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.
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So 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.
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!