Hidden Secrets in and around Frankfurt

Godfrey Hall is an award-winning UK based travel journalist and member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. He has been in search of elves in Iceland, traveled to the depths of central Australia and been off the beaten track in Bulgaria.

The city of Frankfurt is well known for its banking connections and high finance but as a tourist destination there is a great deal to interest visitors in the city and surrounding area. It is located on the Main River in central Germany and is the birthplace of the writer Goethe. Every year the city holds a gigantic Christmas Market, said to be one of the busiest in the country. It is also known for its apple wine and famous sausages. The area around the city is very hilly and full of delightful timbered towns. It is a great place for shopping, walking in the Taunus and trying the local food.

Places to See

Frankfurt Messe, Home of the Annual Book Fair (Godfrey Hall)

Frankfurt Messe, Home of the Annual Book Fair (Godfrey Hall)

Frankfurt is very well served by trains and buses and so getting around is easy. Much of the city was destroyed during the Second World War but there is still an old town which is worth visiting. The city has plenty of shops where you can buy the latest fashions. Frankfurt also has a huge exhibition centre, the Messe, which is used annually for such events as the Book Fair which draws in exhibitors from all over the world.

One in three inhabitants of the city does not hold German passports which make it truly international. With a similar feel to Geneva, you will often hear English voices in the shops and bars.

Kleinmarkthalle (Kim Tan)

The city is known for its skyscrapers and high buildings but there is another much softer side to it. Walking along the river is a very pleasant experience as is trying out the various beers and different German foods.

The Kleinmarkthalle, which is just a short walk from the main shopping streets, has a large selection of different foods and of course sausages on sale. Walking is a great way to get a feel for the local area. You may also want to visit the cathedral of St Bartholomew and the Palm Garden with its amazing plants.

The different parts of the city are linked by a very efficient subway and rail system which connects to several towns and also to beautiful Wiesbaden. At the end of the S3 line you will find Bad Soden. A small spa town, this has a selection of boutique shops, a delightful park and of course the spa. The station is the centre of the town and very close by.

Bad Soden (Godfrey Hall)

Not far from the city and connected by train and bus is Hessenpark, an open air museum featuring buildings from all around the region. Here you will find over 100 buildings which have been dismantled and rebuilt in the 160 acre park. It is open all the time between March and the end of October and then weekends only during the winter months. The park puts on a variety of events and features skilled craftsmen and women. It has shops, eating places and its own hotel. There is also plenty to do for children.

Wiesbaden has always been linked with the USA and has strong military connections. It is a beautiful location with plenty of majestic buildings and boulevards. One of Germany’s oldest spa towns, the name means ‘meadow baths’. Once home to twenty six springs, there are now fourteen left. Located on the river Rhine, it is known for its warm summers.


Local Guesthouse and Restaurant in Bad Soden (Godfrey Hall)

Local Guesthouse and Restaurant in Bad Soden (Godfrey Hall)

There are lots of main stream hotels in Frankfurt which vary in price but you might like to consider one of the taverns or Gasthofs slightly out of the city but within easy reach of all the facilities. These often have a great deal of character and you will probably find them more atmospheric than many of the central establishments. They usually offer breakfast and can sometimes provide evening meals. It is here that you will be most likely to meet the locals. You will find a large number of people speak English and once they know where you are from will be quick to start up a conversation. Do not be afraid of asking them if they speak English as Frankfurt is extremely international.

For something a bit different you could try the Landhotel Zum Hessenpark which is outside the city and located in the open air park.

Food and Drink

Frankfurt is famous for its food and drink, particularly during the autumn when people drink very young apple wine which still has to mature. To go with this they often eat zwiebelkuchen (onion cake) which is made from onions, bacon, caraway seeds and cream all baked on a dough base. It is one of my favourite dishes.

Bratwurst and Sauerkraut (Godfrey Hall)

Bratwurst and Sauerkraut (Godfrey Hall)

Sausages are very popular on the German menu and you will find many different types available in Frankfurt. These can be purchased from Schnellimbiss (snack bar) stalls which sell sausages in rolls. These are usually eaten with liberal lashings of mustard. An excellent snack in the middle of the day, they are also consumed in the evening or as a main midday meal together with sauerkraut and boiled or sautéed potatoes. Sauerkraut is a fermented finely cut cabbage which has been cooked until soft. It is served with sausages, pork, dumplings or potatoes.

