TRAVEL REVIEW: Finding Frankfurt, Germany
Before arriving in Frankfurt, we admittedly didn’t know much about the city. In fact, the first thing that sprung to mind was ‘Frankfurters’. It turns out there is a lot more to the charming German city than just German sausages. Although, quite honestly, they alone warrant a visit.
Located on the river Main, Frankfurt is a major financial hub that’s home to the European Central Bank. In fact, it’s the largest financial centre on the European continent. Yes, there are loads of suits and briefcases rushing from meeting to meeting, but that doesn’t mean that’s all the city has to offer. In fact, quite the contrary. Due to it’s financial background, almost one in three of the people living in Frankfurt do not hold a German passport. So no matter where you’re from, you’re guaranteed to meet people in Frankfurt who speak your language, and a restaurant that serves your favourite cuisine. This liberal and democratic tradition of the city may be one reason that people from very diverse cultures have lived here in peace with one another for a long time.
The city’s imposing skyline of old and new is the image that many visitors associate with the metropolis, but Frankfurt o ers many other facets and contrasting variety. Just around the corner from the skyscrapers you can find cosy Ebbelwei pubs, and at the heart of the bustling city centre you’ll find various historical sights. The Frankfurt museum embankment (Museumsufer) is one of the most important locations for museums in Germany and Europe. Through this unique cultural experience on both sides of the Main, the city enjoys an excellent reputation among art lovers. On the southern bank alone, nine exhibition buildings are lined up one after the other. These renowned museums include the likes of the Museum of Communication, the German Architecture Museum, the German Film Museum and Museum of World Cultures. Frankfurt is also famous for being the birthplace of famed writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose former home is now the Goethe House Museum.
Another highlight of the city is Palm Garden, which is a luscious green haven with plants from all corners of the world. Between paths and green spaces with deckchairs, this show garden presents a diverse range of thematic gardens and greenhouses. Visitors can experience a lush sub-tropical landscape in the Palm House, where a multitude of imposing plants, huge shrubs and ferns are located. In a grotto-like underpass, the aquaria displays a colourful tropical underwater world, while the tropicarium depicts different tropical landscapes (savannah, fog deserts, monsoon jungle) in a lifelike way. It’s all pretty fascinating, especially if you live in the desert.
Fortunately, getting around Frankfurt is a breeze. Those who set out on a discovery tour of Frankfurt can easily reach many of the sights on foot or by bus and train. Many attractions are not very far from one another in the city centre, as long as you’ve got Google Maps to help you out. And with public transport, you can quickly reach further diversions such as Palm Garden and the zoo. A city tour on the Ebbelwei Express tram is particularly popular, especially if it’s a rainy day.
Our favourite way of seeing the city, however, was by boat. Travelling along the impressive skyline on a tour boat or taking a boat cruise to interesting towns and cities on the Main and the Rhine, there are various operators to choose from. Only a few steps away from the Römer, directly on the Main quay at the Eiserner Steg, there is the main landing stage and the ticket kiosk for the Primus Line. You can set o on various excursions from this and other landing stages on the bank. During a tour, the boat heads for either the Offenbach or the Griesheim locks, offering a splendid view of the Frankfurt silhouette.
WHERE TO STAY: Hilton Frankfurt City Centre
Conveniently located in Frankfurt City Centre, within 15 minutes of most major attractions, Hilton Frankfurt City Centre boasts an amazing location. Best of all, the open park behind the hotel o ers beautiful views from its guest rooms and terrace. The hotel is within walking distance of many of the city’s sightseeing hotspots, and is also close to the Frankfurt’s transportation network, so you can get around the city easily. Nearby must-see attractions include Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Alte Oper and Eschenheimer Turm bar, the oldest and most unaltered building in Frankfurt. The contemporary guest rooms feature floor-to- ceiling windows with park or city views. Looking to treat yourself? The stunning suites are located on the top two floors of the hotel and offer magnificent views of the city skyline or the park below. Plus you’ll be able to enjoy complimentary refreshments and a continental breakfast in the exclusive Executive Lounge.
For those who love a good workout before sightseeing (not us, TBH), you’re in luck. With a half-Olympic-size swimming pool, the latest cardio and weights equipment and a whirlpool, steam and sauna, the Hilton Frankfurt City Centre is a great place to maintain your fitness routine. If, like us, you prefer a good ol’ pamper session, The Beauty Center o ers massages, facials and pedicures. Whatever your preference, everyone loves to eat. The hotel’s seasonal menus and locally sourced ingredients are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it’s good! Terrace on the Park is the perfect place to enjoy authentic German barbeque during the warmer summer months, while Vista Bar & Lounge offers local and international favourites. Yes, this is where we indulged in many a German sausage. The currywurst is a must-try.
It’s rare to find a hotel in a city centre that’s literally attached to a park. Stunning views aside, the park is perfect for evening strolls around the lake. During breakfast, if the weather allows, opt for an outside seat where you can soak up the greenery and watch the locals pedal past on their bicycles. Should you be looking for a festive getaway, nowhere does Christmassy vibes better than Germany. Wrap up and enjoy the crisp chill as you stroll Frankfurt’s Christmas market (27 Nov-22 Dec), with the whi of cinnamon and spice in the air. INFO: Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, Hochstrasse 4, 60313, Frankfurt am Main, +49 69 133 800, www3.hilton.com