®

Frankfurt

From wiki.travel.com

Jump to: navigation, search

For Hotel Reservations Worldwide, Call 24/7 to TRAVEL.COM: From US/Canada - 800-329-6117 / From Europe - 00-800-1120-1140

wiki.travel.com


Frankfurt (German: Frankfurt am Main; [1]) is the business and financial center of Germany and the largest city in the German state of Hesse. The city is known for its futuristic skyline and the biggest German airport.

Located on the river Main, Frankfurt is the financial capital of Continental Europe and the transportation centre of Germany. Frankfurt is home of the European Central Bank and the German Stock Exchange. Furthermore, it hosts some of the world's most important trade shows, such as the Frankfurt Auto Show and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Understand

Frankfurt is a city of contrasts. Wealthy bankers, students and granola drop-outs coexist in a city that has some of the highest, most avant-garde skyscrapers of Europe next to well maintained old buildings. The downtown area, especially Römer square and the museums at the River Main, draw millions of tourists every year. On the other hand, many off the beaten track neighborhoods, such as Bockenheim, Bornheim, Nordend and Sachsenhausen, with their intact beautiful 19th century streets and parks, are mostly neglected by tourism and lesser visited by tourists.

Frankfurt is the largest traffic hub in Germany. This is the place where Germany's major Autobahns and railway-connections intersect. About 650,000 people commute to the city each day, not counting the 660,000 people who really live here. With a huge airport — the second-largest in Europe — it is the gateway to Germany and for many people also the first point of arrival in Europe. Further, it is a prime hub for interconnections within Europe and for intercontinental flights. These prime traffic connections have made Frankfurt the city with the highest percentage of immigrants in Germany: about 25% of Frankfurt's 660,000 people have no German passport and another 10% are naturalized German citizens. With about 35% immigrants, Frankfurt is the most diverse of German cities.

Frankfurt is home to many museums, theatres (among them the first-class "English Theatre"), and a world-class opera.

When to visit

The best times for Frankfurt are late spring to early autumn. The summers tend to be sunny and warm around 25°C (77° F). Be prepared, however, for very hot summer days around 35 degrees (95° F) as well as for light rain. The winters can be cold and rainy (usually not lower than -10° C/14° F), but there is hardly any snow inside Frankfurt itself.

If you intend to stay overnight, you may wish to avoid times when trade fairs are held, as this will make finding affordable accommodations a challenging task. The biggest are the Frankfurt Motor Show (Automobil-Ausstellung) in every two years in mid-September (next in 2011) and the Book Fair (Buchmesse) yearly in mid-October; see Fairs for details.

Get in

Frankfurt is the heart of central Germany and as such, it is the national transportation hub. It has excellent connectivity between railways, airlines and motorways. Reaching and leaving Frankfurt is easy.

By plane

Frankfurt Airport [2] (IATA: FRA) is among the busiest in Europe — second in passenger traffic after Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport — and one of the busiest airports in the world. Frankfurt is the banking center of Germany and hosts numerous international trade fairs. Therefore all major airlines and all airline alliances fly frequently to Frankfurt and connects it to every continent and major city in the world. The German flagcarrier Lufthansa [3] is the main airline in Frankfurt and offers the best connections.

The airport has today two terminals (Terminal 3 is under construction). Terminal 1 is the home of Lufthansa and the Star Alliance [4] airlines (All other airlines depart from Terminal 2!). Terminal 1 is separated into Concourses A, B and C. Terminal 1 is a multi-level maze with poor signage & changing entries due to ongoing construction work due to insufficient capacity. Lufthansa tries to ease the confusion, therefore Business Class passengers (+ Gold & Silver Star Alliance Card Holders) have a designated check in area in Terminal 1 A. First class passengers of Lufthansa & Swiss Int'l Airlines (+ LH HON Circle card holders) are allowed to check-in in the separate First Class terminal [5] next on the right side of Terminal 1 with an own driveway. All Star Alliance economy class travelers are checked in in Terminal 1B & 1C. The terminals are connected to each other by the Sky Train on landside.

