Glinting with glass, steel and concrete skyscrapers, Frankfurt-on-the-Main (pronounced ‘mine’) is unlike any other German city. The focal point of a conurbation of 5.5 million inhabitants, ‘Mainhattan’ is a high-powered finance and business hub, home to one of the world’s largest stock exchanges and the gleaming headquarters of the European Central Bank, and famously hosts some of the world's most important trade fairs, attracting thousands of business travellers.
Yet at its heart, Frankfurt is an unexpectedly traditional and charming city, with half-timbered buildings huddled in its quaint medieval Altstadt (old town), cosy apple-wine taverns serving hearty regional food, village-like neighbourhoods filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and street art, and beautiful parks, gardens and riverside paths. The city's cache of museums is second in Germany only to Berlin’s, and its nightlife and entertainment scenes are bolstered by a spirited student population.
Budget: Less than €100
- Hostel dorm bed: €20–35
- Main course in an inexpensive restaurant: up to €12
- Glass of beer/apple wine: €5/3.50
- Public transport day pass: €2.75/5.35
- Double hotel room (outside trade fairs): €80–160
- Main course at a nice restaurant: €12–22
- Glass of regional wine: €4.50
- River cruise: from €9.80
Top End: More than €200
- Fancy loft apartment or double in top-end hotel (outside trade fairs): from €160
- Main course at a top-rated restaurant: from €22
- Concert or opera tickets: €50-150
- River Cruise Floating past Frankfurt’s medieval church spires, monumental museums and forest of glittering skyscrapers.
- Kaiserdom Climbing the 328 steps to the top of the Gothic tower of Frankfurt's iconic cathedral.
- Römerberg Pondering what this modern city once looked like prior to WWII, while admiring the reconstructed, ornate half-timbered buildings.
- Städel Museum Seeing the world through the eyes of masters including Rembrandt and Picasso at this world-renowned art museum.
- Kleinmarkthalle Getting a taste of Frankfurt life at its bustling traditional market hall in the city's heart.
When to Go
Aug Some 2.5 million people turn out for late August's three-day Museumsuferfest on the riverbanks.
Aug–Sep The Rheingauer Weinmarkt has tastings and sales of regional wines.
Nov–Dec Frankfurt's enchanting Christmas market sets up in the historic Römerberg square.