Frankfurt is a city ripe with culture, restaurants, history, and the center of banking and business in Europe. While Frankfurt lacks the charm of Munich, Cologne, or Berlin, the city deserves more than its use as just a stopover destination that most travelers use it for.
Eat dinner at one of their famous cider houses, experience the flavor of Frankfurt’s local dishes, relax at a beer garden, spend the afternoon at one of the free parks, or soak up the city’s history in a museum.
Spend a few days here.
This Frankfurt travel guide will give you all the practical information you need to help you plan your visit!
Table of Contents
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Frankfurt
1. Visit the Dom
2. Visit the Städel-Museum
3. Explore the Römerberg
4. Relax in the City Forest
5. Visit Offenbach
Other Things to See and Do in Frankfurt
1. Cross the Eiserner Steg
Otherwise known as the Iron Bridge, this pedestrian neo-Gothic bridge connecting the downtown core to Sachsenhausen was built in 1869 and provides unique views of the city from over the river.
2. Eat and drink in Sachsenhausen
South of the main river, Sachsenhausen has many of the best cider taverns and pubs in the city. After visiting some of these pubs, take a stroll along the Main River and enjoy the view. Sachsenhausen is also known for Museumsufer — a row of museums along the river with themes exploring the arts, architecture, and Jewish history.
3. Spend the day at the Palmengarten
This is Frankfurt’s botanical garden, and is the largest of its kind in Germany. The Palm Garden is especially worth exploring for its enormous collection of native, tropical, and subtropic plantlife. Moreover, the gardens also offer lots of activities year-round, including concerts and guided tours. It’s €5 EUR ($5.50 USD) to visit.
4. Walk around the Bornheim
Bornheim has some wonderful medieval-style houses that survived WWII. Since so much of the city was destroyed in the war, is your only chance to see what the city looked like before everything crumbled. The city’s longest street, Berger Strasse, is Bornheim’s commercial hub, and it’s chock full of restaurants, wine bars, boutique shops, and bars.
5. Stroll through the Frankfurt Book Fair
Held in the middle of October for nearly 500 years ago, this fair is considered the largest event in the publishing industry. Publishers, writers ,and creative professionals from all over the world come here to hold discussions, network, and celebrate the written word. It’s a week-long affair, but it’s only open to the public during the last two days. A day ticket is €22 EUR ($24 USD).
6. Climb the Main Tower
You’ll get the most rewarding view over Frankfurt from the top of the 56-story Main Tower, the only high rise that’s open to the public. Named for the Main river, from here you can take the elevator up to a viewing platform overlooking Frankfurt’s skyline. Tickets to the observation deck are €7.50 EUR ($8.25 USD).
7. Visit Goethe House
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is considered Germany’s most important writer, and he was born in Frankfurt in 1749. Destroyed during WWII, the Goethe House was restored with its original furniture, paintings, and books that belonged to the family. You can also see his writing desk, where he wrote The Sorrows of Young Werther here. Admission is €7 EUR ($7.70 USD).
8. Visit Senckenberg Museum
The Senckenberg Museum is a treasure trove of natural history artifacts, with everything from fossils to Egyptian mummies to dinosaur skeletons. One of the most amazing pieces here is a fossil with a bit of preserved scaly skin attached to it. It costs €10 EUR ($11 USD) to visit.
9. Check out the DialogMuseum
The DialogMuseum is easily one of the most unique museums in Germany. Rather than visiting a museum to view exhibits, this museum invites you to navigate the world as a blind or visually-impaired person. You’ll be taken on a one-hour tour through four completely pitch-black rooms to experience what it’s like to live without any visual cues, relying on other senses to get you through. Note: At the time of writing this, the museum has temporarily closed. It’s expected to reopen before the end of 2019 in a new location.
Frankfurt Travel Costs
Hostel prices – A bed in a four to six bed dorm will cost about €27 EUR ($30 USD) per night while one with eight beds or more will cost around €18 EUR ($20 USD) per night.
A basic twin private room with an ensuite bathroom costs about €60 EUR ($65 USD) per night for one person. A standard double private room with an ensuite bathroom is about €73 EUR ($80 USD) for two people.
Budget hotel prices – Nightly rates for a budget two-star hotel room with a private ensuite bathroom start at about €91 EUR ($100 USD).
Airbnb is available everywhere in Frankfurt, with shared accommodation (like a bed in a dorm) starting at €32 EUR ($35 USD) per night. For a private room, expect to pay from €55 EUR ($50 USD) per night, while a full apartment averages about €105 EUR ($115 USD) per night.
Average cost of food – Frankfurt has tons of cheap food options, and you’ll find currywurst and frankfurters everywhere for less than €4 EUR ($4.40 USD), while a hearty plate of fries is less about €6 EUR ($7 USD). A traditional meal of a half chicken at a cider taverna will cost from €11 EUR ($12 USD), while a glass of cider to go with it is about €2 EUR ($2.20 USD).
