Lonely Planet Writer

These are 2019's most scenic airports for landings and take-offs

Donegal Airport has been named the airport with the most scenic landing strip for the second year in a row. The poll, conducted by private jet booking platform PrivateFly, collected responses from 7000 people who nominated the airports they considered the most scenic for approaches and take-offs.

Donegal Airport. Image by Donegal Airport

The airstrip at Carrickfinn, Donegal in the north-west of Ireland came out on top of the poll with praise for its dramatic surroundings. It was followed by Barra Airport in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides and Nice Côte d’Azur Airport in the South of France.

“The view is spectacular,” said one voter of Donegal Airport. “Mountains on one side and a beautiful rugged coastline dotted with islands and golden sandy beaches running adjacent to the runway,” while another said it was the “most beautiful scenery I ever saw, with the beach on one side with crystal clear water and Mount Errigal standing tall on the other side.”

The airport at St Maarten is renowned for its extrenely low landing. Image by Matt Swinden/500px

The poll ranked 129 airports around the world with travel industry experts creating the shortlist for the public vote. Other airports recognised for their spectacular surroundings were Orlando Melbourne Airport (USA) and and St Maarten (Netherlands Antilles) who came in at fourth and fifth place respectively. Saba Airport (Netherlands Antilles) and Queenstown Airport (New Zealand) were also noted for their landing strips, while Toronto Billy Bishop (Canada), London City Airport (England) and Aosta Airport (Italy) completed the top 10.

Visitors to Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport are flown directly into the city centre. Image by David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty

“Too often travellers hurry through the journey to get to their destination; this poll encourages those to stop, take a look through their aircraft window and be awestruck by the joy of flying,” said Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly. “Donegal’s rugged coastal landscapes are truly awe-inspiring as you come into land. There is simply nowhere else like it and its popularity with global travellers is clear.”