The restrooms near the gates are during peak hours insufficient for the size of the airport accommodating only one to three users at a time, so go early or hold it until you're on your plane. The departure gates themselves have some of the most innovative seating around, with bench seats facing many directions and cafe-style tables and chairs for those who wish to whip out their laptops (sans coffee, alas). Passengers requiring special assistance should be advised that they might have to descend several flights of stairs to get to a bus that takes them to the plane, rather than disability-friendly ramps, so talk to the gate agent early if stairs are a problem.

Want to shower after a long flight? Terminal 1 has public showers for €6 (includes towel, foot mat, shower gel, and hair dryer). One location is in the B Departures area, in the Shopping Boulevard, across from "TUMI". The other is in the secure area of B Concourse (good for transit passengers), Level 2, near gate B 30 and the duty free shopping.

The airport has a long visitor terrace on top of terminal 2 (adults €4). It also offers 45-minute airside(!) bus tours (adults €6, hourly from 11 (holidays) or 1-4PM, ticket booth is at the bridge between terminal 1 and "Frankfurt Airport Centre", follow signs and information for Flughafen Erlebnisfahrten ("Airport Experience Tour"). Recommended for aviation enthusiasts.

The airport is connected to downtown Frankfurt by taxi, bus (Line 61 to Frankfurt Südbahnhof (Frankfurt South Station), and most easily by S-Bahn (fast commuter trains). To get to the city, take lines S8 or S9 direction Offenbach Ost or Hanau at the Regionalbahnhof (regional train station) in Terminal 1 (entrances in section A and B): interactive route planner [6]. The lines S1-6/8/9 travel through the cornerstone of the system, an underground tunnel (the Citytunnel) through central Frankfurt. If you want to change to long-distance trains get off at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof(Frankfurt Central Station) or Frankfurt Südbahnhof (Frankfurt South Station), if you want to go downtown, get off at Frankfurt Taunusanlage, Frankfurt Hauptwache or Frankfurt Konstablerwache, which are in the heart of the city. The ride from the airport to the central station takes 14 minutes. Be sure to purchase a ticket at the vending machines in the train station before boarding the train.

If you want to go to the airport via S-Bahn, take the S8 or S9 direction Wiesbaden. Don't take the S1 - while it has the same general direction and leaves the central station at the same platform, it will go along the wrong side of the river Main. The line S1 does not stop at the airport.


The Frankfurt airport also has connections for inter-city trains. Regional trains to Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Hanau stop at the same place as the S-Bahn to Frankfurt. Connections outside the Frankfurt region have a separate train station, the Fernbahnhof ("long-distance train station"). Here, you can board high-speed trains to Cologne, Munich and other destinations.

Frankfurt has just one airport but the smaller airport called Frankfurt/Hahn (IATA: HHN), mostly used by no-frills airlines, advertise with the proximity to Frankfurt. However, Hahn is far away from Frankfurt and it actually takes about 2 hours to drive from downtown, so allow for that airport more time into your travel plans and budget. A bus [8] from Frankfurt/Hahn to Frankfurt main airport and on to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (Frankfurt Central Station) costs about €12 and leaves roughly every hour, tickets are available from the kiosk, outside in front of the main entrance.

By train

Frankfurt has three major train stations, the main station (Hauptbahnhof), the South Station (Südbahnhof) and the Airport (Flughafen Fernbahnhof); however, inter-city trains that stop at the airport will usually (not always!) also stop at Hauptbahnhof. The Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof is one of the biggest and busiest train stations in Europe, so it's definitely worth a visit. Frankfurt has connections to most German cities - and some international destinations - via InterCity and high-speed InterCity Express trains. There is no problem to get a connection to any train destination from Frankfurt.

Be aware that Frankfurt train stations (other than at the airport) are very large, confusing, labyrinth-like places for newcomers. Allow plenty of extra time to locate the boarding area of your train. It's likely you'll have to ask someone for help the first time. There is a large departures signboard above the main exit/entrance with destination and platform information. You can also get information from the railway travel office in the station.

From the main ticket office at Frankfurt you can buy 5 and 10 day rail travel cards which allow you to travel around Germany using all train services, including the Intercity ones. The 5 day ticket costs €189 and the 10 day ticket €289. You cannot buy the ticket from regional train stations. These are a significant saving on individual train fares.

By car

Frankfurt is connected to several autobahns and can be easily reached by car. Try to avoid rush-hour and especially snowy days, as car traffic can easily break down. Parking is definitely a problem in most areas. Especially during big conventions—such the Internationale Automobilausstellung (International Automobile Exhibition) in September, or the Frankfurter Buchmesse (The Frankfurt Book Fair) in mid-October—you should consider using the well designed park-and-ride system.

By bus

Frankfurt is serviced by various trans-European buslines like Eurolines [9]. The main terminus is the central station (Hauptbahnhof). If you are on a tight budget, this will be a good way to reach Frankfurt.

Get around

Underground, S-Bahn, Tram, Bus

The best way to travel around Frankfurt is the Underground, tram and bus. For connections to the suburbs use the S-Bahn. You can get individual, group, day and week tickets. The metro stations are signed with a white capital "U" on a blue background. To go to the suburbs or airport use the S-Bahn, signed with a white "S" on green background. All lines come together in a tunnel (Citytunnel) in central Frankfurt (beside line S7, which ends at Central Station).

Fares tend to be average— €5.40 for a ticket for one day for one adult. You don't want to get caught without a ticket, as the conductors will charge you €40 and you can get into considerable trouble, especially if you have no ID card or passport on you. Subway trains and trams are checked quite seldom, the S-Bahn trains quite often. It is not possible to buy tickets in an S-Bahn, tram or subway. The ticket machines can be a little confusing if you do not know how to use them. Basically, 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, code "97"); 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 tickets in advance, to be validated just before travel.

Consider buying a Frankfurt Card [10]. It allows unlimited travel on Frankfurt's public transport system (including 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, €8.90; group 1 day, €18.00). It is not sold at the vending machines though. You can buy the Frankfurt Card at the airport (arrival gate B, terminal 1), at travel agencies, rail way stations, at the tourist information desk at Hauptbahnhof or at the tourist information desk at Römer.

The RMV [11] site has basic information and timetable information available in English and other languages.

The S-Bahn, run by the German train company, is notorious for its delays. If you need to get somewhere on time, allow for some buffer time. In the morning rush-hour, delays of 10-15 minutes are common. If you are catching a plane or have another similar time-critical appointment, allow an extra 30 minutes to be on the safe side.

Other services (subway, tram and bus) are usually more punctual.

By taxi

Frankfurt has plentiful taxi drivers to service the many business travellers. The city is not too big, so fares tend to be reasonable. Watch out for taxi drivers that take detours if they notice that you do not know the city. Still, for door-to-door transportation, 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.

In the main tourist areas downtown there are also human-powered "bike taxis" that convey one or two passengers. For those not too keen on walking this may be a convenient way of seeing the sights.

By car

Avoid using your car in the city, or especially in the tourist "hot spots" like Sachsenhausen (especially on a Saturday) because of parking space. 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 transportation.

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.

Also remember that Germany has strict DUI (driving under the influence - alcohol) driving laws, only allowing 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per milliliter of blood. That is just about one beer or glass of wine. And even if there are Autobahns without speed limits, when there are speed limits, these are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent. Heavy on-the-spot fines can be levied. Recently the laws (and fines) pertaining to tailgating have been sharpened, and the fines have gotten larger.

By bike

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 colors 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.

See

Main attractions

Museums

Museums in Germany are generally closed on Mondays (there are exceptions); the exact opening hours on other days depend on the museum. If you want to visit a museum on a public holiday, check with them before to be sure they open on that day.

The museums in Frankfurt offer a wide range of exhibits. Many museums are clustered on both banks of the Main in a district called Museumsufer. To get there, take the subway to Schweizer Platz (southern bank) or Willy-Brandt-Platz (northern bank), then walk towards the Main river. You can see the downtown skyscrapers when you leave the station Schweizer Platz, that's the direction you have to take. There are enough museums in Museumsufer to keep you occupied for a while, and it is especially suitable if you are staying in Frankfurt only for a short time.