A meal at McDonald’s will cost about €8 EUR ($9 USD). At a mid-range restaurant, a sandwich or German savory pancakes cost between €7.50-10 ($8-11 USD). A big bowl of salad is €8.50 ($9.50 USD).
A set six-course menu at a gourmet restaurant will start from €96 EUR ($105 USD), including traditional German food like schnitzel. A single entree may cost as much as €35 EUR ($38 USD) for a duck breast. A beer to go with it will cost about €4 EUR ($4.40 USD).
If you cook for yourself, you can spend as little as €45 EUR ($50 USD) on groceries per week, which would include some meat, bread, eggs, rice/pasta, some veggies, and fruit.
Backpacking Frankfurt Suggested Budgets
If you’re backpacking Frankfurt, my suggested budget is around €46 EUR ($51 USD) per day. This budget will cover a hostel dorm, public transportation, cheap eats, cooking some of your meals, and visiting about one attraction per day.
A mid-range budget of about €120 EUR ($132 USD) will cover staying in a two-star budget hotel or a private Airbnb room, eating out for all of your meals, rent a back, take a paid tour, or see as many attractions as you want.
For a luxury budget of about €256 EUR ($281 USD) or more per day, you’ll get a nice four-star hotel, any meal you want, all the drinks, taxis, and attractions you want too. With this number as your floor, the sky is the limit!
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in USD.
Frankfurt Travel Guide: Money Saving Tips
With a few extra measures, you can turn Frankfurt into a more affordable city to visit. Here are some suggested ways to save money in Frankfurt:
- Purchase a Museumsufer ticket – For those of you that love checking out museums, this two-day pass will save you tons of money. Costing €21 EUR ($23 USD), this card guarantees you access to 34 museums in and around Frankfurt. That also includes any special exhibitions.
- Purchase a Frankfurt Card – Another alternative is the Frankfurt Card which gives you free travel on all public transport (including the airport) as well as up to 50% discounts on tours, museums, and other attractions. You can get a one-day card for €10.50 EUR ($11.50 USD), or a two-day card for €15.50 EUR ($17 USD).
- Take a free walking tour – Frankfurt’s Free Alternative Walking Tour is a great way to see the city while learning about its history. The tour doesn’t just cover the main sites but delves into detail about the growth, development, and change of the city itself. The Frankfurt Free Tour will give you a better overview of the historic center.
- Couchsurf – If you want to save money on accommodation while getting some insight from the locals, try Couchsurfing. It’s a great way to meet people in the city and discover some off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Where To Stay in Frankfurt
Frankfurt has lots of clean and comfortable hostels, especially in the city center. Here are some of my suggested places to stay in Frankfurt:
How to Get Around Frankfurt
Train – Like other German cities, Frankfurt is well connected by its subway (the U-Bahn) and its above-ground rail system (the S-Bahn). A single ticket is €2.75 EUR ($3 USD) and is good for up to 60 minutes, or you can get a short distance ticket (for journeys less than two kilometers) for €2.05 EUR ($2.25 USD). You can purchase tickets at the station or with the RMV-App. Always keep your ticket on you as random checks on the train are very common.
A day ticket with unlimited travel costs €5.35 EUR ($6 USD). If you’re in a group, take advantage of the all-day group ticket for up to five people for €11.30 EUR ($12.40 USD). It’s €16.60 EUR ($18 USD), including the airport. A weekly pass costs €25.70 EUR ($28.20 USD), including the airport.
You can use your tickets across the train, tram, and bus network.
Tram – Ticket prices for trams are the same for the train and bus system, and usually you’ll have to buy onboard the tram (or at kiosks next to specific tram stops).
Bus – Buses will get you to anywhere you need to go, especially where the trains and trams don’t go. Ticket prices are the same as the trains and trams and can be used interchangeably. You can buy tickets at kiosks next to the bus stop.
Bicycle – Bicycle rentals are plentiful in Frankfurt, with daily rates starting at about €15 EUR ($16.50 USD) per day. Try a company like Call a Bike or nextbike, which both have docking stations all over the city.
Taxi – A base fare for a taxi in Frankfurt is €3.50 EUR ($4 USD), with each additional kilometer costing €2 EUR ($2.20 USD) per kilometer for the first 15 kilometers. After that, it’s €1.75 EUR ($1.90 USD) for every subsequent kilometer. A 10-kilometer journey should cost no more than €24 EUR ($26 USD).
Ridesharing – Uber is available in Frankfurt. You can save $15 off your first Uber ride with this code: jlx6v.
When to Go to Frankfurt
Like the rest of Germany, Frankfurt’s winters can be harsh, with temperatures dropping to 34°F (1°C) some days. The city experiences some snowfall, and the Christmas markets throughout November and December are magical.
Summer is peak season, especially throughout July and August. The average daily temperatures are in the high 70s°F (upper 20s°C), and days are sunny and bright. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with lots of other tourists, but there are always fun festivals and events happening during this time.
