Topic Author
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Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:56 pm

Day spotting without a car in Europe.

Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:53 pm

Hello all,

This is my first post here.

I've been spotting for a few years around the UK, however , I want to to try some new places around Europe without the need of a car or too much transport needed that could be done in a day.

I've done something similar in Dublin, I enjoyed it and am wondering where in Europe (what airports) where I can just arrive and get on with it.

I heard Zurich and Amsterdam are friendly but am struggling to find details of how I can plan it.

Any help or experiences would be great.

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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2001 10:00 pm

Re: Day spotting without a car in Europe.

Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:44 pm

First I would like to make a distinction. Are you into hardcore spotting (collecting registration) or aviation photography?

The observation deck at AMS is great for spotting. For aviation photography heat haze can be an issue as the runway is quite a distance away. Good photos can still be had from the observation deck, but it will be more limited to planes taxiing close by. You can however take the bus to several of the runways / taxiways around AMS.

Zurich is great for spotting as well. It has an observation deck as well which is quite good for spotting and photography. In the morning the planes typically land on runway 34. The views from parking garage P3 can't be beat. Disadvantage is that in the afternoon ZRH really slows down.

Another one to consider is DUS. The views are very good. The terraces are close by the runways as well, so photography should be no issue. Only the far runway will have heathaze difficulties. One thing to consider though, DUS used to have a large Air Berlin operation. With them having gone bankrupt, the airport might have slowed down a lot. I have not been to DUS recently so can't tell if it is still busy enough to keep you entertained. There is a very active message board on DUS that also shows expected movements except for the based aircraft.

From the main terminal of FRA you can walk to the eastern side of the airport into the approach path. It's about half an hour's walk I would guess. For planes landing on 25L and 25C this is an ideal spot. But if the wind if from the wrong side, then the spot is not that great. The planes will be too high for nice photos. For collecting registrations you can sit by the windows at the terminal 2 MacDonalds.

MAD is also quite good for photography, weather permitting (heat haze!). You can stand on the hill next to the power cables shown on this google maps streetview. You can overlook several taxiways and runways as well as terminal 4. Again you should count an about a half hour walk.
https://www.google.nl/maps/@40.4820093, ... 312!8i6656
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Re: Day spotting without a car in Europe.

Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:54 am

CGN has a multi-level spotting terrace on top of terminal 1, which isn't located too far from the runways. There is also a meadow just under the finals to runway 14L/north of the terminal where you will get some very close shots of landing aircraft right by the fence. Walking there shouldn't take more than 20 minutes at a brisk pace, if you can find your way. I've measured the distance to 1700 meters from the terminal:
https://www.google.dk/maps/@50.8871029, ... a=!3m1!1e3
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:56 pm

Re: Day spotting without a car in Europe.

Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:04 pm

Many thanks for your replies and will take them all into consideration, I may need to book atleast a day in a hotel it seems but prepared for the challenge of being there for a day.

I will be there for picture taking and simply enjoying a different place and aircrafts, registrations will be jotted from the pictures or FR24 so no worries.

Anymore inputs would be great.
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Re: Day spotting without a car in Europe.

Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:20 am

I'll add some more insights as an Aussie spotter who has done a bit of euro spotting mainly Germany all without a car.

FRA - If landings are on 25 then there is a great spot at Zeppelinheim which provides great photo and viewing ops as landing aircraft come right past you, you can walk from T2, alternatively a train to Zeppelinheim station from Frankfurt Main Station and walk through the forest quite easily, it's a major pathway. Alternatively from the airport itself you can get a free shuttle bus to the Intercity hotel nearby (it's only free to the hotel, no questions asked), there is also a public bus OF-64. I've only been here in June and light is good till early afternoon then backlit. From late afternoon if you walk towards the terminals you can get to the other side of the approach path, just find a spot beside the path. A number of the long hauls from Asia and Africa that arrive early morning and stay til evening will be towed past the morning spot and various others taxi past here too providing great photo ops.

Another favourite of mine for spotting is Berlin Tegel, the observation deck is the roof of the main terminal building and light in summer anyway is good all day you just have to change angles a bit, doesn't get much in the way of heavies (mostly 320s and 737s) but some less common airlines at times.

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