Although I grew up only 2,5 hours away from Frankfurt I never really explored the city as much as I should have. My first time visiting Frankfurt was only in 2006 during the FIFA World Cup football with my best friends. We slept outside on the grass on the river side in a sleeping bag. It was our epic end of a night out after Netherlands played against Argentina. Apparently that experience resonated with me as I decided to travel to Frankfurt over and over the last years. Here are all my tips and recommendations.
Although Frankfurt is one of the biggest cities in the country it is not really one of the most popular tourist spots in Germany. Cities like Berlin, Munich and Cologne draw more tourists on average than Frankfurt. The city is a business hotspot and most people that travel to Frankfurt are there for business. This is not surprising regarding the fact that Frankfurt is the European banking capital. That said the city definitely has a cosmopolitan vibe and many expats from all over the world live in the big apple of Germany.
In this Frankfurt travel guide you will find multiple Frankfurt travel tips, some facts about the city, 16 unique things to do, a walking tour, an itinerary and some nice hotel recommendations. basically all you need to make the most of your city trip to Frankfurt.
Best time to visit Frankfurt
No need to mention that the best months for a trip to Frankfurt are the summer months in Europe. That said, July and August can get hot and since it is the holiday season many people travel to Frankfurt. Good thing about the peak season is that there are events on a daily basis, so it just depends what you are looking for. If you are a fan of Christmas markets then plan your Frankfurt city trip in the weeks before Christmas. Usually they start around the last week of November.
Traveling to Germany by train? Consider the bus! Why? Read more about it in my article about the best way from Aachen to Cologne. Train travel in Germany is expensive and busses in Germany are cheap and convenient. Try it out below in the public transport search engine.
Some cool facts about Frankfurt
- Frankfurt has a massive forest in the heart of the city and is within walking distance from the old town.
- There is only 1 skyscraper in the top 15 highest buildings in Germany that is NOT located in Frankfurt. This is why this is called the Big Apple of Germany.
- The headquarters of the European Central Bank is located in Frankfurt.
- Frankfurt was heavily bombed in WW2.
- This is the city of Goethe. The famous German Poet was born here and lived all his life in Frankfurt.
- More than 25% of the people living in Frankfurt are expats.
- Frankfurt Airport is the biggest airport in Germany and is the 4th biggest airport in Europe.
16 Things to do in Frankfurt
1. Enjoy a drink in a rooftop bar
As I mentioned before already you have to go up one of the skyscrapers when you visit Frankfurt. There are 3 bars that really stand out.
1.1 City Beach
There is a €4 entrance fee for this rooftop bar on top of a parking lot. Finding the entrance is a little challenging but once you up on the roof the views are good. There are two small pools, loads of beach chairs, sand and uncomplicated vibes.
1.2 Long Island Summer Lounge
This is the posh version of City Beach with a proper dress code. Officially no flip-flops and shorts allowed. Entrance fee is €6 but the views at Long Beach Summer Lounge are better. The rooftop is higher as City Beach as well.
1.3 Oosten am Main
According to locals the most laid-back skybar is Oosten am Main. Since it is a little walk out of the center it has the best skyline view as well. Uncomplicated local vibe is guaranteed here. Sipping a cocktail for sunset is definitely one of the best things to do in Frankfurt.
2. Hop-on-hop-off bus
A standard things to do in Frankfurt, but quick and easy to see all the tourist spots in Frankfurt when you don’t have that much time. There are several lines to choose from. Buying a ticket online is cheaper than on the bus itself or at the street vendors.
3. Viewing terrace Frankfurt Airport
Often listed as one of the most exciting things to do in Frankfurt with kids is the viewing platform at Frankfurt Airport. This covered area is a great place for spotting airplanes taking off and landing. There is a Food Court and a Mc Donalds if you get hungry.
4. Walk through Old Town
The old part of the city is actually called Romerberg and was rebuilt the traditional way after the second World War. The medieval colorful buildings are a favorite instagram spot in Frankfurt. In summer there are many terraces lined up for having a drink, in winter this place is heaven for Christmas market lovers.
5. Tricycle ride around Frankfurt
For those that are willing to see the best places to visit in Frankfurt from the back of a bike they can take one of the tricycles around the city. Be aware that these guys are expensive! For 30 minutes you already pay more than €22 or 2 kilometer is €8. It is a cool but rather expensive way to explore Frankfurt.
6. Marvel at the Euro sign
This huge sculpture of the Euro stands in front of the European Central Bank on the Willy-Brandt square and is pretty big. Probably about 30 meters high. There is some info about the Euro on the base of the sign, but there also is a Euro information center and book shop next to it. Although it is more like a gift shop.