Spring (April to May) and autumn (October to the November) are both shoulder seasons that bring cooler temperatures, sunny days, and fewer tourist crowds. If you want to take advantage of lower room rates and more a more laidback vibe, this is the best time to visit Frankfurt!
How to Stay Safe in Frankfurt
Frankfurt is very safe to visit, but like all big cities you should stay alert for pick-pocketing. At night it’s best to avoid the areas around the Hauptbahnhof, Konstablerwache, and Hauptwache.
If you’re worried about getting scammed, you can read about the 14 travel scams to avoid right here.
Remember: always trust your gut instinct. Avoid isolated areas at night, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID, and don’t keep a lot of valuables on you.
And be sure to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.
Frankfurt Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel to Frankfurt. They are included here because they consistently find deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and, overall, are better than their competitors. They are the ones I use the most and are always the starting points in my search for travel deals.
- Momondo – This is my favorite booking site. I never book a flight without checking here first.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is another great flight search engine which searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I use this site too as a way to compare prices.
- Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments. (If you’re new to Airbnb, get $35 off your first stay!)
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there, with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Couchsurfing – This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can tell you the ins and outs of their city. The site also lists events you can attend to meet people (even if you’re not staying with someone).
- Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have a no money down policy, great interface, and the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- Intrepid Travel – If you want to do a group tour around the Caribbean, go with Intrepid Travel. They offer good small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. And, as a reader of this site, you’ll get exclusive discounts when you click the link!
- Rail Europe – If you are going to Europe and taking a lot of high speed or long distance trains, get a rail pass. I’ve used a rail pass three times and saved hundreds of dollars each time. The math just works.
- Rome 2 Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
- EatWith – This website allows you to eat home-cooked meal with locals. Locals post listings for dinner parties and specialty meals that you can sign up for. There is a fee (everyone sets their own price), but this is a great way to do something different, pick a local’s brain, and make a new friend.
Frankfurt Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading to Frankfurt, here are my suggestions for the best travel backpack and tips on what to pack for your trip.
The Best Backpack for Frankfurt
Straps: Thick and cushy with compression technology that pulls the pack’s load up and inwards so it doesn’t feel as heavy.
Features: Removable top lid, large pocket at the front, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Frankfurt
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
- 5 T-shirts
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel
Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)
- A key or combination lock (safety first)
- Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for laundry)
- Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
- LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)
Female Travel Packing List
I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what a woman wears, but Kristin Addis, our solo female travel guru, wrote this list as an addition to the basics above:
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sarong
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 long-sleeve tops
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease-free in between washes)
- 1 hairbrush
- Makeup you use
- Hair bands & hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)
For more on packing, check out these posts:
Frankfurt Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
When in Germany, Do as the Germans Do, by Hyde Flippo
This light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek read will have you feeling confident about fitting into Germany! (Or at least you’ll have some good laughs in the process.) It’s like a crash course in German tradition and customs so you can navigate Munich (and the rest of the country) without embarrassment. Topics include appropriate small talk subjects, how to tell the difference between sausages, and also more practical things like what to do in case of an emergency.
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
This book was an instant classic when it came out, and now it’s a movie. It’s about Liesel Meminger, a young girl living just outside of Munich in 1939. Nazi Germany is in full force, and little Liesel manages to keep herself alive by stealing. There’s one thing she can’t resist, though: books. She learns to read and then shares her stolen books with neighbors during air raids…as well as the Jewish man hidden in her basement. This book will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.
The Tin Drum, by Günter Grass
The Tin Drum is a huge deal in Germany, and it’s definitely considered a classic there. In short, it’s about Oskar Matzerath: a young boy who stops growing when he’s a child and takes up drumming instead. This is Oskar’s narration from an insane asylum as he recounts his life of a young boy who stands up against the Nazis – armed only with his tin drum and his piercing voice. Using his drum, he recalls memories from the past – including the strange death of his mother, and his equally strange deaths of his father(s). It’s dark, twisted, and so very weird.
Two Brothers, by Ben Elton
This is the heart-wrenching story of two brothers growing up under the shadow of the Nazi regime. Both born in Berlin in the 1920s, the boys are raised by the same parents…but one is Jewish, and his adopted brother is German. This doesn’t matter to the two boys at first, but as the Nazis grow in strength, the boys and their family are forced to make some difficult decisions with terrible consequences. Two Brothers is a really unusual book about Nazi Germany and makes for a great travel read.
Alone in Berlin, by Hans Fallada
Here is one of my favorite reads from a German author. It follows the story of Otto, an ordinary, play-by-the-rules kind of guy who lives in a rundown apartment with his dear wife and tries to stay out of trouble with the Nazis. When he learns his only son has died in combat, his grief turns to resistance: he starts dropping anonymous postcards defaming Hitler all over Berlin. He knows he faces execution if he’s found out, but he doesn’t stop. A Gestapo officer Escherich catches wind of the postcards and sets out to find the perpetrator. This is a real page turner!
My Must Have Guides for Traveling to Frankfurt
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Frankfurt Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Germany and continue planning your trip: