Europe’s best airport shows how it should be done
Munich airport is everything you would expect a German airport to be. Passengers love its courteous and efficient staff, cleanliness, fast security checks and passport controls, convenient transport links and superb range of shops and restaurants.In fact, Germany’s second largest airport was crowned the ‘Europe’s Best Airport’ in the influential 2010 SkyTrax World Airport Awards, which are decided by over 9 million travellers. Clearly, the airport is doing something right.
Munich airport celebrated its sixtieth birthday in 2009, but in its present location some 17 miles northeast of the city it serves, it has only been in operation for 18 years. Yet during that comparatively short time passenger numbers have rocketed and although traffic levels took a bit of a knock during the worst of the credit crunch in 2009, the airport was still the seventh busiest in Europe, handling nearly 33 million passengers.Munich airport is not short of places to shop and dine. There are in fact around 200 commercial outlets totalling 35,000 square metres of space, which are spread out across the airport’s two main terminals and in the stunning Munich Airport Center (MAC)•a central shopping mall area and one of Europe’s largest roofed outdoor spaces, which connects the two facilitiesIf you are deciding where to shop on your trip, it is also worth remembering that whereas strict German regulations on shopping hours see downtown shops in Munich shut in the evenings and all day Sunday, the airport’s shops are open all week with some opening as early as 5am and closing as late as 10pm.
To get a full rundown of what is on offer and a map to see where everything is located, grab a free copy of the handy Munich Airport Shopping brochure, which you will find on stands around the airport. Alternatively, download a copy of the airport’s invaluable online stopover guide, www.munich-airport.com/viaMUC, which also includes ideas for brief excursions to local attractions for those with time to kill between flights, and many discount vouchers for both airport outlets and downtown attractions.
The assortment of luxury brands and designer labels to choose from at Munich airport is nothing short of breathtaking and includes the likes of Rolex, Cartier, Hermes, Bvlgari, Hugo Boss, Escada, Montblanc, Etienne Aigner and Burberry. However, there is also a good crop of local souvenir shops• you will find typical Bavarian staples such as beer mugs, cuckoo clocks and nutcrackers at Hermann Gifts (Terminal 2, Level 05), for instance, or why not pick up a replica team shirt at the well-stocked FC Bayern Munich Fan Shop (MAC, Level 03), which stocks over 600 different branded gifts?If you have a science-mad family member or relative, consider heading for the Deutsches Museum outlet in Terminal 2 (Level 04), where you will find a wide selection of products and games related to physics, astronomy, telecommunication, chemistry and computers. It is the next best thing to visiting the museum itself, which is one of Munich’s top tourist attractions and the world’s largest technology museum.There are three duty-free and travel-retail (Travel Value) shops at the airport (one located in Terminal 1 and two in Terminal 2), which are operated by the airport. As you might expect, they stock a full range of spirits, fragrances, cosmetics, fashion accessories and confectionery, but disappointingly for an international airport as large as Munich, there is no online guide to inform travellers what brands are sold or what offers and promotions are being run.
One highlight of the duty-free offer we can divulge, however, is the Cosmetic Institute, which recently opened in the Terminal 2 duty-free store on Level 05. This spa-like beauty lounge, which is open daily from 07.00 to 22.00, offers facials, body treatments, manicures and other wellness treatments for men as well as women. It also offers a range of leading cosmetics brands from Sisley, La Prairie, Lancôme and Clarins. For more details, phone +49 (0) 89 975 8494.
Travelling families are rather well catered for at Munich airport. You will find three toy stores run by German retailer Vedes and invaluable play corners dotted all over the airport. At the airport’s outdoor Visitors’ Park there is a larger children’s playground where your little ones can let off steam.While you are there, you can also see three historic aircraft and a rescue helicopter up close. The kids can also find out more about aviation at special touch-screen terminals. At the Visitor Park’s Airport Souvenirs shop you will an excellent selection of model aeroplanes, aviation-related toys (including an inflatable Airbus A380), as well as books from brands such as Ravensburger, Herpa, Playmobil and Revell.Adults who have never grown up might also enjoy the iPilot simulator, which takes up residence at the airport from mid-November 2010 onwards. Located in Terminal 2 (Level 03 Arrivals), it offers you the chance to fly to the airport of your choice with the expert guidance of iPilot trainer. Prices start from €69 (£59.60) for a 30-minute flight experience.
If you are in need of a bite to eat but don’t have time to sit down somewhere then German food retailer Edeka, which has outlets in both terminals, is a good bet for sandwiches, drinks and snacks. If time is not a problem, head to the airport’s famous AirBräu brewery, which makes its own beers and serves hearty, filling German food. Alternatively, sample chocolates, pastries and superb coffee at Dallmyr (Terminal 2, Level 04), Munich’s most famous delicatessen.
It is always worth checking out Munich airport’s nicely laid out website, www.munich-airport.de before you travel as the airport has a regular programme of varied events throughout the year. These events have included children’s parties, a ‘beach’ volleyball tournament, art exhibitions and a flea market.
Every Christmas season from mid November the airport hosts an enormous winter market complete with Santa Claus, reindeer, and 45 market stands serving all manner of Bavarian handicrafts and specialities such as mulled wine, sweet-roasted almonds, sausages and traditional gingerbread.
Anybody living or temporarily based in Munich who is flying from Terminal 2 should know about the airport’s new Shop & Store service. It allows passengers who have bought goods at the airport to store them in a secure locker and then pick them up on their return. For more information on this useful service, call +49 (0) 89975 34038.
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