What to see in Frankfurt in 1 day? Top 10 places
Just recently on Instagram, I named Frankfurt as my favorite city in Germany. Then I changed my mind because I remembered Füssen, but the city on the Main held the silver medal, which is also pretty good. I love cities like that – where there are both old neighborhoods and a modern downtown with gleaming skyscrapers. On a clear day in the fall, Frankfurt am Main just looked very photogenic. I thought I was going to be blown to bits with excitement. A little more and I would have squealed like teenage girls at a Tima Belorussky concert.
Anyway, okay… Let’s go over everything in order. You’re not here for my sophomoric humor. In this article I’ll show you Frankfurt as I saw it; talk about the most interesting locations and how to see everything that’s interesting in this city in one day. Ready to get started? Then… let’s go! (forgive me, Gagarin, for constantly stealing your most famous phrase).
As soon as you arrive in the city, you will immediately find yourself among the skyscrapers. There are about a hundred of them in Frankfurt (and more than in the rest of Germany combined). Here you’ll find the European Central Bank, which defines financial policy for the entire euro zone; the largest German banks (including Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank); and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, considered one of the most important in the world. Because of its resemblance to New York City, the financial district of Frankfurt is often jokingly referred to as “Mainhattan” (a reference to the river Main). It is the main symbol of the city. So once you arrive in Frankfurt you can go straight there.
If you are going from the train station, after about 15 minutes you will see a huge euro symbol (and dozens of tourists taking pictures with it).
A little further is Main-tower, on the roof of which is probably the most popular observation deck in the city. I myself was not there (as clipped 7.5 euros). But if anything – you know where to go.
Main-tower is the round tower with the spire on the left side of the picture.
The line to the observation deck will be chaotically bursting out of the skyscraper doors and standing right on the street. So this is a place you won’t miss. The main thing is to just look carefully around.
For the most beautiful shots of Frankfurt’s skyscraper district, step toward the river and look for the “Iron Bridge” (Eiserner Steg), which is usually swarming with tourists.
This pedestrian bridge is actually a free observation deck. And this is where you can get these shots of Frankfurt’s skyscrapers.
Don’t like glass high-rises? Then just turn your camera to the opposite side, where you can already see the buildings of the old city.
Most of all I liked the view of the Church of the Three Kings, which looked incredibly organic over the cloud of yellow leaves.
I photographed it a couple of times, and then walked on, only to wander by the river for another hour or so. I think even Germans would agree with me: the Frankfurt waterfront is one of the most beautiful places on the map.
By the way, if you like cruises, don’t turn down the opportunity to take a ride on this river on one of the tourist ships. Surprisingly, they are not expensive at all in Frankfurt. Cruises on the river Main cost from 9.5 euros. By German standards – it’s pennies. Buy tickets and see all details here.
I don’t know if it’s always open here or not… But on the day of my visit there was a huge Flea Market near the river in Frankfurt. If you want to buy someone’s old socks for a couple of euros or to invest in so popular today samovars – you are here. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to steal someone’s dog on the sly. As I understand it’s a fashionable phenomenon in Frankfurt.
Well, as for me – I went here only because I noticed in the distance so beckoned me at that moment free toilets. In addition, my navigator showed that right on this embankment is the famous area of museums. So I just had to take a picture of it for the article.
Seriously – if you like museums, be sure to walk around this area. Next to the river, on Schaumainkai Street, there are about a dozen different museums, including the German Film Museum, the Museum of Architecture, and the Ethnographic Museum of World Cultures.
I also recommend the Museum fur Moderne Kunst (Domstrasse 10) and the Schirn Kunsthalle (Romerberg 6).
Both are a little further from the waterfront, but are considered to be some of the leading centers of contemporary art not only in Germany, but in all of Europe.
Despite the fact that Frankfurt is quite a big city, all the most interesting places here can be easily bypassed on foot. From the seafront to the old city it’s about a five-minute walk. Download MAPS.me to get around and you won’t get lost.