At the Museumsufer

Schaumainkai 17, +49 69 212-34037, fax +49 69 212-30703, (email info.angewandte-kunst@stadt-frankfurt.de), [17]. The museum for applied arts and design hosts just that in a beautiful Richard Meier designed building. The small park around it is a popular hangout in summer and there is a small posh restaurant on the ground floor. Mon closed, Tue, Thu-Sun 10AM - 5PM, Wed 10AM-9PM. €5 adults, €2.5 children.


Other museums

There are many other museums in Frankfurt:

Museum related events

Three special events are associated with Frankfurt's museums.

Skyline

Frankfurt has some of the tallest buildings in Europe (the Commerzbank tower is the highest office building of Europe), and the tallest in Germany. Its skyline is unique for the country as the high-rises are concentrated in a relatively small downtown area, giving Frankfurt the looks of a metropolis. The skyline is the reason why Frankfurt is sometimes called by the nickname Mainhattan.

Watch the skies

Frankfurt can have quite beautiful sunsets. Caused by the air pollution gathered in the valley it is situated in, they are a good photo opportunity, especially with Frankfurt's skyline. Good vantage points are the bridges, or of course the Maintower high-rise.

There are various fireworks displays throughout the year. Many major events - like the Museumsufer festival are ended with very well done fireworks. Check your local event schedule; if you are in the city these are always worth your time. The exception are the New Year fireworks, which are unorganized and less than spectacular. Good vantage points are the Main bridges, or the river banks.

Other attractions

Unfortunately, apart from the front facade, most of it is reconstructed. The reconstruction has a smaller scale than the building's original 18th century size. In Große Eschenheimer Straße (1 minute walk north from Hauptwache towards the Eschenheimer Turm).

Do

Fairs

Frankfurt's trade fairs are known to have taken place as early as in the year 1160. The Messe Frankfurt [56] is one of the world's largest exhibition centers, hosting a continuous stream of exhibitions small, large and gargantuan — the Motor Show draws almost a million visitors. Most fairs are open to the public for at least part of the time, and can be a fascinating if somewhat overwhelming experience if you're interested in the theme. The Messe has its own train station, Messe, two stops away from the Central Railway Station (from platform 104, underground) on S 3/4/5/6, and there's also a Messe station on the U4 subway line. Advance tickets for fairs often allow free use of all RMV public transport. U4/U5 to station Messe/Torhaus; trains to the trade fairs will be announced in English.

Learn

Work

Frankfurt is one of the better locations in Germany to start looking if you want to find a job. Not only it is a center of national and international finance, but there are also many high tech companies in the area. All of these may be more willing to accept people with no or less than adequate German skills.

Last but not least the airport and companies working for trade fairs always has need for 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.

Buy

Frankfurt is a great place for shopping, as it caters both to tourists and to the local population, so you can find anything from haute couture to ridiculously cheap, and most of the shopping possibilities are located in the centre. The majority of shops are open until 8PM, though some of the larger stores downtown may close at 9 or 10PM. In general, shops are closed on Sundays.

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 "eating road"). The correct name of this street is Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse. As the nickname implies, the Fressgass features many cafes, restaurant, and delicatessen 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.

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.

Budget

Mid-Range

Splurge

Drink

Alt-Sachsenhausen

Alt-Sachsenhausen, a part of the suburb Sachsenhausen south of the Main river, is famous for its bars and Kneipen (a German type of Bar, really) serving the "national drink" Ebbelwoi (local dialect for "apple wine", sometimes spelled Ebbelwei). However, these days it's mostly for tourists. A better option in Sachsenhausen is along Textorstrasse, a two minute walk south, where you can still find a row of authentic places catering to locals.

Not so famous like "Alt-Sachs", but also well known, is Bornheim (located in the north) which has also some biergarden-like applewine establishments at 'Berger Straße' and the surrounding area.

Mid-range

Clubs

There are many clubs in Frankfurt.


Along the Hanauer Landstrasse and around central station there are a lot of clubs.

