A half-timbered heart of tradition, enfolded by an ultramodern warren of skyscrapers
Dispersed either side of the Main River, this international nucleus, a financial hub and a futuristic flurry of towering skyscrapers, banks and major headquarters, is a hotspot for business travellers. However, beyond the stock exchanges and the trade shows lies another side to ‘Muinhattan’, as it’s nicknamed – one that’s inundated with tradition and charmingly cultured.
- Peruse the Museumsufer (Museum Embankment), which is home to 12 museums.
- Soak up the cityscape from the lofty Main Tower, the fourth tallest building in Frankfurt.
- Visit the famous residence of the German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
- Seek out the red-sandstone, Gothic tower of Frankfurt Cathedral.
- Wander around Römerberg, a public square in the centre of Frankfurt’s old town.
- Stroll across the botanical gardens of Palmengarten, which date back to 1871.
Frankfurt’s old town, Altstadt, presents a striking contrast to the otherwise modern façade, and it’s here that you can see remnants of the past. Wander past medieval structures, like the Römer, an iconic landmark, which can be found by the pleasant square of Römerberg, where a festive Christmas market is held, and venture down narrow, atmospheric lanes that lead to one of the city’s many green spaces.
The city has no shortage of museums either, offering various windows into its timeline. If the list proves too overwhelming to conquer, it’s best to start with the Städel Museum, an epic art gallery that displays one of the most important collections in the country.
The Senckenberg Museum, another top choice, is a natural history museum housed within a 1900s neo-baroque building, as is Museum Judengasse, which depicts the history and culture of Jews in Frankfurt during the early modern period.
Famed German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was born in Frankfurt, and his former home, now the Goethe House Museum, is another must-see attraction. Further cultural immersion can be sought at the concert hall, Alte Oper, Europe’s largest English theatre, and no experience beats seeing the city’s sights from the tranquil waters of the river.
As the financial centre of Europe, Frankfurt was never really a place that sparked my interest. But hear me out - its very much worth a visit. The city knows how to honour the local culture with their apple wine, but also welcome diversity. My favourite thing to do on a summer evening is to take a stroll along the river promenade and stop for some frankfurter würstchen.
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Our favourite places to stay in Frankfurt
Villa Kennedy$$$$$The embodiment of modern Frankfurt, this once grand family home was built in 1901 and renamed in honour of US President John F Kennedy’s visit in 1963. Although it has been extensively restored, Villa Kennedy still retains that homely family feel it once had. The hotel boasts 163 contemporary rooms, which feature bold patterns and splashes of colour. Historic photographs tastefully remind of the Kennedys’ heydeys and the furniture has been carefully chosen to create elegant yet comfortable spaces. In the warmer months, you can enjoy dinners and drinks alfresco in the peacefull Villa Garden, or settle in at Gusto restaurant for a dining experience dripping with a Mediterranean flair. The dishes, sophisticated in their simplicity, pair the freshest local ingredients with authentic Italian recipes. To completely unwind, book yourself a treatment at the four-level spa, or while away the hours relaxing at the swimming pool. The hotel is just a short stroll from Museum Embankment and River Main, and a quick drive from the Old Opera and the Paulskirche, so it’s easy to head out for a spot of exploring.
Hotel Frankfurter Hof$$$$$Standing proud in the heart the historical city centre of Frankfurt since 1876, you’ll find Hotel Frankfurter Hof. It is located just a short walk away from the Maintower, Römer and Paulskirche, making it the ideal place to call home if you’re wanting to make the most of your time in this fascinating city. With 261 rooms and 42 suites to choose from, this hotel prides itself on offering guests the best in luxury and service. The decor across the various room types ranges from traditional to elegantly modern. Warm colours, luxurious fabrics, stylish patterns and carefully-chosen antique furniture pieces add unique touches to each of the spaces. Indulge in exquisite French and regional cuisine at the hotel’s various restaurants. You’ll find brasserie fare at Oscar’s, creations inspired by French haute cuisine at Restaurant Français, sumptuous breakfasts and buffets at Restaurant Hofgarten and whiskies and cocktails at Autorenbar. And if you’re looking for an indulgent smoke, settle into a sofa beside the crackling fire in The Cigarru,m which can be rented on request. After a busy day of exploring, take time to focus on your physical well-being at the spa where there are a variety of soothing massages and beauty treatments on offer.