A Few Hours in Frankfurt
Technically known as Frankfurt am Main, the city of Frankfurt is the financial center of Germany, and home to more than 650,000 residents. Situated along the beautiful Main (pronounced mine) River, Frankfurt is an ideal embarkation and disembarkation port for river cruises, thanks to its modern amenities and sprawling International airport.
Unlike many European cities, Frankfurt is also notable for its modern skyline, with 12 towers taller than 492 feet, compared to London’s 10.
Before the Second World War, Frankfurt had one of the largest and most well-preserved medieval town centers in Germany. Severe bombing during the war, however, left the city virtually destroyed, and modern Frankfurt was gradually rebuilt.
Today, Frankfurt is a powerhouse of economic activity and is home to more than 300 national and international financial institutions. Major trade shows and events are also held here, including the world’s largest automotive show and the world’s largest music fair.
If Prague represents a shining example of medieval Europe, Frankfurt is a pristine example of the modern version.
Getting To Frankfurt
International visitors will likely arrive at Frankfurt Airport (Flughafen Frankfurt am Main), seven miles from the city center. Well over 200 nonstop destinations are served here, many by national carrier Lufthansa.
Direct North American flights are also operated by Air Canada, American Airlines, Continental/United, Delta, and US Airways.
All Star Alliance carriers, including Lufthansa, operate out of Terminal 1. Other carriers, including those in the Skyteam and Oneworld alliances, utilize Terminal 2.
Once on the ground, getting into Frankfurt is a snap thanks to the S-Bahn train, which whisks passengers along the S8/S9 lines from the Airport Station in Terminal 1 to the city’s central Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof station in about 15 minutes.
Your River Cruise Ship Docks…
River cruise ships calling on Frankfurt dock at a dedicated port area near the city center. Consider making use of the excellent public transportation, including the S-Bahn, in order to maximize your time here.
When in Frankfurt…
Don’t be fooled by Frankfurt’s modern appearance; there’s an incredible amount of things to see and do during your time here – so much so, in fact, that river cruisers may want to plan additional pre-or-post cruise stays here in order to better experience this fascinating German city.
- For something to do without venturing too far from your ship, a walk along the River Main may be in order. Plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants are located along the banks, as well as numerous parks and green spaces.
- Those looking to see what remains of historic Frankfurt will want to visit the Römerberg, the historic city hall square. Originally developed in 1405, the square was subsequently destroyed in World War II and later rebuilt. Today, it is an excellent example of medieval Frankfurt.
- The Old Opera House (Alte Oper) is another attraction worth seeing. Originally built in 1880, the opera house was a major source of culture until it was almost destroyed in World War II. The building sat in a semi-ruined state until 1981, when it was full restored. Today, operatic performances are held here once again.
- Shoppers will want to head over to the Zeil, Frankfurt’s main shopping street. Open only to pedestrians, the number of shops here is staggering. At Christmas, the Zeil plays host to one of the largest Christmas Markets in Germany.
- Those looking for a quick, but decidedly local, bite to eat might want to try The Best Worscht In Town, a German fast-food chain specializing in beef sausages. The catch? Many of these are incredibly spicy – in fact, the chain holds special eating competitions to see who can stomach their most daring creations. Non-spicy variants are also available.
- Thirteen Museums in Frankfurt are conveniently located along the banks of the River Main, making them easily accessible to river cruisers. In fact, this entire “museum row” is referred to as Museumsufer, and can be a great way to spend your time ashore.
River Cruisers Should Know!
- English is widely spoken throughout Frankfurt – though a pleasant Guten Tag still goes a long way.
- The Euro is the official currency of Germany. Other currencies can be exchanged at major banks and financial institutions.
- As with most large municipalities, crime can be an issue in Frankfurt. Drugs and beggars in particular frequent the Hauptbahnhof station area, but a firm “Nein” should do the trick. When in doubt, the local police force is there to help, and stations should be reasonably well patrolled.