Frankfurt is known above all as a commercial hub. It’s true that a lot of business is done here. But that's not all that goes on, and it's no more right to say that Frankfurt is all about banking than it is to characterise London purely by the City. Outside the Square Mile London has plenty of hidden gems, and Frankfurt is no different.
If you've never been before but you only know Frankfurt for its place in the finance world then find out why this is a city worth exploring, along with its beautiful surrounding countryside. And if you've had one too many lunches on Fressgass and didn't think there's life outside the Bankenviertel, then here's some inspiration to make the most of your next trip to Frankfurt.
If you've been to Frankfurt before but never ventured beyond the city limits, you're missing some of the region's highlights. Frankfurt might be one of Germany's most modern urban landscapes, but it's surrounded by rustic countryside and medieval history.
The historic town of Heidelberg is less than an hour's journey by train and gives a fascinating view on the region's past, along with some truly beautiful architecture, including its famous castle and university – one of the oldest in the world.
Even closer are the large towns of Mainz with its old town and neighbouring Wiesbaden, as well as the little winemaking town of Rüdesheim, synonymous with local wine culture and part of the Rhine Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Few places in the world distil all the essential elements of a region into a little town quite like Rüdesheim, with its old town, wine pedigree and stunning rural landscape – imagine idyllic postcard German countryside with rolling hills and medieval castles and you're there. And it's under an hour's drive from Frankfurt. You'll find tours heading here from town, but it's equally worth hiring a car to get there. As well as a destination in its own right, Frankfurt is a popular jumping-off point for the Rheingau wine region, which mainly produces the Riesling that Germany is most famous for.
Frankfurt is also an easy journey from the spa town of Baden-Baden and the great outdoors of the Black Forest, so a flight from London to Frankfurt is the easiest way to explore one of Germany's top tourist destinations. You can easily get there on a day trip, so a trip to the Black Forest is easily doable even if you've got a short stay in Frankfurt.
A shorter hop yet is the Taunus mountain range just to the north of Frankfurt. This low mountain range is a great way to combine a city break with a taste of the German outdoors, and a hike here promises stunning views of the surrounding forests, countryside and towns. Combine a trip here with a visit to the nearby spa town of Bad Homburg – it's part of the Frankfurt urban area and is just 20 minutes on the S-Bahn from Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof, the main train station. Have a look at our guide to getting around Frankfurt for more transport details
Food in Frankfurt conjures but one image. We know what you're thinking. And yes, if you've been before then you'll know that Frankfurter sausages are everywhere you go. But Frankfurt is a modern international city and has the kind of eclectic dining scene you'd expect from a capital of commerce.
There's a lot to enjoy about traditional German cuisine, but if you're a frequent visitor and tired of the local pork-and-potatoes staples then you still have plenty of choice. Berger Strasse is lined with restaurants that give you an alternative to Hessian cuisine if you want something lighter. Head here for good Thai, Vietnamese and Korean options (try Sonamu for Korean food with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere), as well as casual modern cafes for brunch and (shock) even vegan-friendly restaurants (try Ginkgo).
Asian cuisine is well represented around Frankfurt, and unpretentious Japanese restaurant Sushimoto in the Westin Grand hotel is great for lunch, while Moriki is a more upmarket option for the evening. Frankfurt has plenty of refined restaurants where you can enjoy dinner out without feeling like you're at a business meeting. Michelin-starred Restaurant Francais does exactly what you'd expect, and Heimat on Berliner Strasse excels in modern German and is good for a romantic dinner.
If you're flying to Frankfurt on a weekend break then be sure to visit the weekly Konstablerwache farmers' market for interesting local and regional produce.
There's no escaping beer in Germany, and regular visitors to Frankfurt will probably be familiar with local Pilsners such as the ubiquitous Binding. Generally drinkable, though some consider it sacrilege to say a word against German beer of any kind, these mass-produced lagers are pretty boring and can pall quickly.
Avoid getting beered out and keep things interesting with a delve into Frankfurt's craft beer scene. Braustil on Oeder Weg 57 has caused some real buzz as an excellent brewpub making small batches, and even offers a brewing course for visitors. Frankfurt also has its own craft beer festival at the end of March. But don't worry if you're not there in time – you could spend a week in craft beer bar Naïv without getting through its huge selection of German and international beers. With an equally impressive range of gin and quality burgers Naïv makes an equally good place for a night out or an after-work debrief.
Apfelwein must also get a nod. If you haven’t tried the local speciality, don't be fooled by the name – wine it is not. There are numerous places specialising in this tart cider in the Sachsenhausen district to the south of the river.
If you're looking for a convenient destination for a weekend break just a short flight from London, then Frankfurt can give you just about any kind of trip you want. Book a flight to Frankfurt from London City Airport today.