Frankfurt Rhein/Main Spotting Guide

The worlds thirteen biggest airport handled 60.7 Mio in 2014 and is one of the most popular spotting airports on this planet. Frankfurt is in the center of Europe and the biggest hub for Lufthansa and its Star Alliance partner airlines. Those airlines are responsible for the most movements next to Condor, who offer an adequate amount of flights in and out of Frankfurt. The peak times of LH are in the early morning (07:00 – 09:00), noon (11:00 – 13:00), afternoon (15:00 – 17:00) and evening (19:00 – 21:00). Most intercontinental flights arriving during the early morning hours like Air Namibia, China Airlines, ANA, Vietnam Airlines or Singapore Airlines as well as almost all flights from North America. So get up early to catch those birds. Frankfurt is also a big cargo airport for airlines from all over the world. Besides the local Lufthansa Cargo, Saudia, Air Bridge Cargo, Korean Air Cargo or Cathay Cargo are frequent visitiors. Due to the heavy night restrictions, many of these cargo operations taking place during the day.

Frankfurt is one of the few spotter friendly airports in Europe, with three official viewing platforms and a visitor terrace at the terminal 2. Police and airport security knows about our hobby and plane spotting is more than tolerated, so don’t be afraid if you linger next to the perimeter fence with your huge ladder.

A great 24h real time schedule including active runway direction, arrivals/departure times, aircraft type, registration and destination can be found here:

Written by Julian Mittnacht, Severin Hackenberger and Patrick Weis / Frequent Visitor (last update Sept. 2017) 

Rating Movements Visitor Rating How was your spotting trip? Rate this airport now.1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(42 votes, average: 4.36 out of 5)
Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Information Runways 07L/25R 07C/25C  07R/25L
2.800 m (9.240 ft) 4.000 m (13.123 ft) 4.000 m (13.123 ft)
4.000 m (13.123 ft)
Terminals Terminal 1 Terminal 2
mainly Lufthansa & Star Alliance all other carriers
Spotting Information Ladder Only needed at spot 9 and 10
Car Highly recommended as for most spots there is no public transport and its tricky to get there without. Only the two platforms on the southern runway are reachable by bus.
Restrooms Not at the spots! read description
Drinks/Food Supermarket & gas stations around the airport
Hotels Inter City Hotel next to spot 5&6. More hotels in the city of Kelsterbach north of RWY 07L/25R
Season We suggest April – September, chance of bad weather in winter is pretty high.
Runway Usage  07L/25R Used for arrivals only, from both directions. No A380,747 and MD11 planes arriving at this RWY due to noise restrictions. The preferred runway for all US flights (UA, DL, AA, LH, DE) and flights arriving from the northern Europe like Icelandair, Finnair, SAS or WOW Air.
07C/25C Mainly in use for departures (especially flights to North America and Asia). Some arrivals are possible when there is less traffic.
07R/25L Used for arrivals in both directions (departures are very very rare). Runway for all flights opb. A380,747 or MD11, cargo airlines located in the cargo city south and general aviation. Preferred runway for charter flights coming from the south opb. SunExpress, TUIfly or Bulgarian Air Charter.
18 Used for departures only, 36 is not in use! Preferred for flights with a southern direction like Spain, Italy, Africa, India, Southern Asia. If there are too strong crosswinds from the north-east/east, the runway will be closed for operations.
With three runways in use for departures/landings its not always easy to catch the bird you are hunting for. A380, 747 and MD11 aircrafts using always the center or southern runway! Thats for sure and usually flights heading to the south using 18 for their departure. But you can’t really make a prediction in which airline uses which runway. Its like gambling and you have to be on the right place at the right time for the wanted plane.

