The very best of... FrankfurtFriday 31 July 2015 by Melanie Klaschka Despite being one of the largest financial centres in Europe, Frankfurt isn't just for bankers and businesses. Explore the best that the city has to offer with our to-do guide.
The best things to see and do
Frankfurt’s skyscraper-filled skyline may make it look like a corporate theme park, but actually it’s a city full of lovely parks and gardens, outstanding museums and historic architecture. Start with Frankfurt’s beautiful red sandstone cathedral, and if you’ve got a head for heights you can climb the 95 metre gothic dome for fabulous views of the city. More gorgeous architecture can be found on the Römerberg, Frankfurt’s original central square – the half-timbered houses were reconstructed after WWII, and offer a stunning insight into how the medieval city would have looked. If parks and gardens are more your thing, take a tour of the stunning Palm Gardens, where tropical plant houses mingle with sweeping lawns and exotic trees and plants from all over the world.
The best food and drink
Frankfurt has a vibrant restaurant and bar scene, with plenty of choice for gourmets, foodies and budget travellers alike. The city’s best restaurants are found in Sachsenhausen, as well as some upscale dining and drinking holes in the Westend area. Sausages are a Frankfurt speciality, and you’ll find cafes and stalls selling traditional wurst throughout the city. The city is also famous for its Apfelwein (apple wine) – it’s a less sweet version of cider, and is often served with sparkling mineral water to make a spritzer. You’ll find Apflewein taverns throughout the city’s Old Town, as well as lots of welcoming pubs serving traditional German beer – don’t say we never spoil you!
The best way to get around
Frankfurt has serious traffic congestion problems, so the city centre is best avoided if you’re travelling by car. However the public transport is excellent, with a useful combination of underground (U-Bahn) trains, overground (S-Bahn) trains, trams and buses covering the city centre and suburbs. The network is seamless and super-efficient, and the same tickets can be used for all options. The Altstadt (old town) is lovely to explore on foot, with great walks along the river and around the medieval streets. Frankfurt is a good city for cycling too, with dedicated cycle lanes and a good city bike hire service operating throughout the centre.
The best events and festivals
Frankfurt is definitely a city that knows how to let its hair down, and the summer plays host to some great festivals and events. Mainfest is a 3-day traditional family folk festival in late July/early August, offering live music, food stalls and a funfair on the banks of the River Main. Later in the August the city hosts the Museumsuferfest cultural festival, with arts and crafts displays, live music, food stalls and reduced admission to the city’s museums. Both Mainfest and Museumsuferfest end with spectacular firework displays, with thousands of locals and visitors lining the banks and bridges of the River Main to watch. For many visitors, the highlight of Frankfurt’s event calendar is the city’s traditional Christmas market, one of Germany’s biggest and most famous, which takes place in November/December against the stunning backdrop of Römerberg square.