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Frankfurt

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Travel Guide Europe Germany Hessen Frankfurt

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Introduction

Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt am Main

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Frankfurt am Main, or commonly known as just Frankfurt, (not to be confused with smaller and less important Frankfurt an der Oder) is known as the city of bankers, but unlike the institutions it hosts, the city itself doesn't quite have a nine-to-five mentality. With various groovy clubs, excellent international cuisine and optimal accessibility, Frankfurt makes a good destination for a weekend break or a short stopover, especially for those travellers that can afford to spend some (freshly printed) Euros.

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Sights and Activities

Many people come to Frankfurt am Main and (based upon the importance of the airport) they plan to stay several days and expect to see a long range of sights. Well, unfortunately for them Frankfurt am Main doesn't have those. Almost all the main sights of Frankfurt can easily covered in 6 hours if you rush around a bit, 2-3 days if you dawdle and go to one or two of the bigger museums. One day just before you fly out of Frankfurt airport or half of a jet-lagged day before you catch a train is ample time for Frankfurt am Main. Heck, you could even go and see the city if you have a longer stop-over at FRA airport. The S-Bahn train takes only 20 minutes from the airport into the city, so a 5+ hours layover is a good timeframe for catching a glimpse of Frankfurt.

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Events and Festivals

  • Fasching - Fasching, or Karneval is hugely celebrated across Germany. This annual event is akin to what some other countries refer to as "Mardi Gras". Visitors can expect to see colorful floats and displays, costume balls, and a variety of competitions and pageants across the city.
  • Frankfurt Rheingau Wine Festival - The Rheingau Wine Festival (Rheingauer Weinmarkt) is Frankfurt’s only wine festival with vintners from the Rheingau offering over 600 types of wines.
  • Spring Dippe Fair - Spring Dippe Fair is the first outdoor fair after winter, and it lasts for for three weeks. The fair includes shopping, great food and drinks, old-style carnival rides, entertainment, and fireworks. A similar event, the Autumn Dippe Fair, occurs in September.
  • Night of the Museums - Frankfurt Museums Night, locally known as Nacht der Museen, is the one night a year when most of the city's museums stay open late for visitors.
  • Frankfurt Cinema Week - During Cinema Week in July, Frankfurt is transformed into a big outdoor movie theatre. Films from all genres are screened in unlikely venues, such as parks and on river boats.
  • Apple Wine Festival - Frankfurt's trademark wine, Apfelwein, is celebrated at this annual festival each year in August. Visitors can sample a variety of Apfelweins; they will also hear live music, poetry, and sample the best in local cuisine.
  • Frankfurt Marathon - BMW Frankfurt Marathon draws over 350,000 spectators and 10,000 runners each year.

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Weather

Frankfurt lies on the border of the maritime and more continental climate and therefore has somewhat colder winters and warmer summers compared to places more to the west and north of Germany.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max4 °C5.6 °C10.4 °C14.5 °C19.5 °C22.3 °C24.8 °C24.8 °C20.1 °C14 °C7.7 °C5 °C
Avg Min-1.3 °C-1.2 °C1.9 °C4.1 °C8.4 °C11.7 °C13.7 °C13.4 °C10.1 °C6 °C2.1 °C0 °C
Rainfall42.5 mm37.1 mm47.6 mm42.8 mm60.2 mm60.6 mm64.9 mm52.9 mm50 mm54.6 mm51.8 mm55.7 mm
Rain Days9.87.19.38.59.810.39.37.88.19.39.79.9

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Getting There

Frankfurt can be reached overland, by train and by air. Whatever modality you prefer, you will find that accessibility is as good as it gets.

By Plane

1. Frankfurt Airport (IATA: FRA) is found 12 kilometres from the city centre of Frankfurt and is Germany's biggest and most important airport. It receives flights from almost all national and countless international destinations, including intercontinental flights to Asia, Africa, North America and the Middle East. It's the biggest airport in the world regarding the number of international destinations served. Among others, Frankfurt is the primary hub of German national carrier Lufthansa.