Spot #1 – Platform West – 18 departures, 07C/R arrivals, 25L/C departures
WHERE The platform west is one of the two official spotting locations outside the airport perimeter and its a very famous spot by spotters and locals too. If you arrive from the Autobahn, exit and follow the signs to Lufthansa Cargo. You are on the ‘Airportring’ and will pass the Terminals, Lufthansa Technik and LH Cargo. Always drive westwards until the road turns south and pass the thresholds of RWY25. When you have passed these, you will see a small parking lot on the right, shortly before you can enter the tunnel who pass RWY18. If you don’t have a car, take the free Shuttle Bus to the official ‘Holiday Parken’ parking lot next to spot#1. It can happen that the bus driver asks you for a parking ticket and in this case you have to take a taxi. From the parking you need to walk for 5 minutes to the spotting platformn and have to pass the runway tunnel (there is a sidewalk). The path is tagged on the map!
WHAT This spot is great when 07 is in use for arrivals. For 18 departures you have to wait until the afternoon and the sun turns around. You are on a high platform where you can easily shot over the perimeter fence. Sometimes its very crowded so you will need a ladder for 18. 07 isn’t a problem and no ladder is needed. Arrivals on the center runway are difficult in the summer as you will get a lot of heat haze in your pictures (go to spot#2 instead). 25C departures are very high and the angle is not the best. Try spot 11 instead.
TIME Good spot for almost the whole day when 07 is in use. In the summer month you will have backlit in the early morning and late afternoon & evening for 07. RWY 18 has backlit until noon
MISC. Here is absolutely nothing. You can drive to Walldorf where you find a gas stations and supermarket. It takes you five minutes from spot#1.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-400 mm

Spot #2 – Airportring – 07C/R arrivals
WHERE This one is close to spot #1. Turn your car and drive back to the airport, northwards. After a hundreds of meters you see a small parking lot on the left.
WHAT You get only the 07 arrivals there and it depends on the time of the day.
TIME 07R arrivals in the evening (07C are backlit) and 07C arrivals usually from morning until late afternoon but those arrivals are more than rare.
MISC. Visit the facilities next to the airport. Here is absolutely nothing.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-150 mm

Spot #3 – Airportring – 18 lineup, 07C/R arrivals
WHERE Follow the road back to the airport. Before you pass the taxiway tunnel you wil see some kind of parking place on the left side.
WHAT In the summer its okay for 07 arrivals during the early morning or the afternoon. For the 07R arrivals you need a very long focal length. Lineups for runway 18 are possible here and even night shots are possible when the aircrafts hold short for 18.
TIME In the very early morning hours and in the late afternoon/evening you don’t have backlit here (summer)
MISC. Visit the facilities next to the airport. Here is absolutely nothing.
FOCAL LENGTH 100-400 mm
Spot #4 – Viewing Platform – 07L/25R movements
WHERE When you start at the airport, follow the ‘Airport Ring’ to spot #1.  Pass the first taxiway tunnel and follow the sign to Kelsterbach/Rüsselsheim making a right turn onto Okrifelter Strasse (Feuerwache 4).  Drive over the bridge of the ICE track and take the first turning on the right, just before the fire station.  Park in the small spotter’s car parking area on the left. There is a footpath (tagged on the map) along Frankfurt’s newest runway. Just follow this eastwards for 5-10 minutes until you see the large viewing platform with seating on your right hand side. The platform is built in front of the dirt mound which was previously used by spotters.
WHAT This place covers the newest runway which is used for arrivals only.  The taxiway to the terminals is pretty close too and, particularly when Runway 25R is in use, you can almost touch the aircraft rolling by.  When Runway 07L is in use most traffic does not use the parallel taxiway. A380, 747 and MD11 aircraft, as well as business aircraft and cargo airlines located in the Cargo City South, don’t use this runway, but 777 aircraft of Aerologic and Lufthansa Cargo prefer this runway.  It’s a great place and for Runway 25R you are almost at the touchdown zone so you can take some ‘smokey’ pictures.
TIME In the summer you will have backlit in the very early morning and the late afternoon/evening.
MISC. Visit the facilities next to the airport. There is a small covered area under the viewing platform but it has no seats, otherwise there is absolutely nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH Runway: 100mm for a 772, 200mm for a 737

Official parking area in front of the fire station:

