They’re places we pass through and often put up with through gritted teeth as we speed to our destination.

But what if it was a pleasure to linger at airports?

There’s one where it is.

It’s not the best looking - that honour must go to Bilbao's distinctive and stunning airport.

Amsterdam airport, Schipol, looks like many modern airports - sprawling and anonymous from the outside but what they put inside makes all the difference.

For a start - how many airports have a library? This one does. While many airports seek to squeeze the maximum revenue out of your stopover, Schipol has enchanting corners like this one. Sure, there is no shortage of ways to part with your money, but this addition is inspired.

We had about five hours to kill and this area was heaven-sent. It boasted said library with titles in many languages (but plenty in English). It had a children's play area that was more than just a cordoned-off five square metres with some battered toys.

There was a large lounge full of funky-looking seats which you could comfortably sleep on. All these were next to eachother so you can keep an eye on the kids while reading.

It is a place where you would gladly spend hours. There were other boons for the weary traveller, like a quiet ‘meditation’ area (just a quiet area with comfy seats – meditation wasn’t compulsory).

An airport shouldn't just be a place to fleece you with perfume, booze and massive toblerones. The number of airports where you go from security straight into duty-free seems to be increasing.

Let's be honest, flying is an ordeal. Gone are the days when people would dress up to fly. Now the goal is to get through the whole, often dull experience with the minimum of stress.

One of those stresses is increased security. One of the most unpleasant airport experiences I can recall is being in a vast, echoing security hall at an English airport, while instructions were barked and trays for carrying bags through x-ray were slammed around.

Schipol thankfully was quieter than this – and that wasn’t just the meditation zone.

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