To/from the airport:
Frankfurt Airport has a long-distance train station serviced by ICE to various destinations, and a local train station with plenty transport opportunities in the region and to downtown Frankfurt:

  • Frankfurt Airport Regional station at Terminal 1 provides access to the S-Bahn commuter rail lines S8 and S9 which depart every 15 minutes during the day to Wiesbaden in the west via Rüsselsheim and Mainz and to Hanau in the east via Frankfurt Central Station, Frankfurt city centre and Offenbach am Main. The journey time to Frankfurt Central Station is 11 minutes, to the city centre (Hauptwache) 15 minutes. Services roughly run from 4 or 5am to around midnight or 1am. Regional-Express trains to other destinations like Saarbrücken in the west, Koblenz down the Rhine valley to the north, or Würzburg in the east also call at the Regional Railway Station, as do some long distance trains, especially at night when the Long Distance Railway Station is closed.
  • Frankfurt Airport long-distance station was opened in 1999. It is the end point of the newly-built Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line, which links southern Germany to the Rhein-Ruhr metropolitan area, the Netherlands and Belgium via Cologne. All ICE trains between Cologne and southern Germany stop at Frankfurt Airport, taking slightly less than an hour from Cologne. About 10 trains per hour depart in all directions.

Of course it is also possible to rent a car to explore the world-renowned German Autobahnen. Frankfurt Airport is directly connected to a Autobahn intersection called Frankfurter Kreuz where the A3 and A5 meet. It takes a 10-15- minute ride by car or taxi to get to Frankfurt Central Station or the city centre.

2. Although located 120 kilometres from Frankfurt, the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN) can be of some significance if you want to have more choices regarding lowcostairlines. Ryanair is the main operator with flights to/from Alghero, Alicante, Bari, Berlin, Birmingham, Bologna, Bratislava, Cagliari, Carcassonne, Dublin, Edinburgh, Faro, Féz, Gdańsk, Girona, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Jerez de la Frontera, Kaunas, Kerry, Klagenfurt, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, London, Lübeck, Madrid, Málaga, Manchester, Marrakech, Milan, Montpellier, Osijek, Oslo, Palma de Mallorca, Pescara, Pisa, Porto, Prague, Barcelona-Reus, Riga, Rimini, Rome, Santander, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Stockholm, Tampere, Tenerife, Trapani, Valencia, Venice, Wroclaw and Zadar.

To/from the airport:

  • Bus: The airport is served by a number of (mostly) private bus operators that run regular services to Frankfurt am Main (1 hour 45 minutes, via Frankfurt International Airport - Terminal 2), Cologne (2 hour 15 minutes), Luxembourg (1 hour 45 minutes) and a number of other cities in western Germany and the region. Frequent buses also run to the main railway station of nearby cities, the closest being Mainz (1 hour 10 minutes) and Koblenz (1 hour 5 minutes).
  • Rail: The airport has no railway station and the nearest railway stations are Bullay (15 kilometres) on the Koblenz-Trier-Saarbrücken line, and Idar-Oberstein (26 kilometres), Kirn (22 kilometres) and Bad Sobernheim (30 kilometres), all on the Mainz-Bad Kreuznach-Saarbrücken line.
  • Car: The airport can be reached by road, the nearest Autobahn (Highway) connections are approximately 40 kilometres to the west (A1) or east (A61). Parking(short-term and long-term) and car rental facilities are available at the airport.

By Train

Frankfurt is connected by ICE to all major German and a number of foreign cities. Notable direct connections include those to Berlin, Paris, Basel, Brussels, Stuttgart, Dresden, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Vienna and Munich.

Besides ICE, Frankfurt Hbf is a nexus of numerous local and regional train connections. For more information, consult the journey planner on the website of Deutsche Bahn.

By Car

Is there one place in Germany that you cannot reach by car? Frankfurt's no exception; in fact, the city sits at the junction of a number of Germany's main highways, two of which are A3 (connecting the Dutch and Austrian borders) and A5 that runs from central Germany south to the Swiss border. An alternative for the busy A3, when connecting to the Netherlands in the less busy A61. Except for heavy trucks, drivers don't pay tolls.

By Bus

Eurolines has direct connections to Frankfurt from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bratislava, Prague and London, among others. Eurolines has two stops in Frankfurt. One at the Central train station (Hauptbahnhof), and one at the southern trainstation (Südbahnhof), Tickets can be bought at Deutsche Touring, Mannheimer Strasse 15 - tel: 069.252323, which is close to the central trainstation, or on the the internet. For more information, consult the schedules on their website.

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Getting Around

By Car

Avoid using your car in the city, especially in tourist "hot spots" like Sachsenhausen (especially on a Saturday) because of congestion and a severe lack of parking spaces. It's very limited, and people tend to park in places they're not supposed to. This ends up costing a fair bit if your car gets towed, which it often will. If you want to enter the city, your best bet is to use a Parkhaus (parking garage, which charges a fee of €1 per hour or €8 for the whole day) and then either walk, or take public transport.

Many areas are reserved for local residents, in and outside the city. You will see the areas marked by parking signs that indicate a local permit is needed during certain hours during the day. The wording to be aware of is "Parkausweis Nr.X" (where X is a number). If you park in these spaces you risk a fine.

Even vehicles registered in countries other than Germany need a "low emissions" sticker (on the inside of the windscreen) to legally enter certain signposted environmental protection zones in Frankfurt. (The stickers are valid for all low emission zones in Germany.) Labelling a vehicle with these emission stickers, also often called "fine particle stickers", is voluntary, but vehicles without this sticker - even those with foreign number plates and even those that would otherwise meet the criteria - are not allowed into environmental zones without risking a fine of €40.

Frankfurt has plenty of taxi drivers to service the many business travellers. The city is not too big, although fares tend to be expensive. Watch out for taxi drivers that take detours if they notice that you do not know the city. Still, for door-to-door transport, taxis are a way to go.

Most taxi drivers love to drive to the airport because it's longer than inner-city fares, but not all taxi drivers are actually licensed to go there. They tend to drive very fast because most German business travellers expect them to do this. If you feel uncomfortable just let the driver know and he will slow down.

By Public Transport

Frankfurt has an excellent public transport system. S-Bahn, Underground, Tram, Bus - they all can take you wherever you want. Frankfurt is part of an integrated public transport system, the RMV. Visitors should get the Frankfurt Card at the airport or at the Tourist Office, it allows them unlimited travel by public transport in the inner city of Frankfurt am Main and to FRA airport.

You can get single, all-day and weekly tickets. You can get individual tickets, or tickets for a group of up to five people travelling together.

You must use a ticket machine to purchase a ticket before boarding. Ticket machines can be a little confusing if you do not know how to use them, but they can be switched to operate in English. You have to press Einzelfahrt Frankfurt for a single trip in the city and Tageskarte Frankfurt for a day ticket in the city. If you want to ride to airport, you have to press Einzelfahrt Frankfurt Flughafen or Tageskarte Frankfurt Flughafen. If your destination is outside Frankfurt, you have to look up your destination on the list provided at the machine, enter this number with the numeric keypad, then press the button for the type of ticket you want (Einzelfahrt - single trip; Tageskarte - day ticket). Also, every station has some stations listed as "short distance" destinations (Kurzstrecke); tickets to those are cheaper. If you have the opportunity, ask a bystander to explain the vending machines to you the first time you want to buy a ticket. Unlike in other German cities, tickets purchased are valid immediately. You cannot purchase single track tickets in advance, to be validated just before travel, but time tickets (day, week, month) can be chosen according to the date, which you have to know in advance.

Fares are based on the zones you travel through. Central Frankfurt is all contained with a single zone (zone 50) so tickets (except short trip tickets) are all the one fare. A one-day adult ticket in this central zone costs €6.80 and a single costs €2.75. The airport is in a separate zone. A one-day adult ticket in the central zone and the airport is €8.85 and a single €4.55. Group day-tickets (5 peoples: €10.50 /15.80) are less than the cost of two adult day-tickets, so are more or less obligatory if you are travelling together and purchasing a day-ticket. Children discounts are available to kids 14 and under. (Jan 2015)

If you are visiting attractions and museums then consider buying a Frankfurt Card. It allows unlimited travel on Frankfurt's public transport system (city zone and airport) and discounts in many museums. The Frankfurt Card is available as a one day and two day ticket, and for a single person or a group of up to five (1 person 1 day €9.90, 2 days €14.50; group (max. 5 persons) 1 day €20, 2 days €29.50). These tickets are not sold at the vending machines. You can buy the Frankfurt Card at the airport (arrival gate B, terminal 1), at travel agencies, railway stations, at the tourist information desk at Hauptbahnhof, at the tourist information desk at Römer, or in advance online. A one-day one-person Frankfurt card including airport transportation is cheaper than the equivalent public transport ticket that includes the airport.

