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.
It’s impossible to explore Frankfurt without crossing the Main River. Admire the views from the Iron Bridge on a walking tour of Frankfurt’s Old Town; browse the museums and markets along the riverside Museum Embankment; or enjoy walking, running, or cycling along the riverfront trails. For those who want to get on the water, sightseeing cruises afford views of Frankfurt landmarks such as Frankfurt Cathedral, Westhafen Tower, Commerzbank, and the Städel Museum. Full-day or multi-day cruises also set out from Frankfurt, following the Main River to Mainz, then connecting with the Rhine River for a cruise through the UNESCO-listed Rhine Valley.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A sightseeing cruise along the Main River is a popular choice for first-time visitors to Frankfurt.
- There are a number of restaurants located along the riverfront, most of which can be found in the Museum Embankment and Westhafen areas.
- Many cruises are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, but it’s best to check in advance.
How to Get There
The Main River waterfront is easy to reach on foot from most of Frankfurt’s central attractions. The most common access point is the Iron Bridge (Eiserner Steg), just a block south of Römerberg square—the footbridge links the Old Town and Sachsenhausen, and most sightseeing cruises set sail from the pier by the bridge on the north bank. The closest U-Bahn station to the Iron Bridge is Dom/Römer (Lines U4/U5).
When to Get There
Sightseeing cruises run multiple times a day, but a popular choice is an evening dinner cruise, affording views of Frankfurt’s illuminated skyline. Frankfurt’s annual Main Festival (July) takes place along the riverbanks, with four days of festivities that include traditional boat jousting, boat parades, and a fireworks display.
Frankfurt’s Museum Embankment Frankfurt’s Museum Embankment (Museumsufer) is the city’s arts and cultural precinct, stretching along the south bank of the Main River. More than a dozen museums, art galleries and cultural institutions are dotted along the waterfront, linked by scenic walkways and parks. Pick up a 1- or 2-day pass for access to multiple museums including the Städel Art Institute, the Museum of World Cultures, the Museum of Communications, and the German Architecture Museum. The most atmospheric time to visit is on a Saturday during the summer months when a gigantic flea market is held along the waterfront, or during the annual 3-day Museum Embankment Festival (Museumsuferfest).
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