Located at the heart of the country as one of Germany's most important cities, Frankfurt am Main is home to the German stock exchange and a hub of European finance. The city possesses a glitteringly modern skyline but Frankfurt tourism is about more than just business, with an historic city centre, world-class museums and a range of fascinating cultural institutions attracting millions of visitors per year. Explore the medieval Römerberg or take a stroll along the banks of the picturesque River Main; Frankfurt charms with its understated elegance and unexpected treasures.
The list of things to do in Frankfurt should start with a visit to Römerberg – the historic city centre on which Frankfurt's medieval town hall the Römer stands. Next to the Römer is the 12th Century Old Saint Nicholas Church, however the soaring Saint Bartholomew's Cathedral and the politically symbolic Saint Paul's Church are the city's most important churches. Once a medieval city, Frankfurt is now distinctly modern and several impressive skyscrapers dominate the city's skyline. In 1997, the 56-storey Commerzbank Tower overtook the Messeturm as the city's tallest building and remains one of the tallest in Europe. The observation deck of nearby Main Tower is open to the public and offers spectacular views over the city.
Ever eaten a Frankfurter? Various forms of 'hot dogs' have been consumed in the city since at least the 13th Century and not surprisingly Frankfurter Würstchen are a popular feature of the Frankfurt diet. Frankfurt restaurants are about more than just sausages and many of the city's fine-dining establishments are situated along lively Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse, which hosts the yearly 'Fressgass Fest' food festival. With a sizeable student population Frankfurt also boasts plenty of vibrant pubs and clubs. Be sure to down a genuine 'Ebbelwoi' – locally produced apple wine – in the happening Alt-Sachsenhausen district.
Where to Stay
As one of the trade fair capitals of the world, Frankfurt hotels are ample in their abundance. Unfortunately for tourists prices skyrocket during trade fairs, so either plan ahead or be prepared to pay astronomical prices whenever a trade fair hits town. Most of the city's luxury hotels are based in the upscale Innenstadt, where the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof has taken pride of place for more than 130 years. The Lindner Main Plaza on the Sachsenhausen side of the river enjoys stunning views over the city, but for a broader range of choices you'll need to head back over the river to the area around the 'Hauptbahnhof' train station.
Shopping in Frankfurt is only advisable in a comfortable pair of shoes! Frankfurt's shopping avenues are expansive and the Zeil in heart of the city is one of Europe's most famous shopping streets. Along it you'll find all the major fashion outlets represented, as well as two hugely popular shopping centres in the form of Zeilgalerie and MyZeil. If modern shopping centres don't appeal the city boasts numerous open air markets, where you can shop for funky outfits, vibrant decor and valuable antiques. The Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of Europe's most famous and lights up the Römerberg and Paulsplatz every December.
Frankfurt like a Local
Despite its reputation as a glass-fronted modern metropolis, Frankfurt boasts plenty of green open spaces. Many locals enjoy strolling the nature trails criss-crossing the Frankfurter Stadtwald or 'city forest' – the largest inner-city forest in Europe. If you time your visit to coincide with a football match you can witness one of Europe's most passionately supported clubs in action, Eintracht Frankfurt. 'The Eagles' play out of the high-tech Commerzbank Arena in the middle of the forest and their notoriously parochial fans are regarded as some of the most loyal in Germany.