February 18, 2011 / 11:35 AM / 8 years ago

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Frankfurt

FRANKFURT (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to spend in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital?

The tents of a Christmas market are illuminated at Frankfurt's famous landmark "Roemer" November 25, 2009. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele

The city, dubbed “Mainhattan” after the skyscrapers dominating the skyline and the river Main flowing through its center, offers history and culture in addition to modern monuments to finance.

Compact in size, Frankfurt is ideal for an amble or a bicycle ride to catch an appreciation of its low-key lifestyle.

Reuters correspondents help you get the most out of a stay in Frankfurt.


6 p.m. Start your early evening stroll through the city at the Opera square.

The Alte Oper was inaugurated by Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany in 1880. The building was completely destroyed in 1944 and only reopened to the public in 1981. It no longer houses an opera company but regularly hosts concerts (If you think of catching a show, see www.alteoper.de). In winter, an ice rink in front of the opera is always great fun to visit.

From here you can see the very latest addition to Frankfurt skyline, the 170 m OpernTurm designed by Christoph Maeckler, across the street. Stop at the ground floor for a recently opened Manufactum store (www.manufactum.de) for vintage design and homeware.

Stroll along Fressgasse which leads from Opernplatz and Boersenstrasse. Take a break and have an aperitif in one of the many restaurants and bars or browse through the gourmet food shops. There are numerous street cafes which allow you to linger and watch the world go by. If you visit the town in June, make sure to check out the annual Fressgass’ festival, where barrels of Rheingau wine are being consumed.

7:30 p.m. In summer, don't miss the Long Island Summer Lounge -- with the city lacking a beach, they build one on the roof of a parking garage (www.longislandlounge.de). This is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink and allows you to admire the Frankfurt skyline at sunset.

8 p.m. For dinner, venture out to Gerbermuehle (www.gerbermuehle.de) on the banks of the river Main. In winter you can enjoy a cozy table next to the fireplace and relax in big leather armchairs. If the weather is warm, enjoy the outdoor terrace, one of the most beautiful spots in Frankfurt. Cuisine varies from continental European to local specialties -- don't miss the schnitzel with roast potatoes and cranberries.

Frankfurt-born author and one of Germany’s most famous sons Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited the estate for the first time in 1814 and subsequently spent almost a month there. If you wish to follow suit, book one of the five comfortable, trendy suites.

Or, if you prefer to have dinner in the city center, try Heimat on Berliner Strasse 70 (www.heimat-frankfurt.com), a contemporary restaurant offering local cooking.

10:30 p.m. If you feel like painting the town red, Cocoon Club is one of the most high-profile Techno, House and Electro clubs in Frankfurt, opened by the Omen-founder Sven Vaeth. It is renowned for its unusual spaceship design and state-of-the-art sound system. (www.cocoonclub.net)


10 a.m. After breakfast at your hotel, start your day with a sightseeing tour on a red double-decker bus. The multilingual city tour in 10 languages offers you interesting commentaries on the Main metropolis. Enjoy the sunshine and sights from a superb vantage point on the upper deck. Hop on and off as you please and discover the myriad aspects of Frankfurt.

11 a.m. Finish your bus tour at the Roemer, Frankfurt’s city hall. It is situated in the historical old town center where half-timbered houses, destroyed in World War II, have been rebuilt. The Roemer itself houses the office where Frankfurters tie the knot, which explains the numerous newlyweds you will come across.

From late November until December 22 the Frankfurt Christmas Market takes place on the Roemerberg, a tradition dating from 14th century. It includes tonnes of sausage, gingerbread and mulled wine. A guided tour takes you on the rooftop balustrade of St. Nicholas Church if a merry-go-round ride is not enough to make you feel a little dizzy.

If you can, squeeze in a quick visit to St. Leonhard's Church of the international English-speaking Catholic Parish in Alte Mainzer Gasse. It is a delightful church with many of the furnishings dating back to the 1800s. (www.stleonhards.org)

12 noon You cannot leave Frankfurt without having been to Kleinmarkthalle, the food hall for locals (www.kleinmarkthalle.de). Those keen on trying some German sausage should make a beeline to the stand of Ilse Schreiber, a permanent staple in the building since 1979. You cannot miss her little stall - there is always a queue!.

1 p.m. While you are in the area, you may wish to spend some time on Zeil, Frankfurt’s main shopping street, or on Goethestrasse, dotted with German and international luxury boutiques, for some shopping.

3 p.m. Exhausted from walking around all morning? Why not stop for a snack at Brot und seine Freunde (Bread and its friends) for homemade German bread as well as excellent cakes and coffee. (www.brotfreunde.de)

5 p.m. To round off your city tour, walk to Maintower and enjoy the view from the observation platform some 100 meters above the streets of Frankfurt. The bar and restaurant opens at 5:30 p.m. and is a lovely place to have a pre-dinner drink.

6:30 p.m. Time for a delicious dinner at Jasper's, a fantastic French restaurant hidden away in a backyard in Sachsenhausen (www.jaspers-restaurant.de).

8 p.m. Hop in a cab to attend a concert at the Schauspielhaus (www.schauspielfrankfurt.de) or a play at the English Theater which brings productions from Broadway and London's West End to Frankfurt. (www.english-theater.org.)

10:30 p.m. Night cap? Have a drink at the Brasserie & Wine Bar of the Flemings Hotel at Eschenheimer Tor. You can take the doorless Paternoster lift up there! It is an excellent spot to wind down and recall what you have seen. (here


9:30 a.m. Join the locals for breakfast at Cafe Karin at Grosser Hirschgraben near Hauptwache. It is a wonderful place to read the paper and to watch the crowds. Service is fantastic and breakfast comes at very reasonable prices.

10:30 a.m. Just across the road is one of the most wonderful museums of Frankfurt, the Goethe House, an absolute must-do. (www.goethehaus-frankfurt.de) It is the childhood home of Goethe, the author of ‘Faust’ and ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’. The house was built in typical 18th-century bourgeois style and is decorated with period furniture and paintings, providing an authentic and striking impression of the environment in which Goethe spent his youth. Don’t miss the antique grandfather clock on the second floor and the family’s library.

12 noon Head toward the Palmengarten, botanical garden dating back to 1868. It is set in the magnificent West End, the former Jewish quarter of Frankfurt with numerous villas and lovely quiet streets. The Palmengarten features 50 acres of interesting and beautiful plants and offers a variety of activities including guided tours, summer concerts, evening festivals and exhibitions. (www.palmengarten-frankfurt.de)

While there, try the pastry at Cafe Siesmayer, one of the best places in Frankfurt.

1:30 p.m. Head back to the Museumsufer for, yes, museums. Frankfurt's unique boulevard of museums offers cultural delicacies ranging from applied arts and architecture to film, fine arts, Jewish history, antique sculptures and much more. One of the most prominent museums is the Staedel, which includes work from Botticelli, Duerer, Picasso and Matisse. (www.staedelmuseum.de).

3 p.m. Make your way back into the old town to visit the Museum Judengasse (Museum Jewish Street) at the Boerneplatz, five minutes walk behind the Dome. The museum focuses on Jewish life in Frankfurt. If you leave your ID at the reception desk, you will receive the key to the attached cemetery (closed on Sabbath). Visit the graves of the most prominent permanent residents, including Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the founder of the Rothschild family international banking dynasty. (here)

4 p.m. To round off your visit, unwind at the Roemer to enjoy a glass of local apple wine, a typical drink in Frankfurt which gets served with pretzels.

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