Transportation from the airport is getting more expensive with surging prices on Uber and fewer taxis on the road. Public transit can be a cheaper alternative, but it can be sparse in many places. If you’re an ultra-light packer and don’t mind a little exercise after your flight, there are actually a few airports that are within a reasonable walking distance to the city center or interesting neighborhoods.
Of course, you probably don’t want to be hoofing it with multiple checked bags down the highway, but if you’re the type of traveler who only carries a backpack or small carry-on, it can be a liberating feeling walking past the taxi ranks and bus stops on your way out of the airport by foot. If you happen to be flying into one of these eight airports around the world, and arriving at a reasonable time of day, you may want to consider walking to your flight.
San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Formerly known as Lindbergh Field, San Diego’s airport is the closest to downtown of any major city in the U.S. As my current home airport, I oftentimes park on the street in the nearby Point Loma neighborhood and simply walk to and from the airport for short trips. Of course, the consistently pleasant weather helps the cause.
For travelers, it’s less than 2 miles to Waterfront Park and the Maritime Museum, which is along the bay just west of Little Italy and Downtown San Diego. A leisurely stroll will take 35-40 minutes. And for an even closer scenic tour near the airport, you can hop across to Harbor Island, which is only about a 15-minute walk from Terminal 1, for some nice views of the city skyline.
How to Walk from San Diego Airport
If you’re heading toward the city center, simply make a left as you exit the terminal building and follow Airport Terminal Rd until you reach North Harbor Dr. Take a left on North Harbor Dr. and continue for about 1.5 miles until you reach San Diego’s waterfront.
Where to Stay: The closest hotel in the downtown area is Wyndham San Diego Bayside, which is directly across from the cruise terminal. If you’d rather drop your bags off even closer, the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina is literally across Harbor Dr. from the airport and will seem more like a yacht club than an airport hotel.
Toronto City Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ)
Not to be confused with Toronto’s larger Pearson Airport (YYZ), Toronto’s city airport (YTZ) is on a small island in Lake Ontario just over a mile from the famous CN Tower. It will take roughly 30 minutes to walk from the airport to this central attraction in Canada’s largest metropolis, which can be a great way to take in a bit of Toronto’s waterfront scenery along the way. Flights into this airport are limited to prop planes with Porter Airlines flying the majority of passenger service. Porter plans to resume Canada and U.S. service in the fall of 2021.
How to Walk from Toronto City Airport
There is an 853 ft pedestrian tunnel that takes you directly from the terminal to Toronto’s mainland. It will only take about 5 minutes to reach the other side where you can then follow Eireann Quay up to Queens Quay W. For a more scenic walk towards the city center, stay on the south side of Queens Quay W and turn right where you’ll get to walk through Toronto Music Garden along Martin Goodman Trail.
You can cross underneath the Gardiner Expressway by turning left on Ress St. and you’ll find the Rogers Centre, CN Tower, and Toronto Railway Museum on the other side. Continue north across the railroad tracks to reach Old Toronto and Downtown Toronto.
Where to Stay: If you want to stay on the Harbor side, the Radisson Blu Toronto Downtown will be the first major hotel you’ll pass by on the walk. On the city side, you’ll find the Toronto Marriott City Centre, and if you want to splurge, check out the Ritz-Carlton Toronto.
London City Airport (LCY)
While you won’t currently find any transatlantic flights into London’s City Airport, you can find flights to several hubs within Europe. If you’re visiting multiple European cities along with the U.K., you might want to consider flying into this small airport along the River Thames.
Plus, if you want to check out the University of East London, you can easily walk there from the airport as it’s a short 1.5 mile or 30-minute walk away. And if you’re a bit ambitious, you can walk all the way to Canary Wharf, which is just under 4 miles, in about 1hr 20 min.
How to Walk from London City Airport
For the University, you’ll make a left on Hartmann Rd. after exiting the terminal. Follow a path to Newland St. and then make a right on Lord St. You’ll then make a left on Albert Rd. and follow for a little over a mile until you cross the Sir Steve Redgrave Bridge where you’ll be on university grounds on the other side.
For Canary Wharf, make a right on Hartmann Rd. and cross the Connaught Bridge. Turn left and follow the footpath along the water to Western Gateway, Lower Lea Crossing, and Aspen Way. You’ll have to navigate a few roundabouts on this route so it will be best to pull up Google Maps for this adventure.
Where to Stay: Across the Connaught Bridge, you’ll find a few different hotel options including DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London ExCel. If you’re looking at the Canary Wharf, check out Fraser Place, which is just down the street from the Traffic Light Tree sculpture.
