What if it not just your travel destination was an adventure, but even the airplane landing itself? Whether it’s high in the mountains, directly on the beach or surrounded by turquoise ocean: we’ve gathered together eight airports that are guaranteed to leave you speechless.
Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Martin (Caribbean)
Duck! Photos of low-flying aircraft on approach to the Princess Juliana International Airport on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin have become a world famous phenomenon. The runway begins directly behind the sandy beach of this holiday paradise, forcing the pilot to thunder just 10 to 20 meters above the heads of vacationing tourists. Of course, this spectacle is not without danger: it’s common for sightseers and tourists to be hit with a blast of sand and small stones.
Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Lukla (Nepal)
Ever thought of making the world-famous trek to Mount Everest? Those who venture to this mighty peak are presented with their first taste of adventure directly upon arrival to the spectacular Tenzing-Hillary Airport. The runway is just 527 meters long, inclined at an incredible 12 degrees and ends abruptly before a drop-off hundreds of meters deep. A pure adrenaline rush!
Madeira International Airport (Portugal)
Not for beginner pilots: almost no other airport is as difficult to land at than that on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Pilots must first approach the mountain before making a steep right turn. But the nerve-wracking approach is worth the risk: Madeira, the picturesque “Island of Eternal Spring” impresses visitors with lush vegetation and spectacular cliffs.
Malé International Airport, Hulhulé (Maldives)
One of the most beautiful landings in the world can be experienced in the Maldives, a tropical holiday paradise. The runway is located on a small island in the Indian Ocean, nestled in turquoise waters. If this isn’t the best way to start an unforgettable vacation, we don’t know what is!
Barra Airport (Scotland)
How does it feel to land directly on the beach? On the Scottish island of Barra, you can do just that! Takeoffs and landings are determined by the tide and lighting is nowhere to be found. Anyone travelling to Barra can look forward to plenty of peace and quiet: the island has just over 1,000 residents and, at least so far, isn’t yet a major tourist attraction.
Paro Airport (Bhutan)
One of the most dangerous runways anywhere in the world can be found in the mystical kingdom of Bhutan. Nestled between the peaks of the Himalayas is the Paro Airport. Only a few pilots in the world are cleared to land here. Anyone who dares this landing will return with a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences, as tiny Bhutan is counted among the most fascinating destinations anywhere.
Skiathos Airport (Greece)
Small airport – big sensation: The airport on the Greek island of Skiathos is known the world over as a highlight for “plane spotters.” To execute an exact landing, pilots must fly extremely low – and in the process give onlooking tourists and adrenaline junkies an unforgettable close encounter with fascinating aircraft. You won’t find this kind of adrenaline rush anywhere else on the otherwise tranquil island of Skiathos!
Queenstown Airport (New Zealand)
With Lake Wakatipu in the background and the snow-capped mountains on the horizon, the airport in the New Zealand city of Queenstown is probably the most picturesque anywhere in the world. And it’s not just the airport in Queenstown that will impress you: this lively city attracts mainly young, adventurous travelers, and has thus gained the unofficial title of “party capital.”