Frankfurt: A Pleasant Surprise
A few weeks ago, I was going through my daily dose of Skyscanner searches and came across a shockingly inexpensive flight to Frankfurt, Germany. I thought why not? I had always imagined myself going to Munich or Berlin but the opportunity arose and off to Frankfurt I went. As the financial capital of the European banking system, I was not really sure what to expect upon my arrival. A friend of mine from the United States is from Frankfurt and had recommended a small itinerary of things to do but other than that I was on my own.
Once landing at the airport and conquering the complicated corridors of the combined airport and train station, I found myself on the S9 headed towards the Frankfurt Central Train Station. A few recommendations for when you land in Frankfurt that I learned on the go and wish I would have known before:
- The train you want to catch to get to the main train station in the city is S9.
- You need to pay for your ticket at the kiosk before getting on the train and for the one way ticket, it is around 5 euros. Depending if you choose to use public transportation for the rest of the day, I would recommend looking into the daily pass option which is around 10 euros.
Walking out of the underground tunnel from the public transit terminal, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Right in front of me was my one true love, Dunkin Donuts :). However, after realizing I was in Germany and the initial joy of seeing something so American wore off I decided to grab a cup of coffee at a more local place after checking into my hostel.
View along the Main River
I chose to stay at the Frankfurt Hostel and it was one of the best decisions of my entire trip. Here are the reasons why I enjoyed the hostel so much. The location was perfect. The hostel was located directly next to Frankfurt Central Station and was just a short walk away from the riverwalk, opera house, and the heart of Frankfurt. The staff at the hostel were also extremely welcoming and helpful throughout my entire stay. They helped me with directions to where I wanted to go and even offered a free walking tour once a day. Since I was traveling alone, I really enjoyed the outgoing atmosphere created at the hostel because it made it very easy to meet fellow travelers. In the evenings, after the free pasta dinner, the main area turns into a local bar and space for people to drink and socialize. The cost of the hostel was relatively inexpensive and very appropriate considering they offer a free pasta dinner and breakfast.
Frankfurt the City
The weather gods were with me on this trip because for two of the three days I was in Frankfurt it was forecasted to rain and I never saw a drop. After checking into the hostel, I went on a nice walk along the riverside, which provided a quaint and charming start to the afternoon. It is a great view of the city and enjoyable walking path. In hindsight I wish I would have packed some running shoes because the city would have made a beautiful backdrop for a morning run. Lining the walkway are park benches and little play areas for kid, making it a great outing for individuals as well as families. While it was very sunny, it was Germany and it was winter so being the Florida girl I am, I found a nice little bakery to get a cup of coffee and pretzel. One of my biggest culinary recommendations from the trip is that you must try the pretzels. They were AMAZING and also came in a ton of different flavors and were even offered as the bread for a sandwich. Weather permitting, walking around Frankfurt is a great way to see the city. I was able to see the Romer, the Opera House, the Zeilgalerie, along with several of the amazing museums.
While Frankfurt has a lot to offer within the city, there are also a lot of amazing day trips available. I chose to go to go to the Heidelberg Castle. Here are some of the logistical aspects:
- It is around a one hour and thirty minute drive from Frankfurt.
- Flixbus offers very inexpensive bus trips to and from Heidelberg. They leave almost every hour, making it convenient and easy to travel to and from.
After being dropped off near the central train station, I chose to walk to the Heidelberg Castle which is about two miles so that I was able to see more of the city. If you are not crunched for time I would highly recommend it, however, there is also the option of taking the public transit bus Number 33. The easiest way to get up the mountain is by taking the tram, however there are several paths that allow you to walk up to the property. Once you arrive at the castle, there are numerous amounts of things to do. There are multiple restaurants on the property that serve very delicious food, along with wine that is made at the winery. While exploring the grounds on your own is a must, I would highly recommend taking the tour because it gives you the opportunity to take a look at the impressive and rich history of the castle firsthand. There are several tour options including an audio tour, group tour and individual tour, all of which conveniently offered in multiple languages. Along with what the castle has to offer, I stumbled upon the Pharmacy Museum which is free with an entrance ticket to the castle and the expansive gardens were absolutely stunning in the winter so I can only imagine in the summer.
Overall, my trip to Frankfurt was a complete success. Between the phenomenal pretzels and great beer, I had a hard time leaving for the airport but I know that it will not be my last time in the wonderful country of Germany.