Frankfurt is considered the heart of Europe for good reason. It’s a city known for exceptional art and history museums, impressive skyscrapers, as well as quaint, fun-loving neighbourhoods. Some of the best in the world, we reckon! A beautiful city, it is a scenic destination teeming with noteworthy attractions Frankfurt is famous for — they are both stunning and uncongested, unlike bustling locations such as Berlin. (Excessive crowds? No thanks!)
For those itching to travel overseas, rejoice in knowing that Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Germany was recently announced in August 2021! In case Frankfurt wasn’t on your radar before, we’ve gathered some of the best tourist attractions that are worth considering for a getaway, perfect to feed your wanderlust! While you’re at it, do check out our other articles that touches on some key travel tips when planning a trip to Germany, and how you can stay connected during your trip!
1. Admire masterful works of art at Städel Museum
What’s a trip to Frankfurt without a stop at a world-renowned art museum? Founded in 1815, Städel Museum holds 700 years’ worth of European art from the early 14th century to the present all under one roof. That too, within the masterful architecture Germany has to offer.
Daunting as it might seem, you don’t have to be an art buff to appreciate the pieces — it's fascinating enough that works of famous artists such as Monet, Picasso and Ernst can be found there. Altogether, the place encompasses 3,100 paintings, 660 sculptures, 4,600 photographs and more than 100,000 worth of drawings and prints!
To name a few must-sees amongst the wide collection: Portrait of Fernande Olivier by Picasso, Oberon by Georg Baselitz and Lucca Madonna by Jan Van Eyck. These are highlights of masters that opt various art styles, spanning modern to contemporary. Besides those, two cafes and a bookshop are also located on-site where you can take a breather (or purchase gifts like art books and prints) after soaking up all that artsy goodness.
In addition, Städel hosts uniquely special exhibitions every year. These events — such as photography displays, interactive guided tours and VR glasses — are designed to delight people of all ages.
Address: Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Operating Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday, Friday to Sunday — 10:00am to 6:00pm, Thursday — 10:00am to 9:00pm
Admission Fee: €14 (S$22) (Tuesday to Sunday). However, prices may vary during exhibitions. Please check the website before visiting.
2. Uncover Earth’s biodiversity at Senckenberg Natural History Museum
Home to the world’s largest collection of stuffed birds with extensive exhibits showcasing our planet’s rich biodiversity, the Senckenberg Museum is perfect for not only history buffs but families too.
As you step into the main entrance, you’d be greeted by a life-sized replica of the Tyrannosaurus Rex! A great introduction to one of the more modern museums of natural history in Europe, and one of the largest in Germany.
You’d get to learn more about the evolution of organisms here — anything from mammals to insects and fishes, and even stumble upon a large gallery of dinosaur statues that take you back to primitive times. Once inside, keep a lookout for wall-mounted fossil displays like the Plateosaurus and Psittacosaurus, as well as a collection of dinosaur eggs.
This year, the museum also unveiled their new themed room “Coral Reef” as part of their recent remodelling project. That means an opportunity for more exploration; this time with the added diversity of brilliantly coloured installations of more than 3,000 sea life exhibits, including reef dwellers like porcupinefish and a school of whitetip reef sharks.
Address: Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Operating Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday — 9:00am to 5:00pm, Wednesday — 9.00am to 8:00pm, Saturday and Sunday — 9:00am to 6:00pm
Admission Fee: €12 (S$19)
3. Explore the birthplace of a renowned poet at Goethe House and Museum
The Goethe house: birthplace of Germany’s most famous author and poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, can be found right in Frankfurt. This 18th-century townhouse presents itself in bourgeois style, painting a vivid picture of Goethe’s youth. This is where Goethe grew up with his parents and sister, after all. Not just a tourist attraction — it is a timeless architectural wonder!
After being destroyed in World War II, the building was restored as closely as possible to its original condition; making it an important memorial place dedicated to the German poet who had a great cultural influence in the 19th century. In fact, his writings and philosophic ideas spurred the development of many great thinkers, including the psychologist Carl Jung.
On each floor of the building, you’ll find notable paintings and pictures which highlight the writer’s relationship to art, as well as old furniture including the desk at which Goethe wrote books like The Sorrows of Young Werther and Faust.
