Amazing Places

5 of the World's Most Bizarre Airports

Most of the time, getting to your destination is the least enjoyable part of a trip — especially if that trip involves flying. Airports are crowded, boring, and stressful, and the flight itself is typically no better. But that's not always the case. Next time you're planning a getaway, consider flying through some of these particularly bizarre airports, and you may just find that getting there is half the fun.

Courchevel International Airport, France

Located in a ski resort in the French Alps, Courchevel has one of the highest (6,853 feet or 2,010 meters), and shortest (1,722 feet or 537 meters) runways in the world — two undesirable characteristics for an airport, as far as safety goes. And if that wasn't enough, a precarious approach through deep mountain valleys coupled with a steeply sloping tarmac makes this airport so tricky to navigate that pilots must acquire a special certification to fly in and out.

Flybe airplane on the sandy runway of Barra airport

Barra Airport, Scotland

A sandy beach is one of the last places you'd expect to see a plane land, but on Scotland's tiny island of Barra, that's precisely what happens. This runway (or lack thereof) has been in use since the 1930s and handles about 10,000 passengers per year. Working with the territory, flights are scheduled around high tide, which covers the runway once a day.

Related Video: These Are the 10 Busiest Airports in the World

Denver International Airport, Colorado

This Colorado airport has more than its fair share of strangeness. For starters, there's "Blucifer," the 35-foot bronco statue with glowing red eyes that towers near the airport entrance ... and the impressive collection of bizarre art linked to a number of apocalyptic and alien conspiracies. It's suspected that the weirdness continues even under the airport, where a supposed vast network of underground tunnels and bunkers exists for the military.

Bangalore International Airport, India

If you're not a fan of the paranormal, this is one airport you might want to avoid for a nighttime layover. Pilots and airport staff have reported seeing a woman in a white sari standing on the runway, in the cargo areas, and in a parking bay. While air traffic control denies any such incidents, paranormal investigators have used infrared light techniques to detect what they say is negative energy.

Gibraltar Airport

The tiny British territory of Gibraltar, on the south coast of Spain, has a pretty standard airport except for one large detail: its tarmac runs straight through the island's busiest road. Every time a plane lands or takes off, railroad-style crossing gates hold cars until it is safe to pass. Planes typically stop traffic for about ten minutes, but on some days a delay could be up to two hours! That's one traffic nightmare we'd like to avoid.

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With the stress of travel, it's easy to let airport architecture go unappreciated. But there's a lot of beauty to be seen, as demonstrated by the book "The Art of the Airport: The World's Most Beautiful Terminals" by Alexander Gutzmer, Laura Frommberg, and Stefan Eiselin. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Ashley Gabriel April 27, 2018

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