German Style Coffee and Cake

German Style Coffee and Cake (Godfrey Hall)

The sausages are usually grilled or roasted but there are some varieties such as Bockwurst which are simmered. They often contain more veal than pork. Frankfurter sausages are thin sausages which are made of pure pork. They need to be heated for no more than eight minutes in hot water. Frankfurters are best served with bread or potato salad and plenty of German mustard. Currywurst was said to have been invented by Herta Hewer in Berlin a few years after the Second World War when she managed to get hold of some curry powder and tomato ketchup from British Soldiers. The Bratwurst sausage is cut up into pieces and mixed with the sauce and then usually served with French fries. A popular fast food you should find it in most parts of Germany.

Other foods include very substantial soups which resemble stews together with large pork cutlets or Wiener schnitzels. These come served in a number of sauces. Desserts usually consist of ice cream, apple strudel or some sort of cake and cream.

Currywurst (Kim Tan)

Currywurst (Kim Tan)

German wines are very popular and in this region apple wine is a favourite. Together with these there are an endless number of different beers. Most towns and cities have their own breweries and so you will never be far away from a local brew. The light beer can be very strong whilst the dunkel (dark beer) can have a malty flavour. I like trying the many different pils (light beers) which often vary in flavour according to the area.

German people often eat just one course with a beer or non-alcoholic drink at lunch time and then may have coffee and cake later in the afternoon. The evening meal might consist of cold meats and cheese usually with some sort of dark bread. Again this is often accompanied by a beer or glass of local wine.

Hessenpark (Godfrey Hall)

Hessenpark (Godfrey Hall)


Frankfurt is a city that never seems to sleep so there is always something going on. There is a very strong cultural scene and there are plenty of theatres and concert halls so you should be able to see opera, ballet and plays. Bars are open until very late in the city. In the more rural areas you may come across people playing skittles, however your options in these areas may be limited to a local tavern or hotel.

Linseneintopf, a local dish and a beer (Godfrey Hall)

There are several cinemas in the city. Frankfurt is truly international and so you will also often find big names playing the stadiums and main halls.

The area around Sachsenhausen is famous for its bars and clubs, its techno music and party scene. Live music is also very important and performing arts groups are cropping up all over Frankfurt.

Many of the intentional hotels will serve a range of wines and beers and there are plenty of nightclubs.


Frankfurt has a large international airport which is connected to cities in Europe and the USA. There is a fast international and regional train service operating from Frankfurt‘s spectacular railway station which is worth a visit just for the architecture, the shops and sheer buzz!

Frankfurt Main Station (Godfrey Hall)

Frankfurt Main Station (Godfrey Hall)

There are regular trains into the city from the airport, a journey of just a few minutes. This will then bring you into the main station. The airport also has its own mainline station and long-distance coaches. It should be remembered that Frankfurt Airport has two terminals which are connected by a Skyway Shuttle and buses. Mainline trains and regional services operate from Terminal One. Frankfurt has an efficient suburban train service and it is possible to get a day ticket which allows travel all over the city. It is a trust system however so make sure you have a current ticket as there are plenty of checks and hefty fines.

Trains are easy to use and all you have to do is look for the end station. Buses operate within the same system and taxis are easily available.

Frankfurt Airport has a lot of security so you should allow yourself extra time when arriving for a flight.

Café Hauptwache in the Centre of Frankfurt (Godfrey Hall)

Café Hauptwache in the centre of Frankfurt (Godfrey Hall)

Fly.com Expert Tips

How To Get There: Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is located about 8 miles southwest of the city centre, and is served by over 80 airlines including British Airways, Lufthansa and United Airlines. Nonstop service is available from Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia and more.
As noted by the author, the easiest way to get to the city centre from the airport is using the local train aka the S-Bahn. Take either S8 or S9 from terminal 1 of the airport you can get off at one of several stops in the city. The ride will take just under 15 minutes and costs €4 each way. Information regarding area transportation is available here.
Best Time To Visit: Frankfurt has two peak seasons: from the end of November through December when the Christmas markets are in full swing, and summer when the weather is the warmest. The weather in Frankfurt doesn’t usually get too hot. The average summer highs are between the high-60s to high-70s, and the winter months is anywhere between mid-40s to low-50s.

Sample Fares: Calendars display lowest roundtrip fares over the next 90 days to Frankfurt from:

* All fares are roundtrip including all taxes and are accurate at time of publication. For updated pricing, conduct a new search on Fly.com.

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Featured Image: Historic Center of Frankfurt at Dusk (Shutterstock.com)

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