Ever since I was a kid, I remember my sister and I would argue over who gets the window seat in a flight. Invariably my parents would swap seats so that both of us could sit by a window. As we grew older, this decision was left to the ill-fated game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” (a major decision making tool in my life :p). And, now that we all travel independently as well, the plea for the window seat continues to be made ever so often at the ticket counter of the airport. So, tell me, why do we do this? Is it simply because staring out at the view lets us feel like we are staring in a music video in some part of the world? 😉 Is it because Zakir Khan was right when he said “Baadal important hai”?! Hah, is it just because staring out at unsuspecting views is a soothing activity in itself? One amongst the many reasons is also the fact that it offers us the first glimpse of the destination we are headed too, its like the first “Hello” or the first introductory greeting. And, even more so is the fact that ever so often it allows us to spot some wonders of nature that one can only see from such an altitude in the air. Valleys laying below, waves crashing against each other in open waters, etc. flights do offer some incredibly views at times. So, today, we are having a look at some of the most scenic landings offered by airports around the world!
Barra Airport, Hebrides, Scotland
Best time to visit: April to October is the best period for visiting Hebrides
Meet the only airport in the world where the runway is the beach! Not near, not close by, not next to but it is the beach itself! So, you know how you dream of landing at a beach? Well, now you could quite literally do so, that is if you are willing to bear the cost for a private chartered flight. Only scheduled flights of this private kind are allowed to operate from the beach, adding a layer of luxury to the beautiful beach you get to witness. Unlike the regular flights we take, this one is not possible at all times but is simply accessibly only when there is a low tide and the water level is low. Also, flights are not allowed to operate from here once it is nightfall for safety and visibility reasons. Scenic and selective! But I guess that’s the price you pay to watch waves right outside as you take off. 😉
Princess Juliana International Airport, Caribbean Island, Saint Martin
Best time to visit: May to June, November to December
A slice of blue to stare deeply into, that is the view offered to your eyes if you decide to take a trip to land at the illustrious Princess Juliana International Airport. Its location in close proximity to the beach has made it look upon and gaze at the beach in full swing. In fact, there are even pictures of people ducking while making sandcastles or posing to leap and get a shot of themselves right with the plane flying above them. A little sand, a little water and a plane, all in one glimpse, it seems! However, with its beauty comes the price of risk too. This airport also almost always ranks amongst the most dangerous airports in the world on account of how low it has to fly over busy crowds. Ah, if you go to the beach, I sincerely suggest you maintain a good distance from the patch above which the plane flies over. :p
Madeira International Airport, Santa Cruz, Portugal
Best time to visit: September to November
In Portugal’s island region of Santa Cruz, is a uniquely sitting airport. Built on the side of a cliff, the airport was built by literally stretching a strip of land next to the cliff which la di da gave them an airport! Once again, thanks to being perched between the cliffs on one side and a stretch of water on the other, this airport is also deemed to be one of the most dangerous ones in the world. I guess if you’re looking for a chance to catch such views from outside the window of your flight seat, you’d really have to be gutsy too! Another interesting aspect of the airport is that it has been officially named as the “Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo” in honour of Portugal’s record goal scorer as the ace footballer hails from the town of Madeira.
Courchevel Altiport -Courchevel, France
Best time to visit: mid-May to mid-September
After all the talk of stunning blue waters, if the mountain lover in you is anticipating the mention of an airport where you might catch a sight of looming peaks, then look no further. France’s Courchevel is a blessed with an airport which albeit risky still presents visitors with a sight straight out of a postcard. Snow-capped peaks doused in layers of white make this one quite a delight. It is one of the steepest airports in the world and the reason for its existence is a ski resort that bears the same name. So, if you are headed for some snow sports in the French Alps you might just end up taking this flight of a lifetime. Landing here successfully certainly calls for an applause for the pilots who have to strategically manoeuvre a landing at an angle of 18.5 degrees!
Incidentally, mountain lovers would also enjoy the view they get to witness aboard a flight headed to land at Srinagar airport as you see some stellar high-altitude peaks. For security reasons pictures from the area are not allowed but I guess in a way that only magnifies the beauty as it exists only in your eyes, right?
Donegal Airport, Ireland
Best time to visit: mid-June to mid-September with the later being the better option
You may be thinking that I have mistakenly just attached a picture of an island and that there this must be a place that one visits after landing at the aforementioned airport. But I’ll urge you to have a closer look ad you will see a thinly stretching strip of gravel making a runway in a region so beautiful. In the country of Ireland, its destination of Donegal is home to many natural wonders. Amidst those wonders sits a manmade one, the Donegal Airport. The coastline is visible here as it swims and beats against the rocky pieces erect within it, an expanse of blue that you land right into.
Which is the most beautiful landing that you have ever experienced till date?!