The center of Frankfurt’s old city is Römerberg Square, where coronation ceremonies for German rulers and traditional trade fairs used to take place. The historic city quarter was badly damaged during World War II, but in 1986 the German authorities restored the buildings to their former state. Fools! But they could have built “khrushovoks”. Or throw in some beauty, like our “Dom u Troitskogo”.
Another important point on the map of Frankfurt’s old town is the town hall, which in some travel guides is called “Römer” (“Roman”).
In the 15th century, the town council bought two private houses on the main square and rebuilt them for their own use. One of the buildings was popularly called the “House of the Roman” (Haus Römer). After the purchase the nickname was inherited by the town hall. And afterwards so it was assigned to it.
A little more about the old town
Of course, Frankfurt’s Old Town has many other sights. Not far from Römerberg Square is the local cathedral (St. Bartholomew) …
The Church of St. Paul, which, apparently by acquaintance, made its way into the list of the city’s main attractions …
And another church – St. Nicholas – perfectly made for vertical pics and Instagram posts.
To be honest, I usually don’t chase sights and try to perceive the city as a coherent ensemble. So I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out I haven’t told you about half of its iconic places. When I was walking around Frankfurt, I was just walking around and looking for beautiful shots. And I genuinely didn’t care what the name of that huge building that the streetcar was passing by was…
Or what’s that little square with the monument to the director of the local barbershop.
If you like to hear stories about the past and present of the city, I suggest you walk around Frankfurt with a guide. Then you won’t miss anything interesting for sure. See below for a full list of available options with reviews from other tourists. With a guide, you definitely won’t miss anything. I, for example, only found out after returning home that Frankfurt also has a huge monument in the shape of a necktie and a metro station, the entrance to which is made in the form of a diving train under the ground.
Goethe House and Hauptwache Square
In addition to Römerberg Square, there are two other popular locations in Frankfurt’s Old Town. If you walk in the opposite direction of the river, you’ll soon come across Hauptwache Square with its tiny former guardhouse and the Lutheran Church of St. Catherine.
If you go a little further, you will come to the square with the statue of Goethe, and right behind it, in the next street, there is a museum of the famous German writer.
The building was destroyed during the Second World War. Therefore, it is no longer the house where the writer lived, but just a replica of it.
If anyone is interested, the entrance to the museum costs 7 euros. But personally, I advise you to forget about all these museums, walk 170 meters to the hotel “Motel One” and then look in the courtyard, located directly in front of it.
There on the roof sits a Spider man like this. What Goethe can compare to that?
“The Red Light District and the sights I missed
I went to Frankfurt for a day from Cologne. So at some point (amidst hunger and apathy), even the sights I had originally planned to visit slipped my mind. So I passed by the local opera house, did not see the tower Eschenheim, which in the 15th century was part of the local defensive wall, and the shopping center “My Zeil”. My Zeil shopping center, which because of its unusual architecture is also considered one of the important sights of the city.
Photo by Pescador. Photo from Pixabay.com
Do I regret that I haven’t seen all these places? Yes. a little (because, as I said, all of Frankfurt’s attractions are plus or minus in the same area). If you do not want to walk – you can buy a tourist card of the city (in addition to a variety of museum plushies included and free ride), or ride around Frankfurt on a special double-decker bus. I think it’s also a good option for those who came to the city for 1 day.
As for me, I had too much impressions that day. I made a lot of great shots, took a bunch of Instagram posts, and in the end I went to the local Red Light District, where almost every building had signs like “Best girls in town”.
There it is… Near the central station.
I hope I don’t have to explain why there are no prostitutes, sex shops, or mannequins in overalls with slits just below the back. Still… I don’t know if there are any vulnerable people reading me. When you come to Frankfurt, you’ll see it all for yourself. So let’s leave some room for imagination. Just take my word for it, Frankfurt has its downside too.
Where to go from Frankfurt?