Address: Großer Hirschgraben 23-25, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Operating Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesday, Friday to Saturday: 10:00am to 6:00pm, Thursday: 10:00am to 9:00pm. Hours may differ. Please call before visiting.
Admission Fee: €10 (S$16)
4. Dive into Roman’s imperial past at Frankfurt Cathedral
The Roman Frankfurt Cathedral (its full name: St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral), is another must-visit historic site in Germany. Standing at 95m tall, the tower was built of red sandstone between the 13th and 15th centuries. It also served as the site of coronation crowning for Holy Roman emperors for 300 whole years! This makes it one of the oldest Churches and an important landmark of Imperial history, definitely one of the world’s most beautiful places. Fix up your monopod for this one — you can’t leave without some extravagant snaps of this marvellous architecture. Even if you’re sightseeing around the city, you won’t be able to miss this!
For the best view of Frankfurt’s sprawling metropolis, we’d recommend climbing 328 steps up the tower. Beyond the city’s beautiful landscapes from the cathedrals vantage point, however, are furnishings found within the sacred building. Among the many artistic treasures to view: Antonius van Dyck’s Painting by the Lamentation of Christ and the skull shrine of St. Bartholomew — the holy Apostle the Cathedral is named after.
Address: Domplatz 1, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, Saturday — 9:00am to 12:00pm, 1:15pm to 8:00pm, Friday — 1:15pm to 8:00pm, Sunday — 1:00pm to 8:00pm
Admission Fee: €3 (S$5) for adults, 19 and above, €2(S$3) for children, 18 and younger
5. Soak in the vibrant festivities at Römerberg
At the heart of Alstadt (Frankfurt’s old town), you’ll find Römerberg — an iconic public square. This town centre has been used as a city hall since the Middle Ages, attracting visiting merchants from all over Europe. It has borne witness to numerous Imperial coronations, trade fairs and Christmas markets swarming with delicacies like hot apple wine.
You’ll find small, independent shops on nearby streets selling local artisan products, or fresh produce like local meats and cheeses at the farmer’s markets too. Its surrounding buildings are designed in a half-timbered, medieval architectural style, akin to film sets. It looks even more magical at night when the area is lit up – perfect for sightseeing!
Keep your eyes peeled while exploring too — standing in the middle of the square is the majestic Fountain of Justice (also known as Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen). This bronze monument dates back to 1543. It depicts Justitia, the Roman goddess of justice brandishing swords and scales.
All that exploring will definitely leave you feeling peckish. Be sure to check out nearby eateries like the Salzkammer Restaurant for some traditional cuisines! Savour the Kaiserschmarrn, a caramelised shredded pancake, or Schnitzel, a hearty meat dish with cranberry sauce, fried potatoes, beef broth and liver dumplings.
Address: Romerberg, 60311 Frankfurt, Germany
6. Take a long stroll across the historic Eiserner Steg
The famous iron and concrete footbridge — Eiserner Steg — is one of the most popular photo opportunity spots amongst many tourist attractions here. It’s built over the main river, connecting the old town of Frankfurt with the Sachsenhausen district of Germany.
Considering how Frankfurt is a great city to explore on foot, this bridge is easily crossed by over 10,000 pedestrians each day, both by tourists and backpackers like you. Some of you may know of the iconic love lock bridge located at Namsan Seoul Tower, but did you know that a similar one can be found at Eiserner Steg? Just like how it is in Korea, here’s where you can find tons of locks interlinked with one another as a couple’s symbol of eternal love. Maybe propose to your better half right here?
And if you’re intending to, don’t forget to travel down with a beautiful set of jewellery for the lady, or a luxury men’s watch for the beau.
Though Eiserner Steg has been in place since 1868, it has undergone multiple changes along the years — from structural upgrades for higher load, to elevators and ramps for easy access, as well as a refurbishment after it was blown up by the Wehrmacht (United Armed Forces of Nazi Germany) in the last days of World War II.
Address: Eiserner Steg, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
7. Be amongst lush, diverse nature at Palmengarten
After all that historical heaviness, why not explore Palmengarten for a chill afternoon stroll, or even have a picnic under the sun? Covering a vast surface of 22ha, this is one of the two largest botanical gardens in Frankfurt. A wonderful location to take the kids to, this garden will offer families quality respite away from the city.
