Sleeping in Airports

Frankfurt Airport Layover Sightseeing

This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Frankfurt.

Frankfurt Airport Layover Sightseeing
(photo credit: Markus Mainka / Shutterstock)

Frankfurt Airport is known as the busiest airport in Germany as it is the primary gateway to the country and one of the top airports in Europe, welcoming 65 million passengers every year. The airport is located just 13 kilometres away from the city center, making it convenient for travellers who want to spend their long layovers enjoying some sightseeing!

Frankfurt is famous for its magnificence. It offers a rich blend of history and culture, so there is something for every interest. So, if you have the time and are up for an adventure, you can check out our guide on Frankfurt Airport Layover Sightseeing and see how you can enjoy the most of the city in just a few hours!

Airport Overview

If you have a layover of less than five hours, it is best to stay at the airport. Don’t worry, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Frankfurt Airport has several amenities to keep you busy while you wait. You could enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants, relax in a lounge or one of the rest zones, freshen up with a shower, or pamper yourself with a massage! Check out our Frankfurt Airport Guide for more information about the airport amenities.

Frankfurt Sightseeing Attractions

Below are a few of the top things to do in Frankfurt:

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Alte Opera
(photo credit: telesniuk / Shutterstock)

The best way to see the city is by signing up for a Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour. This way, you can see many different historical buildings and landmarks in a limited amount of time. You can visit iconic places like the Main Tower, Alte Oper, Paulskirche and the Senckenberg Museum. The bus tour travels around town, making 13-16 stops (depending on the tour company), including an audio guide.

  • Time Required: The bus tour takes 1 hour. However, you can join or leave the bus at any stop.
  • How to Get There: The first departure of the tour begins at Paulskirche at 10 am, while the last is at 5 pm. You can get there by public transportation, such as train or bus. We recommend taking the S8 or S9 line train because it takes you to the city’s center in about 10 minutes. You can also take a taxi, but you will need to pay more.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews, or book a tour in Frankfurt.

River Main Cruise

Frankfurt River Cruise
(photo credit: Gordon Bell / Shutterstock)

Another fun way to explore Frankfurt on short notice is by signing up for a cruise on the Main River. A river cruise is the best way to see the beauty of Frankfurt. The tour gives you panoramic views of the Financial Center, towering skyline, historic neighbourhoods, museums, and pretty pubs along the river. Moreover, you can learn about Goethe since the boat stops at the renovated Gerbermühle.

  • Time Required: You can choose either a 50-minute or 100-minute cruise. The former goes only along one side of the river, while the latter includes both.
  • How to Get There: The boat departs from Eiserner Steg. You can get there by taking a train from the main station in the center of Frankfurt to Iron Footbridge. The train ride takes about 6 minutes. Also, there is a boat tour every hour, so you can easily include it in your schedule.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews, or book a tour in Frankfurt.

Walking Tour around Frankfurt

Romer Square
(photo credit: r.classen / Shutterstock)

Now that you are excited to explore more, try the walking tour! It is a fun way to get to know the city as well. You can have a relaxed walk alongside a guide as you stroll through the fascinating alleys of Frankfurt. During the tour, you can see St. Paul’s Church and Cathedral, the 700-year-old Römer Square, Frankfurt’s City Hall Römer and more. Lastly, explore the medieval, half-timbered House of the Golden Libra. The walking tour will also allow you to admire German architecture at every corner you go. Our tip? Well, prepare to be amazed!

  • Time Required: The walking tour lasts 90 minutes with an English-speaking guide.
  • How to Get There: The meeting point of the walking tour is in front of the Tourist Information Office’ Römer.’ You can get there by taking the subway or the tram. Whichever you choose will take you to the destination in about 3 or 4 minutes.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews, or book a tour in Frankfurt.

Airport Transportation

If you decide to spend your layover time exploring Frankfurt, you will have several options to get to the city center.

  • Train: The most convenient way to reach the city center from the airport is using the S-Bahn – a light rail system. Taking the S8 or S9 trains bound for Offenbach or Hanau will provide a direct route to Frankfurt’s Hauptbahnhof – the main railway station. You can purchase a one-way ticket for 4.50€ from the RMV ticket machines to use this service.
  • Bus: City buses stop at Terminal 1 on the arrivals level, as well as Terminal 2, located on Level 2. Certain airlines provide shuttle bus services connecting Frankfurt Airport to the city center. Make sure to ask your airline whether they provide such services.
  • Taxi: If you wish to take a taxi, you can find one in front of the terminals. You should consider that the taxi fee to the city center is about €25 and you will need around 20 minutes to reach downtown.

Before You Go: Layover Tips

Now that you are motivated and excited about your mini layover vacation, check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.

  • Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost, and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
  • When is your next flight’s check-in time? Double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
  • What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for extended security wait times, so be sure to research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget.
  • What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, confirm whether your luggage will be checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights. There is a storage kiosk at the airport, but you can also leave it in the lockers of Hauptwache station – the main train station of Frankfurt. This will be convenient if you catch the train from the airport. Check out our Frankfurt Airport Guide for information on luggage storage.

Other Useful Resources

Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: