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How to Spend a Layover in Frankfurt - Complete Guide


A Lufthansa aeroplane parked at a gate at Frankfurt Airport during a layover, viewed through large windows from an empty seating area inside the terminal.
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Frankfurt is often just a blur for travellers and business people as they zoom through on their way to other destinations, or to boardroom meetings.

I doesn’t have to be like that, though. Perhaps surprisingly this city is packed with experiences worth pausing here for. Frankfurt is the perfect bite-sized city you can explore in just a short amount of time, and a layover is the ideal opportunity!

Wondering how to make the most of your layover in Frankfurt without missing your next flight? No problem. This guide is packed with practical advice on where to go, what to eat, and how to navigate the city efficiently.

A quick little hidden gem for this city. Get use of all public transport options in Frankfurt and 50% off museum and theatre entrance with the Frankfurt card.

So, if you’re ready to turn your Frankfurt layover into a mini Germany adventure, let’s get started!

Best Frankfurt Layover Itineraries

The best Frankfurt layover itinerary for you totally depends on how long your stop is, and which Frankfurt attractions are on your must-see list.

Thankfully, getting to Frankfurt city centre from the airport is a breeze with the S-Bahn trains, which are cheap and take around 15 minutes to travel between the airport and the city. Trains run fairly frequently, so you won’t have to wait long to hop on one and get your layover adventure started.

Having a prepaid travel card is a great way to hit the ground running when you land in Frankfurt so you don’t need to worry about converting your cash to Euros. Also, if your bags haven’t been checked through to your final destination, using a luggage storage locker is always a smart idea.

So, now that you’ve landed, what is there to do on your layover in Frankfurt? Here are our recommended layover itineraries to make the most of your time in the city.

4 hours layover in Frankfurt

Statue of Lady Justice holding a sword and scales, located in Frankfurt's Römer Square, with traditional half-timbered buildings in the background.

With just four hours, your best bet is to stay within the airport. It’s not worth the risk of missing your next flight for just a few brief minutes in the city centre!

Luckily for you, Frankfurt Airport has plenty of things to do to keep you entertained on a layover. There are numerous Leisure Zones where you can relax, a visitor terrace where you can go to watch planes arriving and departing, and, of course, plenty of shops and restaurants.

5 hours layover in Frankfurt

Five hours gives you a small window to step out of the airport and get a brief glimpse of Frankfurt. If your flight arrives on time and disembarkation goes smoothly, hop on the S-Bahn from the airport to Frankfurt Central Station and walk 15 minutes to reach the Main Tower Observation Deck for a panoramic view of the city from the 55th floor!

You won’t be able to linger long before heading back to the airport to make your next flight, but at least you got a brief look at Frankfurt.

6 hours layover in Frankfurt

Aerial view of Frankfurt, showcasing a mix of historic buildings in Römer Square and modern skyscrapers, under a cloudy sky.

With six hours, you have enough time to explore a few of Frankfurt’s highlights rather than just one. Catch the S-Bahn directly to Hauptwache station, and, from there, kick off your very own walking tour. Wander through the historic Römer Square, snap some photos of its famous façade, and perhaps visit the Old St. Nicholas Church before taking a walk along River Main.

Hopefully you’ll still have time to grab a traditional German meal, perhaps a Frankfurter Wurstchen (Frankfurt sausage), at one of the local restaurants near the river before returning to the airport via the same S-Bahn line.

7 hours layover in Frankfurt

With seven hours at your disposal, you can comfortably explore the charm of Frankfurt's Old Town. Start your visit at Römer Square, the historic square that has been the city's focal point for centuries an is lined with beautifully reconstructed mediaeval buildings.

While you're there, don't miss the Alte Nikolaikirche, a 12th-century church, and, if you have time, the Historical Museum Frankfurt, which will tell you all about the city's long and fascinating history. If museums aren’t your thing, pop over to Kleinmarkthalle, a huge indoor market where you can sample a bunch of local German foods.

You can’t visit Germany without trying a German beer, and one of the best places to do this in the Old Town is Dortmunder Pils Meet. This old-fashioned and cosy bar is a brilliant place to order an affordable glass of beer. Frankfurt doesn’t have the famous beer halls of Munich, but this place will at least quench your thirst! Then, it’s time to hop on the train back to the airport.

8 hours layover in Frankfurt

With 8 hours in Frankfurt, you can check a few of Frankfurt’s highlights off your bucket list. First, visit the Goethe House where the famous late 18th and early 19th century writer was born, and take a glimpse into the story of his life and works.

Stroll through Römer Square next, the heart of Munich's old town and the most photogenic part of the city. Then, head over to the Jewish Museum to understand Frankfurt’s Jewish community and learn about Jewish life in the city before, during, and after the Holocaust.

Crossing the river, round off your day in Frankfurt with a trip to Apfelwein Wagner to sample traditional German cider and hearty German dishes like Swabian ravioli or Veal liver strips.

10 hours layover in Frankfurt

Colourful traditional German buildings in Frankfurt's Römer Square, featuring intricate half-timbered architecture with a pink and blue evening sky in the background.