As I said before, all the most interesting things in the financial capital of Germany can be seen in 1 day. So if you decide to stay here longer, you have to go somewhere outside the city in any case.
A great option for a short trip would be, for example, a boat tour through the romantic Rhine Valley. These places are considered some of the most beautiful in Germany. There are many pretty little villages, ancient castles and impressive natural views. You can read more about it here.
I also recommend you to go to the cute little town Wiesbaden with a lot of half-timbered streets and cozy squares and by one of the houses you can see the biggest cuckoo clock in the world.
Want something on a grand scale? Then go to Cologne.
You can get here in 2.5 hours and for only 7-8 euros. You can buy the cheapest tickets here. For a day trip Cologne is a great solution.
How to find accommodation in Germany?
Since Booking and Airbnb waved goodbye to us going to a beautiful far away place, I switched to other platforms. The first choice for me was Ostrovok. This site is not on the sanctions lists and does not impose any restrictions. There are no problems with payment by Belarusian and Russian cards. So I recommend you to start your search there.
Well, if the options available to you will not satisfy, below are a couple of other sites as an alternative.
I like them too, but honestly, the hotel database here is smaller than on BOOKING. If earlier for search there was enough only one, but now I check at least 2-3 sites in turn. But, as the times are, so are the decisions. I think you understand.
That’s all. If you liked the article – subscribe to my Instagram, and let’s not get lost. Have fun traveling around Germany. Frankfurt in general is a very cool city.
Main sights of Frankfurt am Main
The bank quarter
It’s hard to believe you’re in the heart of Germany when you look at the giant steel giants of Frankfurt’s Bank Quarter. Streets of Singapore, Tokyo, or New York come to mind, but not the old German city full of pretty blue-eyed beauties with traditional foam in hand.
Römer square doesn’t tower 200 m above the ground like the Bankwerk, but it’s one of Frankfurt’s most recognizable landmarks. It’s easily identifiable by its architectural landscape on postcards, magnets, T-shirts, and other souvenirs.
Old Frankfurt Opera House
As pompous as a palace and as opulent as a wedding cake, the Old Opera House is a veritable symbol of Frankfurt am Main. It has a fascinating history: after nearly 60 years of service it lay in ruins for three decades, only to reopen exactly 101 years later.
The majestic Frankfurt Cathedral, which in fact is called something else entirely, but in all guidebooks and tour guides stubbornly rolls down to such a modest designation, is perhaps the city’s most pompous attraction. The temple never managed to achieve the prefix “cathedral.”
One of the coziest, most charming, picturesque neighborhoods of Germany’s business giant Frankfurt is Alt-Sachsenhausen (which translates to “Old Saxon Houses”). In this city of shiny skyscrapers and modern office buildings, it’s even surprising to find a corner of the old countryside.
The Naturmuseum Senckenberg is Germany’s second-largest natural history museum and is especially popular with children because of its large collection of dinosaur skeletons.
Museum of Icons in Frankfurt
The Ikonenmuseum is based on the collection of Dr. Jurgen Schmidt-Veugt, who donated 800 icons dating from the 16th to 19th centuries to the city in 1988.
Museum of German architecture
The German Architecture Museum (Deutsches Architekturmuseum) exhibits a collection of drawings and models, including works by modern classics such as Erich Mendelssohn, Mies van der Rohe and Frank O. Gehry.
German Film Museum
The Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum) exhibit focuses on the history of the film industry.
Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt
The Museum für Angewandte Kunst presents a collection of European and Asian handicrafts from ancient times to the present day. The museum exhibition is divided into several themes: book art and graphics, design and European arts and crafts.
Regional Art Gallery Frankfurt
The museum was opened relatively recently – in 2000. The museum often hosts various exhibitions to promote the cultural development of the region.
Garden of Palms in Frankfurt
The Garden of Eden in the flesh – so in four words you can briefly but succinctly define the luxurious Palmengarten, i.e. the Garden of Palms. Situated in the southeast of Frankfurt, this botanical garden is considered one of the best not only in Germany, but in the whole of Europe.