Sleep

Frankfurt has plenty of accommodation but during major trade fairs, prices at even the cheapest hotels will suddenly skyrocket with charges of over €300/night quite common. Plan well ahead and alternatively, consider staying in nearby cities like Darmstadt, Neu-Isenburg, Bad Homburg, Mainz or Wiesbaden which are under an hour away by S-Bahn.

Frankfurt is the banking capital of Germany so most people are business travellers with an expense account. If you intend to stay for longer periods, ask for discounts or corporate rates.


Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Contact

Internet

The PTT multi-media store is situated just outside Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (central station) 65 Baseler Strasse, on the same row as the Eurolines office; offers €2 per hour. The tricky thing is navigating the German keyboards.

Various other hotels offer Internet access; most are still a little backward and provide dialup access only.

There are a number of Internet cafes in Frankfurt of varying prices and quality. Sunday (Sonntag) is the best day to surf.

Burger King (cnr Liebfrauenstrasse / Holzgraben) near Hauptwache offers free WLAN in its restaurant

Thre is also free WLAN at Starbuck´s near Hauptwache (Börsenplatz)

Phone

Besides public pay phones and mobile phone services, a large number of stores sell prepaid telephone cards. This is especially useful for international calls. The PTT multi-media store - 65 Baseler Strasse, offers competitive rates for international calls (10 cents per min to the UK) Some other stores also offer in house phone services. Another easy to reach store that seems reliable is in the Hauptwache subway station. You may also visit one of the plenty internet cafés, since they almost all offer cheap phone calls via internet.

Post offices

The postal service in Germany is Deutsche Post [97].

The three easiest-to-reach full-service postal offices are easy to locate:-

Stay safe

Frankfurt has one of Germany's highest crime rates, though in part this is due to statistical reasons as e.g. smuggling and similar offences at the airport as well as anything concerning credit card fraud anywhere in Germany is registered in Frankfurt, since the main credit card clearing company is based in Frankfurt.

Physical crime is in general concentrated in the red light district around the central train station, which also is the hangout of the many drug dealers/junkies. Nevertheless Frankfurt is still very safe compared to large cities in many other countries and it's highly unlikely that you'll face armed robbery or other violent crimes. Use your common sense and avoid obviously drunken/aggressive people at night.

If you have a problem or are being harassed, don't be afraid to ask the police for help. The German police and the Frankfurt Ordnungsamt are not corrupt & they are competent and generally helpful. Germany is a very bureaucratic and structured country, so as long as you behave in a respectful attitude to the police you will have no problem.

Buying and smuggling drugs is a major offence and will have dire consequences.

Cope

Tourist Information

There are two offices for tourism information. The easiest one to get to is inside the Central Station. Look for the signs: it is near the main exit, next to the German Rail (DB) service area.

The official contact data is:

Drugs and beggars

The central station area (Hauptbahnhof) is known for being a center for homeless and perhaps drug users. It has improved much in recent years, but you will still occasionally be bothered by beggars. The drug addicts generally don't bother people, and the beggars will ask for Kleingeld (small change), which by their definition is anything between €0,50-2.

The best way to fend off beggers is to say you do not speak German (and this might just be true for you anyway!). They will often switch to English then, so just pretend you can not speak that either (just shake your head, or say "No English") and they will get frustrated and leave you alone.

If you think you are up to it, you may find it useful to know one or two sentences in the Frankfurter dialect to mime locals, as tourists are often regarded as confused/scared and therefore willing to give away money. Some of these phrases would be hoer uff (stop it), lass misch in ruh (leave me alone) or mach disch ab! (go away!). A polite Nein, danke (no thanks) will usually not do.

Get out

Hiking

If you're keen on hiking, head out to the nearby Taunus mountains, the Vogelsberg (an extinct volcano), or the Odenwald.

WikiPedia:Frankfurt

Related Information




---
A list of contributors is available at the original article on Wikitravel. Additional modifications may have been made by users at TRAVEL.COM [104].

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.

Personal tools


Main Page | Random Page | Special Pages
Africa | Asia | Caribbean | Central America | Europe
Middle East | North America | Oceania | South America | Other Destinations