Buenos Aires Aeroparque Jorge Newberry Int’l Airport (AEP)
If you’re traveling around South America, flying into Buenos Aires’ regional Aeroparque Airport will get you much closer to the city than the larger, long-haul international airport in Ezeiza. So close, in fact, you can easily walk to several nearby parks around the Palermo neighborhood.
Heading about 1.5 miles southeast along the Rio de La Plata, you’ll reach Parque Manuel Belgrano in a little over 30 minutes. It has a huge pool you can use to cool off on your way to Palermo or the famous Recoleta Cemetery.
How to Walk from Buenos Aires Aeroparque Airport
Take a right on Av. Costanera Rafael Obligado as you exit the terminal. Follow it around the airport where you can cross the Autopista Presidente Arturo Umberto Illia (Superhighway) by walking along Jeronimo Salguero or Av. Sarmiento to reach more parks in Palermo surrounding the Monument to the Carta Magna and Four Regions of Argentina.
Saint Martin Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM)
Maho beach is famous for plane spotting as jumbo jets make their final approach just overhead. This also means that Saint Martin airport is easily accessible by foot and you can make your way to the beach in about 15 minutes. It’s only 1 km or 0.6 miles away from Maho beach.
How to Walk from Saint Martin Airport
Take a left as you exit the terminal towards Airport Rd., Take another left on Airport Rd. and follow until you reach the roundabout. Make a left on Beacon Hill Rd. and you’ll be at the beach where you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy the scenery.
Where to Stay: If you’re looking to stay right near Maho beach, you can drop your bags at The Morgan Resort & Spa. And if you’d like to stay a little further away from the airport, hike up Rhine Rd. and check out Sapphire Beach Club & Resort.
Koh Samui International Airport (USM)
If you’re looking for an island escape in Thailand, book a flight to Koh Samui, where you can also easily take a short ferry to Ko Pha Ngan, home of the infamous Full Moon Party. Best of all, the Big Buddha pier where you catch the ferry is within walking distance of Koh Samui Airport. At a little over 2 miles away, you can walk to the pier or nearby hotels in about 45 min.
How to Walk from Koh Samui Airport
As you exit the outdoor terminal, pass by the rental car counters and make a left to exit the airport. You’ll pass a taxi stand as the road curves around until you eventually come to the intersection with Sanam Bin Road near Samui Car Rental. Keep straight to follow Sanam Bin Road north for about a mile until the road comes to a Y intersection with Route 4171 at the Bangrak Market. Make a left onto Route 4171 and follow about half a mile until you reach the pier.
Where to Stay: If you take the ferry over to Koh Pha Ngan, check out Sarikantang Resort to be away from the madness for sleeping purposes, but close enough to walk over to Haad Rin beach to enjoy the Full Moon festivities. On Koh Samui, have a look at Samui Pier Beach Front Resort or, on the other side of the airport, look into Sala Samui Chaweng Beach.
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San Andres Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport (ADZ)
Enjoy the Caribbean with a Colombian vibe on San Andres Island. And since the main airport is less than a mile from town, you can easily walk to the beach or your hotel in about 10-20 minutes.
How to Walk from San Andres Airport
Once you exit the terminal, follow Parqueadero Aeropuerto to the left until you get to the intersection of Carrera 10 and Calle 4. Make a left on Carrera 10 until you reach Calle 1, which is right along the beach.
Where to Stay: Decameron Isleno all-inclusive resort has excellent reviews and everything you’d want in an island vacation. For something a little more budget-friendly, have a look at San Andres Noblehouse.
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
As you land in Las Vegas, you’ll get a nice close-up view of The Strip from the sky thanks to its proximity to the airport. This means you can avoid the taxi scams and enjoy a nice 1-hour walk from the terminal to The Strip, assuming it’s not unbearably hot when you land. It’s about 2.5 miles to reach The Strip from the airport and you can continue further depending on where exactly you’d like to go.
How to Walk from Las Vegas Airport
As you exit Terminal 1, make a left to follow Wayne Newton Blvd. against the flow of traffic. When the road starts to veer right, look for the sidewalk that veers to the left. This will provide a much more pleasant walkway, which roughly follows between Marriott Rd. and the terminal access road. You’ll need to cross Four Corners Rd. and then keep walking down the sidewalk where you’ll run into Kitty Hawk Way near an overpass, which is the main access road, Wayne Newton Blvd.
There is no crosswalk, but also not much traffic, so carefully cross Kitty Hawk Way and look for a narrow pathway between the fence of a parking lot and the overpass. You’ll then curve around to be walking northbound on Paradise Rd. Once you reach E. Tropicana Ave., make a left and The Strip will be 1.3 miles away.