Here on these pages we have set down information about Frankfurt and also some of the other great cities of Germany that you might well see while visiting.
Frankfurt am Main– is a great city located on the Main River and while Berlin may be the Capital of a united Germany, Frankfurt is undoubtedly the main commercial city where the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is located along with large banks and many other financial businesses. The Stock Exchange (Deutsche Börse) itself dates back to 1585, with banking and finance also dating back to this time too. The famous Rothschild dynasty began its life in Frankfurt in the 1760’s.
Frankfurt, being located more or less in the centre of Germany, it is also a massive transport hub – with a highly efficient International and Domestic Airport (Flughafen) and DB (Deutsche Bahn) train services connecting to all parts of Germany and to other countries in Europe.
The main Tourist Information Office is located at the Frankfurt Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) and there you can buy a 2 day card with discounts to Museums, the Zoo and other places and also a card that allows you to travel free on trams, trains and buses within Frankfurt. There are around 34 Museums and Galleries in Frankfurt, so it is worth heading to the Visitor Centre to pick up brochures on places that may attract your interest.
The airport, Frankfurt Flughafen has trains that will take you the 15 minute or so journey to Frankfurt Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) and if you are planning to travel away from Frankfurt by train, check to see if the train leaves from the Flughafen (airport) or from Frankfurt Main.
At the stations, you can purchase DB Train tickets, or get some discounts by purchasing a Deutsche Bahn Card. Remember too that your ticket will tell you the Class (First or Second Class), seat number and also the platform number and the location on the Platform where you should stand ready to board your train. In most cases your train will arrive exactly at the time stated on the Monitor Board and/or ticket, and you need to board quickly. Standing at the right position on the platform is important, particularly if you have luggage to carry.
Frankfurt City dates back to at least 794AD and was an important city in the Holy Roman Empire and the city’s old centre (Altstadt) still has that historic feel around the Römerberg square with a number of buildings dating back to the 1400’s and 1500’s, many, including the Frankfurter Dom Cathedral, restored following the British bombing of the City during World War Two. There are also museums and art galleries here too with the Goethe House Museum located at Groβer Hirschgraben 23-25. This was the home of the great German writer/philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) who was born in Frankfurt.
The centre of Frankfurt, including the Römerberg Square area and Innerstadt part of the city centre, where the high rise buildings are (sometimes called Mainhatten), is all very walkable, as is the Zeil pedestrian only street which is lined with stylish boutiques and other shops, cafés and restaurants and along the Goethestrasse.
My favourite part of the city is along the riverside and in summer you will find lots of activities here with a one hour or so cruise on the Main River waiting for you, a very relaxing way to see the city and some of the surrounding countryside. On the south side of the River there is the area called Sachsenhausen where you will find the Museumsufer (Museum Riverbank) with some 13 Museums open to see.
Frankfurt, although a relatively big city is very clean and attractive, easy to get around, has many park areas, a Zoo, very big University and student population, along with the massive Frankfurt Messe Trade Exhibition Centre, attracting many large international Trade Exhibitions during the year – including the Book Fair, Auto shows and others. It also has great Christmas Markets too, while during the summer months (April to October) every Tuesday night around 8.30 there is a Route Circuit set out for skaters to skate from Sachsenhausen to Ignatz-Bubis-Brücke – a distance of around 35 kilometres. It is quite a sight to see
The city today is very much an international city, with many different cuisines, street festivals, excellent nightlife, a big ex-pat and immigrant population but also its share of drug and related crime issues. By staying in the main tourist areas, you will be pretty safe, but check with your hotel if venturing out late at night.
The City of Mainz is located around 44 kilometres from Frankfurt where the Main River joins the Rhine River. It is also an old city with many plazas and laneways in the old part of the city, half-timbered houses, grand Dom Cathedral and it is also home to the Gutenberg Museum, which celebrates printing in all its forms right from the start of the Gutenberg Press in 1439. The press was invented here by Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468) and in the Museum there is a copy of the Bible that was printed by him.
The Gutenberg Museum is located on LiebfrauenPlatz 5, while another interesting art museum, the Landesmuseum is located at Grosse Bleiche 49-51 while the Museum of Antike Schiffahrt at Neutorstrasse 2b has five wooden Roman ships that date back to AD 300. Quite amazing!
On the other side of the Rhine from Mainz is the town of Wiesbaden where the US Army is stationed. If you travel in Germany and listen to the Radio, you may well have heard the US Military Radio broadcasts. Weisbaden also has an old centre of the city with the churches and museums, but the town is best known for its Thermal Spas and Hot Springs and a Funicular Railway that travels up and down the Neroberg hillsides next to the town. The railway dates back to 1888 and climbs 83 metres in just 3 ½ minutes, at an incline gradient of 19.5 degrees, travelling a distance of just 438.5 metres. This area is renowned for its Riesling wines and walking trails, with the Rhine Valley one of the most beautiful in Germany (see Cruises section).