Frankfurt

This article is about the city in Hesse. For the town in Brandenburg, see Frankfurt an der Oder.

Frankfurt (German: Frankfurt am Main) is the largest city in the German state of Hesse, and is considered the business and financial centre of Germany. It is the fifth largest city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne. The city is known for its modern skyline, as well as for hosting the headquarters of the European Central Bank, the Deutsche Börse stock exchange and numerous German financial services companies. Furthermore, it hosts some of the world's most important trade shows, such as the Frankfurt Auto Show and the Frankfurt Book Fair. Located on the river Main on the crossroads of the German Autobahn system, with Germany's busiest airport on its outskirts, Frankfurt is one of the most important transportation hubs of Germany.

Understand

Tower Opernturm and concert hall Alte Oper

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 neighbourhoods, such as Bockenheim, Bornheim, Nordend and Sachsenhausen, with their intact beautiful 19th century streets and parks are often overlooked by visitors.

It's the heart of the Rhine-Main region, spanning from Mainz and Wiesbaden in the west to Hanau in the east and Gießen in the north to Darmstadt in the south and has some 5,500,000 inhabitants in the whole surrounding metropolitan area.

Frankfurt is the place where Germany's major autobahns and railways intersect. About 650,000 people commute to the city each day, not counting some 700,000 people who really live here. With a huge airport the third-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.

In the years following 1968, especially in the late 1970s and up to the early 1980s, Frankfurt was a centre of the left wing Sponti-Szene, which frequently clashed with police and local authorities over politics and urban design issues (specifically whether or not old buildings should be torn down). Several members of these radical groups went on to have quite respectable careers in politics, among them Daniel Cohn-Bendit (long time leading MEP for the Greens) and Joschka Fischer (Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor 1998-2005), though their erstwhile radical and violent antics did hurt them in their later political careers.

Frankfurt has one of the highest percentage of immigrants in Germany: about 25% of Frankfurt's people have no German passport and another 10% are naturalized German citizens. With about 35% immigrants, Frankfurt is one of the most diverse of German cities.

Frankfurt is home to many museums, theatres and a world-class opera.

The map of Frankfurt's subdivisions

Territorial subdivisions

Frankfurt is divided into 16 Ortsbezirke, which are further subdivided into 46 Stadtteile. As Frankfurt is an expansive city with a large area given its population, most of those are of little interest to a tourist, with most attractions concentrated in the Ortsbezirk Innenstadt I (do note that there are no less than four Ortsbezirke starting with Innenstadt ("inner city"), distinguished by roman numerals). Some Stadtteile of particular note are:

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°C (95°F) as well as for light rain. The winters can be cold and rainy (usually not lower than -10°C/14°F). It rarely snows in 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 accommodation a challenging task. The biggest are the Frankfurt Motor Show (Automobil-Ausstellung) every two years in mid-September (next in 2015) and the Book Fair (Buchmesse) yearly in mid-October; see Fairs for details.

Tourist Information

Kaiserdom (Imperial Cathedral)
Römerberg Ostzeile (Römer square eastside)

There are two offices for tourism information:

The skyline of Frankfurt

Get in

Frankfurt is the heart of central Germany and as such, it is one of the most important transportation hubs. It has excellent connections by rail, road and air. Reaching and leaving Frankfurt is easy.

By plane

Main article: Frankfurt Airport

Frankfurt Airport (IATA: FRA) is among the busiest in Europe third in passenger traffic after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Frankfurt is the banking centre 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 flag carrier Lufthansa is the main airline in Frankfurt and offers most connections.

Frankfurt am Main International Airport

Airport to city centre

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 in the direction of Offenbach Ost or Hanau at the   Flughafen Regionalbahnhof (regional train station). in the Underground of Terminal 1 (entrances in section A and B): interactive route planner. If your plane lands or departs from Terminal 2, count in another 15 minutes as you need to move between the terminals with either the shuttle bus or the monorail Skytrain (both are free of charge, just follow the signs).

