hidden europe 8

Extraordinary airports

by Nicky Gardner


hidden europe celebrates the merits of some of Europe's more obscure airports, from Akureyri to West Balaton via Kuressaare and Poprad.

Airport names used to be much simpler. If you booked a flight to Frankfurt, there was at least the prospect that the airport at which you disembarked might be somewhere vaguely near Frankfurt. Nowadays, of course, discount airlines play havoc with our mental maps as they deposit us at remote airports that seem to have only the slightest connection with the cities whose names they bear.

Frankfurt-Hahn airport (HHN) is a case in point. We all have a vague idea where Frankfurt is. But Hahn? Who's heard of this tiny village of some one hundred souls that nestles in the hills just east of Germany's Mosel valley. So many who land with Ryanair at Frankfurt-Hahn airport are appalled to find that they are nowhere near Frankfurt at all. Indeed Hahn is closer to Luxembourg than it is to Frankfurt-am-Main.

But, for those travellers who really are bound for the Mosel valley, Frankfurt-Hahn airport inadvertently comes up trumps. There is, in some of these remote airports used by discount airlines, often a real advantage. They provide immediate access to rural areas that may warrant a visit in their own right.