Your guide for things to do in Frankfurt for a day or a layover trip.
It was my birthday and we landed in Frankfurt after an overnight flight from Toronto. Who decides to fly on their birthday? Well, technically, we left on the day before my birthday. I had the grand idea of starting our two-week Europe trip on my birthday, arriving in a new city. But, as you know, travel doesn’t always go smoothly.
Our flight was delayed, it was nearly impossible to sleep on the plane for a variety of reasons, and it seemingly took forever to collect our luggage and take the train into Frankfurt. With a flight that was supposed to arrive in Germany at 9:00am, we finally reached our hotel room by about 1:00pm, far later than we anticipated. However, by the time we reached our hotel, we immediately felt right at home in Frankfurt and couldn’t wait to make the most of our short trip there.
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FRANKFURT IN A DAY
Is it possible to see Frankfurt in a day? I always recommend that you spend as long as possible in each country, city, or town. A day is never enough. But, it isn’t always possible to stay longer. One day is better than nothing! Sometimes you can cover a lot of ground, even just in a few hours. In our case, we only had two weeks in Europe and a whole bunch of places we wanted to visit.
I can’t say that Frankfurt was initially high on my list of cities to see. I really didn’t know much about Frankfurt in comparison to popular destinations like Berlin or Munich. With that said, I’m really glad that our flight brought us to Frankfurt. Not only did we check out a brand new city, but we totally loved our time there and feel that we need to come back to see more.
I’d like to suggest a few things to do in Frankfurt for a day, whether you’re spending the night or you have a lengthy layover.
From the Frankfurt airport (FRA), it was easy to get into town. Purchase a train ticket from the airport to Frankfurt (Main) station. The ride takes about 15 minutes. From there, you can easily walk to wherever you need to go. In our case, the hotel was a little too far to walk with a bunch of luggage in tow, so we took a cab to our accommodation. Please note that Uber or Lyft does not operate in Frankfurt.
WHERE TO STAY
Justin and I spent one night at the artsy 25Hours Hotel The Goldman in the Ostend neighbourhood. This one-of-a-kind hotel reflects the creative nature of the Ostend. Splashes of colour and intriguing art covers nearly every inch of the walls. Staying at this hotel was like staying at a modern art museum. I adored walking its hallways and public spaces to discover and read the messages on every framed print.
We felt right at home for the night in our room. Even the pillows read, “Almost home.” Each room has an individual design and its own unique artwork. There’s also a comfortable bed, a desk, and other extras that you don’t typically find at accommodations. For instance, the rooms have UE Boom Bluetooth Speakers so you can listen to your favourite tunes as you would at home. There’s a desk that’s great to work from, as well as high speed complimentary Wi-Fi.
In addition, the hotel offers bicycle rentals to its guests and even the free rental of MINI cars, upon availability. We didn’t take advantage of the car or bicycle rental, but both offer brilliant ways to get around town.
You can even purchase a variety of swag and curated gifts from the hotel lobby. It’s right next to the hotel bar, which serves up drinks and small bites. We ordered some locally brewed beer in the evening to celebrate our arrival in Germany…and my birthday! We recommend that you come back to the hotel bar in the evening to enjoy a beverage before retreating back to your room.
To get to the centre of town, you can take the subway from the station Ostbahnhof/Honsellstraße, about a ten minute walk away. We also walked from the hotel to the historic city centre, which took about 30 minutes.
Interested in staying at the 25Hours Hotel The Goldman? Book your stay quickly and easily online. Be sure to check out some additional reviews by trusted travellers, too. If you’d like to stay somewhere close to the main train station, we recommend that you check out the 25Hours Hotel by Levi’s as it is around the corner from Frankfurt Main (read reviews of this property).
The first spot to check out on our list of things to do in Frankfurt for a day was the public square, Römerberg. The square faces the medieval building, Römer, the home of Frankfurt’s city hall for over 600 years. Römerberg is the heart of Frankfurt’s old town and shouldn’t be missed.
I’m in love with half-timbered structures, and you’ll find a whole row of them here. They were reconstructed after WWII to appear as they did back in the medieval time period. If you’re here over Christmastime, Römerberg is where you’ll find Frankfurt’s Christmas market.
CROSS THE EISERNER STEG
The Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge) is a footbridge across the river Main. Admiring the views from the Eiserner Steg is an iconic thing to do in Frankfurt. Be sure to snap a few selfies, whether it’s with the river and the church in the background or the row of skyscrapers on the opposite side, affectionately known as “Mainhatten.”
There are also thousands of love locks attached all over the bridge. Whether you’re a fan of these declarations of love or not, it brings a splash of colour to the stark, iron structure.
STROLL BY THE RIVER MAIN
Now that you’re across the bridge, go for a walk along the river. There’s a lovely path lined with trees that runs right beside it. We walked a big loop from one side of the river to the other, taking in the pretty waterfront views.
STOP FOR A COFFEE
If you’ve just flown a number of hours overseas or you’re taking in the sights on a layover, chances are you might need a pick me up. That’s what caffeine is for, right? There are a number of quaint cafes in Frankfurt serving up rich and flavourful brews. We stopped at The Holy Cross Brewing Society because they had a little patio of picnic tables out front, perfect for people watching. They’re right in Old Town, too. And their coffee was just what I needed!
FRANKFURT BOAT CRUISE
Looking for another perspective? Take a boat cruise on the River Main. This scenic one-hour tour will provide some stunning scenery of the city, and you might learn a thing or two, too!
HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS
Even though they might appear a little touristy on the surface, a Hop-On Hop-Off bus is an easy way to see major attractions all over the city at a low price. Board a comfortable double-decker bus to visit notable spots all over town with insightful commentary. Hop off the bus wherever you’d like to get a closer look.
The Frankfurt Card is an excellent way to make the most of your time in the city and save some money. The card offers free public transportation, even from the airport. You also receive discounts at major attractions, museums, tours, restaurants, shopping, and more. You get up to 50% off at more than 20 museums. The Frankfurt Card is available as a one or two day ticket, depending on how long you’ll spend in the city. We highly recommend the Frankfurt Card, especially if you plan to use public transit, check out any museums, or take any sightseeing tours. Please note that the Frankfurt Card offers a 20% discount off the Hop-On Hop-Off tour, too!
DINNER AT VEVAY
We highly recommend dining at Vevay, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant right in Old Town. There are a variety of healthy and tasty selections on the menu, and they’re clearly marked as vegan or vegetarian. Justin ordered the Udon noodles (fresh vegetables, enoki mushrooms, ginger and lemongrass soy sauce) and I got the Lukewarm Rice Noodle Salad with Tofu. They both tasted so yummy. My dish caught the eye of the couple dining next to us. She immediately asked what we ordered and then proceeded to also order the rice noodle dish.
We both thought it was a good idea to order fruit smoothies to get an extra dose of vitamins after a lack of sleep. And it was my birthday so I had to order a slice of their vegan hazelnut cake! Everything here tasted so fresh and delicious, and I feel like you can’t go wrong ordering any of the meals at Vevay.
Would you like to see more photos of Frankfurt, Germany? Check out our Frankfurt travel photo album. You can purchase prints of photos, housewares, canvas photographs, and more directly from our photography page.
What I loved most about Frankfurt was the history, the walkability, and the laid back environment. It’s easy to relax near the river to take in the views or sit at a quiet cafe with a book. There’s a good selection of vegan restaurants, including one right in town. Frankfurt is a city with history, art, and culture. Get out there and see as much of this great metropolis as you can, even if you only visit for a day.
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Have you ever visited Frankfurt, Germany?