When you think of shopping, you probably picture Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue or Paris’s Avenue des Champs Elysées. But some of the world’s best shopping can be found in between destinations (and arguably where you need retail therapy most): at the airport. Read on for the world’s best airports for shopping—and for eager travelers, even more reasons to get to the terminal earlier.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Commonly a layover hub, Amsterdam’s Schiphol experiences a massive amount of daily foot traffic. And appropriately so, the airport offers all of the big-name luxury boutiques including Hermès, Gucci, and Montblanc.
Singapore Changi International
If you’re not impressed by the Changi airport’s rooftop pool and jacuzzi, gardens (cactus, butterfly, and sunflower, to be exact), movie theater, multimedia XBox 360 station, or kinetic art installations, you’ll surely be interested in its shopping scene. And if a variety of options including Saint Laurent, Hermès, and three separate Adidas boutiques isn’t enough, the airport is also expanding with the $1.7 billion “Jewel Complex” next year which will offer even more retail.
With over 55 million travelers passing through annually, Dubai International is one of the busiest and, naturally, most lucrative travel hubs. Excelling in scale and selection, its duty-free shops—offering designer sunglasses, luxury skincare items, perfume, chocolate, electronics, liquor, cigarettes, and novelties such as gold bars—reached $1.6 billion in sales last year. The retail mecca also holds monthly raffles for luxury cars and motorbikes, as well as the famous Millennium Millionaire drawing.
As the second largest airport in the Middle East (reportedly costing $16 billion to build), Hamad International hosts over 80 duty-free and luxury boutiques, including Bally, Bottega Veneta, Chopard, Burberry, Ermenegildo Zegna, and many others.
The world’s third busiest airport and the second busiest for international traffic is also one of the best in the world for shopping. Not only does Terminal 5 offer Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry, Bulgari, Hermes, and Rolex, but there’s also a Harry Potter shop for Hogwarts-lovers.
Hong Kong International
With two separate shopping malls (SkyMart and SkyPlaza) and some 300 stores, Hong Kong International offers everything from luxury retail to electronics. SkyPlaza also features an entertainment zone with an IMAX theater and other unique amenities including nap rooms, seemingly endless dining options (including a concept from two-Michelin-starred chef Lau Yiu Faiat at the airport's American Express Centurion Lounge), and a golf course.