Rhodes Diagoras is the fourth busiest airport in Greece with 5.3 Mio passengers in 2017 and the gateway to one of greeks most popular holiday destination. The sun always shines, the variety of traffic is awsome and there are great spots for photography. There is just one runway 07/25 and 25 is used for the vast majority of the time due to the prevailing winds what makes spotting pretty easy. The movements start from around 8am and the mornings tend to be busiest with traffic dropping off after lunchtime. Weekends tend to be busier although Tuesday is busy with German flights. The main travel season is from June till August. In winter the airport is almost dead except some flights to the mainland.
The mix of traffic is very good with the usual holiday charter and subcharters from northern Europe, plus quite a few from Italy and Eastern Europe eg Travel Service/Smartwings/Small Planet/Enter Air/Aviolet. Local schedules are mainly Aegean A320, Olympic DHC8 and Sky Express J41/AT42 plus Ellinair . The bonus though is regular flights from Russia with 2 or 3 per day including Royal Flight 738/757, S7 A320, Rossiya 738/744/773, Nordwind 738 and Israel with 5 or 6 per day including Arkia 753/E190, Israir A320/AT72, Tus Air SB20/F100, ElAl/UP/Sun D’or 738. There are also visits by airlines such as Wings of Lebanon, Fly One, AlbaStar and Air Horizont which are not often seen elsewhere. Add the occasional military flight (E145/C130) and the odd biz jet, plus hardly any EZY/RYR flights and it all makes for great variety. Almost all flights don´t stay longer as 1-2 hours on the ground so there is always an opportunity to take a picture from the plane you are looking for, especially if something special is coming in. When an Israeli flight is descending you will get visits from (Israeli) security 30 minutes in advance. But they don’t mind spotters/photographers and are quite friendly once you’ve seen them a couple of times. And don´t use a ladder if a flight from Israel is descending!
Like many other airports in greece, the ownership of Rhodes was taken over from the greek state by the FRAPORT AG which is going to renovate the whole area. This includes the installation of new barbed wire or closing of photos holes which already happened.
A detailed schedule can be found on the official airport website, even 24 hours in advance. On flightradar24 not all flights are shown so you should rely on this website instead!
Written by Julian Mittnacht and Federico Tombarelli (last visit May 2018). Thanks to Helmut Schnichels for pics of spot #7.
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|3.305 m (10.844 ft)|
|Terminals||single Terminal for all operations|
|Spotting Informations||Ladder||A few steps recommend for #2 and #4, necessary at #5. For the rest without problems.|
Don´t use a huge ladder, just 1-2 steps. Especially if a flight from Israel arrives and you stand with your huge ladder at the fence the Mossad will be not amused and you will be in trouble!
|Car||You can walk from the terminal to 1 , 2 and 4 in a few minutes. But car is recommend as usual as there is no public transport.|
|Restrooms||Just inside the terminal|
|Drinks/Food||There are some supermarkets and tavernas in the small village of Paradeisi, next to the terminal.|
|Hotels||Nothing directly at the airport. Most hotels are on the southern side of the island as there are the more beautiful beaches and the sea is calmer than on the northern side.|
|Season||High season is from June till August with most (charter) flights taking place. Pre- and after season is in May and September/October with less flights. Almost no movements except to the main land and surrounding islands during the winter season.|
|Runway Usage||07/25||Used in all directions but 25 is most times in use.|
|Spot #1 – Dry Cleaners – 25 arrivals and departures|
|WHERE||From the terminal drive on the main road Epar Od eastwards and at the next junction of Epar Od Pastidas and Epar Od Ialisou-Katavias there is a Dry Cleaners with an empty shop next to it. You can park (alternative is at #2, next to Sixt) by the empty shop and walk round the back where you are right next to the holding point for runway 25. There is a newly installed double barbed wire fence and there are some possibilities to take photos.|
First there is a yellow wall at an other building right of the Dry Cleaners from where you can photograph over the fence but you have still have parts of the barbed wire on it (see sample photos below). Second you can shot between the top of the fence and the first row of barbed wire (see photo below). The problem is that there is some grass which may cut off parts of the aircraft. Best solution is to use a ladder, but this will attract attention sooner or later as the airport security pass by frequently.
