Few Hours Layover in Paris CDG Airport? here’s what to do!

Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (CDG), also known as Roissy Airport, is one of the world’s principal aviation centres, as well as France’s largest airport. It is named after Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970), leader of the Free French Forces and founder of the French Fifth Republic. It is located within portions of several communes, 25 km (16 mi) to the northeast of Paris. The airport serves as the principal hub for Air France. In 2012, the airport handled 61 million passengers, making it the world’s seventh busiest airport and Europe’s second busiest airport (after London Heathrow) in passengers served. Read more about Paris CDG Airport in:

Paris - Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) (CDG - LFPG) AN0844044

Oh, Paris, the city of lights… or are these just the runway lights? You are in Paris, but only for a few hours, in an airport layover. How should you best use this time? well, that depends on the layover duration, time of day, time of year… the most important factor is the duration of your layover, that will dictate the nature of your layover, from a stressed run for your flight to a relaxed semi-vacation.

Please note that these are just general recommendations. It is always best to consult with your airline and booking agent, so take these recommendations as they are – general guidelines…

Layover of 1, 2 or 3 Hours in Paris CDG Airport

You will most likely be spending your time rushing through corridors with your hand luggage to your next flight… Keep in mind that arrival time is the time that your flight has reached its parking position in the gate, and you will still need to wait until the crew has opened the doors, you left the plane and walked all through the terminal to board your next flight. CDG airport also has 3 terminals, each with its different structure, and terminal 2 in particular is a maze of mini-terminals. Other travelers commented:

  • “I got my wife a business class ticket… She had 2.5 hours and nearly missed her connecting flight to Toulouse…” (Yelp)
  • “My experience is that 2 hours is a reasonable minimum time for transfers at CDG…” (FlyerTalk)
  • “…all you have time for with 2 1/2 hours at CDG is to get to the gate for your next flight…” (Yahoo Answers)

For more specific information, this map of the various possible routes and their expected durations may be helpful: (map on FlyerTalk)

Layover of 4, 5 or 6 Hours in Paris CDG Airport

So you have plenty of time to make it to your next flight, but you’d still like to make the best of these hours. The security lines in CDG airport may be long and irritating at busy times, and the terminal has some long stretches of walking, while taking the RER train into town would take you approx. 30 minutes each direction (not including time to buy tickets and wait for next train). So with a layover of 6 hours or less, it will be best to spend your time inside the terminal and enjoy what it has to offer.

In general, your experience will vary based on what terminal you will be spending your time in. If you have the time, you may travel between terminals, especially inside terminal 2, just be careful not to get lost – The airport plan can be quite confusing!

Paris Airport

Shopping: CDG airport has a reasonable number of shops, including duty free shopping, with plenty of fashion stores. You may want to browse through the list of shops and either plan a route through them, or find the terminal that appears to have the best selection for you, then head there. See the selection of stores in this link (note that the airport site returns information also for Orly, so make sure to look at CDG results only).

Dining: as much as you’d expect good food in France’s capital, food is not one of the airport’s advantages. Travelers complain about the lack of dining options, the quality of food and the steep prices. Eat well on your incoming flight, and set your expectations low for dining during your layover. You would be better off bringing your own food, or at least making sure to purchase some food before going through passport control. See the full list of dining options in the airport website (again, make sure the venues you find are located in CDG).

Storage: if your luggage is inconvenient to wander around with, you could leave it with the baggage storage service in terminal 2 for 6 EUR per item, see more details on their website.

Kids: besides play areas for the little ones, the airport also offers free Playstation terminals(!), and coin-operated game tables. This should certainly keep the children (and children-at-heart) entertained during their wait. See more details and locations on this page. If you are travelling with a baby, the airport’s website lists useful information such as location of changing stations, and where to find baby pushchairs for moving in the terminal (free-of-charge, currently in terminal 2E only).

Art and entertainment: in early 2013, an exhibitions hall was inaugurated in terminal 2E. It hosts various artwork, usually in partnership with a major museum, with admission free of charge. See more details and exact location on this page and in this dedicated website. In addition, the Playstation booth in terminal 2E also includes a small lounge for watching 3D movies from Sony’s collection.

Lounges: if you are eligible to enter one of the airport lounges, this will surely ease your wait. Check your ticket class and airline’s lounge terms for eligibility. If you are not eligible and would still like to use a lounge, the airport offers the ICare lounges for a fee of €30 per person. You may find this worthwhile if you were planning to spend a similar sum anyway for some refreshments and WiFi access. For a full list of lounges and their amenities, have a look at LoungeReview.

WiFi: CDG airport offers free basic WiFi connectivity, with faster rate plans for a fee (read details here).

Massage: from a manicure to a Thai massage, this will surely help relieve flight stress and provide relaxation, if you have the time and money to spare. Look for the B-Relax stations in your vicinity.

Layover of 7 Hours or more in Paris CDG Airport

If you’d like to use your longer layover to take a rest, you could consider taking a room in an airport hotel such as the new Yotel or the Ibis, but for a budget travel you could also just take a nap in the airport. For more information visit the CDG page at SleepingInAirports.