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). 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 (only cash) in the train station before boarding the train. The adult ticket is €4.55 (Sep 2015). Daytime tickets are usually profitable up from the second travel within the respective zones.

If you want to go to the airport via S-Bahn, take the S8 or S9 in the direction of 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.

ICE 3 at Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Airport long-distance train station)

Other airport connections

Regional trains RB and RE to Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Hanau stop at the same place as the S-Bahn to Frankfurt.

Frankfurt airport also has connections for Inter-City and ICE trains. Connections outside the Frankfurt region have a separate train station, the   Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Airport long-distance train station). . Here, you can board high-speed trains to Cologne, Munich and other national and international destinations.

Hahn airport

The smaller airport called Frankfurt/Hahn (IATA: HHN), mostly used by no-frills airlines, advertises proximity to Frankfurt. However, Hahn is far away from Frankfurt and it actually takes about 2 h to drive there from downtown. For that airport, if you have to use it at all, allow more time in your travel plans and budget. A bus from Frankfurt/Hahn to Frankfurt Main airport and on to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (Frankfurt Central Station) costs about €14 and leaves roughly every hour: tickets are available from the kiosk, outside in front of the main entrance. Frankfurt/Hahn is not far (9 km) from Traben-Trarbach, which lies by the Mosel river and has a train station. The streets between the airport and Traben-Trarbach are not lit at night and have no sidewalk.

By train

See also: rail travel in Germany
Hauptbahnhof with ICE 3M Niederlande

Frankfurt has three major train stations:   Hauptbahnhof (main station). ,   Südbahnhof (south station). and the abovementioned one at the airport (Flughafen Fernbahnhof). However, several inter-city trains that stop at the airport do not stop at Hauptbahnhof. Long-distance trains leaving from Hauptbahnhof do not stop at Südbahnhof, while a few long-distance trains pass by Hauptbahnhof and only stop at Südbahnhof. Check the timetable to make sure you are going to the right station!

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 neighbouring countries especially to the south and west - 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 are very large, confusing, labyrinth-like places for newcomers. Allow extra time to locate the boarding area for your train. Don't hesitate to ask someone for help the first time. There is a large departures signboard above the main exit/entrance with destination and platform information, and 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. These are a significant saving on individual train fares. The 5 day ticket costs €189 and the 10 day ticket €289. You cannot buy these tickets from regional train stations.

By car

See also: driving in Germany

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 conventionssuch the Internationale Automobilausstellung (International Automobile Exhibition) in September, or the Frankfurter Buchmesse (The Frankfurt Book Fair) in mid-Octoberyou should consider using the well designed park-and-ride system If you intend to stay mostly in Frankfurt itself and only make day trips to the bigger cities in the surrounding area, consider leaving the car altogether and arriving by train, as Frankfurt has a superb public transport system (see below).

By bus

See also: intercity buses in Germany

Frankfurt is serviced by various trans-European buslines like Eurolines. If you are on a tight budget or are scared of air travel, this can be a good way to reach Frankfurt. However, flights booked in advance or special offers for the train may still be cheaper. The bus of course is always the slowest option.

Due to its central location in Germany, Frankfurt is also a hub for domestic buses. Major lines to all big and several small cities intersect in Frankfurt, with several daily departures. Buy tickets in advance to get better rates.

All buses currently pick up and drop off passengers at kerbside at the south side of the Hauptbahnhof, next to platform 1. A proper bus terminal is currently under construction at this very site.

Get around

By public transport

S-Bahn station Hauptbahnhof tief
U-Bahn station Hauptbahnhof

Frankfurt has a good, co-ordinated public transport system of Underground (U-Bahn), tram (Straßenbahn) and bus. For connections to the suburbs use the S-Bahn . 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. Almost all S-Bahn lines and two U-Bahn lines (U6, U7) come together in the city-tunnel in central Frankfurt (station „Hauptwache“ and „Konstablerwache“), beside line S7, which ends at Central Station.

