Frankfurt is one of the biggest cities in Germany and possibly the biggest financial hub in Germany. Most people know Frankfurt as “the place with a big airport” when they go on vacation. But ultimately it is possible to spend a whole 2 days in Frankfurt without rushing to the airport. Even though the city was heavily bombed during the second world war, there is a lot of places that were rebuild or are dedicated to the second world war as a memorial place and it would be a shame not to see them.
How to spend 2 days in Frankfurt
Before I start to write all about what to do in Frankfurt in 2 days, I feel like I should answer the all mighty question. And that is – isn’t 2 days in Frankfurt too much or too little? First of all, all of this depends on how much you travel, if you like to go to museums or if you are fine without them. It also depends on whether you are coming on Sunday/Monday or some other day. Why?
Well, let’s say that you like museums. And let’s say that you will come to visit on Sunday or Monday – the museums will be closed or have shortened opening times. Which would logically shorten your necessary time for the visit.
Let’s step out of what if. In general, Frankfurt has a lot of interesting places to visit. Not only memorials from second world war but also some much older, that had to be rebuild or remake. I would say that if you don’t want to rush and just run around the city, 2 days in Frankfurt are ideal.
Day 1: The old town
The first thing you shouldn’t miss is the old town (Alt Statt) in Frankfurt. Römer is one of the most important landmarks in Frankfurt in general. It is just one of the buildings in the historic square and for 600 years it served as a town hall. Römer is not a museum or anything like that, so people are not going inside. Sometimes the city uses it for cultural purposes in case of some festivals or weddings. But in general, this medieval building is mostly left alone.
But here is a couple of interesting things before you completely leave that as one of the boring places. Before Römer became a city hall, it used to be a building of merchants. In 1405 they sold this building to a city and later after, it became a city hall.
Over the years, the building was extended multiple times. Sometimes even the extension has its extension. So up till now, it is a very confusing complex of almost 10 000 square meters that consists of 9 buildings.
So the question is – will they let you in? In general, it didn’t feel like the building is open when we were there. But it can very well be that some part of Römer is open but just on a certain day or certain hour. Since the building is not used as a museum, I’m not sure how much can you see there.
Römer isn’t the only building on the main square in the historic quarter of Frankfurt. The Römerplatz is one of the most visited places in Frankfurt and has certainly more to offer. One of the things is Römerberg. Another 3 or 4 buildings located opposite the famous Römer. These buildings were too – similarly to Römer itself – bought by the city administration in the 15th century.
Currently, the Römerberg is used mainly for the tourism and retail industry, you can find there little boutique, restaurants and some other shops. This all becomes much bigger if you come here around the Christmas season. During that time, this square is mainly used just for the Christmas markets and the place is very much full of them.
One of the main landmarks of the city. Frankfurt Cathedral is mostly a gothic building. Although it was founded as a church back in the 7th century, when it looked more like a roman chapel, the gothic architecture prevails over time. It also stays that way until now, as we know it.
Here is an interesting fact – even though in English, we would say that it is a cathedral, it was never made as such and generally up till now it is just a big church. But the name of the great church kind of makes us calls it something different. Either way, doesn’t matter, this beautiful old building is the biggest religious building in Frankfurt and it pays off to visit it.
Frankfurt cathedral has a free entrance and the opening times are mostly from 9 till noon and then from 1.15 PM till 6 PM. Both the interior and the exterior are mostly made and renovated in the gothic style. Back from the time, when this building has perhaps the biggest value and was also closely connected with the roman empire and local palace in the city.
Walk around the river
Frankfurt has great parks around the river banks. The river in the city is called the Main and it goes all around the city center and further away from there. You can meet a lot of birds around there. But generally the spaces there are great. There are no retail shops directly around the river, it is just made for walking or jogging and for families with kids, who are also coming there to play.
There are several bridges around the river. Some of them are old like Eisener Steg. This bridge is just a pedestrian with a lot of locks on it. The bridge is connecting the city center with new vibes of a modern neighborhood.
