Best airports to stopover in on flights between Australia and Europe

Snooze lounges, swimming pools, massages, great food, Wi-Fi: Airport stopovers are becoming so good they are a destination in themselves. But which airport is the best one to spend a few hours in on the way to Europe? Here's our guide to the best options.

THE HUB: HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

SatMay19Stopovers Hong Kong Airport

TIME TO EUROPE (PARIS)

12 hours, 55 minutes

NEED TO KNOW

Free Wi-Fi, and relatively strong.

On departures level near Gate 23, Relaxation Corner has with semi-flat lounge chairs and, for a fee, massage services.

A Resting Lounge overlooks the airport near Gate 43 of departures level.

The terminals have more than 4500 charging points, a mix of USB ports and British-style rectangular three-pin sockets with mains power.

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A free shower facility is located near Gate 20 on the arrivals level.

PROS

Rated the second best of Asia's international airports, it's spacious and as relaxing as any airport terminal can be.

CONS

Travelling via Hong Kong means a slightly longer flying time to Europe than via Singapore or the Gulf State ports.

ESSENTIALS

https://www.hongkongairport.com

THE HUB: SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT

Terminal 3 - Transit - Koi Pond SatMay19Stopovers Changi Airport

TIME TO EUROPE (PARIS)

13 hours, 20 minutes

NEED TO KNOW

Movie theatres, a butterfly garden, kids play areas, fountains, a rooftop sunflower garden – all free – make Changi a premier choice.

The outdoor swimming pool atop Terminal 1 offers a jacuzzi, showers and a bar, a steal at just S$17.

Singapore Food Street in Terminal 3 is a 1960s-themed re-creation of the city-state's favourite hawker stalls.

Terminal 3's rooftop Cactus Garden offers a breath of fresh air, and there's a bar with runway views.

Snooze lounges with lie-back seating, massage facilities, spas and pay-for-use lounges make this a prime choice for travellers looking to build relaxation into their stopover.

PROS

For decades Singapore's Changi Airport has been the benchmark for excellence in airport terminal design and operation.

CONS

There is literally nothing not to like.

ESSENTIALS

https://au.changiairport.com

 

THE HUB: DUBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

SatMay19Stopovers Dubai Airport Supplied.

TIME TO EUROPE (PARIS)

7 hours, 15 minutes

NEED TO KNOW

Concourse A of Terminal 3 is dedicated exclusively to A380 flights, and this is where Dubai Airport puts its best foot forward with duty-free outlets, cafes, bars and restaurants lighter, brighter and more pleasing in every way.

In the quieter wings of the concourse, reclined lounge-style seating with footrests offers the possibility of a snooze in relative comfort.

Free shower facilities are located on the departures level of Terminal 3 near gate C18, gate B13 and gate A1.

Wi-Fi is free but huge demand at busy periods choke data delivery.

PROS

The choice of onward destinations outpaces every other airport, and departures are frequent.

CONS

The world's busiest international airport is jam packed between midnight and dawn, shopping arcades are crammed and free seating is scarce.

ESSENTIALS

http://www.dubaiairports.ae/

 

THE HUB: SHANGHAI PUDONG AIRPORT

EPGX2D shanghai pudong airport. tra22flightetest-dragon

TIME TO EUROPE (PARIS)

12 hours, 20 minutes

NEED TO KNOW

This is one airport where a pay-for-use lounge offers an elevated level of calm and comfort compared with the terminal experience.

The Shanghai Pudong or Hongqiao Airport Lounge is marginally less disappointing than others, and the price is reasonable.

Temperature inside the terminal is not much different from that outside. Dress in layers.

Food is expensive with a limited choice of dining options.

PROS

Shanghai is the base for China Eastern Airlines, which offers highly competitive prices on flights to Europe.

CONS

Service delivery, facilities, amenities for transit passengers and standards of cleanliness lag far behind those of Hong Kong and Singapore airports.

Flight time to Europe from Australia's east coast cities is slightly longer than via Hong Kong or Singapore.

ESSENTIALS

http://www.shanghaiairport.com/index_en.html

 

THE HUB: HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, DOHA

SatMay19Stopovers Doha Airport Qatar Supplied

TIME TO EUROPE (PARIS)

7 hours

NEED TO KNOW

Quiet Rooms are a great option for jaded travellers looking for some down time and they're free.

The Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness centre has great facilities but even a shower costs $30.

Passengers with stopovers of five hours or longer can take a Discover Doha Transit Tour, a 2 hour 45 minute guided coach tour of the city, priced at $15.

PROS

Spacious, architecturally impressive and polished, this is the most relaxing of the big three Gulf State airports.

CONS

Food and beverage prices are high, which might just make the $72 access fee for the Oryx Lounge worth the money.

ESSENTIALS

dohahamadairport.com/

See also: The best stopover cities for Australians

See also: World's best airport for 2018 named

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