Biggest airports in Europe: The main contenders

Welcome to our guide on the "Biggest Airports in Europe." In this article, we're counting down the top 10 largest airports in Europe based on their size. Get ready to discover the massive spaces where planes take off and land, connecting people not only on the Old Continent but all over the world. Let's dive into the world of aviation and explore these impressive airport giants!


10. London Heathrow Airport (LHR), United Kingdom

Surface area: 12.14 km2

Despite being the last airport on our ranking based on surface area, London Heathrow is actually the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Europe as of March 2023. With it being the biggest facility in the United Kingdom, this may come as no surprise. Heathrow has 5 passenger terminals and from there, 80 airlines take air passengers to over 185 different destinations worldwide. Naturally, the flag carrier British Airways is the dominating air company at the main London airport. 

Did you have a delayed flight in the last 3 years?

Check your compensation for delayed flights for free!

 9. Rome Leonardo da Vinci Airport Fiumicino (FCO), Italy

Surface area: 14.5 km2

The biggest and most important Italian airport was opened in 1961 and replaced the older Ciampino airport in Rome. The two passenger terminals at Fiumicino were renovated many times throughout the years. The last upgrade in 2021 was a successful move for the Italian airport and earned it the Airports Council International (ACI) “Best Airport Award" in the category of hubs for three years in a row. Fiumicino is the main hub for ITA Airways, the Italian national airline.


8. Paris-Orly Airport (ORY), France

Surface area: 15.3 km2

Paris Orly Airport, or just Orly Airport, is the most important French airport for domestic flights. Situated closer to the city center than CDG, ORY plays a crucial role in connecting travelers to Paris and its surrounding regions. The airport has been expanded multiple times over the years and now has 4 terminals.

Is My Flight Eligible?

7. Munich Franz-Josef-Strauß Airport (MUC), Germany

Surface area: 15.6 km2

The Bavarian airport, named after the former governor Franz Josef Strauss, is the 8th busiest European airport. MUC also got the 7th spot in Skytrax’s ranking for Best airport for shopping in 2023 (including duty free shopping). An important hub for Lufthansa, Eurowings, and Air Dolomiti, the Munich airport has two runways, two passenger terminals and good cargo facilities.


6. Frankfurt am Main International Airport (FRA), Germany

Surface area: 23 km2

The Frankfurt airport takes the 6th position and like Heathrow, is one of the busiest European hubs despite its not so impressive size. Lufthansa, the German flag carrier, uses FRA as its main base and makes it an attractive transfer location for trips overseas.

Did you have a delayed flight in the last 3 years?

Check your compensation for delayed flights for free!

5. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), the Netherlands

Surface area: 27.87 km2

The name of the biggest Dutch airport means “main port”. Quite suitable, since Schiphol is a primary base not only for the Dutch air company KLM but also for airlines like Lufthansa, British Airways and Brussels Airlines. Schiphol is thus one of the most important airports serving the Netherlands, Northern Germany, and Belgium.


4. Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD), Spain

Surface area: 30.50 km2

The main hub for Spanish flag carrier Iberia (the most punctual airline in Europe for 2022) earned the 4th place with its impressive facilities: 4 passenger, 1 cargo and 1 executive terminal and 4 runways. MAD was first opened in 1928 and has since become a major aviation point. 

Madrid is a popular destination and has the numbers to show for it: the Barajas airport has not only fully recovered after the COVID pandemic, but has also surpassed the pre-pandemic statistics (50.6 million passengers in 2022). MAD is also the 4th busiest airport in Europe (Barcelona El-Prat Airport (BCN), the second biggest in Spain, is 7th).

Is My Flight Eligible?

3. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), France

Surface area: 32.38 km2

One of the most recognizable European airports and the main hub for the French national carrier, Air France, CDG takes the third place in our ranking. Officially opened in 1974, the biggest French international airport has since grown to include three huge terminals. CDG was named after the infamous French president and military leader and serves as a major gateway to Europe.


2. Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO), Russia

Surface area: 42 km2

The biggest of the four airports serving Moscow was first a military base and became a civilian airport in 1959. In 2019, SVO adopted the name Alexander Pushkin after the great Russian poet. The surface area of 42 km2 includes 6 terminals: 4 international, 1 domestic and 1 for private flights. Sheremetyevo is the main hub for the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot. 


1. Istanbul International Airport (IST), Turkey

Surface area: 76.6 km2

The new Turkish “center of aviation” officially opened in late 2018 and has expanded a lot since. The ambitious project is set to cover 76.6 km2 with 8 runways, 16 taxiways, and 4 terminals which will definitely get IST the title “largest airport in Europe”. 

Istanbul airport serves over 350 destinations and acts as a “bridge” between Europe and Asia for many airlines, while offering maximum comfort to all travelers. The Turkish airport was the 7th busiest airport in the world in 2022 with more than 64 million passengers.

Did you have a delayed flight in the last 3 years?

Check your compensation for delayed flights for free!