By Bike

Frankfurt Oper

Frankfurt Oper

© All Rights Reserved steftravel

Frankfurt is bike-friendly, featuring an expansive network of bike lanes. While there are various rental-bike companies in Frankfurt, they are relatively rare and situated in inconvenient areas of the city for travellers. A more convenient source of rental bikes may be Deutsche Bahn. Look out for their rental bikes, marked in the colours red and white and the letters "DB."

These bikes are available from April to December and can be found pretty much anywhere in the city - especially at street corners, which are the major pick-up and drop-off points. You can rent these bikes 24/7 just using your cell-phone and your credit card. German citizens can also sign-up for direct debit from their checking account. For instructions on how to use this service, call the number on the bike or go their website.

A new service is offered by nextbike. Just sign up (either online or via their hotline) and rent bicycles and return them at any station all over town. Rates are charged by the half hour (€1) and are capped at €9 per day.

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Eat

There are of course restaurants all over Frankfurt. One notable area for dining may be what is locally known as the Fressgass (a literal translation would be "munching alley"). The correct name of this street is Große Bockenheimer Straße. As the nickname implies, the Fressgass features many cafes, restaurant, and deli food stores. It's a popular area to dine after the daily shopping. Take the subway to station Hauptwache or Alte Oper. In late May to early June (exact dates vary each year), the Fressgass Fest takes place with food stands, cheap beer and live music.

Typical specialities from the hessian region are "Handkäs mit Musik" - a cheese from curdled milk, the "Frankfurter Grüne Sauce" - 7-9 fresh herbs mixed - and at Christmas time the "Bethmännchen" formed from Marzipan and almonds. This is eaten together with Apfelwein (see Drink). Most places in Frankfurt feature international food, so you have to specifically search for traditional ones. For most restaurants in Frankfurt it is highly recommended to reserve in advance as the restaurant might otherwise have no free tables.

If you are looking for an in-depth paper-based restaurant guide, a popular publication is Frankfurt Geht Aus (Frankfurt is going out), a magazine style dining guide of the city. It can be bought for €4.80 at many kiosks and book stores, or at the Tourism Information at the central station.

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Drink

Frankfurt is a young city where socialising and parties are always high on the agenda. Sachsenhausen, Bockenheim, Bornheim, Nordend and the city centre are the main areas of action.

Due to Frankfurt's large financial industry and business travellers, parts of its nightlife cater to a more upscale audience. At some such venues, sneakers may not be acceptable. However, there are also plenty of bars and clubs for other kinds of audiences, including for students, hipsters, fans of R&B and Hip Hop, or of alternative rock music.

For a quick beverage on the go, there are also small shops all over the town called Trinkhalle, which are usually open well into the night. Most of the times one orders and buys directly from the street. Drinking alcohol on the street is legal in Germany.

Near the central train station there is a rather seedy red light district – heavily patrolled by police/Ordnungsamt – with large brothels, porn cinemas and bars. Strip clubs like the Golden Gate Frankfurt are popular for bachelor/bachelorette parties at the weekend and similar joints are in walking distance. Check pricing upfront to avoid problems with bouncers afterwards.

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Sleep

Frankfurt is no cheap place to stay. Budget accommodation is scarce, and many hotels cater primarily for business travellers for whom money is no concern. The city is pretty busy most of the year, so booking in advance is warmly recommended.

Budget

  • Haus der Jugend is Frankfurt's HI Hostel. They charge €17 per night in a 10-bed dorm, €21,50 when you're over 21 (2008 price level). The place is centrally located and clean.
  • Frankfurt Hostel is located opposite the station. The hostel is clean, though it tends to be somewhat noisy. A bed in 9-person dorm is €18 a night; two-person rooms start at €50 a night.
  • For other options, check TP's accommodation finder.