7. Lock your Love at Eisener Steg bridge
The bridge that also got destroyed during World War 2 was reconstructed straight after and is now famous for people locking their love with a padlock. From this walking bridge you will have a good view over the skyline and the boulevards on both sides. It connects the old town of Frankfurt with Sachsenhausen, the place to go out at night. But more about what to do in Frankfurt at night later!
8. Ignatz-Bubis bridge instagram spot
If you are not going up on one of the rooftop bars then head to the Ignatz-Bubis bridge for the best skyline photos. Also a great Instagram spot in Frankfurt and cool for sunset. Another free thing to do in Frankfurt.
9. Try Apfelwein
Apparently this kind of apple cider is home to Frankfurt and a a popular drink around the city. Frankfurt is home to many idyllic cafes and traditional bars where they happily serve you their signature drink called Apfelwein.
Not sure if this is one of the best Frankfurt travel tips because I did not like it. I much rather had the a normal beer with a Frankfurter wurst on the side! :)
10. Visit the Goethe House
Located just a few minutes walk from Central Station is the Goethe Haus. Here the famous German Poet was born in 1749. There are 4 different floors to explore and learn about his life. Entrance fee is €7 and it is open from 10am to 6pm. A weekend in Frankfurt is not complete without visiting the Goethe House.
11. Viewing platform cathedral tower
On of the best things to do in Frankfurt is to climb up to the viewing platform 66 meter above the city. The cathedral tower is open to the public for the best city views. Costs are €5 and you will have to walk a lot of steps, but the view is worth it.
12. Free walking tour
If you feel like you have crossed off all the things to do in Frankfurt then join one of the free walking tours and get to know the city through the eyes of a local. Free walking tours are tip based tours and depart every day around 10am and 2pm. There are a couple different ones so check your meeting point online.
13. Viewing platform Main Tower
If amazing city views are your thing then head up to the viewing platform of the main tower when you visit Frankfurt. Entrance fee is €7,50 but you will get unobstructed city views!
14. Have breakfast/lunch at the river side
Simply one of the most gorgeous places to visit in Frankfurt is the river side. Big lawns with some trees and a boulevard where active people bike, run and skate. The park on the Main river is a perfect spot to picknick. It is relaxed and one of the best ways to enjoy this city. Definitely add a picknick on the river side to your trip to Frankfurt.
15. Go out at night in Sachsenhausen
The place to go out in Frankfurt at night is Sachsenhausen just across the river. Here many quaint pubs are lined up next to each other and is the bustling heart of the city at night. If you spend a weekend in Frankfurt I am sure you are willing to end up here in one of the many traditional German bars.
16. Enjoy a coffee at a floating restaurant
There are a couple boats where you can grab a drink or have lunch/dinner but not so many. A great one is below the Eisener Steg bridge with great views, also close by is the Döner Boat.
Things to do around Frankfurt
If you are visiting Frankfurt for more than just a weekend then you might be interested in some things to do around Frankfurt. Have a look at these great German tourist spots close to the city.
1. Burg Eltz
This Harry Potter like castle became a popular tourist spot in Germany after it went viral on Instagram. Visiting Burg Eltz is free and can be reached by car from Frankfurt center within 2 hours.
This picturesque town on the banks of the Rhine River actually is a UNESCO world heritage site and less then an hour away from Frankfurt. Walk through the cobblestone streets of the old town and marvel at the castles and vineyards on the hills around you. There also is a cable car for a scenic ride.
Looking for more fairy tale towns then drive towards Michelstadt. This medieval and idyllic town dates back to more than 1,000 years ago. In summer a great spot to have a drink on one of the many terraces. In winter famous for its Christmas markets.
Some more Frankfurt travel tips
- Bring cash! Germany is a third world country when it comes to wireless payments. Creditcards nor bankcards are often not accepted.
- Don’t take a boat tour on the Main River! Why? Boring!
- There is a zoo, but I don’t support this thing to do in Frankfurt.
Events in Frankfurt
Major events in the city are:
- Christmas Markets: start end of November
- Main Festival: first week of August (pop-up amusement park across the city)
- Appel Wine Festival: mid August
- Wäldchestag: beginning of June (like summer Christmas markets in the forest)
- Wine Festival: begining of September (culinary event)
When I visited Frankfurt the Main Festival was taking place.
How to get around Frankfurt
Going around Frankfurt is made easy by the U-Bahn which goes underground as well as overground. Day tickets cost around €7 and single trip tickets cost €3. Be aware that if you are with two people or more it is cheaper to buy a group ticket for the U-Bahn. Group tickets for up to 5 people valid all around the city cost only €11.
Depending on the kind of Frankfurt city trip you are planning there is no real need to take the public transport. Most of the things to do and places to see in Frankfurt are within walking distance.
How to get from Frankfurt airport to the city center
There is a train called S-Bahn which connects Frankfurt Airport with the city center and takes only 10 minutes. There are loads of lines from the airport to the city for example 1, 8 and 9. Tickets cost €5 for a single trip.
