Frankfurt city guide: Tips for first-time visitors

Known as the business and financial center of Germany, Frankfurt has long attracted visitors from abroad. Here’s how to make the most of your time in this German city.

Frankfurt am Main's glittering skyline. Image credit: instamatics/iStock
Frankfurt am Main’s glittering skyline. Image credit: instamatics/iStock

With its glittering skyline, an incredibly restored old town and prime position on the river Main, Frankfurt is a city of old and the new. The city, with many of Europe’s tallest skyscrapers, is home to many European and global headquarters, including the European Central Bank and the German Stock Exchange.

Here’s why you should book a holiday to Frankfurt am Main.

What to do

Frankfurt Altstadt – A restored old town

No trip to Frankfurt would be complete without a trip to Altstadt, Frankfurt’s old town, which was restored to its original 15th-century plans in 1986 after being heavily destroyed during WWII. The half-timbered houses in this area have seen a range of events over the years, including tournaments, empirical elections, and coronations.

Be sure to stop at the beautiful square Römerberg in front of the Römer, which has been used as the city hall since the 15th-century. Follow in the footsteps of Frankfurt’s founder, emperor Charlemagne, on a two-hour guided walk to learn more about the center’s detailed past.

Art galleries and museums – Enjoy Frankfurt’s cultural heart

While many know Frankfurt as the business hub of Germany, some may be surprised to learn of the myriad museums and art galleries dotted throughout the towering city.

Take in centuries-old artwork at Städel Museum, which is home to works by Picasso, Monet, Richter, and Rembrandt. For something a little more contemporary, try MMK or Schirn Kunsthalle, both of which often feature interactive works, or The Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, a photographic art gallery in the heart of Frankfurt’s contemporary art district.

Goethe House – Visit the birthplace of Germany’s famous poet

One of Frankfurt’s claims to fame is being the birthplace of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Germany’s most important poets. Visitors can learn about the life of Goethe at the Frankfurt Goethe House, which has been restored to reflect the environment in which the poet spent his youth. Goethe’s most noted works include the play “Faust: A Tragedy”, which is considered by many to be the greatest work of German literature.

Kronberg im Taunus – Explore a historic nearby town

To get out of the city and explore the surroundings, book a Blacklane professional car service to take you to Kronberg im Taunus, a small town about 30 minutes drive from the city center. Here you can visit centuries-old Kronberg castle, which housed the lords of Kronberg from the 14th-century and offers sweeping views of the Rhine-Main plain. 

Frankfurt Altstadt. Image credit: CAHKT/iStock
Frankfurt Altstadt. Image credit: CAHKT/iStock

Where to eat

Cafe Laumer – Enjoy the German “Kaffee and Kuchen” tradition

For a healthy dose of “Kaffee and Kuchen” (coffee and cake), head along to Cafe Laumer, which has been serving up tasty treats since 1919. Soft lighting inside the cafe offers a warm respite during the colder months while a sunny patio is perfect for when the weather warms. The in-house pastry team provide a constant rotation of cakes and pastries to start off your day. 

Restaurant Druckwasserwerk – Former water plant on the river Main

For a historical experience, dine at Restaurant Druckwasserwerk, housed within a former water plant from 1899. Offering views out to the river Main, this 2009-restored neo-Romanesque style building houses two towers, its own wine cellar, and an outdoor area perfect for holding large events if need be. The restaurant celebrates German cuisine with a modern twist.

Villa Merton – A great business lunch option

In the diplomatic quarter of Frankfurt sits Villa Merton, a fine-dining establishment built in 1927 for the Frankfurt business elite. The Michelin-star restaurant is headed by chef André Großfeld and offers seasonal produce, including pistachio-crumbed veal fillet and aubergine and peppermint stuffed tortelloni. If you’re in town for work, Villa Merton offers set-menu business lunches served in tastefully decorated rooms.

Main Tower Restaurant & Lounge – Amazing views

For a meal with a view, be sure to visit Main Tower Restaurant & Lounge, which sits on the 53rd floor and boasts impressive views across the city. Floor-to-ceiling windows line the walls of the restaurant, which hosts a three, four, and five-course menu led by chef Benjamin Karger.

Take part in a German tradition with “Kaffee und Kuchen”. Image credit: TARIK KIZILKAYA/iStock

Old Saschsenhausen quarter – Try a Frankfurt favorite

If you’re in search of a great spot for after-work drinks or somewhere to relax from a day of sight-seeing, be sure to visit the Old Sachsenhausen quarter for a glimpse of the real Frankfurt. Order apple wine, regionally known as “ebbelwoi”, from one of the many rustic bars in this district. 

Where to stay

Jumeirah Frankfurt – Sleep in luxury

For a truly luxurious experience in Frankfurt, book a suite at Jumeirah Frankfurt, right in the heart of the financial district, known as Bankenviertel. For the shopaholics, MyZeil shopping mall is right outside, with many attractions in the city within walking distance.

Guests can choose from 218 luxury rooms and 63 suites, all of which have views out to Frankfurt’s city skyline. A beehive on the 28th-floor rooftop provides honey to the on-site spa for a unique honey treatment, to Ember Bar & Lounge for its special honey cocktail, and as part of the breakfast options at restaurant Max on One Grillroom.

Villa Rothschild Kempinski – The country estate of the Rothschild family

Situated in the Taunus mountain range just north-west of the city center is Villa Rothschild Kempinski, a building steeped in history. Built in the late 19th-century for banker Wilhelm Carl von Rothschild, the property hosted numerous politicians in 1949 who laid the foundation for the constitution of Germany.

This history can be felt throughout the property’s 22 rooms, all of which feature views out to the surrounding private park. With conference packages and event space, an on-site spa, and a restaurant serving up wild Alaskan salmon dish cooked on lava stone, this estate has it all.

Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof – Welcoming travelers since 1876

Dominating prime real estate in the heart of Frankfurt, Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof boasts an impressive exterior and elegant interior. With 261 rooms, 42 suites, a Michelin-starred restaurant and luxurious spa, this five-star offering is a world away from other hotels in the area. Goethestrasse, Frankfurt’s luxury shopping street is a mere five minutes away, while the highlights of Altstadt are just outside your door.