|WHAT||Best for aircraft taxiing on A making their left turn for a departure on RWY25. Arrivals on 25 are also no problem.|
|TIME||In the summer: for taxiway photos the light is perfect from sunrise till 1100, when the aircraft slightly turn in on the runway. Move to #2 later the day. For arrivals on RWY25 light is okay from 0900-1400.|
|MISC.||The buildings do provide shade which is a bonus. For food/drink there is a kiosk on the road towards the airport. There can be heat-distortion on the runway.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Line-Up Taxiway: 738=40mm; 752=30mm; ATR42=70mm|
Arrival Runway: Dash8=200mm; A321=110mm
|Spot #2 – Sixt – 25 arrivals and departures|
|WHERE||It is just next to the dry cleaners spot, at the entrance of the car rental company sixt. You can park your car there and walk a little bit along the fence, heading to the airport. A ladder is recommend here but you should be able to shot through the mesh if your lens has a small diameter or you hold your camera between the top of the fence and the barbed wire for the runway if you have a live display.|
|WHAT||This spot is good later on, when the light is on the top and #1 is no longer good for the taxiway when the planes turn in. From here you can take photos of aircraft directly on the taxiway A and if they are on the runway 25 for take off and landings. From afternoon you can also take photos when they line up and turn on the runway 25. But be aware of the possible heat distortion on the runway.|
|TIME||From later on (go to #1 before), around 1100 till 1400 for the taxiway and runway. For the turn from A on RWY25 from afternoon till sunset.|
|MISC.||Absolut nothing nearby and you are standing directly at the road. Take the photo and then return to your car.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Taxiway: E135=60mm|
|Spot #3 – Hill – 25 arrivals|
|WHERE||The entrance to this location is on the opposite side of #2, next to the gold car rental building, on a hill. You can even see the location from the street but you need to drive around the hill on a gravel road which is not in the best conditions (big holes in the road) to get on the top. It takes 2-3 minutes and is usually no problem but it is a bit tricky to turn your car as its a dead end road. If you don’t wanna drive just park below at spot 2, cross the road and walk up the road to the hill.|
|WHAT||Its a very nice scenery as you can photograph all arrivals on RWY25 with the blue sea on the back. Departures from 07 may be possible too but we did not test it. Ground photos are almost impossible due to the distance and the heat distortion (see 737 sample photo).|
|TIME||In the summer light is okay from 0900-1400.|
|MISC.||Absolutley nothing nearby. We can´t tell if this is private property as there were absolutley no signs at the entrance.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||A320=300mm; 738=250mm|
|Spot #4 – Corner – Ramp|
|WHERE||The location is just next to the terminal. When leaving get on the main road, take the next right and drive all the way down to the perimeter fence. You can park you car along the road.|
|WHAT||There are two opportunities from here. First you can photograph planes directly on taxiway F which arrived on 25 or rolling to 07 by holding your camera over the fence between the top of the mesh and the barbed wire if you have a live view. But its better if you have 1-2 steps available.|
Second you can shot aircraft that coming from the runway exit C or taxiway F and heading south to their parking position. There were used to be some holes which has been closed now so you need to shot through the mesh to your right. But sometimes there is a truck that might block the sight (see photo below). In this case turn around and look out for an elevated position to photoraph over the fence. There is one just behind you…
You can photograph take offs on the runway too, but as usual heat distortion is an issue for that.
|TIME||In the summer: for aircraft heading south to their parking postion from 1300 until sunset. On taxiway F from 0900-1400.|
|MISC.||Nothing nearby. Food/Drinks available in the village of Paradeisi or the airport view restaurant if you follow the road along the perimeter fence.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||20-200mm should be fine for everything|
Photos from the ground taken through the fence if it is not blocked:
Photos taken from the elevated position:
|Spot #5 – Perimeter Fence – Taxiway D|
|WHERE||Continue from the spot before on the road that runs parallel to the runway. After a few hundred meters park your car in one of the side roads, don´t stay on the main road as its very busy and tight. The spot is next to the runway exit D. You need a ladder here to get over the fence.|
|WHAT||This location is for aircraft that arrived on RWY25 and use exit D to enter taxiway F to the ramp.|
|TIME||From 1400 till sunset in the summer.|
|MISC.||Nothing nearby. Keep a low profile especially if you use a ladder.|
Some bushes and grass may cut parts of the aircraft off if its not cutted properly.
|FOCAL LENGTH||A332=50mm; 738=100mm; 773=50mm|
|Spot #6 – Hill – 25 departures|
|WHERE||Continue on the main road from the terminal westwards, pass the small village of Paradeisi and turn left at the next big junction (the airport view restaurant is to the right). Pass a church to your right and drive up the hill for approximate five minutes. The road is in superb conditions and its no problem. Drive until the position as marked on the map and park on the side.|
|WHAT||Another beautiful location with the sea as background and an overview of almost the whole airport. Taking pics from take offs on RWY25 is the only real thing that you can photograph from here. Ground shots of taxiway-D are possible but heat distortion is a big issue due to the distance.|
|TIME||In the summer light is okay from 0900-1400.|
|MISC.||Nothing nearby. Food/Drinks available the village of Paradeisi or the airport view restaurant.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||767/A330=280mm; A321=360mm|
|Spot #7 – Airportview Restaurant – 07 arrivals and departures|
|WHERE||From the airport drive westwards on the main road, pass the village of Paradeisi and turn right at the next bigger junction. There is a sign to the Airportview Restaurant where you can easily park and have a seat for a snack and something to drink.|
|WHAT||Only useful when RWY07 is active. Arrivals and the final line up turn on taxiway F for 07 departure are possible. RWY25 Departures are too high and the angle is pretty bad too.|
If you go out of the restaurant and walk a few meters down along the fence until a small gap between the bushes you can photograph planes directly on the runway (see third sample photo). Just place your camera over the fence or between the mesh.
|TIME||From 0900-1400 in the summer for the arrivals and runway. Line-up-turn from F later from afternoon till sunset.|
|MISC.||This is a snack bar/restaurant so please order something to drink while staying there.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||unknown but 20-200mm|
|Spot #8 – Beach Road – All runway movements|
|WHERE||There is a road that running parallel between the sea and the runway on the opposite side of the airport. You can access it from both sides. Its a little bit difficult to explain but if coming from #1 take the next right to Pastida, just to turn immediatly sharp left to drive under the road that you were before. Now drive all way on this small road, turn left and right and then your are already under the approach path. Continue until you see the wooden fence and the runway to your left. Park on the side as marked on the map.|
We have visited the RWY25 spot only. There is a wooden fence which is big enough to put your lense through so feel free to find your prefered spot where the grass is not cutting parts of the aircraft off (see photos below).
If RWY07 is active its a bit more easier. From the junction at the Airport View Restaurant continue on the main road and turn right into the next “bigger” road. From there continue all the way until you have reached the other side. But you can also continue on the sea-road that if coming from the RWY25 position.
|WHAT||Arrivals and departures on RWY25. We did not checked RWY07 position but arrivals should be no problem.|
|TIME||For the summer only: light is okay from 1700 until sunset.|
|MISC.||Nothing nearby. Just a beach and the sea if you need to cool down. Some bushes and grass may cut parts of the aircraft off if its not cutted properly.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||738=90mm; 752=70mm|