If you walk far enough on the riverbank, you can see the entire financial center of Frankfurt in just one spot. Whether you are going to do that on a sunny day or during the night lights, it is a pretty impressive look. And from the parks that are surrounding the river, you will almost feel like you are in some sort of European Central Park.
German film museum
There is a lot of museums in Frankfurt. You can find there a historical museum, a museum of modern art and more. However, I like to find something more special or specific to the city. In this case, I found a museum of German film. The thing is that Germany had a great and very famous movie industry. The main exhibition is not about that but about the technical part of making the movies. How to make the narrative, how to edit movies and more.
Lots of temporary exhibitions are more about certain artists and their movies and life stories or general topics like Digitalization with movies and so on. Except for that, this museum also has online exhibits, that you can visit even right now right here. If you feel more like visiting it just by yourself in person, you can visit it from Tuesday till Sunday from 10 am till 6 pm. The only exception is Friday when the museum closes at 8 pm and Mondays are closed. The tickets cost 12 euros.
Day 2: The other part of the Frankfurt city center
View this post on Instagram
Frankfurt opera was built in the 1880s in the neoclassic style. But like a lot of parts of the city, the opera was destroyed in 1944 by bombs. The renovation of this building took quite a while, but it ended up opening again. It opened up 100 years later from its original opening. And now it is fully working. You don’t have to – and you probably cannot – go inside. It is made only for concert purposes. But if you go around, it is nice to see how much they renovated and how did it go. Also, you can find nice decoration around the building along with signs about the original building and all the information about it.
View this post on Instagram
Frankfurt has exactly three botanical houses. This is one of them. Perhaps the biggest one or closest to the city center. Palmengarten has about 22 hectares and you can find it on the west part of the city center not too far from historical Bockenheimer Warte (historical tower). This botanical garden is full of greenhouses that are filled with exotic flowers.
The garden is surprisingly old, the first original building stands up and shine back in 1871. During the war, nothing happened to the garden. But in the ’80s people continue building new parts of the botanical garden. The new form of the botanical garden is standing this way from 1992 when the buildings were finished.
If you are planning a visit this gorgeous garden, prepare yourself for at least 2,5 hours or walk around, the atelier is pretty big and there is a lot of things to do even in winter. The garden is open every day between 9 am and 6 pm. The entrance fee is only 7 euros per adult.
View this post on Instagram
First of all, a little bit about who was Goethe, in case you don’t know. Goethe was a German writer and statesman. He is mostly known for his poem Prometheus or his novel Faus. He remade a lot of classical artworks from Italy and saved some of the ancient Rome and greek stories. So naturally, he was a very important writer for Germany.
His birthplace was Frankfurt, however, during his life, he traveled a lot, also to Italy and other countries. His birth house becomes a museum. And today, you can find there exhibition, where you get a better explanation about who Goethe was, what was he doing but also about the history of the house and family who lived there. Because a lot of Goethe’s artwork was from the romantic era, there is a new museum about romanticism very close to this building. I haven’t been there, so I don’t know what can you find there. But if you like that era, there will be certainly something. Especially if you are book-nerd.
If you feel more comfortable in this house, the museum is open from 10 am until 6 pm every day and the entry fee is 7 euros.
We have already had flora, so let’s look at fauna too. Frankfurt has an adorable zoo with 510 species and about 4500 animals in total. The zoo isn’t the biggest one, it is only about 11 hectares. Which makes the botanical garden big. But either way, you can find here a lot of basic animals like lions, tigers and some other big cats also bears and a lot more. The zoo has a lot of things to show, every day is some sort of feeding day and time, where you will get to know more about the animals.
There is some quite extensive area, that is specialized just for certain animal kind. One of them is the Noctual house, where you can see a lot of bats, lizards, and other night species. There is also a special house for monkeys and big cats and more – I don’t remember all of them. Don’t miss the zoo, especially if you are visiting with kids, the animals here seem to be treated very nicely and the interior is quite cool. If you are planning to come, you can either walk here from the city center – which is about a 3km walk, so nothing too terrible or there is a subway station right in front of the zoo. The zoo itself is opened all year round. The tickets cost 12 euros or 9 euros if you come just 2 hours before the closing time.