If you want to the old city (Römer), you take the U-Bahn line U4, U5 or tram line 11 or 12.

Tickets

You can get single, all-day and weekly tickets. You can get individual tickets, or tickets for a group of up to five people travelling together.

You must use a ticket machine to purchase a ticket before boarding. Ticket machines can be a little confusing if you do not know how to use them, but they can be switched to operate in English. 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); 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 single track tickets in advance, to be validated just before travel, but time tickets (day, week, month) can be chosen according to the date, which you have to know in advance.

Fares are based on the zones you travel through. Central Frankfurt is all contained with a single zone (zone 50) so tickets (except short trip tickets) are all the one fare. A one-day adult ticket in this central zone costs €6.80 and a single costs €2.75. The airport is in a separate zone. A one-day adult ticket in the central zone and the airport is €8.85 and a single €4.55. Group day-tickets (5 peoples: €10.50 /15.80) are less than the cost of two adult day-tickets, so are more or less obligatory if you are travelling together and purchasing a day-ticket. Children discounts are available to kids 14 and under. (Jan 2015)

If you are visiting attractions and museums then consider buying a Frankfurt Card. It allows unlimited travel on Frankfurt's public transport system (city zone and 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 €9.90, 2 days €14.50; group (max. 5 persons) 1 day €20, 2 days €29.50). These tickets are not sold at the vending machines. You can buy the Frankfurt Card at the airport (arrival gate B, terminal 1), at travel agencies, railway stations, at the tourist information desk at Hauptbahnhof, at the tourist information desk at Römer, or in advance online. A one-day one-person Frankfurt card including airport transportation is cheaper than the equivalent public transport ticket that includes the airport.

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

The S-Bahn, run by DeutscheBahn, 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 5–15 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. Be aware that the S-Bahn stations between Hauptbahnhof and Südbahnhof or Mühlberg will be closed between 27 March and 8 April and 16 July and 25 August 2016. Alternative connections will be published on the RMV website.

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

Fines of €60 apply for riding without a valid ticket.

By taxi

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

Blacklane - offers an extensive fleet of vehicles for business travellers. An airport transfer service from city centre to Frankfurt Airport is c. €30.

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, especially in tourist "hot spots" like Sachsenhausen (especially on a Saturday) because of congestion and a severe lack of parking spaces. 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 transport.

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.

Even vehicles registered in countries other than Germany need a "low emissions" sticker (on the inside of the windscreen) to legally enter certain signposted environmental protection zones in Frankfurt. (The stickers are valid for all low emission zones in Germany.) Labelling a vehicle with these emission stickers, also often called "fine particle stickers", is voluntary, but vehicles without this sticker - even those with foreign number plates and even those that would otherwise meet the criteria - are not allowed into environmental zones without risking a fine of €40.

Also, remember that Germany has strict laws about driving under the influence of alcohol, only allowing 0.5mg of alcohol per mL of blood. That's just about one beer or glass of wine. Although there are Autobahns without speed limits, when there are speed limits, these are enforced 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 bicycle

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 colours red and white and the letters "DB."

shopping street and bicycle

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.

A new service is offered by nextbike. Just sign up (either online or via their hotline) and rent bicycles and return them at any station all over town. Rates are charged by the half hour (€1) and are capped at €9 per day.

See

While most of the buildings in the inner town were destroyed during the second world war, many of them in Römerberg have been meticulously restored. The imposing town hall and the cathedral St Bartholomeus where emperors of the Holy Roman empire were crowned in the 17th and 18th centuries are among them. Walk on top of a tower or get to the Main for good views of the skyline.

