From a fairy-tale palace towering over the Rhine River to one of Germany’s oldest forts, there are a number of impressive medieval castles to explore outside Frankfurt and they each make for a great day trip destination. Here are a few of the best.
Hauptwache, Frankfurt, Germany
Exploring Frankfurt’s historic center means you’ll inevitably pass through the Hauptwache—join a walking tour or head to the Hauptwache Café for lunch or a coffee. A medley of architectural styles mark the Hauptwache, including the 17th-century Baroque St Katharina Church, with its 177-foot (54-meter) tall clock tower; the futuristic mirrored façade of the MyZeil shopping mall; and the glass-fronted Zeilgalerie. Beside the Hauptwache café, a sunken terrace area, nicknamed ‘the Hole’ by locals, leads to an underground passageway of shops and eateries, linking the square to the Kaufhof department store.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Parts of the Hauptwache and the surrounding streets are pedestrianized (and easily accessible for wheelchairs and strollers); the best way to get around is on foot.
- The MyZeil Shopping Mall is one of the largest in Germany with dozens of shops, restaurants, and cafés.
- Parking is available at the MyZeil Shopping Mall.
How to Get There
The square is easily reached on foot from many of Frankfurt’s central attractions, while Hauptwache Station is served by eight different S-Bahn lines and six U-Bahn lines.
When to Get There
As one of Frankfurt’s main transport hubs, it’s worth avoiding the Hauptwache during the morning and evening rush hours. Most shops around the Hauptwache open daily from 10am to 8pm, with reduced opening hours on Sundays. Look out for seasonal events hosted on the Hauptwache, such as the winter Christmas Markets and the Das Street Food Festival in Spring.
Exploring Frankfurt’s Historic Center Many of Frankfurt’s most notable sights are within walking distance of the Hauptwache. Stroll south to the Römerberg, lined with half-timbered buildings and home to the landmark Frankfurt City Hall (Romer). From there, stroll around the Old Town, stopping to admire Frankfurt Cathedral and St Paul’s Church. Visit the Goethe House Museum; then head down to the banks of the Main River for a view from the Iron Bridge.
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- Goethe House & Museum (Goethehaus)
- St. Paul's Church (Paulskirche)
- Frankfurt City Hall (Romer)
- Römerberg Square
- Frankfurt Main Tower
- Frankfurt Cathedral (Frankfurter Dom)
- Old Opera House (Alte Oper)
- Iron Bridge (Eiserner Steg)
- German Film Museum (Deutsches Filmmuseum)
- Städel Museum (Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie)
- Old Sachsenhausen
- Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
- Frankfurt Zoo (Zoologischer Garten Frankfurt)
- Botanical Garden Frankfurt (Palmengarten)