The Perfect 2 to 3 Days in Frankfurt Itinerary

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by Paola Drexler


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As the fifth-largest German city, Frankfurt is the perfect place to get the right dose of history, culture, beauty and lots of delicious food. If you’re looking to plan a 2 to 3 days in Frankfurt itinerary, we’ve got an excellent resource for you.

So let’s eat some high-quality frankfurters while we explore the “Mainhattan” of Germany along the Main River and experience all that Frankfurt has to offer. Let’s dive into your next adventure in Germany.

How Many Days in Frankfurt?

As one of the biggest financial and flight hubs, you may have had a layover or transfer in Frankfurt before. However, the city has so much to offer that it deserves its own trip to explore the city properly. But you might be wondering how many days to spend in Frankfurt to do the city justice.

There is so much to see and you probably don’t have a lot of time to spare, but luckily most attractions are within walking distance from each other.

2 days in Frankfurt is the perfect amount of time to see all the main highlights with some additional adventures that will leave you feeling like you got the full city experience.

However, with 3 days, you can explore some parts of the town that the locals enjoy as well, for example, a visit to the city forest or down the scenic Berger Straße. Alternatively, enjoy additional world-class museums and finish the day with a visit to the English Theatre.

Modern Frankfurt
Modern Frankfurt

Getting To & Around Frankfurt

No matter your preferred mode of transportation, Frankfurt is easily accessible whether you’re flying, driving or catching a ride some other way.

You can reach Frankfurt from many European cities like Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin or Munich by train. Frankfurt Train Station is located in the centre of the city and you can walk to many points of interest from there. You can view train schedules here.

For those flying in, Frankfurt Airport is the closest airport. Of course, other alternatives include airports in Hahn (which is usually the Frankfurt airport of choice for budget airlines), Cologne, Stuttgart and Dortmund, although the latter airports are over 2 hours away.

Once you arrive at the airport, you can decide on riding a train, bus, renting a car or a private transfer to get you to the city centre. It is a roughly 20-minute ride to get there.

If you are planning to use public transportation, it is straightforward and easy to navigate in Germany. You’ll have to get either a single-ride ticket or a Frankfurt Card at the train or bus station.

The Frankfurt Card has the added bonus in addition to the unlimited public transportation, that you’ll receive free entry or discounted prices at main attractions and restaurants in Frankfurt.

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof
Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

2 to 3-Day Frankfurt Itinerary

With the highest population in the state of Hesse, Frankfurt has seen countless visitors from every corner of the world. The city has endured so many centuries of historical events, war after war it has been rebuilt to bring together the old and new parts of the city to become what you’ll see today.

If you want to see some of the below sites with a guide, you can book a guided walking tour here.

Day 1 – Innenstadt, Old Town & New Old Town

In a city filled with old and new stories, you can find numerous things to do. For those interested in finance, Frankfurt can feel like a scavenger hunt as you look for significant landmarks, like the Euro sculpture or the famous Bull and Bear in front of the city’s stock exchange.

Your journey will begin at the Euro-Skulptur on Willy-Brandt-Platz and after having a look at the sculpture you’ll head up to the Alte Oper.

Alte Oper

Starting in the Innenstadt, or inner city, you’ll begin the first day of your Frankfurt itinerary with the impressive concert hall known as the Alte Oper.

The Old Opera House was originally built in 1880 but after getting bombed and destroyed in 1944, it had to be rebuilt. The new larger hall opened its doors again in 1981.

Right in front of the opera house, you’ll find the Opernplatz (Opera Square), where you have a great view of the Alte Oper and tall buildings in the Bankenviertel (Banking District). The classical opera building contrasts sharply with the metal and glass of the downtown skyscrapers, making this a very unique square.

As you make your way deeper into the inner city towards the Hauptwache, you’ll walk passed numerous restaurants and luxury shopping stores.

If you take a little detour you’ll come across the Eschenheimer Turm, the late Gothic tower that used to serve as the city gate and is now a landmark. Our next stop is the Hauptwache.

Frankfurt Opera House
Frankfurt Opera House

Hauptwache

You’ll know when you reach the Hauptwache not only because you’ll spot St. Catherine’s Church and the magnificent skyline but seeing one of the most famous plazas in all its glory can stop you in your tracks.

The Hauptwache building used to be a prison that was later turned into a police station and is now a restaurant that serves traditional German dishes.

In the plaza, you’ll see the big Galeria Kaufhof, the largest department store in the city, that houses many well-known brands, shops and more.

You can take a lift or stairs up to the roof terrace in the building to get a stunning view of Frankfurt. While worth a quick peak, don’t spend too much time here admiring the view – you’ll get an even better bird’s eye perspective later on in the day.

