I’ve been to Frankfurt city three times. This time was a little different as I was here for a life changing treatment for my Lyme disease and not as a tourist as usual (but more on this in another blog!). Both other times were for the gorgeous Christmas markets or Weinachtsmart and I’m not going to lie this is when the city truly comes alive. Think cute festive wooden huts, twinkly lights the smell of Glühwein and chestnuts roasting and the cutest handmade wooden christmas ornaments and nutcrackers. So whilst I wasn’t here necessarily as a tourist this time it was refreshing to see what the city had to offer when it isn’t all wrapped up in a big Christmas bow.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of what Frankfurt has to offer. Whether you are here on a day trip or something longer, there is plenty to keep you entertained.
First off let me just say that Frankfurt in my opinion is a tale of two cities…or two distinct personalities. The more obvious side of Frankfurt is Mr. Cool! Suave and sophisticated full of high rise gleaming, glass financial powerhouses (at least in my head that’s what they are). It is hard to ignore a skyline of impressive skyscrapers with it’s trendy bars and restaurants.
The other side of Frankfurt (and personally my favourite) is more old school, full of gothic architecture and the wonky cobbled streets of Old (Alt) Sachsenhausen with its boisterous apple-wine pubs and rows of riverside museums. I could literally spend hours just wandering this area. So I guess this is a good place to start with my tips on where you should visit.
The Städel Museum, officially the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, is one of the many art muesums on the tree lined riverside of Sachsenhausen in Frankfurt, with one of the most important collections in Germany. At the time of writing there is a breathtaking Matisse-Bonnard exhibition but my favourites were stumbling across the Rembrants, Monets and Renoirs, one of my all time favourite artists. Ronan was blown away by the large Edvard Munch collection and although we didn’t eat here by all accounts food in the gallery restaurant is scrumptous, if a little pricey.
Whilst already by the river side a good way to unwind after walking around the museum is to take a relaxing river cruise. If you are here in the winter months wrap up warm as this one can get a little chilly! In the three times I have been to this city I have done both the Red Sightseeing Bus and the River cruise and I would certainly skip the city tour in favour for the cruise. The river cruise offers spectacular views of Frankfurt and is a unique way to view the city and if you are like me your beady eye may spot one or two riverside beer gardens for trying later!
After your river cruise head straight for the picturesque old square of Römerberg where Frankfurt city hall is located. This square is full of old world charm but can get a little busy so go early with your camera and prepare to get snap happy. Römerberg is also the place where the Christmas market takes place and it truly transforms during Weinachtsmart. I can not explain how truly magical it gets with it’s giant Christmas tree and carousel. This is also a great place to grab a Weiss Beer and people watch. A quick stroll from Römerberg is Frankfurt Dom or Cathedral. Unfortunately my scaredy cat of a husband is afraid of heights and I wasn’t well enough on this trip to climb to the top but I have done this on previous trips and the views of the city are just breathtaking.
You can’t go to Franfurt without trying a Heiße Schokolade mit Sahne ( hot chocolate with cream). The prettiest place has to be Cafe Hauptwache at the bottom of Frankfurt’s main shopping street. It is a 1730 built baroque guardhouse which thankfully escaped WWII’S destruction and has been a restaurant since 1904. Wrap up in one of the cosy blankets provided and watch the world go by. I wouldn’t eat here though as it is quite pricey and there is a fantastic little moroccan cafe nearby opposite the Goethe museum.
If like me you are a big kid on the inside you will enjoy a trip to Frankfurt Zoo. It is not the most sophisicated of zoo’s that I’ve been to nor does it have a really large variety of exotic animals it is a really fun trip and it was fun to grab a candy floss and act like kids for a few hours. I was a little traumatised by the Piranha’s after my mother let me watch some dodgy 80’s horror movie called Piranha when I was little and I still have visions of one of those buggers coming out of the tap to get me while I’m brushing my teeth. I know, I know I’m slightly crazy with an overactive imagination but welcome to my world!
Again, we weren’t really here for shopping but it was hard to ignore the very futuristic MyZeil shopping centre in Frankfurt’s Hauptwache with it’s escalator to heaven which is Germany’s longest escalator at 46m. There are plenty of shops to choose from and a rooftop terrace/bar with another stunning view of the city.
This escalator was a little intimidating, I mean you don’t want to be looking over the edge or you will be a nervous wreck but how cool does it look?
22nd Lounge and Bar:
All that sightseeing is bound to make you thirsty and I have found the perfect place to finish a day in Frankfurt. The 22nd Lounge and Bar is perched high up one of Frankfurt’s numerous skyscrapers (on the 22nd floor, hence the name) and is part of the swanky Inn Side apartment complex. The views out over the city are quite wonderful, especially as night falls, and the cocktails aren’t that shabby either. So sip your drink with the glittering skyline before you as smooth jazz plays in the background. Decorated in a grown up fashion, with lots of dark wood and black leather, it’s a great place to finish your trip to this magnificant city. Trust me once I’m better there will be no getting me out of this place!