But even businessmen need a breather. Tucked in between the towering buildings are pockets of green space and an entire green belt. Among the city's top attractions is the Palmengarten (an expansive botanical garden) along with other parks for sightseeing, admiring exotic flowers, or cycling around the city. The top parks in Frankfurt am Main provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy the quieter side of city life.
Palmengarten is a top attraction in the city, whether you are a visitor needing a break from the pavement or a local wanting to surround yourself with nature. The massive botanical garden was founded by a group of Frankfurt citizens in 1868 and its 50-acre grounds take visitors on a horticultural journey from the African savanna to the rain forests. The gardens have more than 6,000 different botanical species from all around the world with something in bloom every month of the year.
Frankfurt’s Palmengarten offers guided tours, as well as open-air classical concerts and festivals. Its Grüne Schule (Green School) offers events and courses to educate the public on the many fascinations of nature. If you are feeling sporty, rent a boat to paddle around the pond with the swans. Take a leafy friend home with you by stopping at the shop on your way out.
Bethmannpark is a peaceful oasis located within the center of the city. Named for the influential Bethmann family, the park is surrounded by the busy streets of Friedberger Landstrasse, Berger Strasse, and Mauerweg in the eastern Nordend district. It exudes a calming presence at any time of year but is especially spectacular in spring and summer when the flowers erupt in blooms.
Walk the 7.7-acre, historically-listed park on meandering paths, making your way through playgrounds and educational garden to its jewel, the Chinese Garden. Marked with a majestic dragon portal, there are wooden bridges over tranquil ponds with all areas following the principles of Feng-Shui. It was built in memory of the Tian’anmen Massacre and is known as the Garten des Himmlischen Friedens (Garden of Heavenly Peace).
Tall buildings, like the Operaturm, arch above this quiet park in the financial district (known as Bankenviertel). In fact, the park is named for the banking family of the Rothschilds. Opened in 1810, it started with a country home and expanded into a palace with luxurious grounds styled as an English garden. The Rothschild Palace was destroyed during WWII, but among its many current attractions are an elegant series of sculptures known as the Ring der Statuen, a playground, and a neo-Gothic tower.
This historic Nordend park from the 1500s once belonged to the famous Holzhausen Family and covered 30 acres. Today's park is quite a bit smaller at just 3 acres, but just as elegant. The 18th-century classicistic-baroque Holzhausen Castle remains the park's main landmark. Stroll around the pristine building and on the pathways under shady chestnut trees.
Located a bit out from the city center, green lawns are intersected by a sleek modern design of metal ramps and embankment steps. This avant-garde design suits such a contemporary city and merges into the forest that envelopes one side of the park. There are meadows, a man-made canal, and paths perfect for jogging under the trees. Families gather here on sunny weekends to grill and sunbathe, or plan a visit to Rebstockbad, a public pool with slides and lots of joyful children.
Grüneburgpark translates to "Green Castle Park", a fitting name for an expansive 29 hectares space full of grandiose structures. This massive park was also once part of the huge Rothschild family estate.
The castle it was named for is long gone, but the gardens remain. It echoes the glory of nearby Palmengarten with its own botanical garden managed by the Goethe University of Frankfurt. A highlight of any visit to the park is the traditional 51,667-square-foot (4,800-square-meter) Korean Garden complete with Korean temples and buildings. It is also unique for its more than 2,600 old-growth trees, some of which date back to the early 19th century.
Climb up to Lohrberg along the Berger ridge, called Lohr for short, for a park with views of the city. At the base of the Lohrberg there have been excavations that revealed several fossils including a new species of river hog. It is a real step back in time and out into nature while still being close to the city center.
Along with long stretches of green, there are graveled pathways (some steeply inclined), the only remaining vineyard within Frankfurt, a playground and splash area, and a rotunda shaded by trees. Look out for the memorials to victims of the First and Second World War; another tablet commemorates the fallen of WWII. If the climb has made you hungry, Lohrberg-Schänke has been a popular restaurant since the 1930s. Stay after dark for some of the best sunset views in Frankfurt.
Outside of the park but on the Lohr there is an annual festival that takes advantage of the many apple blossoms that appear in spring. On the first Sunday of every April, people gather to picnic and stroll beneath the heavy boughs.
Frankfurt City Forest
Frankfurt City Forest (Frankfurter Stadtwald) is one of Germany’s largest communal city forests. It has roots back to 1221 when Frederick II gave the Teutonic Knights the forest and grazing rights. The city of Frankfurt tried to buy the forest back in 1372, but it was not for sale resulting in 100 years of conflict. A compromise in 1484 resulted in the city paying for limited grazing rights resulting in a stone border on the Schäfersteinpfad (Shepherd Stone Path). Eventually, the city was able to take back the forest and it is now a bountiful green space for the public.
Located to the south of the city and covering 18.5 glorious square miles (48 square kilometers), it has attractions for everyone needing a breath of fresh air. There are 6 playgrounds, many ponds, nature trails, over a thousand benches, and 25 resting huts for day hikes.
Ringing the glistening glass skyscrapers at the center of Frankfurt is a green belt known as Frankfurter Grüngürtel. Altogether it is around 31 square miles (80 square kilometers) which is about a third of Frankfurt's urban area. This ring of paths wraps around 43.5 miles (70 kilometers) of the city with the beautiful surroundings of flowering orchards, sparkling streams, and bountiful gardens. Its expanse means it is best explored by bike, although plenty of walkers, hikers, and joggers also travel along the well-maintained routes.
Frankfurter Grüngürtel is divided into three sections: hilly ridge in the northeast, urban flats in the west and north, and the Frankfurt city forest in the south. This area was created in 1991 and includes protected zones that prevent future development and provide a "green lung" for the metropolis.