For now, enjoy walking down the famous and fabulous Zeil Street that’s lined with shops of all sorts. If you’re looking to do some shopping, for yourself or for souvenirs, here is your chance.

Hauptwache
Hauptwache

Kleinmarkthalle

When you’re done with your shopping, you’ll walk back towards the Hauptwache to the cute and historic Kleinmarkthalle.

Named for being a small market hall, the market is open every day except for Sundays. You’ll find all kinds of fresh food and flowers, as well as specialities from the area and even international delicacies. The market has been around since 1954 and has welcomed visitors and Frankfurters alike.

For the larger Erzeugermarkt Konstablerwache, located a few minutes away, you will have to double-check open times but you should be able to stroll through it on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Römerberg

As one of the most iconic German attractions, the Römerberg or Roman Mountain has seen its fair share of coronations, Christmas markets and tourists from all around the globe. Don’t worry though, the name is a bit misleading since the Römerberg is not really a mountain.

Located in the heart of Frankfurt’s Altstadt (the old town of the city), The Römer has been the city hall of Frankfurt since the 15th century and although receiving much damage during World World II, luckily the beautiful buildings were restored for people to enjoy today.

The half-timbered houses showcase beautiful German craftsmanship and are an iconic scene in Frankfurt.

Frankfurt Old Town
Frankfurt Old Town

DomRömer Quarter

Just a few steps away, you’ll come across a slight contrast to the historic old town in the “new old town” known as the DomRömer Quarter.

At first glance, the quarter looks very similar to the Römerberg, with a statue in front of the unique buildings. But then you see the contrast in colour and the modern build of the stunning buildings and realise you’re not in the same quarter anymore.

Since the war destroyed a large part of the old town, the reconstruction of the DomRömer Quarter, which was completed in 2018, was meant to modernise and liven Frankfurt up a bit.

St Paul’s Church

As you make your way from the Altstadt towards the Innenstadt, you’ll spot the round, architectural beauty of St Paul’s Church.

Having been the gathering place of the first freely elected German Parliament in 1848, the church is a unique spot with great historical significance for Germany.

Today you can tour the building, walk the circular lower floor, read about Germany’s history, and admire the beautiful art on the walls.

Goethe House and Museum

Just a short 5-minute walk from St Paul’s Church, you’ll see the marvellous Goethe House. This is the birthplace and former home of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Germany’s most famous writers who had a major impact on the German language – similar to what Shakespeare did for the English language.

The house became a museum in 1863 after being restored by the new owner to the way it was when Goethe was living there. Although it was destroyed during World War II, the house was reconstructed to its original form afterwards.

When you walk through the rooms where Goethe wrote some of his most famous pieces, you’ll walk along furniture from that period and can imagine what it was like living in the 18th century. In the museum, adjacent to the house, you’ll find a display of paintings that show Goethe’s life while in his family home.

Goethe house in Frankfurt
Goethe House

Main Tower

To end your first day in Frankfurt, we’re going to end on a literal high note at the highest public viewing platform in the city – the Main Tower.

Even from ground level the 56-story blue glass skyscraper is extraordinary – it is the fourth tallest building in the city. For 9 euros per adult, visitors can take a lift up the 190 meters (623 feet) of the building to the observation deck but will have to walk up the last 10 meters of the way.

The last bit of walking is totally worth it when you reach the platform and have a breathtaking panoramic view of Frankfurt. If you time it out nicely, you can savour an amazing sunset.

Day 2 – Sachsenhausen & Plamengarten

On the second day, you’ll begin south of the Main river and across the Eiserner Steg (Iron Footbridge), on the other side of the city in old Sachsenhausen.

Straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale book with its medieval-looking houses, gas lamps and cobbled stone streets, this part of Frankfurt feels like an untouched, traditional German town. As you leisurely roam through the town, keep an eye out for brass-coloured apples within the cobblestones.

The state of Hesse prides itself on its Apfelwein production and history, so much so that apple wine – or cider – is considered the state beverage.

You’ll find some popular restaurants and taverns that serve it in Sachsenhausen, so if you’re feeling thirsty you can indulge in a glass or two of the local beverage of choice of over 250 years.

Museumsufer

If you’re a museum fanatic, look no further because you’ll find a nice lineup of museums right by the Main river in the area called Museumsufer or Museum Embankment.

The idea of building museums close to each other came from a cultural politician in 1977 named Hilmar Hoffmann.

On the South Bank of the river, you’ll find The Städel at the centre, which displays 700 years of European art and is one of the oldest museums in Germany. On the North Bank, museums include the Jewish Museum Frankfurt, the Historical Museum and other art museums.

