Touchdown to Downtown

Published by: BouncePosted

When traveling by air to visit another city, the last thing you want is a complicated, long, or expensive journey once you touchdown on the tarmac. As a result, those cities that are easily accessible from the airport offer a favorable experience, but what cities are the easiest to quickly visit from the airport? The quicker the journey between the airport and the city centre can make them a great place to be stuck for a layover, giving you more time to explore the city while waiting for your next flight.

The travel experts at Bounce have found out for you. By studying the data from major airports in America, Europe, and Asia, we’ve revealed the cities that can be accessed quickly and affordably when traveling from the airport. We have also compared the time to travel by car compared to the time on public transport, therefore you will know the best way to swiftly travel between the airport and the city. 


The best airports for visiting the city center quickly in the USA

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1. John Glenn Columbus International Airport, overall score of 8.52/10

Columbus Airport is the smallest of those in our study in terms of the number of passengers that use it; it is named after Apollo astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth in 1962. He lived in Cleveland for most of his life. 

The airport ranked first as it is just over seven miles from the city center, and it takes 14 minutes to reach it by road, which is less than two minutes per mile on average. The journey also takes 14 minutes by public transport, but it is a fraction of the cost of a taxi, at $2.00 (£1.56/€1.84) so it is probably the best option. 

2. Austin–Bergstrom International Airport, overall score of 7.08/10

The second best airport for traveling into the city center is Austin-Bergstrom, which serves the Texan city of Austin

Traveling between the airport and the city center by public transport is especially good value for those visiting Austin, as the average one-way ticket is just $1.75 (£1.37/€1.61). However, you must factor in that public transport is estimated to take 13 minutes longer than a taxi journey into the city. There are many attractions in Austin for tourists, such as the Texas State Capitol building and the downtown area on the banks of the Colorado River.

3. San Diego International Airport, overall score of 7.00/10

San Diego airport completes the top three ranking American airports for ease of traveling to the city center, meaning those looking for a sunny Californian getaway or coming to attend the famous Comic Con will have an easy time of it. 

The airport in San Diego is less than four miles away from the city center by road, which means it has an incredibly low estimated taxi cost of just $9.30 (£7.26/€8.56). However, it is let down by the fact the 3.4 mile journey takes 20 minutes on average, over five minutes per mile on average.  


The best airports for visiting the city center quickly in Europe

1. Venice Marco Polo Airport, overall score of 7.56/10

Venice is more famous for its waterways rather than its roads or airports. Despite this, it still ranks first for ease of travel between the airport and the city center. 

In 2023, almost six million people visited Venice, with many coming to see its unique canals and exquisite architecture. These people wouldn’t have had to travel far to get to the city center either. It takes 22 minutes to travel almost eight miles from the airport to the center by road, an average of 2.76 minutes per mile. 

2. Nice Côte d'Azur Airport, overall score of 7.40/10

The south of France and the French Riviera are popular summer holiday destinations for many tourists across Europe, and the city of Nice is one of the major attractions in this part of the world. Public transport takes just six minutes to travel from the airport to the city center. This is over three times quicker than the 22 minutes it takes to travel there by road. 

3. Orio al Serio International Airport, overall score of 6.83/10

Orio al Serio is the airport that services the city of Bergamo in northern Italy, making it the second Italian airport to rank in the top three. The ancient city of Bergamo is famous for its ancient military infrastructure and city walls, but it is also a gateway city for the Italian Alps and Great Lakes, such as Lake Como. The airport is located very close to the city center, just over three miles away. 


The best airports for visiting the city center quickly in Asia

1. Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, overall score of 7.97/10

The top-ranking airport in Asia serves the Chinese city of Xiamen. Xiamen is a coastal city famous for its large port and beaches, which tourists enjoy. The airport is less than nine miles from the city center, making the average taxi price affordable at an estimated $4.94 (£3.85/€4.54).

2. Tianjin Binhai International Airport, overall score of 7.91/10

Tianjin is the seventh largest city in China, home to over 13 million people and attracting many visitors for business or pleasure. As a result, it has a very busy airport, but thankfully for visitors, it is easy to travel between it and the city center. It is a fast journey by road, taking under two minutes per mile on average. 

3. Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, overall score of 7.62/10

Chongqing is located in central China, making it a hat trick at the top of the rankings for the East Asian nation. The city has many tourist attractions, such as the downtown area full of impressive skyscrapers and the natural beauty of areas such as the Qutang Gorge and many mountain ranges surrounding it. 

Cody Candee, CEO and Founder of Bounce, comments on the importance of a quick journey between the airport and the city centre:

“Often, when visiting a city, you do not have time for a long visit with time constraints limiting the amount of time you can spend visiting the top attractions, admiring the views, and experiencing the local culture, cuisine, and entertainment on offer. Reasons for this include a layover stop where you have a few hours between flights, at an airport with good access to the city center, you can experience much more in a short amount of time.

“At the top of the rankings in America is the John Glenn Airport, which services the city of Columbus, Ohio. Other cities you can experience quickly from leaving the airport are Austin, Texas, and San Diego, California.

“Across the pond in Europe, two Italian cities rank in the top three. The picturesque city of Venice is easily accessible from the airport. At the other end of the scale, London is especially difficult to visit whilst on a layover, with four of its airports ranking in the bottom four places. 

“Finally, in Asia, Chinese airports are the best for access to the city center as six of the top 10 ranking airports service cities in that country. The top three Asian cities you can easily visit from the airport are Xiamen, Tianjin, and Chongqing.” 


  • A seed list of the 50 busiest airports in the USA, Europe, Asia, and across the world was compiled from Wikipedia. 
  • Any airport where we could not find data for more than one factor was removed from the rankings and replaced with the next biggest airport. 
  • We used Google Maps to find the distance and estimated time that it would take to drive from the airport to the city center. We then calculated the average minutes per mile the drive would take.
  • To ensure the data was as accurate as possible, we calculated the journey on the same day and time for every location: Monday, June 3rd, 2024, at noon. In addition, we always chose the quickest route available and used the highest time figure when it gave a range of estimated journey times. 
  • We also used the same source to calculate the time it would take to journey between the airport and the city center using public transport. 
  • We used Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index to find each city's average taxi cost per km. We multiplied this by the length of the journey to calculate the estimated cost from the airport to the city center. 
  • Using the same source, we also recorded the estimated cost of a one-way public transport ticket. 
  • We compiled these data points to calculate an overall score out of ten for each airport and ranked them by this. 
  • All the data is correct as of 05/28/2024. 
  • Currency conversion rates were sourced from Google and are accurate as of 05/31/2024. 
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