Frankfurt is home to the European Central Bank, but there’s more to the city than shiny post-modern skyscrapers and stocks and shares. Beyond the financial district there’s lots of medieval history to take in. There are also plenty of interesting sites and museums to visit in this important financial centre on the shores of the Main River.
To help you plan your holiday in Frankfurt we’ve put a list of our favourite activities together. From the Christmas markets to things to do all year round, it’s the perfect destination for a long weekend away.
Get Festive at the Christmas Markets
The Frankfurt Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmärkte) are the biggest in Germany. Each year, the Römerberg public space and Paulsplatz are transformed with glowing decorations and an assortment of stalls that surround a huge Christmas tree and the old town’s traditional half-timbered houses.
Running from the last week in November until a few days before Christmas Day (make sure you check before booking your flights), you’ll find stalls selling ornate goods as the area sparkles in this enchanting part of a centuries-old festive tradition.
Explore Germany’s Biggest Inner-City Forest
Frankfurt City Forest is the biggest communal forest of its kind in Germany. Comprised of 50 square kilometers of dense woodland, this forest is laced with routes for hiking, biking and running, so make sure you set enough time aside to explore. Take a picnic and enjoy some respite, whether the leaves are green in the trees, are crunching under your feet, or are blanketed in a thick layer of festive snow.
Take a River Cruise
The River Main is a major tributary to the Rhine and perfect for seeing the city from another angle. Day excursions depart from near Eiserner Steg (the pedestrian bridge), a short walk away from the old town.
There are various options for boat trips, including short circular cruises, half-day trips which go upstream, and full-day trips to the famous Rhine. There are themed and special event cruises too, but it’s essential to book early and reserve your space.
Frankfurt’s iconic town hall was built in 1405 and stands proudly opposite Old St. Nicholas church in the Römerberg public space. Take your time to wander the old streets and explore.
But everything’s not as it seems. The old buildings you see? Well, they might not be as medieval as you think...after much of the historic area was destroyed during World War II, the local authorities decided the re-build certain areas. Specifically the parts renowned for having Europe’s best preserved medieval timber townhouses.
Other Frankfurt attractions include the Museumsufer; a collection of 12 museums on the south bank of the river. Each August it is transformed into a huge festival with live music and events, with visitors able to wander between museums and performances as they please.
Fancy getting a bird’s-eye view? The 56-storey Main Tower has a viewing platform and restaurant. Take your time up there and get your bearings before deciding on your next move. After you’ve seen the city from above, you could head to the gothic cathedral, explore the botanical Palmengarten, wander to St Paul’s Church, or spend time at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum.
The city is also home to plenty of festivals and fairs including Frankfurt Book Fair, which attracts over 200,000 people annually. Other reasons to visit include the yearly German Jazz Festival. 2018 will be the 49th edition, with local, international, established and up-and-coming acts playing in venues across the city.