington Dulles International

Designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen (best known for his furniture pieces), the building has a lovely curve that is evocative of the act of taking off. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a companion facility to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which has historic aircraft and rockets, is worth a visit.

Frankfurt, Germany

Flughafen Frankfurt am Main

A glass giant, the busiest airport in Germany – it received over 60 million passengers in 2015 – has a terrace for visitors in Terminal 2 where they can admire the comings and goings of aircraft. Anyone who wants to get a closer look can buy the Starter Tour, which takes people to the runway. A bonus for nerds: the terminals are filled with Pokémon Go arenas.

Sydney, Australia

Kingsford Smith International Airport

A favorite among spotters (aviation aficionados that have Instagram accounts focused on the theme), it has several platforms and overlooks for people who want to take a good look at the aircraft. There’s no lack of things to do there: it’s home to over 150 stores, including the local boot brand UGG.

Santiago, Chile

Aeropuerto Internacional Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez

It doesn’t matter how many times you take this route, seeing the Andes from above is always exciting. After crossing it, passengers who disembark there continue to see the mountains in the background – the only thing more relaxing than this are the free Yoga classes at Puerta 15 in the terminal.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Aeroporto Santos Dumont

Rio de Janeiro remains beautiful, and its port of entry is a great calling card: as passengers approach the runaway, they see such landmarks as the Sugarloaf Mountain, Guanabara Bay and the Rio-Niterói Bridge. The huge Bossa Nova Mall, opened in 2015, is located next to the airport.

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín de Olmedo

Located just 3 miles [5 km] from the city center, it was designed by Argentine architect Eugenio Perissé and has been selected as the best airport in Latin America and the Caribbean nine times. The terminal is a frequent stop for people traveling to the Galapagos and it has great stores that sell, among other things, the famous Ecuadorian chocolate.

Madrid, Spain

Aeropuerto Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas

Opened in 1927, the largest airport in Spain has been remodeled several times. But it was the inauguration of Terminal 4 (2006) that defined its layout. Designed by architects Antonio Lamela and Richard Rogers, it features wavy ceilings and glass panels, which allow the entrance of natural light and create a psychedelic effect.

Ushuaia, Argentina

Aeropuerto Internacional Malvinas Argentinas

The southernmost international airport in the world doesn’t need innovations to stand out: visitors just need to look through the window to be enchanted by the landscape in Tierra del Fuego, since it’s located at the Beagle Channel. Inside, its wood walls and ceilings make it look like a winter cabin.

Orlando, United States

Orlando International Airport

Departing from South America, passengers have the first attraction: the Caribbean Sea, which stretches for several miles, is worth the window seat. The airport is the port of entry to a magical land, with Disney and Universal stores, and the building has plenty of natural light.


Camila Lafratta
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