With a 10 hour layover in Frankfurt you almost have an entire day to explore. Start your long layover in Frankfurt with a trip to the Jewish Museum. Here, you can delve into the history and culture of Frankfurt’s Jewish community through fascinating and thoughtful exhibits and artefacts.

Next, visit the Historisches Museum to delve into Frankfurt’s past, and then take a wander around the Old Town, exploring its charming streets, historic buildings, and lovely squares. For lunch, go all-in on German cuisine and head to the Kleinmarkthalle to sample local delights like Frankfurter Wurstchen and Apfelstrudel.

12 hours layover in Frankfurt

With a full day in Frankfurt, your layover itinerary can cover all of the city’s highlights. Start by heading to the Städel Museum, where you can explore one of Germany’s most prestigious art collections, including works by masters such as Rembrandt and Picasso.

Next, take a wander along the Museumsufer (Museum Embankment), which is home to a variety of museums like the German Film Museum and the Architecture Museum. Pick the one that interests you the most and spend a couple of hours exploring its exhibitions.

For lunch, pick a traditional restaurant by the river and soak up the sights and flavours before visiting the Palmengarten, one of Europe’s largest botanical gardens. The best way to round off your day of sightseeing is with a trip to the Main Tower Observation Deck to view Frankfurt from above!

Overnight layover in Frankfurt

Aerial view of Frankfurt at dusk, showcasing illuminated streets, high-rise buildings, and the central train station with a purple and orange sky in the background.

After checking into one of the many top-rated hotels near Hauptwache, start your evening with a traditional meal at Zum Gemalten Haus in Sachsenhausen, where you can try local dishes like pork knuckle, all washed down with yummy Apfelwein.

Post-dinner, head to the Old Opera House, a stunning concert hall to enjoy a performance, or relax over a cocktail with a view at the Main Tower rooftop bar where you’ll find the most breathtaking nighttime views of Frankfurt all lit up.

The next morning, pick up a quick breakfast at a local bakery before heading to the Old Town. Early morning is the perfect time to explore this area without the crowds.

Make sure to visit Römer Square, Frankfurt’s historic square with its iconic half-timbered houses, and check out the impressive Frankfurt Cathedral. Don't miss the St. Nicholas Church and the beautiful Haus Wertheym, one of the few buildings that survived World War II! Then, make your way back to the airport for your next flight. Until next time!

What to Do at Frankfurt Airport

If you don’t have time to leave the airport, or just don't want to risk it, no stress - there are still plenty of things to do in Frankfurt Airport to keep you entertained. Yes, even if you have a long layover!

Our top pick is to head to the Frankfurt Airport Museum inside the terminal, which shares the story of aviation history and shows off a neat collection of airline memorabilia and interactive exhibits. To round off your museum visit, head to the Visitor Terrace for a touch of plane spotting. Here, you can watch the planes take off and land up close.

You don’t need to leave the airport to taste some German cuisine. There are plenty of traditional restaurants scattered inside the airport where you’ll be able to try a sizzling bratwurst or a hearty schnitzel and wash it down with a big glass of German beer.

For some downtime, head to one of Frankfurt Airport’s many Leisure Zones, free chilling areas where you’ll find soft lighting, plants, and relaxing lounge chairs you can take a nap in or work on your laptop from.

Best Frankfurt Layover Tours to Book

A busy square in Frankfurt with people walking and sightseeing, featuring modern skyscrapers and the historic Hauptwache building under a bright blue winter sky.

Not keen on figuring out your Frankfurt layover on your own? We hear you! Booking a layover tour in Frankfurt can make your stopover hassle-free and enjoyable.

Here are our top picks for Frankfurt:

This private 4-hour Frankfurt layover tour equips you with a local guide who will meet you at the airport and guide you around the city’s hotspots using public transport. Since getting you from A to B is your guide’s job you won’t need to worry about a thing.

Though not specifically a layover tour, joining this 90-minute historical walking tour of Frankfurt’s Old Town is a no-brainer if you want to learn more about this area of the city, its demolition during WW2, and the massive rebuilding project that restored it to its former glory. Plus, it’s easy to squeeze into even a short layover since it only lasts an hour and a half.

FAQs About Layovers at Frankfurt Airport

Can you leave Frankfurt airport during a layover?

Yes, you’re allowed to leave Frankfurt Airport during your layover, but you’re responsible for being back at the airport in time for your next flight because your travel insurance won’t cover you if you miss it. To leave, you'll need to go through customs and immigration, which will require a passport and possibly a visa check, depending on your nationality.

How long do you need for a Frankfurt airport layover?

For a straightforward layover at Frankfurt Airport without leaving the terminal, typically 1 to 2 hours is enough. This gives you time to disembark, navigate the airport, and board your next flight. If you plan to explore the city or need to switch terminals, you’ll need a layover of at least 4-6 hours to accommodate any potential delays, security checks, and travel time to and from the city centre.

How do I get from Frankfurt airport to the city centre?

To get from Frankfurt Airport to the city centre, you can take the S-Bahn lines S8 or S9. The journey takes about 15 minutes to reach Frankfurt Central Station (Hauptbahnhof), which is centrally located and offers easy access to other parts of the city.

View our other free layover guides for European airports:

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