Bursting with vibrant blooms, it’s home to 13,000 species of plants — tropical and subtropical trees, orchids and ferns that are all housed according to climatised greenhouses.
In the garden’s palm house, take a walk through a lush jungle of shrubs before stumbling upon a steamy rainforest and even mangrove swamps. Walking might be fun, but one of the better ways to explore the garden is through the Palmen-express — a miniature railway within the garden’s grounds which you can hop on for a tour.
Address: Palmengarten der Stadt, Siesmayerstraße 63, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Operating Hours: February to October — 9:00am to 7:00pm daily, November to January — 9:00am to 4:00pm daily
Admission Fee: €7 (S$11), for adults. €2 (S$3), for children aged between 6 to 13. Family rates are available too. Please visit the website for more information.
8. Hop on Frankfurt’s railway for a short trip to neighbouring cities
On top of all the tourist attractions within Frankfurt itself, the city also offers a speedy train network that easily connects travellers to other must-see destinations for a day’s retreat. Frankfurt’s railway is a major station and one of the busiest hubs in Germany, so why not hop on for a ride? If you’re a backpacker, this is going to be your favourite mode of transport.
Having said that, do note that Covid measures and restrictions may vary between cities, so we’d recommend checking the necessary regulations before embarking on your journey. The 3G rule — geimpft (vaccinated), genesen (recovered) and getestet (tested), applies in most regions but not all. Hamburg, for instance, adopts the 2G rule where a test result isn’t required. All in all, it’s crucial to adhere to the differing rules for a hassle-free time.
With as little as four hours by train, you’d reach Berlin — Germany’s capital and urban centre. Another great one to visit is the major city of Cologne (known to locals as Köln). Located Northwest of Frankfurt, it only takes between one hour to an hour and a half by train. Prices start from €17.90 (S$28), depending on which class of seat you prefer.
While in Cologne, do stop by the lovely town of Limburg, or wander the scenic botanical garden at your leisure. You can even have your own Charlie and The Chocolate Factory experience by satisfying your sweet tooth at the Cologne Chocolate Museum!
We’d also recommend a fuss-free 40-minute train ride to Mainz. Prices start at €9.40 (S$15). This is a gorgeous cobbled Old Town built on the site of a Roman citadel. Here, you can also visit the homely wine taverns like the Weinhaus Zum Spiegel and find local specialities like Spundekäse (a cream cheese dip with pretzels).
Address: Frankfurt (Main) Central Station, Im Hauptbahnhof 60329 Frankfurt am Main Germany
Stay safe when travelling to Frankfurt by taking note of the following:
- Wearing a mask is obligatory in public spaces whenever the minimum distance of 1.50m cannot be held.
- Only those with proof (vaccination, recovered or tested negative) admitted to indoor, leisure activities, as well as outdoor events.
- Dine-in is allowed under the following conditions: Provision of proof, contact details, distanced seating.
- Overnight stays are permitted only with proof.
Stay updated with the prevailing rules and regulations of Frankfurt here and here.
Frankfurt is commonly named ‘‘The Manhattan of Germany’ for its lively social scene, buzzing museums and historical landmarks that boast remarkable architecture. Even a road trip from one city to another will offer you mind blowing scenic views — it’ll awe anyone, from the young to the old.
It’s been a while since we boarded a plane to a far-flung place; let alone one that’s quarantine-free. Wouldn’t a trip to one of the most culturally enriching places in the world sound heavenly?
For those open to an alternative destination, check out what you can find in Munich too! Unlike a year ago, the option to visit is open to those who want it today. If anything, it’s the wanderlust’s dream.
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Best time to visit
Visit Frankfurt between April to September to enjoy milder temperatures and more sunny days. If you’re visiting gardens like the Palmengarten, you can admire them in their gorgeously green glory.
Travelling around Frankfurt is easy with the railway system. Alternatively, you can rent a car if you prefer road trips as long as you have a valid driver’s license.
The currency used in Germany is the Euro. While payments can be made by card in many places, most Germans still prefer to use cash — even in Berlin, you can see “Cash Only” signs hanging in front of shops and restaurants across the city. If in need of cash, ATMs are called Geldautomat, and can normally be found inside or outside bank branches.