Don’t get fooled by the airport Frankfurt/Hahn if you are planning to travel to Frankfurt. It actually is a 2 hour drive from the city and when you ask me the name of the airport it is a tourist trap. A bus ticket into the city cost €15.
Where to stay in Frankfurt
1. 5 star hotels in Frankfurt
- Jumeirah Frankfurt: luxury hotel - 9.2 rating out of +2,500 reviews on booking or click here for the best deals on Agoda.
- Sofitel Frankfurt Opera: very central: 9.0 out of +500 reviews on bookingon booking or click here for the best deals on Agoda.
2. Boutique hotels
- Moxy Frankfurt East: hip and stylish - 8.7 rating out of +2,000 reviews on bookingon booking or click here for the best deals on Agoda.
- Scandic Frankfurt Museumsufer - 8.3 out of +2,500 reviews on booking or click here for the best deals on Agoda.
3. Under €50 hotels
- EasyHotel Frankfurt City Center - 7.2 out of +4,500 reviews on bookingon booking or click here for the best deals on Agoda.
- FreddApp One: 7.4 out of +300 reviews on bookingon booking or click here for the best deals on Agoda.
My Frankfurt travel tips
Together with Ave I found a cheap but surprisingly good hotel pretty much in the city center. There were actually a couple nice hotels to choose from with good ratings and great locations. On top of my hotel I also found a couple other Frankfurt budget hotels for less than €50 a night and a rating around 8 out of 10. I will list them all later when talking about where to stay in Frankfurt.
We actually ended up staying in Hotel Primus in Sachsenhausen just across the river from the city center. It was less than €50 a night. In fact Sachsenhausen turned out to be a nightlife hotspot but more about that later in the things to do in Frankfurt section. As I traveled to Frankfurt by car I was happy the hotel offered a parking spot for just €10 per day.
As soon as we arrived we dropped our bags at our room and headed out to not miss the sunset. It was perfectly timed when we crossed the bridge towards the old city as the sun was setting through the skyline of Frankfurt. For this reason Frankfurt is also called the Big Apple of Germany as it has one of the most impressive skylines in Europe. Nothing compared to any American city but hey this is all we have in Europe! LOL
We were lucky that on the days we visited Frankfurt there was actually the MainFest on the river side. In the main street along the river there were loads of eateries, beer gardens and attractions lined up and for food lover Ave it was heaven to see all the different types of Bratwurst and snacks. Of course we had to taste a couple and drink beers.
When traveling to Germany an obvious thing to do is to eat sausages and drink pints!
Slowly waking up the next morning we decided to grab breakfast at the super market and brought a blanket to the river side. There is a lovely lawn with some trees for shadow along the boulevard of the Main river. It was hot this August in Frankfurt and we moved slowly into the shade where we found a great spot to picknick with some of the best views of the skyline.
If you are looking for one of the best places to visit in Frankfurt then surely add this spot to your list.
We continued our Frankfurt city tour across the Eisener Steg bridge famous for its many love locks. No Ave and I are besties, not a couple! We met on a press trip on my birthday last year. It was at the World Travel Writers’ Conference in Maldives. So no love lock for us! LOL
On the other side of the river there is actually a cool floating restaurant called the Döner Boat. Of course Kebab is not a typical German dish, but did you know the Döner Kebab was originally invented in Berlin by a Turkish immigrant? Cool fact right? Anyway if you are looking for a fun place to eat good Döner Kebab in Frankfurt then the Döner Boat is a great place. There is also another proper floating restaurant next to the bridge with the love locks. Great place for a drink with views over the city skyline.
We continued our walking tour of Frankfurt by crossing the bridge back into the center again and we walked up to the massive Euro sign on a big square. Cool place for taking a photo of what is probably the biggest euro sign in the world. Put here because the Central European Bank is located in Frankfurt. It was already time to sit down and have a beer after. It was boiling hot, but we found a good place to have a Weissen Beer on the rooftop terrace of the Galeria Kaufhof.
We enjoyed the great city views before we kept on strolling through the city center. Eating ice cream, snacks and drinking beer on the terraces along the way. We marveled at the colorful houses on the old town square and the narrow streets around the cathedral, one of the coolest places to visit in Frankfurt.
To spend the rest of our afternoon we looked online for what to do in Frankfurt and found two popular rooftop bars. Online we saw that one of these places actually had a city beach. Something I actually expected at the river side like they have in most cities around Europe, but in Frankfurt they have a rooftop beach with amazing views over the city.
If you want to see more about our trip to Frankfurt you can check out Ave’s 100K+ YouTube Channel, I tell you she is funny!
I hope you liked all my Frankfurt travel tips! May there be things that I forgot to mention or that you think I should add to the list then please leave me a comment.
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I hope you have an awesome trip to Frankfurt!