From bratwurst and beer to Asian fusion, half-timbered homes to a stunning skyline—Frankfurt is a city of contrasts.
Frankfurt may well be one of the most densely populated cities in Germany but it also happens to have the largest inner-city forest in the country. In fact, Frankfurt’s Green Belt covers thousands of hectares and is one of the largest urban forests in the world. The forest is home to many wild animals such as the red fox, bats, wild boar, and deer.
A manmade natural wonder resides in the heart of Frankfurt—the Palm Garden, a plant paradise that takes you on a journey to all corners of the world. Between paths and green spaces with deckchairs, this show garden presents a diverse array of thematic gardens and greenhouses. From lush, subtropical landscapes in the Palm House—where a multitude of imposing plants, huge shrubs, and ferns are located—to the plant world of the cool temperate areas of the southern hemisphere in the Sub-Antarctic House, this garden has it all.
About 30 minutes north of Frankfurt lies Saalburg, an ancient Roman fort that was rebuilt in its original form at the end of the 19th century. The oldest version of the fort is from the first century, but the current one is from the third century. The fort served as living quarters for military legions and was also home to a civilian village, which included a bath and a hostel, that has been partly excavated and now contains the Saalburg Museum.
The UNESCO Savoir Vivre and Sophistication Route begins in Frankfurt and ends in Düsseldorf, one of Germany’s most creative cities. The route follows the twists and turns of the River Rhine and features magnificent castles, churches, and unspoiled natural scenery along the way.
Fasching, also called Fastnacht, is Germany’s carnival season. It starts on November 11 at 11:11 a.m. and doesn’t end until midnight on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Most celebrations and events are held during the last four weeks. Present-day celebrations in Frankfurt mostly take the form of parades and are a fun event for adults and children alike. Highly decorated floats pass by with sweets for the children, and marching bands, some dressed up in uniforms and others in costumes, provide musical entertainment. The crowd joins in by dressing up too.
Best Day Trip
For a stark contrast to Frankfurt head out to Heidelberg, about an hour south of the city. This historical town stuns with some of the most romantic views of the region. Take your time strolling through the old town, visiting Germany’s oldest university, and exploring the ruins of Heidelberg Castle on the hilltop. The oldest parts of the castle date back to 1214. Three times every summer a fireworks show takes place to commemorate when the castle burned in 1689, 1693, and 1764.
Most Iconic Place
Römerplatz square has been the center of all festivities in Frankfurt for centuries. It looks like the buildings have been there for centuries, too. But don’t be fooled—most of Frankfurt’s historical city center was bombed and destroyed in 1945. Although the city rebuilt mostly modern, some historic buildings were restored including the Römer Rathaus and the half-timbered buildings on Römerberg.
Sachsenhausen has the most active nightlife scene in Frankfurt. It is packed with bars and restaurants in an old town setting and this is where people come to party. It becomes very busy, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, but don’t get your hopes up high if you’re there to party on a Monday. Make sure to visit one of the Applewine Taverns for good food.
Never assume in this age of digitalization that a store or restaurant will accept credit cards, let alone international cards. Germans prefer good old cash. An ATM is usually not far away (and widely available in larger stores and shopping centers), but it’s wise to carry cash at all times. If you go to a supermarket, remember to bring a one euro coin in order to get a shopping cart.
Take a Hike
Craving space, fresh air, and beautiful views? Head to Taunus, a mountain range just north of Frankfurt, best known for its geothermal springs and mineral waters that formerly attracted members of the European aristocracy to its spa towns. It is also a great place for hikers, with around a thousand routes of various lengths listed, and a short road trip from the city with many scenic restaurants and cafés. Enjoy the view!