Frankfurt is located along the Main river near where it connects to the Rhine. Frankfurt is in southwest Germany, in the region of Hesse or Hessen.
Frankfurt is Germany's fifth largest city, with a population of around 650,000.
How to Get to Frankfurt
Frankfurt Airport is located at the intersections of the A3 and A5 autobahns. Terminal 1 is well connected to the transportation system of Frankfurt, offering S-Bahn and train connections for long or short journeys.
Frankfurt Airport is the second busiest in Europe. Many Lufthansa flights from the US use it as a hub.
Note that there is a second airport - Frankfurt-Hahn Airport - which is actually 120km away from the city itself and is cheekily described as 'Frankfurt' to entice Ryanair passengers to fly here.
There are two train stations at Frankfurt Airport. The Regional Train Station is located beneath Terminal 1. From here the S-Bahn commuter trains depart for central Frankfurt and the Hauptbahnhof. Here also RegionalExpress and StadtExpress trains serve many destinations in Germany. The AIRail Terminal long-distance train station is linked by a connector building to Terminal 1. From here, high-speed trains depart to the central stations of Cologne and Stuttgart.
Taxis are available in front of both terminals. Free shuttles take you between the two terminals.
Frankfurt's main train station, or Hauptbahnhof, is on the western side of the city, just north of the Main river.
The historic center of Frankfurt, called Römerberg is straight ahead in front of the station. Tourist information is found at the front of the station, as are S and U-Bahn stops. Another tourist info is found in Römerberg.
If you plan on making a lot of journeys by train in Germany, you might want to consider a German Rail Pass.
You can save money on longer rail journeys, but Railpasses aren't guaranteed to save you money.
Where to Stay
The area around Frankfurt train station is a curious area. It is home to the European Central Bank... and countless brothels and sex shops. The area is not overly dangerous, but it is seedy and not the nicest place to stay. However, if you have only one night in the city and need to leave early in the morning, it's certainly an option (you can read reviews on Tripadvisor).
Otherwise, stay south of the river in Sachsenhausen (not to be confused with the concentration camp of the same name) for a nicer Frankfurt experience (compare prices on hotels in Sachsenhausen, Frankfurt).
Day Trips From Frankfurt
Some of the best things to do from Frankfurt are its day trips. The following sights can be visited by car but a tour makes it much easier.
- The Rhine Valley: Cruise past vineyards and mountain-top castles. Check out this Rhine Valley cruise.
- Heidelberg: Visit this medieval city on a half-day tour from Frankfurt. You can combine these two trips with a Heidelberg and Rhine Valley full-day tour.
- Baden-Baden and the Black Forest: A spa town and one of the most beautiful forests in Europe. Combine a visit to the two with this Baden-Baden, Strasbourg and Black Forest Tour from Frankfurt.
- Eltz Castle: A medieval castle that is much closer to Frankfurt than the famous Bavarian castles. Check out this Eltz Castle and Rhine Tour from Frankfurt.
Speaking of famous Bavaria and famous castles, the most famous sights of Germany, though quite far away, are also reachable from Frankfurt. However, a guided tour is strongly recommended for these destinations as the logistics of getting so far in a day are will be quite difficult if you've never been before (not to mention the boredom factor of so much driving, as well as the cost of petrol).
- Neuschwanstein Castle: The most famous fairytale castle in the world. See this on a Neuschwanstein and Rothenburg tour from Frankfurt.
- Munich and Dachau Concentration Camp: Visit Bavaria's most famous city and one of World War II's biggest concentration camps with a Munich and Dachau day trip from Frankfurt.
Frankfurt Top Attractions
Frankfurt, known for its modern, industrial skyline, has more to offer the traveler than you might think. Besides excellent nightlife, as you might expect, there are many museums and an interesting historic center.
You can see the best of Frankfurt on a Frankfurt City tour and Rhine cruise. Here are some highlights of what Frankfurt has to offer:
- Zoologischer Garten: One of the best zoos in Europe. At the end of the Zeil, Frankfurt's pedestrian zone.
- Keiserdom: Frankfurt's cathedral, with remains of Roman baths alongside. Good view of Frankfurt from the top of the tower.
- Goethehaus und Goethemuseum: Goethe's House and Museum. See where Germany's most famous writer was born in 1749, with furniture from his family and hand-written manuscripts.
- Grueneburgpark: Frankfurt's largest public park.
Sachsenhausen, once a separate village said to have been founded by Charlemagne, is a well-preserved neighborhood with pleasant strolling streets and beer gardens on the south side of the Main.
Museumsufer - Frankfurt's Museum Embankment
Along the south bank of the Main river, you'll find a string of Museums and galleries called the Museumsufer. You can buy a Museumsufer discount ticket at the first museum you visit.
- Deutsches Architekturmuseum (German Architecture Museum)
- Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum)
- Städel-Museum Frankfurt - 2,700 paintings, 600 sculptures and 100,000 prints and drawings by artists ranging from Dürer, Holbein and Cranach to Rembrandt, Vermeer, Monet, Van Gogh and Cézanne to Matisse and Picasso, Bacon and Baselitz, Serra and Palermo.
- Museum Giersch (Museum of Regional Historic Art and Culture)
- Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Applied Arts)
- Liebighaus (Liebig House)
- Museum der Weltkulturen (Ethnological Museum)
- Museum für Kommunikation (Museum of Communication)
- Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum)
Frankfurt Food and Drink
Beer, of course, and the famous apfelwein, or apple wine. Look for a pine wreath above the door for a place that serves homemade apfelwein.
Frankfurter Wurstchen you know. Handkas mit Musik is a raw onion, cheese and vinegar sorta deal served with bread.
Best Time to Visit Frankfurt
Late spring and early fall are best. Avoid Frankfurt during the larger trade fairs, when accommodation is difficult.
Nothing beats street markets for a taste of everyday life. Here are some beloved markets in Frankfurt:
- Konstablerwache Farmers' Market, Konstablerwache
- Market at Dornbusch, Carl-Goerdeler-Straße 5
- Sachsenhausen Weekday Market, Südbahnhof
- Ben-Gurion-Ring Weekday Market, Nieder-Eschbach
- Frankfurt Fransen Flea Market, P.U.T.-Eventbühne
Also, barely-used luxury brands can be found at Secondhand Aschenputtel the German word for Cinderella.