Inside Frankfurt: City Sights

17 Jul 2017 by Business Traveller India

Having lived in Germany’s financial hub for a few years, Beate Mauder-Kakkar suggests the best way to enjoy the city within a short time frame

Frankfurt is a city of great importance, not only to the financial world — being the headquarters of the European Central Bank since June 1998 — but also to historians and gourmands alike.

An example of its historic wealth is the imposing seventh century gothic Kaiserdom, the imperial cathedral and former coronation church of the Holy Roman Empire. There is also Paulskirche, seat of the first publicly and freely elected German legislative body, and symbol of German democracy.

The city is popular for its delectable offerings too. There isn’t a dearth of restaurants here, but punctuating Frankfurt’s food scene are nine Michelin-starred restaurants — two have two stars and the remaining seven restaurants have one star. Except Sundays, most are open daily for lunch and dinner. However, for a rustic taste of Frankfurt, I’d suggest the local dining venues.

There is much more to explore within and on the city’s periphery. Apart from the usual hop-on, hop-off buses, rent a bicycle or walk to explore Frankfurt in all its beauty and rich history.

Goethe and Goethe House


Start your tour with a panoramic view of Frankfurt in the city centre. A 56-storey and 200-metre tall Main Tower (open 10am-9pm Sunday-Thursday, until 11pm Friday-Saturday, during winter until 7pm; €7.50/₹545; maintower.de offers two public viewing platforms to capture absolutely amazing views of the city and its surroundings. Look up straight ahead from the observation deck, and you will spot the Taunus mountain range of the State of Hesse, and its tallest peak, Feldberg at 878 metres. The Taunus area is also known for its geothermal springs and mineral waters.

An eight-minute walk from the tower is Goethe House (open 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday, until 5:30pm Sunday; €7/₹490; goethehaus-frankfurt.de). It is the famous German writer and statesman’s family residence and museum in Frankfurt. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born here in 1749 and continued to live here until 1765, when he moved to Leipzig to study law.

The foundation of today’s collections in this building is the so-called “Goethe treasure”: objects and works of art that serve to keep alive the memory of Goethe. One of the most important collections of manuscripts in Germany, a high-profile art collection with a museum of the time, and a special library with a total of about 1,30,000 books, has been developed here.

Even if you’re not familiar with the works of this writer, visit to peek into a typical bourgeois home from the late baroque period and architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries. The dining room has a rich baroque mirror in the then fashionable light blue shade or bleumourant. Other rooms too hold baroque-styled furniture, upholstery and other such furnishings.

A stone’s throw from here (six-minute walk past Paulskirche or St Paul’s Church) is The Römer (open daily 9:30am-5:30pm, until 4pm Saturday-Sunday; free entry; frankfurt.de). It is a complex of multiple courtyards and nine houses, which has been Frankfurt’s city hall for over 600 years (since 1405). Of all the buildings here, the three buildings with steeped gables hold most importance, and the middle one of them is the actual Römer. On the first floor of the main building is the Emperor’s Hall where oil paintings of all 52 German emperors, who ruled over this empire from 768 to 1806, are displayed. This building is also where the city councillors meet even today.

Kaiserdom and Senckenberg-Museum of Natural History

The Römer also houses the main registrar’s office. Generations of newly-weds have walked down the little staircase, cheered with good wishes, rice and flowers from their friends and families.

Just next door, at a distance of 240 metres is Kaiserdom (open all day; free entry; dom-frankfurt.de) or Frankfurt Cathedral. It is unclear why it is labelled a cathedral, because it never did serve as a bishop’s home. This was, however, the venue for ten coronations between 1562 and 1792. Inside the cathedral’s museum, there are attractive exhibits from the building’s treasury such as a Gothic liturgical vestment from 1350 and a gold-plated shining monstrance from 1720.

Another attraction of this building is the main tower — 95 metres high — that can be seen from most parts of the city. Visitors are allowed to climb 324 steps to the top of the tower for a breathtaking panoramic view of Frankfurt, only from April to October.


An easy 15-minute bicycle ride away is Palmengarten (open daily 9am-6pm February-October, until 4pm November-January; free entry; palmengarten.de), covering 22 hectares. It is one of the two most populated botanical gardens in Frankfurt. It is located in the southern part of the Westend district and has been open to the public since 1871. Next to Palmengarten is Frankfurt Botanical Garden, which belongs to the biology department of Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt.

And yet another few steps southward (600 metres) is Senckenberg Museum of Natural History (open 9am-5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, until 8pm on Wednesday, until 6pm on Saturday and Sunday; €9/₹630; senckenberg.de), which is celebrating its 200th birthday this year. It exhibits the recent biodiversity of life and the evolution of organisms, as well as the change of planet earth over millions of years. New scientific findings in all areas of biology, palaeontology and geology are on display too.