If you would like to use the layover time for a quick experience of Paris, visit the official Paris tourism site to review the main attractions and plan your time; if you are looking for a more unique and guided experience, you may want to also have a look at what WithLocals have to offer in Paris.

Do I need a visa in order to visit Paris during my layover?

If you are only transiting through CDG, you probably do not need to have a visa issued, unless you plan to physically leave the airport (which may happen, for example, if your next flight is from a different airport in Paris). There are exceptions to this rule for some nationals who require a visa even for transit, read the details in this French government info page.

You may need to issue a short stay visa in advance in order to leave the airport during your layover. The answer depends primarily on the passport you carry, and whether or not your destination is within the EU (Schengen area). Check your personal case in this detailed official visa information page.

Note: we get many specific visa-related questions in the comments. Please understand that visa rules are quite complex and we cannot answer most of these questions, as the focus of this site is on the airport stay itself. Your best advice would be to consult with your travel agent or the local French consulate in advance.

Enjoy your trip!

Few Hours Layover in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport? here’s what to do!

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (IATA: AMS, ICAO: EHAM), is the Netherlands’ main international airport, located 20 minutes (9.1 km; 5.6 mi) southwest of Amsterdam. The airport’s official English name, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, reflects the original Dutch word order (Luchthaven Schiphol). Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s 4th busiest and the world’s 16th busiest by total passenger traffic in 2012 (14th in 2011).

Read more about Schiphol Airport in:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amsterdam_Schiphol_Airport_entrance.jpgSo what’s recommended to do on a layover in Schiphol? well, that depends on the layover duration, time of day, time of year… the most important factor is the duration of your layover, that will dictate the nature of your layover, from a stressed run for your flight to a relaxed semi-vacation.

Please note that these are just general recommendations. It is always best to consult with your airline and booking agent, so take these recommendations as they are – general guidelines…

Layover of 1 to 2 Hours in Schiphol Airport

You will most likely be spending your time running through corridors with your hand luggage to your next flight… Keep in mind that arrival time is the time that your flight has reached its parking position in the gate, and you will still need to wait until the crew has opened the doors, you left the plane and walked all through the terminal to board your next flight.

Other users commented:

  • “we had a 2 hr layover back to Canada by the time we got a bite to eat had a walk around some shops it was time to get to the gate…” (TripAdvisor)
  • “Two hours – lots of time. Schipol is a reasonable sized airport and I’ve made connections there with less time” … “make absolutely sure you go there as soon as the gate is displayed in the departure lounge. I … nearly missed our plane because security was so slow at the pier entrance” (VirtualTourist)
  • “Often there are very long queues for passport control when entering NL from outside a Schengen area” … “it can take a very long time to get from one gate to another, which can be very difficult if you have a short connection” (AirlineQuality)

Layover of 3 or 4 Hours in Schiphol Airport

So you have plenty of time to make it to your next flight, but you’d still like to make the best of these hours. The security lines in Schiphol airport may be long at busy times, and the terminal has some long stretches of walking (see terminal map with walking times), so with a layover of 4 hours or less, it will be best to spend your time inside the terminal and enjoy what it has to offer. Consider yourself lucky, though, Schiphol is one of the best airports to spend your time in!

Shopping: Use the time to browse the airport’s shops and duty free items. Schiphol’s website lists dozens of shops, all located within one stretch of 10 minutes walk, which conveniently feels more like a mall than a terminal. Opening times vary, but most shops are open from 6 am till 10 pm or midnight. Make sure your purchases will fit in your carry-on allowance!

Dining: Get some refreshment or a proper meal at one of the dozens of bars, restaurants and cafés in Schiphol airport, full list on the airport website.

Lounges: For a handsome fee, you could spend some time in one of the airport lounges.

Relaxation: The airport boasts several spas, and shower room rentals in the airport’s hotels. If you’d like to use the time to do some workout, the Sheraton Airport Hotel offers a day pass which also includes the use of sauna and showers.

Entertainment: Schiphol airport has some fine entertainment spots, making it a unique layover. It boasts its own museum, an extension of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, with a modest free exhibition. Next to the museum, you will find the stylish airport library with books and multimedia stands, focused on Dutch culture. Finally, you can get rid of some excess money at the airport casino.

(CC) by Kezee / Flickr

Kids: Travelling with kids? Spend some time in the Kids Forest, a lovely and colorful play area, with convenient lounging spaces for the tired parents.

Wi-Fi: Internet connectivity is free for 1 hour (2 sessions of 30 minutes), after which it is available for an hourly fee.

Layover of 5 Hours or more in Schiphol Airport

If you have enough time to venture out of the airport, go and experience Amsterdam. There are several transportation options out of the terminal including a local train station (situated right below the terminal), and Amsterdam central station is only 15 minutes ride away. However, take into account the time to exit the terminal, round trip time, and the time required to be back in advance for boarding, all of which easily amounts to at least 3 hours overhead, turning a 6-hour layover to at most 3 hours net free time.