Spot #5 – Autobahn/Hurenschneise – 25L/C arrivals, 07R/C departures, taxiway Sierra
WHERE This spot is at the other side of the airport, next to the old US facilities and the Inter City Hotel. You must drive on the Autobahn A5 to Darmstadt for 2 kilometers until you can exit the road to Zeppelinheim. Follow the signs to this city, pass the A5 over a bridge and then turn left at the next corner. You will drive into a forrest. Follow this smaller road for a hundreds of meters until you will find a parking lot. Park your car here (take care of some no parking signs) and walk along a closed forrest road (tagged on the map) north/westwards back to the Autobahn (you can’t drive here). After 5 minutes you exit the forrest and head over a bridge to the spotting platform.
By Foot: You can walk from Terminal 2 to the platform within 30 minutes (check footpath on the map for a detailed description) or use the shuttle bus to the IC Hotel but you may be asked for a ticket.
By Train: use the S7 from Frankfurt Central Station and exit at Zeppelinheim Station. Walk through the forrest to the spotting platform like mentioned above.
WHAT This is the second official spotting platform in Frankfurt. Its great for all the 25L/C arrivals if wind is coming from the west. Also taxiway Sierra, which is used by some airlines to get from terminal 2 to runway 18, is very close. Arrivals on the center runway are difficult in the summer as you will get a lot of heat haze in your pictures (spot#6 is closer). 07C departures usually are very high, expect the heavies.
TIME In the summer you will have backlit in the very early morning and the late afternoon/evening.
MISC. There are some big stones to sit down. There is also a snack bar close to the parking lots and next to the S-Bahn station.
FOCAL LENGTH for a 77W 250 mm on 07C takeoff, 30 mm on the taxiway and 100 mm on 25L arrival

 Spot #6 – Autobahn – 25L/C arrivals
WHERE Follow the footpath for a hundreds of meters towards Terminal 2 until you stand between the to runways and on your right (between footpath and highway) will be some trees.
WHAT Arrivals on runway 25L can be photographed from here.
TIME For 25L arrivals its good until sunset. Starting in the late afternoon/evening its the place to be for 25L arrivals if you wanna avoid backlit pictures. Can only be used in the summer.
MISC. There is is a path which is frequent in use by cyclist when the sun is shining. So try to stand on the grass to avoid a crash. Facilities in Terminal 2 are the closest.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-300 mm

 Spot #7 – Visitor terrace Terminal 2
WHERE The one and only visitor terrace in Frankfurt is located at Terminal 2 landside. Follow the stairs up to the Mc Donald and look for the entrance on the left side. There is now a big fence along the terrace and just a few holes to put your big camera lense through (see pics below).
WHAT For photography its a terrible place as you face the sun for almost the whole day. Your are pretty close to the ramp movements of Terminal 2 and the threshold of 25C is also reachable for the lens. 07C departures usually are very high, except the heavies.
TIME In the early morning hours and in the evening you don’t have backlit here for the 25C movements (summer months only). For side photos of aircrafts on the apron its possible there to spot the whole day but its tricky due to the fence.
MISC. The terrace has been renovated in 2016 and there are no longer secuirty checks at the entrance. The fee is 3 Euros for adults.  CLICK HERE FOR THE OPENING TIMES 
FOCAL LENGTH Hard to tell and depends on the angle

Spot #8 – Ticona – 07L arrivals
WHERE From the ‘Airportring’ take the same road that you would use to reach spot #4. Drive through the forrest after you have passed the fire staten and the runway tunnel. Maybe one kilometer later you will face a small railroad tunnel. Make a left turn before that tunnel (Fraport signs) and always follow this dead end road along the tracks until you reach the threshold of runway 07L/25R . This is the former ‘Ticona’ chemistry complex which was bought by the Fraport AG and has been demolished for the new runway. Before an abandoned gate you will find the official car parking area on the left hand side.
WHAT This is a great spot for all runway 07 arrivals. In the morning just follow the tagged gravel road on the map. When the sun has moved, just walk down the road where you have been coming from to catch the arrivals.
TIME Great place for the whole day.
MISC. You are in the middle of nowhere. So take the stuff that you need with you.
FOCAL LENGTH 77W = 50mm; 737 = 100mm. A little bit more at the evening spot.



