Introducing Frankfurt am Main
Unashamedly high-rise, Frankfurt-on-the-Main (pronounced ‘mine’) is unlike any other German city. Bristling with jagged skyscrapers, ‘Mainhattan’ – the focal point of a conurbation with some 5 million inhabitants – is a true capital of finance and business, home base for one of the world’s largest stock exchanges as well as the European Central Bank. It also hosts some of Europe’s most important trade fairs, including the largest book and motorcar fairs anywhere.
Yet Frankfurt consistently ranks as one of the world’s most liveable cities, with a rich collection of museums (second in Germany only to Berlin’s), lots of parks and greenery, a lively student scene, excellent public transport, fine dining and plenty to do in the evening. Nightspots range from cosy neighbourhood apple-wine taverns to some of Europe’s most thumping techno-discos.
Frankfurt’s airport, the region’s biggest employer, is the third-largest in Europe, handling over 56 million passengers per year.
Hotel prices rise precipitously during major trade fairs, so plan ahead if you don’t want to spend €350 a night for a very average double. For the trade-fair schedule, go to www.messefrankfurt.com or www.frankfurt-tourismus.de (click ‘Trade Shows & Events’ and then ‘Frankfurt Trade Shows’).