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!

58 thoughts on “Few Hours Layover in Frankfurt Airport? here’s what to do!

  1. We are from South Africa and have a 12hour stay at the airport, we do not have visas for Frankfurt, please could you tell me if there are any places to go sleep at the Airport that do not require us graving a visa?

    Thank you
    C.G Redmead

    • Hi TL, thanks for stopping by on your way to Frankfurt! 🙂
      As the tour is 2.5 hours long, it sounds like you may be able to make it just so. However, it would be best to validate your specific case in detail, especially given your destination and the potential longer queues in that time (end of August).
      May we recommend that you contact the tour organizers directly with the details; being situated at the airport they will surely be able to give you accurate information. There are phone and fax numbers, as well as a contact form, on the same page you linked to.

      Enjoy your trip, and do share with us your impressions after your trip, to help other future travelleres!

  2. Hi, im arriving at Frankfurt Airport on August 28th at 8:15 am. I have another connecting flight at 5:00 pm. I’m wondering if there is something to do in this few hours. I want to tour the nearby cities and look around. What should i do? I am also a canadian citizen, so no visa is required.

    Thanks.

  3. Hi My parents age 70 are having layover in Frankfurt of 14 hrs. They are reaching 8:00 am and have connecting flight ar night 9:30 Pm. Kindly let me know if from airport some guided tours of city are available and how much it cost?

  4. I will be in Frankfurt in October on a Friday afternoon. We arrive at the airport @ 1330 and depart at 2030. What’s the best way to see something of this amazing city during a 7 hour layover?

  5. Hello i will reach frankfurt airport on 3 sept at 8.40 pm , but my visa is only valid on 4sept, so is it possible if i can pass the immigration on 3 sept , or i need to wait until 0.00 am 4sept ?

  6. Coming back home to LA in December from Finland, I have a stop in Frankfurt for an hours and a half, is this enough time to make it to my next flight in time? Both flights are Lufthansa, so I’m staying in Terminal 1.

    • Hey Joray, thanks for visiting. A stop of 1.5 hours is a really close call, you may want to check with your airline if a change is possible. If you are travelling light, rushing through the terminal you will most likely make it on time; however, the real risk is if your flight from Finland lands late, which you have no control over.

  7. Hello AL,
    I’ll be passing through FM Nov 9th, arriving 5pm from Helsinki en route to the USA.
    I’ll have a layover until 10 am the next morning for AA flight 71. Is it better do you think to stay inside the arrival hall and just chill there for the evening and night?. Once I leave I can’t get back in, is that correct?. I’m on a budget so can’t afford to get a hotel room, but as a Round the World motorcycle traveller and photographer (had to leave my motorcycle sidecar in Finland) I rather look forward to the experience. As long as there is some place to get something to eat and drink late in the evening.

    Thanks in advance for any help,

    Murph.

  8. Hi good afternoon I will be arriving into Frankfurt at 8am this Saturday I’m a us passport holder and my connecting flight leaves at 5PM will I have enough time to do a city tour?

  9. Hi

    I’m flying into FRA on a Cathay flight in business and have one world emerald status, my connection is 4.5 hours later to Tel Aviv with el al in economy. I arrive in terminal 2 but depart from terminal 1. Is there a OW lounge in terminal 1. If not can is it possible to use the OW lounges in terminal 2 and then transfer to terminal 1 approx 1.5 hours before the flight. Thanks for your advice

    Cheers

    • Take into account that security checks in Frankfurt before flight to Tel Aviv will probably require you to be there much earlier, at least 2-2.5 hours in advance, you should check that with El Al.

  10. Hi, my family has a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt on a Wednesday, from 6:15 am to 1:30 pm. Would this be enough time to come out and explore the city? Keeping in mind rush hour traffic, immigration lines etc. We are just looking to get fresh air, walk around, and see the city.

    • Absolutely. 7 hours are more than enough to go through the in-and-out and still have at least 3 hours net to spend in town. Have a great morning in Frankfurt!

  11. Hey,

    This thread seems legit so, I’m coming in Monday and have a 14 Hr. layover,

    I’d love to see the city, but have recently had a foot issue, and wondered if there is a cheap chauffeur company, otherwise I’m good to walk but thought I’d ask!!

  12. I have a friend living in Frankfurt and I have a 5 hour layover on a Sunday (flying from Boston to Dublin). Would this be enough time to go grab lunch and will we be able to leave the airport with our boarding passes? From what I am reading if we can meet up for 2 hours and give ourselves 3 hours to get back though customs?

    • Hey Kara,
      There is always the risk that your flight will be delayed and you will end up having less than 5 hours, but if all goes smooth it sounds like your plan will work. If you’re a citizen of a country that Germany does not require a Visa for (such as the U.S.) then you’ll have no problem leaving the airport. Do note that leaving the airport also takes some time (flight landing, passengers disaembarking, walking through the terminal…)
      Enjoy your layover in Frankfurt!

  13. Hi i’ll be going to Cancun on the 09th of April i have connecting fligt Frankfurt for 3 hours. do ineet transit visa for that?