Upscale

View our map of accommodation in Frankfurt

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Work

Frankfurt is one of the better locations in Germany to start looking if you want to find a job. It is the centre of national and international banking/finance and there are also many high tech, chemical and pharmaceutical companies in the Rhine-Main area. All of these are more willing to accept people with no or less than adequate German skills if you can offer any other special skills.

Last but not least the airport and companies working for trade fairs, as well as several companies in the so called "Industriepark Hoechst" always need people who speak English and other (seldom spoken) languages. Especially low skilled and very high skilled jobs are available. Make sure you have the proper permits and papers; working illegally can get you into a lot of trouble.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes (rates €1.50 to €5 per hour) are starting to become less common due to widespread offers of free wifi by shops, restaurants or cafes. Sometimes it requires minimum consumption but usually it's free within the premises. Phone shops will often offer internet access, too. In general hotels offer internet access. In several cities, projects exist to provide free "community" hotspots for wireless networking. Passenger lounges at some airports and central railway stations also provide internet access to their customers.

Several pre-paid SIMs allow Internet access for a monthly flat fee, for example those available at Tchibo coffee stores (o2 network, €10/month limited to 500 MB, €20/month for 5 GB) or Aldi (E-Plus network). A regular O2 sim card, which can be used for calls and text messages, is €15 and another €15 buys 1GB of data valid for 1 month. Vodafone offers a prepaid sim card for €25 which includes €22.5 of credit, out of which you can get 300 MB of data for 2 days for €15 and be left with €7.5 of credit.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international call prefix in Germany is 00. To dial out of Germany, dial 00, followed by country code, area code, and the telephone number (for example 00 44 1234 567890). If you're using a mobile phone, simply add the plus sign "+" before the country code to call out of Germany (for example +44 1234 567890). The general emergency number is 112 and the additional number for less emergent issues for police is 110.

Mobile phone coverage on the four networks (T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and o2) is excellent across the whole country. UMTS (3G data and HSDPA) and EDGE is also available. UMTS is still somewhat limited to urban areas. All mobile providers use GSM technology on the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency ranges. If you stay for a longer period of time, consider buying a prepaid phone card from one of the mobile phone companies; you won't have trouble finding a T-Mobile (in a "T-Punkt"), Vodafone, E-Plus or O2 store in any major shopping area. In most supermarket chains (for example ALDI), there are prepaid SIM cards from their own virtual providers available. These are normally quite cheap to buy, but expensive for international calls (around €1–2/min), but incoming calls are always free and SMS cost around €0.09–0.19. They are available at: Aldi, Lidl, Penny, Netto, Tchibo, Rewe, toom. A registration via Internet or (expensive) phone call is necessary after buying to activate the SIM card.

The cheapest way to call abroad from Germany is to use the internet cafés run by immigrants. They sell special calling cards that give the best rate to certain countries as well as offer cheap international calls from phone booths. It is also the cheapest way to call landlines in Germany.

Post

Germany's postal system is very efficient, their logistics branch DHL is one of the best companies in this field world-wide, with domestic post or within a radius of 400 kilometres, send within a day. The website of Deutsche Post has an online calculator for postage fees as well as a post office finder. Stamps are available at post offices and sometimes at newsagents or shops selling postcards. Also stamp vending machines can be found at a lot of places around the cities. You can purchase every stamp you need from this machines. They are unique as they accept every coin from 1 cent to 2 euro but change is only given in stamps. It costs about €40 to send a small package to Australia and €1.70 to send an old-fashioned letter to any place in the world outside of Europe. Within Germany, sending postcards costs €0.45 and standard letters €0.55, within Europe it is €0.65 for a postcard, standard letters to places in Europe cost €0.75. Outside Europe, the prices for sending a postcard or standard letter are €1 and €1.70 respectively. Although you will find the old post offices (mainly in the city centre), most of the smaller neighbourhood post offices are part of a small tobacco shop or grocery store. For larger package, you might consider competitive private companies like UPS, DHL or TNT.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 50.111512
  • Longitude: 8.680506

Accommodation in Frankfurt

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Frankfurt searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Frankfurt and areas nearby.

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