Historical attractions

Römerberg Ostzeile
Kaiserdom - Imperial Cathedral
Paulskirche - St. Paul's Church
Alte Oper Frankfurt - Old Opera

Skyline

Frankfurt am Main 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. One of the reasons, Frankfurt is the only German city with a skyline are the lax zoning laws compared to the rest of Germany. Elsewhere building such high rise buildings is almost if not outright impossible. The skyline is the reason why Frankfurt is sometimes called by the nickname Mainhattan.

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

Frankfurt Grüneburgpark with Europe TV-tower in the background

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.

The Museumsufer Ticket valid for admission to all municipal museums on two consecutive days and is available at all Frankfurt museums:

Museumsufer with museum Städel and Holbeinsteg

At the Museumsufer

Liebighaus
Ikonen-Museum in Sachsenhausen

Other museums

Museum of Modern Art

Events

Museum related events

Three special events are associated with Frankfurt's museums.

Other events

Do

Frankfurt and the river Main

Culture

Fairs

Frankfurt's trade fairs are known to have taken place as early as in the year 1160. The Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's largest exhibition centres, 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.

Sports

Walks

Learn

Work

Frankfurt is one of the better locations in Germany to start looking if you want to find a job. It is the centre of national and international banking/finance and there are also many high tech, chemical and pharmaceutical companies in the Rhine-Main area. All of these are more willing to accept people with no or less than adequate German skills if you can offer any other special skills.

Last but not least the airport and companies working for trade fairs, as well as several companies in the so called "Industriepark Hoechst" always need 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.

Shopping mall MyZeil

Shopping streets

Shopping centres

Markets

Shops

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

Typical specialities from the hessian region are "Handkäs mit Musik" - a cheese from curdled milk, the "Frankfurter Grüne Sauce" - 7-9 fresh herbs mixed - and at Christmas time the "Bethmännchen" formed from Marzipan and almonds. This is eaten together with Apfelwein (see Drink). Most places in Frankfurt feature international food, so you have to specifically search for traditional ones. For most restaurants in Frankfurt it is highly recommended to reserve in advance as the restaurant might otherwise have no free tables.

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

Frankfurt is a young city where socialising and parties are always high on the agenda. Sachsenhausen, Bockenheim, Bornheim, Nordend and the city centre are the main areas of action. The city centre includes the rather seedy red light district - which is heavily patrolled by police/Ordnungsamt- near the main station with large brothels, porn cinemas and bars. Strip clubs like the Golden Gate Frankfurt are popular for bachelor/bachelorette parties at the weekend and similar joints are in walking distance. Check pricing upfront to avoid problems with bouncers afterwards.

For a quick beverage on the go, there exists small shops all over the town called Trinkhalle. They are usually open well into the night. Most of the times one orders and buys directly from the street.

Due to the banks and business travellers the nightlife in Frankfurt is split in upstyle parties or alternative student parties. Generally clothing must be a bit more upstyle than the German average, so sneakers will be only allowed in reggae/dancehall/r'n'b clubs etc.

Bars

While mostly associated with Sachsenhausen, you will find good bars all over the city.

Cafes

There are few cafés on Großer Hirschgraben. Café Karin and Walden are very popular with the locals. During the summer, you can enjoy one of the open air rooftop bars.

Clubs

There are many clubs in Frankfurt that cater to business people and organise corporate events. The German favour for electronic music results in a wide variation of clubs that offer this music. Alternative music is a niche market that cater the roots of the migrants in Frankfurt.

Ebbelwoi

Alt-Sachsenhausen, a part of the suburb Sachsenhausen south of the Main river, is famous for its bars and Kneipen (a German type of pub) serving the "regional speciality" Ebbelwoi (local dialect for "apple wine", sometimes spelled Ebbelwei). However, these days it's mostly for tourists. Good options in Alt-Sachsenhausen are Dauth-Schneider, Struwwelpeter and Lorsbacher Thal. Another option in Sachsenhausen is along Textorstrasse, a two minute walk south, where you can still find a row of authentic places catering to locals (Germania, Kanonensteppel, Feuerraedchen).