  14. I have 11 hour layover in Frankfurt airport while travelling to Finland on 14th April and like to know whether schengen Visa is valid to get out of the airport. How much effective time I will get leaving the custom clearance in airport? What are the recommended places to visit in Frankfurt ?

  15. Hi there, thank you for providing such informative content. Am contemplating a flight which lands at 7.15 in Frankfurt and the departure for Barcelona is at 1.15. Would there be sufficient time to explore the city, walk around etc? Do let me know. Many thanks!

  16. Hi,

    I have a 7 hour layover at Frankfurt enroute Mumbai. However, I do not have a visa. Is it possible to exit the airport and site see or will it be an immigration issue?

    Thanks for your help!
    Natalia

  17. Dear Airport-layover
    I will arrived at frankfurt international airport on 11, may. And I am gonna stay there for about 10hours. Is there any place to sleep in the airport?

    Thank you
    Best Regards
    Ann S.K

    • Hey Ann – we’ve added a link now at the end of the article to an excellent website that’s dedicated to sleeping in airports, you could get all the info you need there. Sweet dreams! 🙂

  18. Hi Airport layover,

    I just had a question concerning the actual process of leaving FRA airport and getting back in afterwards (8.5 hr layover 8:15-16:45) to catch the second leg of my flight. As I already have the boarding passes for both legs of the flight, is it as simple as just clearing security at the appropriate terminal when I return to the airport from exploring the city? Would we need to clear customs both leaving and re-entering the airport? Thank you in advance. (PS: No visa is required as we are Canadian citizens)

    • Hi Matt,
      Yes, it’s indeed as simple as that in your case. You will be going through customs/security on your way out and on your way in. Make sure you leave enough time for possible delays in the security lines on your way back in. Enjoy your time in Frankfurt!

  19. Hi,
    I am arriving with two children ages 5 and 8 on Monday June 8th at 9:20 am, and leaving on a connecting flight at 3:10. I have six hours at the airport. Although we have access to the airlines lounge, we would like to go to the city to the Hauptwache and perhaps walk around Zeil or Fressgasse. Do you think we have enough time to leave the airport for few hours? How far are above places from Frankfurt central station? Also, if we were to take a taxi back to the airport, how much would be the fare and how long would it take? Thank you in advance.

    • Hello Sam,
      As the post mentions, 6 hours would be the minimum to safely venture out of the airport without stress. It will not leave you with too much time, though, therefore visiting open venues such as the Hauptwache or the food markets will be an excellent idea, so you can spend as much time as you have. The train (S-Bahn) leaves right from the airport and there is a stop in Hauptwache after a 15 minutes ride, so this will likely be your preferred method of transportation, to make sure you do not get stuck in traffic.
      Enjoy your layover!

  20. My wife and our 22 yr. old son will be flying in to Frankfurt on Tuesday June 10 and will have an 8 hr. layover. We would love to see some sites in town and go to a nice German bar for a drink. Recommendations and options for transportation please?

    • Hey Norm, thanks for stopping by. The info on our site is focused on a short layover in the airport itself rather than in town. With 8 hours you indeed have plenty of time for a short tour, and you can get some ideas from previous comments in this thread. If you’d like to see several sites and weather is good, consider also taking the Hop-on-Hop-off bus: http://www.city-discovery.com/frankfurt/tour.php?id=7582
      Enjoy your layover!

  21. i am hoping to have my sister from switzerland to visit me at the airport during my 8 hrs layover at frankfrut, germany. can she visit me at the airport? IF YES, where is a convenient place to meet.?

  22. Arriving in Frankfurt at 7:40 PM on Tuesday, Sept 30 with a connection late the next morning. Are there any venues to enjoy or tours to take in during a weekday evening? We will be a small group of 4 adults hoping to enjoy some of what Frankfurt has to offer rather than staying in our hotel rooms with nothing to do. Any chance Octoberfest festivities will begin by then?

  23. Hi,
    We are arriving on Wednesday 06 August 2014 at 15:45 from Estonia and our next flight is at 21:15 to Scotland. We don’t need a visa to travel to UK or EU. Both flights are Lufthansa from Terminal 1, so we will have boarding passes from first check-in and we have only hand luggage.

    Is there a security/passport check in between?
    Do you think it might be crowded at the evening?
    We really hope to go see the main square of Frankfurt and take a few photos on the way. How possible it might be, if there are no delays with the flights.

    Thanks in advance.

  24. Hi,

    We have a 5 ½ hour layover in Frankfurt coming up on the 19th of this month. Do you think that is enough time to go into the city and do one of the hour-long bus tours? I believe you mentioned above that taking the train into the city will help avoid getting stuck in traffic. Is that what you would recommend to get into the city? We are traveling with US passports, so do not need visas.

    Thanks in advance!

  25. Hi,

    I have 11 hours to kill on my layover. Do you think I can do Heidelberg and return? I am an Indian citizen with a multiple entry Schengen visa…so that part shouldn’t be an issue, I reckon.