 Spot #9 – Fire Station – 07L/25R movements
WHERE When you start at the airport, follow the ‘Airport Ring’ to spot #1. Pass the first taxiway tunnel and follow the sign to Kelsterbach/Rüsselsheim in making a right turn into the Okrifelter Strasse (Feuerwache 4). Drive over the bridge of the ICE track and park your car on the right shoulder along the road. You have the Fire Department infront of you. There is a footpath (tagged on the map) along Frankfurt’s newest runway. Just follow this westwards for 5 minutes until you’re at the fence next to the fence. You definatly need aminimum of 2 steps here! Stay next to the Firestation with smaller steps otherwise you will have the higher taxiway to the bridge on your pictures.
WHAT This place covers the newest runway which is used for arrivals only. The taxiway to the terminals is pretty close too and you can almost touch the aircrafts which rolling by. A380,747 and MD11 as well as cargo and business aircrafts don’t use this runway! You can take 07L arrivals here while reversing progress and 25R arrivals that taxi down the runway if they’re light.
TIME In the summer you will have backlit in the very early morning and late afternoon/evening. Best time for this spot is 08:00-16:00 for 07L and for aircraft take the exit in front of you until about 18:00.
MISC. Visit the facilities next to the airport. Here is absolutely nothing.
FOCAL LENGTH 15-250 mm

 Spot #10 – 07L touchdown
WHERE Use the directions like to Spot 8, pass this one and walk up the marked route on the map along the perimeter fence.
WHAT This spot is good for aircrafts landing on runway 07L. The are touching down just in front of you.
You can alos take pictures from here of aircrafts, especially heavies, that landed on 25R and leaving the runway in front of you.
TIME In the summer you will have backlit in the very early morning and late afternoon/evening.
On Taxiway it depends on the angle, the example pictures where taken at 4pm.
MISC. Here is absolutely nothing. You need at least a 2 stepleadder here.
FOCAL LENGTH Runway: 100-400mm
Taxiway: 10-100mm



 Spot #11 – Holiday Parking – 07R arrivals actually closed due to a constrution side
WHERE Use the same road to spot #1 (platform West) but don’t stop here and pass instead the tunnel under RWY18. A couple of meters after you have left the tunnel is a small turning point on the right hand side for the emergency vehicles. There is a small grass strip where you can park your car. But don’t block the turning point! You can use the shuttle bus to the airports holiday parking lot from where its just a short walk. Once you have reached the spot, climb up the mound where the perimeter fence is so you are on the same level as the runway.
WHAT This spot is an alternative to the platform west as you have a better angle here. Be aware of the trees and light poles next to the road. You have a very small timeframe to make your picture! RWY18 departures are not possible from this location. 25C departures should be fine but we didn´t check this yet.
TIME In the summer you will have backlit in the very early morning and late afternoon/evening. Best time for this spot is from 08:00-16:00.
MISC. Here is absolutely nothing. You can drive to Walldorf where you find a gas stations and supermarket.
FOCAL LENGTH 100 mm for a 747, 200 mm for a A320

 Spot #12 – 07R arrivals evening
WHERE The entrance into the street that leads to this location is between spot #1 and #2. Drive through the forrest on the ‘Alte Heegwaldschneiße’ until you see a traffic barrier. Park on the side of the road before that. Walk up the track and onto the field on the side.
WHAT This spot is an alternative to spot 2 as you have a better angle here. You have a longer timeframe to make your picture!
TIME The best time is from 18:00 till sunset in the summer only!
MISC. Here is absolutely nothing.
FOCAL LENGTH 100 – 400mm
 Spot #13 – Field – 25R arrivals
WHERE The spot is situated in an industrial area next to Kelsterbach. If you are coming from the terminals by car follow the airport ring to LH Cargo. After you have passed the LH Flight Terminal building to your right hand side turn right into the Mörfelder Straße, heading to Kelsterbach. After a few hundred meters you can see the NH Hotel. Turn left until you reach an open field to your right. Park your car along the road. If you don´t have a car you may can use the shuttle bus of the NH Hotel from the Terminals.
WHAT Arrivals on RWY 25R only.
TIME The best time is from 18:00 till sunset in the summer only!
MISC. The gras on the field is sometimes not cutted so be aware of ticks. There is a grill in the industrial area. Plenty of supermarkets and hotels in Kelsterbach.
FOCAL LENGTH 50 – 200mm

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45 thoughts on “Frankfurt Rhein/Main Spotting Guide