The shopping centres and outlet malls in and around Frankfurt are perfect for a dose of retail therapy. In the city centre is Skyline Plaza Frankfurt with 170 stores and services, which include a day spa. I suggest saving the spa experience for until the far end of your time in Frankfurt.

Ride your bicycle (11 minutes) from Skyline Plaza to Hauptwache Station. The baroque building was erected in 1730 and once served as the headquarters of the city’s Stadtwehr militia. Today, it is an important hub of Frankfurt’s public transport system. About 650 metres northwards from here is the shopping promenade of Zeil. It is a beautiful pedestrian-only street (about 1.2km) beneath the outstretched branches of sycamore trees. Hours can easily while away at the many department stores, retail chains, speciality shops and the MyZeil shopping mall here, which is an eight-storey extraordinary architecture. The glass facade and roof floods the interiors with natural light. An electrically controlled stairway transports visitors directly from the ground floor to the fourth floor in 120 seconds. At 42 metres in length, it is the longest, indoor, free-standing escalator in Europe. Next door is Fressgass that is easily reached from Zeil. It is Frankfurt’s famous culinary mile with countless bars, cafés, delicatessens and more shops.

MyZeil and Gruene Sosse

For luxury brands, I suggest a visit to Goethestrasse in Frankfurt’s city centre. It is a beautiful tree-lined shopping street that is parallel to Fressgass and is one of the more crowded venues in the city with enthusiastic shoppers.

From here, cross the bridge, over River Main, to the largest district of the city by population and area — Sachsenhausen. It’s a scenic 25-minute walk or a nine-minute bicycle ride, so plan accordingly.

Though Sachsenhausen is nicknamed Museum Riverbank because of the many museums along the quay, the area is popular for its vibrant nightlife (open for lunch too), thanks to its many bars and applewoi (apple wine or cider) taverns. Those producing their own apple cider are identified by wreaths of evergreen branches hanging on their doors.

For a typical German meal, visit the numerous small eateries in the area for grüne sosse (green sauce) — a delicious speciality of the State of Hesse. It is an uncooked blend of seven different green herbs, and is not to be missed. It comes with peeled boiled potatoes or rye bread that accompany a dish of either hard-boiled eggs or roast beef brisket. Another local delicacy called frankfurter schnitzel (thin slice of fried meat, coated with breadcrumbs) is always served with green sauce, and is paired with apple cider — this is your wholesome, traditional German meal.


Apart from the many bicycle renting centres and taxis, travelling around town is easy with Frankfurt’s U-Bahn — underground rail; Rhine-Main S-Bahn — suburban rail; and Frankfurt Strassenbahn — street rail. Together, they form the backbone of the public transport system of Frankfurt and its surrounding areas.

The City of Frankfurt offers a Frankfurt Card to make travel within and around the city easy and convenient. It provides 50 per cent off on admission tickets to 26 museums, Franfurt zoo and Main Tower, in addition to subsidised rates for guided city walks, motorised city tours, public pools and entry to selected theatres, restaurants and shops. It also includes unlimited use of the public transport system, as well as trips to and from the airport. A one-day pass for one person costs €10.50/₹749.

For more information, visit:

  • tourismus.de
  • hessen-tourismus.de


Driving in Germany is fun and multiple car rental companies are available at the airport and within Frankfurt. It takes less than half an hour to reach the Taunus mountain range, including charming spa towns, and beautiful castles to name a few interesting spots. These are about a 30- to 45-minute short drive from Frankfurt’s city centre. Early departures avoid commuter traffic. Towns on Frankfurt’s periphery can be conveniently reached by the suburban rail too.

Wiesbaden is one of the oldest spa towns of Europe. Its neoclassical Kurhaus, a landmark of Wiesbaden, is a sprawl of beautifully landscaped, manicured lawns, and is home to a casino and a convention centre. A cultural evening can be spent at the state theatre, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, whose four stages hold performances of operas, plays, ballets, musicals and concerts through the year. Drive 30-45 minutes further to the fabled wine country along the Rhine river.

Schloss Vollrads is a medieval castle overlooking Oestrich Winkel and the Rhine Valley. The picturesque wine estate was established in 1211 and is today recognised amongst the 100 best wineries in the world. Schloss Vollrads focuses on producing the best Riesling wines and also exports to 40 countries globally. The in-house eatery, Gutsrestaurant has wine tasting sessions and offers regional and international culinary excellence.

Rüdesheim am Rhein, one of Germany’s biggest tourist attractions is best known for its winemaking. It has the most charming location on the  banks of the majestic Rhine river, surrounded by vineyards. The best way to enjoy wine here is with Handkäs mit Musik, which is cheese marinated in a vinegar and onion sauce and spundekäs or well seasoned cream cheese. These are found at one of the many seasonal and perennial taverns serving homegrown regional wines. The street for all the fun is Drosselgasse in Rüdesheim, which is lined with shops, taverns and restaurants.

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

The cover of the Business Traveller April 2024 edition
The cover of the Business Traveller April 2024 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below