With skyscrapers dotting its futuristic skyline, Frankfurt has cemented its place as Germany’s business capital. Off the well-trodden road, however, charming centuries-old streets and architecture are aplenty
Germany’s financial hub, the riverside metropolis Frankfurt am Main is, at first glance, all business, with suited and booted crowds. But step out from the bank-filled, skyscraper-jammed centre – the district that earned the city its “Mainhattan” moniker – and you’ll find ample old-world charm.
In the pretty-as-pie medieval-style Altstadt, which was meticulously reconstructed following World War II, bankers with loosened ties sip ebbelwei (apple wine in the local dialect) and chow down on meaty dishes – a scene that is repeated in down-to-earth taverns and leafy beer gardens in cosy neighbourhoods all across the city. There is more sophisticated dining to be found here, too, with Michelin-star holders among the mix, not to mention a wealth of world-class cultural assets, including the Museumsufer, the museum district that lines both sides of the Main river, and acclaimed performance venues such as the opera house Oper Frankfurt.
Whether you’re here for a trade fair and want to tack on some sightseeing, or for a full-blown vacation, nowhere else in Germany does old-meets-new quite like Frankfurt.
When to go
Frankfurt’s best beer garden weather is during summer. Late spring (April and May) and early autumn (September) are also great times of the year for exploring the city and region. Winters can see sub-zero temperatures, though snow is rare.
Peak periods in Frankfurt tend to coincide with big international conventions and messen (trade fairs). The Frankfurt Book Fair in October and international consumer goods fair Ambiente in February attract some of the biggest crowds. Just take note that if you’re here for some shopping, most stores are closed on Sundays.
How to get around
Frankfurt has a well-developed public transport system, which includes trams, buses, commuter trains (S-Bahn) and subways (U-Bahn) – all of which are easily accessible with a Frankfurt Card. The Frankfurt Card is available as a one-day (€10.50; S$16) or two-day (€15.50; S$23.70) ticket and is good for unlimited travel on the city’s public transport network. It can also be used for discounts at certain attractions, tours, restaurants and stores. The Frankfurt Card can be bought online (you can print the card at home or opt to have it mailed to you for a fee) and over the counter at Frankfurt Airport, various tourism offices throughout the city, as well as authorised outlets.
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