    • Beautiful Heidelberg is a great way to spend a long Frankfurt layover. With the visa sorted out, 11 hours will definitely allow you to take the trip, assuming most of it is during daytime. The travel time by train will be around 1 hour, but you would want to allow 2 hours on the way back to be on the safe side. Adding the time to leave the airport and back on time for security lines, you would probably be left with about 5 hours in Heidelberg, which is excellent. Enjoy your layover!

      • That’s what I’ll go for. In case my flight to Frankfurt is delayed, would you recommend any other town nearby? Mainz perhaps? I should have a Plan B, I suppose. Thanks a ton for all this info.

  26. Hi, I and my husband have overnight layover of about 8 hours.(8.30 PM to 6 AM) on 5th November(Saturday night). Any suggestions on going out of airport to visit city in night. We don’t drink so clubs/pubs is not something we are looking for?

    • Hi Sam,
      At Airport-Layover.com we focus more on how to spend your layover inside the airport itself, and there are many other sites and guides available for spending it outside of the airport. It will also greatly depend on your itinerary and preferences. If you are before or after a long flight, you may prefer to simply freshen up and have a good night’s sleep in one of the airport hotels. You could also spend the evening in the city itself at one of the music venues or in a good restaurant. You could also take a night stroll in one of the beautiful riverside main streets, such as the modern Mainkai street or the old Sachsenhausen street, or even take the panoramic view from Main Tower (check the opening times though).
      Enjoy your time in Frankfurt!

  27. Hi, Me & my wife will have 4 hours of layover at Franfurt, we have Indian Passports and will be coming back from Lisbon further going to New Delhi.
    We will be having multi entry Schengen VIsa with destination port as Madrid.
    Can we visit Franfurt nearby city during this time.
    We will be travelling by Lufthansa

    • Hey Kumar,
      You will have no problem in terms of visa, but 4 hours put you on a very tight schedule… The train ride into town is pretty short, and trains run every 15 minutes, but you need to take into account going through security both ways, so even if all runs well, you will probably only have 1-1.5 hours to spend in Frankfurt. If you do decide to do it, plan your time carefully and decide in advance what you want to see that is near enough, and double check your plan with the information desk before leaving the airport.
      Enjoy your layover!

  28. I have an American visa and am travelling to my Nigeria I have a 3hr 30 minutes lay over at Frankfurt so I need a transit visa when am in the airport to catch up my next connecting flight

  29. Hello,

    I will arrive Frankfurt airport at 0530, then take another flight at 1435 with HK passport. What is your suggestion? Stay in airport or city tour in frankfurt?

    I will arrive Frankfurt at 1500 and leave at 2215 on the other day. Again stay in airport or citytour?

  30. Hello,
    I have a 14hr layover at frankfurt, from 9pm to the next day 12pm, not sure if i could even go sightseeing. What are my options? considering i probably be stuck at the airport, would there be comfortable place to sleep..

    • Well I would recommend to book cheap hotel room. We had same itinerary, we went out in night but didn’t enjoy as it was cold and then spent rest of night at airport wide awake and hard chairs. Airport shuts night time so you are literally out where homeless accompany you. So Book hotel to have good rest

  31. We are arriving tomorrow (Sunday) in Frankfurt at 9:25 am, 6 1/2 hour layover and have a 4:05pm flight. Do we have time to do some sightseeing outside of the airport or should we stay put and just shop and eat at the airport?

    • We had about a 6 hour layover and had time to ride the subway into the city, walk around, do some shopping, and eat on the street at a farmer’s market. We had plenty of time to get back to the airport and through security. (And this was with taking time to check our bags into storage lockers at the airport, retrieve them when we got back, and a little extra time for getting lost in the city.) We did go to a less crowded part of town, so I don’t know if that would make a difference with regard to time, and we were also traveling on a weekday, not a weekend, so the airport lines weren’t terribly long.

      I would say that yes, you have enough time, but if you stress out easily about running late, you may enjoy just staying put in the airport.

      Enjoy your layover. We found Frankfurt to be a beautiful city and the people were so warm and helpful.

  32. I am a Nigeria, I have a USA visa, with this visa am going to Merida, Mexico from Abuja, Nigeria with United Airline transiting through Frankfrut for 5 hours, do I need a transit visa to transit through Frankfurt

  33. We are arriving at 0855hrs on 04th Jun in Frankfurt , 6 hour layover and have a 1515 flight. Do we have time to do some sightseeing outside of the airport. we will be needing transit visa.? Pl suggest what is best for us. Thank you

  34. Hi
    I arrive to Frankfurt airport on Wednesday the 21st of June at 6:00 a.m. & have around 5 1/2 hours layover, heading to Lisbon (at 11:45 a.m.) & my friends & I are thinking about leaving the airport & doing some tourism or having breakfast in a nice place in Frankfurt. What are the available options that are recommended? We all can enter Germany without a visa so we have nothing to worry about. I tried opening this link: http://www.frankfurt-airport.com/content/frankfurt_airport/en/bookings/sightseeing.html
    But it’s in German & there’s no option to change it to English so I couldn’t understand anything.
    Thank you

  35. Pingback: Frankfurt stopover: DIY walking tour of Frankfurt Germany

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