Where to stay during your 2 days in Frankfurt
We were kind of unlucky with our hotel this time. My mom chooses a hotel close to the central train station. That is pretty good. However, what we didn’t know is that the street was full of brothels. About 20 of them just in that street. I’m not kidding. Generally, the hotel we stayed in wasn’t too bad, but coming in the evening from the town wasn’t the nicest thing ever. So just in case – if you see any hotel in Taunusstraße, don’t take it, if you don’t like red lights in the buildings above you. For me, it felt kind of sketchy.
But anyway, more on where to stay and not the opposite. I made a search and I would say that any area in the historical center is pretty good and there are some both little and cozy and big and luxurious hotels there as well. I also liked the area around the river, where are also a decent amount of modern-looking hotels. Around the financial center, the hotels are mostly just about business hotels, which could be fine if you like that kind of style.
Where to eat in Frankfurt?
We found a number of really good (and one really bad) restaurants. So first of all, if you like cafés and planning to visit the Römer, you should probably have a look at Einstein Caffé. The coffee store is apparently a part of a german chain, however, they had their own original roast and the place was nice, cozy and clean. They also seemed to have all kinds of food, so it doesn’t matter whether you are vegetarian, vegan or doesn’t eat pastry.
Another place that we liked was called Vapiano. It is also a franchise, but it is with Italian food – and who wouldn’t like that. The restaurant works the way, that you will get a card, walk around the bistro to see what you like the best and once you have it, you will beep your card. In the end, the waitress will scan your card and see what you got. After that, you can pay for it. It is an easy system with good quality food. And sure, it is a little bit fast food-ish, but it is still a brilliant and budget option.
My third and the probably most favorite option is finally not a franchise. Golden Waage is a great bakery and coffee house with boutique style decoration, super nice staff, and delicious cakes. The place is located opposite the cathedral, making it probably quite a busy place. We came around 11 a little bit after they open up and the place was nearly full, so try to ask for a reservation if you want to try it a little bit later in the day. But generally, the place is really gorgeous and I couldn’t be happier about the restaurant than this.
How to get to Frankfurt?
If you are traveling around Germany, the bus might be the obvious option. Frankfurt has several buses that are coming here, including very popular Flixbus, that comes here even with an overnight bus from Denmark. It also seems like the bus is rather a popular option, so if you are planning to take a bus, reserve the seat online sometime before.
Another option if you are coming to Frankfurt by land. If you are planning to spend 2 days in Frankfurt, you can very well come here by train. The main station is right in the city center and it is easy to get from here to any place in Frankfurt. There is a subway stop for all the lines in Frankfurt. As up for the trains, you will find here trains going to big German cities like Hamburg or Berlin.
How to get from the city center to the airport?
The next option is possibly the most popular. Air. Frankfurt has one of the biggest airports in Germany, perhaps even in Europe. So how to get there. If you are a budget traveler, you might want to consider a subway. The ticket for the subway to the airport (or back) costs only 5 euros and the subway comes from many stops in the city center. So you can catch the train both from a central station or even from Römer. The trains that you are looking for are either purple or green – in numbers, it is either S9 or S7. Most of the time, the train comes every 15 minutes, in the busiest times, it comes every 10 – 5 minutes and drive from the central station to the airport takes about 15 minutes.
There is also a shared taxi that can get you to the airport. You will need to know the terminal that you are heading to. It is relatively alright to take it, takes just about 15 minutes as well, but probably longer in traffic peak in the morning and in the afternoon. The cost is 35 euros.
You can also be comfortable and hop on a taxi, the price will be the same as for the shuttle but you will have it all for yourself. Prices for the taxi differs from a company but it usually starts at 45 euros up to 75 euros. It also very much depends if you want to do it alone or have someone with you during your 2 days in Frankfurt.