If your luggage is inconvenient to wander around with, store it in the convenient locker services throughout the terminal.

If your layover is over a Sunday, make sure the destination you have in mind are open. Many shops and restaurants in Amsterdam will be open on a Sunday (though probably for shorter hours), as well as many museums and attractions, but if you have a specific venue in mind you would want to check in advance.

For a hassle-free excursion into Amsterdam, consider taking a short guided tour to pick you up from the airport terminal:

Or browse other ideas on how to spend a few hours in Amsterdam.

Do I need a visa in order to visit Amsterdam during my layover?

You may need to issue a short stay visa in advance in order to leave the airport during your layover. The answer depends primarily on the passport you carry, and whether or not your destination is within the EU (Schengen area). Check your personal case in this detailed Dutch government visa info page.

Note: we get many specific visa-related questions in the comments. Please understand that visa rules are quite complex and unfortunately we cannot answer most of these questions, as the focus of this site is on the airport stay itself. Your best advice would be to consult with your travel agent or the local Dutch consulate in advance.

Enjoy your trip!

Few Hours Layover in Frankfurt Airport? here’s what to do!

Frankfurt am Main Airport (IATA: FRA, ICAO: EDDF), commonly known as Frankfurt Airport and known in German as Flughafen Frankfurt am Main or Rhein-Main-Flughafen, is a major international airport located in Frankfurt, Germany.

Read more about Frankfurt Airport in:

Frankfurt Airport, by Ceddyfresse at de.wikipediaSo what’s recommended to do on a layover in Frankfurt? well, that depends on the layover duration, time of day, time of year… the most important factor is the duration of your layover, that will dictate the nature of your layover, from a stressed run for your flight to a relaxed semi-vacation.

Please note that these are just general recommendations. It is always best to consult with your airline and booking agent, so take these recommendations as they are – general guidelines…

Layover of 1 to 2 Hours in Frankfurt Airport

You will most likely be spending your time running through corridors with your hand luggage to your next flight… Keep in mind that arrival time is the time that your flight has reached its parking position in the gate, and you will still need to wait until the crew has opened the doors, you left the plane and walked all through the terminal to board your next flight.

Other users commented:

  • “You need to allow 2 hours, the airport is a jumble of going through passport control, security, one terminal to another” (Fodors.com)
  • “Count 2 hours for a speedy operation” … “Only just made our call despite layover being nearly 2 hours” (AirlineQuality.com)

Layover of 3, 4 or 5 Hours in Frankfurt Airport

So you have plenty of time to make it to your next flight, but you’d still like to make the best of these hours. The security lines in Frankfurt airport may be long at busy times, and the terminal has some long stretches of walking, so with a layover of 5 hours or less, it will be best to spend your time inside the terminal and enjoy what it has to offer:

Shopping: Use the time to browse the airport’s shops and duty free items. Frankfurt airport’s website lists around 100 shops, organized in 4 main shopping areas. Opening times vary, but are usually between 6 am and 10 pm. Make sure your purchases will fit in your carry-on allowance.

Dining: Get some refreshment or a proper meal at one of the dozens of bars, restaurants and cafés in Frankfurt airport, full list on the airport website.

Storage: if your luggage is inconvenient to wander around with, store it in the storage services in one of the terminals.

Lounges: For a handsome fee, you could spend some time in one of the airport lounges.

Kids: Travelling with kids? Frankfurt airport website has tips and information for you.

Wi-Fi: Internet connectivity is free for 30 minutes, after which it is available for an hourly fee.

Entertainment: Get rid of some excess money at the airport casino.

Unfortunately, there are no gyms or fitness centers in Frankfurt airport.

Layover of 6, 7 or 8 Hours in Frankfurt Airport

If you have enough time to venture out of the airport, go and experience Frankfurt. There are several transportation options out of the terminal including a local train station, and Frankfurt main station is only 15 minutes ride away. However, take into account the time to exit the terminal, round trip time, and the time required to be back in advance to boarding, all of which easily amounts to at least 3 hours overhead, turning a 6-hour layover to at most 3 hours net free time.

You may also want to visit the more picturesque smaller towns of Mainz or Wiesbaden, also about 20-30 minutes away from the airport. The airport website offers a few more options accessible by public transport.

If your layover is over a Sunday, keep in mind that many venues may be closed – make sure the destination you have in mind are open.

For a hassle-free excursion into Frankfurt, consider taking a short guided tour to pick you up from the airport terminal:

Exiting the airport may require obtaining a visa, which you should obtain in advance. To check whether your country of citizenship requires a visa, look it up here, or best – check with your travel agent.

And finally, if you’re considering to use your airport stay to catch some sleep, get some advice in other travelers’ accounts of how well they managed to sleep in various parts of the terminal, in this fine website: SleepingInAirports.

Note: we get many specific visa-related questions in the comments. Please understand that visa rules are quite complex and unfortunately we cannot answer most of these questions, as the focus of this site is on the airport stay itself. Your best advice would be to consult with your travel agent or the local German consulate in advance.

Enjoy your trip!