Frankfurt may be known as a hub for business travellers but it͛s also home to medieval buildings, museums and a vibrant food scene.
It’s known to many as ‘Mainhattan’, thanks to its skyscrapers and position on the banks of the River Main, but also for its abundance of cultural attractions and nightlife.
Start your day with a stroll around the city’s Old Town, admiring the half-timbered buildings around Romerberg Square. Take the time to visit the Romer Rathaus and St Paul’s Church before crossing the river over the Eiserner Steg, a picturesque iron footbridge. It’s just a 15-minute walk along the Main river to the Stadel Museum (also known as the Stadel Art Institute and Municipal Gallery) where you can spend hours admiring the vast collection of German and international paintings and sculptures. This is one of the most important art collections in Germany, and it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon in the gallery if you have more time.
There are many other museums and galleries in this area, and it’s definitely worth popping into one or two to admire their collections. The German Museum of Architecture, the German Film Museum and the Museum of World Cultures are among the highlights.
All of that sight-seeing and art viewing will no doubt leave you hungry and thirsty. We recommend making the 10-minute walk to find one of the best cider taverns in the city. Apfelwein Wagner is as traditional as Frankfurt’s taverns get, offering a menu based on local specialities. Opt for the Frankfurter Platte for a selection of local specialities, including pork knuckle and sausages, and wash down with a refreshing jug of local apple wine.
Start your weekend in Frankfurt by hiring a bike and heading out to the City Forest to cycle along one of the many nature trails that weave their way through the trees. Locals spend much of their free time exploring the forest, making this an excellent place to experience a different side of the city. From the edge of the forest, it’s a 15-minute cycle north to one of the best cider taverns in the city, Apfelwein Wagner. Enjoy a traditional meat-based lunch washed down with a glass of the apple wine that the city is famed for. The Museumsufer is a short cycle away, boasting a concentrated collection of impressive museums and galleries. Spend your afternoon exploring which ever ones take your fancy. The Stadel Museum, the German Museum of Architecture and the Museum of World Cultures are among the highlights. For dinner, book into one of the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants. Restaurant Français, specialising in French cuisine and seafood, and Seven Swans, one of only two German vegetarian restaurants with a Michelin star, are among the best restaurants in the city.
Begin by tucking into a hearty traditional German breakfast, before exploring the city’s Old Town. The area around Romerberg Square is particularly interesting due to its medieval half-timbered buildings, restored following damage during World War II. The Romer Rathaus and St Paul’s Church are other buildings of note. The city’s famous indoor market hall, Kleinmarkthalle, is just a couple of minutes’ walk away, making it the perfect stop for a light lunch. Seek out a hot wurst in a bun and wash it down with another glass of apple wine. In the afternoon, walk (30 minutes), cycle (10 minutes) or take a taxi (10 minutes) to the Palmengarten. These botanical gardens include a palm house containing plants from numerous climates, as well as 54 acres of outdoor gardens to explore. If you’re visiting during summer, keep your eyes peeled for jazz concerts held in the gardens in the evenings.
Days one to three
Follow our weekend itinerary for your first two days in the city, soaking up the sights and culture, then look further afield for the remainder of your trip. On your third day, take a cruise on the Rhine River, departing from Mainz (just a 30-minute train ride from Frankfurt). You’ll see one of the most scenic stretches of the river, with medieval castles, beautiful villages and vineyards along the way. Most of the boats stop at several places, allowing you to disembark and explore. Meals and drinks are available on board, included with some tickets or at an extra cost.
Days four and five
Explore Odenwald, a wooded and hilly area that lies an hour south of the city and boasts plenty of historical and natural attractions. Visit Frankenstein Castle to admire the ruins said to have inspired Mary Shelley’s classic tale of horror. Hear the stories of the ghosts and witches that reportedly haunt the castle. There are many other impressive castles to visit in the region, including Heidelberg, Breuberg and Erbach. Spend an afternoon exploring the Eberstadt Caves, one of the most impressive natural landmarks in Germany. Find an impressive collection of stalactites and stalagmites inside the ancient caverns. Finally, take a trip to Felsenmeer to admire the ‘sea of rocks’, a natural formation with an interesting story behind it. According to legend, giants created this stony spectacle by hurling boulders at each other during a disagreement.
Days six and seven
During your final days in Frankfurt, head out to the Bornheim neighbourhood to explore one of the more bohemian areas of the city. This area is full of independent shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, mainly located on or around Berger Strasse. Head here late in the morning to enjoy a lingering brunch with the locals, then make your way to the Holy Cross Church to admire its Modernist architecture. Several of the city’s best cider taverns are in the neighbourhood, including Zur Sonne and Solzer, making this the perfect base for a relaxed night out. To end your last night in the city, take a taxi across town to Jazzkeller, one of the most iconic jazz bars in the world. There’s live jazz music here most nights of the week, and the locals usually take to the dance floor at the weekends. Start your last day in Frankfurt by taking the lift to the observation deck on the top floor of the Main Tower to admire the views over the city and surrounding area. Finish your stay on a high note and take a ride on the Ebbelwei Express. This charming tram circles the city on an hour-long trip, taking in many of the key sights while providing riders with a bottle of apple wine and a bag of pretzels to enjoy during the ride.