  1. Marker

    WOW!!!! I just got back from a week and 1/2 spotting trip to Frankfurt airport. Thanks to this website, and especially Julian, for the tips on how to navigate this huge airport. First of all, this airport is absolutely the best for plane-spotting. All the best planes, airlines, and frequency of activity is second to none! I really enjoyed Spots 1, 4 and 6 the most. From what I could tell, there are basically three parts to every day at Frankfurt airport- A. Early morning arrivals and Late morning take-offs B. early afternoon arrivals and mid afternoon take-offs and C. Early evening arrivals and late evening take-offs. To catch A. you must be out early, like 6 AM because by 10 AM it is all done. Cargo planes seem to operate on a more flexible schedule. I walked from terminal 1 to spot 4 one time- it was very long- took me almost 1.5 hours. I walked Terminal 2 to Spot 6 several times- it was better- only about 30 minutes each way. I tried so hard to find a bike rental place next to airport but there were not so I finally rented a car, which felt so stupid because I never drove outside airport! But, I have to say it was very nice to have the car so I could race around the airport to catch the different views when the landing patterns changed. I stayed at Hotel Moxy, which was great, but I think the hotel in Keslsterbach is a better option because from there you can actually walk to spots #1,2,3 and 9 without too much effort. The path foot path that runs from Kelsterbach, parralell to train tracks, all the way to spot 9 is really nice because you can see the landing planes all the time. Also, if the weather is bad, or if you just want to get a coffee or food, the lounge area in Terminal 2 upstairs food court offers a spectacular view of the A-380’s and 747 activity. It is pre-security clearance so you can go in and out as much as you want. (Also the shopping at Frankfurt airport is like a mall- everything is there!) Julian, you and your friends should start a company that offersday-long plane-spotting tours. I missed alot just because there is so much going on and it means figuring out where to be at the right time, especially when the weather changes and traffic is re-routed. But after a few days I figured it out and had the best plane-spotting days of my life!

    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Thanks for your positive feedback and we are more than happy that we were able to help you out.

  2. Joshua Miao

    Useful and detailed info, thank you so much for sharing that,I am a Chinese aviation fan, I will be in FRA on Jul 5, but just for tranfering to AMS and try the old Fokker 70, are there any spots that is easy to go (like a couple of minutes walk) from the terminal? I got only 4 hours in transferring, will the visitor terrace be my only choice in FRA? Thank you again!

    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Hi Joshua, if you are flying from terminal 2 and the weather is bad just stay there on the observation deck.
      Otherwise you can walk from the terminal to spots 5 for 25L arrivals or 07C departures.


  3. marker

    Thanks for the great information. Is Ellis Road walkable and a good way to get to #5? Sidewalk? Private/airport employee only?

    1. JulianJulian Post author

      The Ellis Rd belongs to the airport perimeter and you can´t get there. But you can walk on the sidewalk which is marked in red, parallel to the rd.


      1. marker

        Thanks so much! Your info is so helpful. I am considering renting a bicycle to commute between the various observation points. Seems like a waste to rent a car just for that. I’ll be staying in one of the hotels outside airport- probably Moxi or Steigenberger….trip to Frankfurt is only to planespot!

    1. Cristian Balo

      I think the best and easiest spotting location will be the terrace next to zeppelinheim train station. Number 5

  4. Eyal

    Hi Julian,

    Is there any bicycle rental service in the airport for those without a car ?

    Is it worth visiting the airport during winter months or should wait fir spring ?


    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Hi Eyal,

      there isn`t a bicycle rent at the airport.
      I can´t give you tips for the weather. We can get beautiful winter days and a rainy spring. You never know nowdays.


    1. JulianJulian Post author

      There is no bus service to the spots like in Amsterdam. There are some opportunities to get to the spots without a car. Therefor read our guides.


  5. Arryo

    I will be visiting FRA again this weekend, and repeat doing spotting here.