Old Bridge in Frankfurt
Frankfurt’s oldest bridge has not even celebrated its 100th anniversary yet. Although the crossing over the river Main is mentioned in chronicles since the beginning of the 13th century, this particular iron structure was built in 1926 and then underwent another global reconstruction in 1960.
The guardhouse built at the beginning of 1730 gave its name to the square – not the prettiest, but certainly the most characteristic one in the city. In the center is the carefully restored old Guardhouse.
St. Paul’s Church in Frankfurt
A building that doesn’t look like a church and has no religious functions whatsoever, they still call it a church. We’re referring, of course, to St. Paul’s Cathedral in Frankfurt-am-Main. The place is in many ways a place of worship for the people of the city, because it was the main Lutheran church.
Church of St. Justin
One of Germany’s oldest churches, which houses numerous treasures and masterpieces of art, is nestled in the Frankfurt district of Höchst and does not loom large. But its history is more than rich: St. Justinian Church served as the main temple to the Benedictines.
The old city of Frankfurt, where virtually the entire old city was leveled during World War II, and then methodically, literally bit by bit, restored, for some reason is not considered the most interesting place for sightseeing tours. They say it’s the main business center of Germany, where everyone comes for exhibitions and conferences, or, at worst, “a city for a day” where you walk until the last connecting flight. In fact, Frankfurt can give more than one European city a head start in terms of sights. Even though most of them have been restored, it doesn’t diminish their beauty or their importance among architectural or artistic masterpieces of the world.
The museum halls of Frankfurt am Main are bursting with paintings attributed to talented painters. The old squares never tire of the ever-chattering crowds who scurry to and fro with a beer and a camera. Majestic cathedrals forgot the blissful moments of silence, because they are interrupted by whispers of curious travelers, who are trying to see the next fresco or mosaic coat of arms.
And it’s not even worth talking about the area of old Saxon houses, where very few people managed to leave sober. The local apple cider is as famous around the country as the dizzying Bank Quarter. In short, Frankfurt is lively, fun and full of noteworthy places and features.
Start of course in the Old Town – Römerberg Square, centered around Frankfurt’s main symbol, the Römer town hall. The complex of administrative buildings, built about 6 centuries ago, of course, could not withstand the onslaught of bombs and was razed to dust, but was later restored to its former glory. So today you can enjoy not only the Gothic six centuries old, but also a cup of coffee in one of the cozy cafes next door. Also located here, next to the Römer, is one of Germany’s largest exhibition halls, the Schirn Kunsthalle, as well as the Frankfurt Jewish Community Museum, the Tortenstuck Museum of Modern Art and the famous St. Paul’s Church.
Start of course in the Old Town – Römerberg Square, centered around Frankfurt’s main symbol, the Römer Town Hall.
Pay particular attention to the city’s religious heritage, which includes the Frankfurt Cathedral, built in the 14th and 15th centuries in the Gothic style. Today, the upper part of the skull of the Apostle Bartholomew is preserved here. The second most important church in the city is St. Paul’s Cathedral – the cradle of democracy and unity of the nation, now a secular building where the honorary German Bookseller’s Peace Prize is awarded. And once the first democratically elected German Parliament gathered within the walls of the cathedral.
Another square that cannot be passed by has the amusing name of Hauptwache, which means, of course, brig. On it, surrounded by the concrete and steel of modern skyscrapers, the baroque building of the Frankfurt City Guard still stands. Later it housed a police station, a prison, and a cafe. The latter, by the way, still welcomes guests with a mug of beer on tap.
Finally, it’s impossible not to mention the fantastic Bank Quarter, whose high-rise towers can be seen from almost every corner of the city. Here everywhere you go, you will come across a masterpiece of modern architects – an ecological skyscraper or the brainchild of Norman Foster. There is an observation deck, panoramic restaurants and all sorts of heavenly attractions.