Not as famous as "Alt-Sachs", but also well known, is Bornheim (located in the north) which has also some biergarden-like applewine establishments on 'Berger Straße' and the surrounding area. Some of the popular apple-wine places in Bornheim are Solzer, Zur Sonne and Zur Schoenen Muellerin.

Drinking apple wine: Most locals drink their apple wine with a dash of sparkling water. Just order a glass by asking for a "Sauergespritzte" or simply a "Sauer". You can also order a "Süßgespritzte", this is apple wine with a dash of lemonade though this might earn you some disapproving looks from the waiters and locals. If you are in a group you can also order a Bembel. This is a clay jug that comes in different sizes and keeps the apple wine cool. Try the local cider "Apfelwein", especially that made by Possmann. The "Frau Rauscher" edition has a pleasant natural taste with some yeast left into it.

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. If none of these works then Mannheim might be a last resort as it is 30mins by ICE high-speed train (but the train ticket is rather expensive unless bought in advance).

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. If you need to depart early or arrive very late then hotels around main station are a valid alternative to expensive airports hotels as it is just a 10 minutes ride from Terminal 1 by local train. See the Frankfurt Airport article for accommodation options in the vicinity of the airport.

Many of the hotels in Frankfurt are located around the Hauptbahnhof, but this is also the red light district in Frankfurt and is also known for the many beggars and druggies who hang around. Although the area is well policed and quite safe, many tourists are often left with a somewhat negative impression of Frankfurt after staying in this area.

Budget

Mid-range

The mid-range segment is the main battle ground between privately owned/run hotels and the major chain hotels (Mercure, Courtyard, Meininger etc.) During the weekends and at non trade fair dates substantial discounts are possible but vice-versa during trade fairs prices at least triple!

Frankfurter Hof

Splurge

Stay safe

Frankfurt has one of Germany's highest crime rates, though, in part, only for statistical reasons: 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. Furthermore if you count crime per person, you don't include a good chunk of people working but not living in Frankfurt.

Physical crime is in general concentrated in the red-light district around the central train station, which also is the hangout of many drug dealers/junkies, although even there you are usually save during the day and moderate evening hours. Frankfurt is safe and it is highly unlikely that you will face armed robbery or other violent crimes. Use your common sense and avoid drunken or aggressive people at night. In general, firearms are an uncommon sight in Germany and the police have a very no-nonsense approach to people wielding guns or even knives. If shots are fired, the police are never far away, as this very rarely happens.

If you have a problem or are being harassed, ask the police for help. The German police and the Frankfurt Ordnungsamt (City Enforcement Officers) are clean, competent and willing to help. Germany is very bureaucratic but structured; as long as you behave respectfully toward the police, you should have no problem. Don't consider buying and smuggling drugs, these are major offences with dire consequences. Lately, bogus police officers have been an issue. All real officers have a green card with photograph and number, and no officer will check cash. Ring 110 if you get any trouble.

Drugs and beggars

The central station area (Hauptbahnhof) is known for being a centre for homeless people and 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 €0.20 and two euro. One way to fend off beggars is just 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 mimic locals, as tourists are often regarded as more profitable targets for beggars. Some of these phrases would be hör 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.

Connect

Internet

There are a number of Internet cafés in Frankfurt of varying prices and quality. Free Wi-Fi at coffee shops is getting more and more common but most businesses require some purchases of food or the likes to get the code. La maison du pain offers Wi-Fi. Various other hotels offer Internet access but usually at a charge.

Burger King (cnr Liebfrauenstrasse / Holzgraben) near Hauptwache offers free Wi-Fi in its restaurant, as does Starbucks 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.

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

Cope

Embassies

Go next

Saalburg Main Gate near Bad Homburg

Hiking

If you're keen on hiking, head out to the nearby Taunus mountains, which are laced with walking trails and guesthouses, the Vogelsberg (an extinct volcano), or the Odenwald.

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