    Any update on the viewing terrace construction? is it reopened already?
    If not, then I need go to “A5 Spotting Place” 🙂

    Regards from Jakarta

      1. Arryo

        Thank you for your prompt response!! Thumb up!
        Definitely will enjoy my trip to Germany as usual 🙂


  6. Morten Larsen

    In the spotterguide for FRA. You should change photo for Pos 4. Their’s a new spotting point at the Landebahn Nord-west. Newly build a 150.000€ Stand with parking places and all. It’s raised 3 m up. So you get a good view over the fences. And it’s located on the same spot as the old view point was. It’s very good. but too few seat is there. Only 9 seats availble….. Can be long to stand at them

    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Hi Morten,

      thanks for you comment. We know about the new situation at this positon but unfortunately we were just not able to visit this spot yet.
      But there will be an update as soon as possible.


  7. Peter

    Hi, there is a lot of useful information here but the guide mentions a map which I can’t see. Do you have a link to it please?

    Thank you.

  8. Phil Hunt

    Hi I am coming to frankfurt on 6th & 7th June & staying at the Sheriton.As the weather looks dodgy can I see much from there? Also been told the viewing platform is closed is there anywhere close by? Thanks

  9. FRApics

    Just a short remark to spot 12: Please be aware that driving through the forest, beginning from the entrance (between 2 and 3) is prohibited. It is only allowed for cars that need to access the gravel pit and forest workers.

    So if you want to go there, park your car 2 and walk there. Police sometimes controls the area and will send cars away that don’t have permission and if they are in a bad mood you might even get a fine.
    Walking and / or going by bike if course isn’t a problem.

    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Hi tom, I wouldn´t try this as this is a very long distance. Get back to the Terminal and from there take the bus to the IC Hotel.
      The “southern route” is almost impossible and you need a approximate two hours.


  10. Sanjaya

    Hi! I am planning to visit the spot 1. Do you know how to get here by public transport from the terminal or city center? Because I saw on the article that they ask for the parking ticket for the free shuttle bus. Is there any other alternatives?

    Thank you

    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Hi, there isn´t any public bus service to this part of the airport. There is a bus running to the LH Cargo and western ramp but you have to walk form there for approximate 2-3 km.
      Give the shuttle bus a try, otherwise take a taxi.


      1. Sanjaya

        Dear Julian

        How long will it take from the terminal to the spotting point by taxi? How about by walking from the terminal?


        1. JulianJulian Post author

          Hi, taxi takes approximate 5-10 minutes. By foot I would say 45 minutes. There is a sidewalk!


          1. Sanjaya

            Dear Julian

            Thanks for the information. I hope it will be helpful

            Kind regards

  11. Proville

    Hello , I like to know if the point of spotting 3 , there besion a stepladder . I come with my 11 year old son . Thank you
    PS: Great web site. Sorry for my English

  12. Dimitri S

    Dear Julian,

    Thanks for the information, the weekend and spot at RWY 18 is really great, however on the second day I wanted to take shuttle from the Holiday parken, but a guy from the Holiday parken refused to me to enter the bus. They asked me for the parking ticket (which I didn’t have, like mentioned), I asked him to make an exception, but he didn’t want to do it, it was only for people parking at the Holiday parken. So at the end I had to walk to terminal 2, which took me 1 hour. This for your information.

    Best regards,


    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Hi Dimitri,

      thanks for that information with the bus drive. Seems like some of them check the ticket. This never happened to me but I will take the info into the guide.


  13. Dimitri S

    Hi all,

    Going to FRA this weekend for a trip, but will not have a car availible, I want to spot at RWY 18 spotting location and I want to take the shuttle bus from the terminal, is the walk true the tunnel safe? Also can you walk from the terminal to the spotting location RWY 18? I’m staying at the NH hotel.


    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Hi Dimitri,

      Yes you can easily walk from the holiday parking to the spot for RWY18 as there is a sidewalk. You are just a few minutes in the tunnel.
      I can´t recommend to walk from the Terminal to this location. Its pretty far!


  14. Luc Verkuringen

    Very nice guide, well done!
    I have a few questions about spot 11. Can you get high enough on the mound to catch aircraft taxiing to RW18?
    When is this spot accessible again?

    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Hi Luc, its not possible to make photos from RWY18 at this locations because bushes and trees blocking the sight.


    1. JulianJulian Post author

      As mentioned above the IC Hotel is the best location for 25 operations.
      Otherwise there are a couple of hotels next to the terminal but pretty expensive.

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