Now we’ll cross the Alte Brücke once again, from the south bank to the north to walk along the Mainkai, the promenade alongside the river, and stop to take in the incredible view of the city’s skyline, river, Eiserner Steg and all of Frankfurt’s beauty.

Städel in Frankfurt
Städel

Frankfurt Cathedral

As you make your way east on the Mainkai, then up Zum Pfarrturm, on the right pass the Dommuseum, you’ll reach the magnificent red gothic Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew, most commonly referred to as Frankfurt Cathedral or Dom.

Although it was never used as an actual cathedral, it was significant for holding former coronations and elections during the Roman Empire times.

Today, visitors can climb 328 steps to the viewing platform to get a different view from the city, closer to the river and old town. Inside, you can roam through the historical treasures and stories of its history.

Frankfurt Cathedral
Frankfurt Cathedral

Frankfurter Judengasse

After the cathedral, you’ll head up towards Domstraße and continue on Braubachstraße then Battonnstraße to reach the Museum Judengasse.

Frankfurt has two interesting and popular museums dedicated to Jewish history. The Jewish Museum is one of the oldest in Germany and is located down the Mainkai in the North Bank.

But today, you’ll take a closer look at the Judengasse, which was the location of the Jewish ghetto around 1462 to 1811. After enduring damage during the war, it was later demolished and rebuilt around 1987.

The museum opened in 1992 and you can still see a section of the original foundations. You’ll learn more about life during that time, Jewish history in the country and get to see historical art pieces while touring the museum.

Palmengarten

For an afternoon treat, you will either walk 35 minutes from the Judengasse or take a direct bus from Börneplatz to the enchanting Palmengarten.

The Palm Garden is a beloved attraction for everyone, not just tourists. Frankfurt loves its botanical gardens so much that it has three palm gardens in the city.

Close to the entrance of the garden, you will walk through a gorgeous rose garden, where you can stop and smell the luscious rosy fragrance in the air. Next, the garden houses a stunning palm house with tall palm trees, cacti, and other subtropical wonders.

With so much to look at, you can get lost for hours discovering new plants all over the grounds of the garden.

Palmengarten
Palmengarten

Day 3 – Stadtwald, Modern Art Museum, Berger Straße & the English Theatre

By now you’ve seen the main highlights in the city but there is so much more to do and see. Keep on reading for fun activities to do on your third day in Frankfurt.

If you prefer to head out of the city, you can take a day trip to Heidelberg instead.

Stadtwald

As a day trip or if you’re headed back towards the airport, around the halfway point you can spend a few hours strolling around the Stadtwald (Frankfurt City Forest), which is around a 30-minute train ride outside of the city.

You’ll get to experience Frankfurt’s wildlife while walking by ponds and other bodies of water in the serene forest. To end your trip, you can go up the Goethe Tower in the northern part of the forest to have one last look at the breathtaking Frankfurt skyline from a distance.

Museum für Moderne Kunst

By now you’ve seen the main highlights in the city so you can sit back and relax – for example on a river cruise down the Main river – you can book one here.

While you’re near the river, you can go for a second round of museum exploration and visit one or two of the other museums on the Museumsufer that you’re interested in.

For example, the Museum of Modern Art displays unique pieces of art from the 1960s to the present date. You can find collections and individual artwork of artists from around the world, including Germany. If modern art is not for you, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Berger Straße

If you’re looking to explore the city more, you can walk down Berger Straße, your start point will begin at the cute clock tower, also known as the Uhr Turmchen.

Here you will find traditional German restaurants and special desserts like spaghettieis (don’t worry, it tastes better than it sounds and it contains zero tomato sauce or pasta).

On the Upper Berger Straße, you’ll also find more traditional apple wine gardens in dark wood buildings where you can get a glass of wine directly from the cellars where it’s made.

English Theatre

For an evening out you can enjoy whatever show is currently being held at the English Theatre in Frankfurt.

The theatre opened in 1979 and is well-known for ranking as the largest English-speaking theatre in Europe. When they aren’t performing musicals, they are performing anything from comedies and classics to thrillers.

Frankfurt at night
Frankfurt at night

Where to Stay in Frankfurt

Motel One Frankfurt-Römer – This hotel is an excellent option for mid-range travellers looking for a comfortable and hip place to stay in Frankfurt. Located in the Old Town of the city, there are several modern rooms on offer along with a bar and breakfast each morning.

Scandic Frankfurt Museumsufer – Those after a luxury option in Frankfurt are sure to love this plush hotel. Centrally located near all the city has to offer, there are plenty of large rooms, they’re pet-friendly, offer a fab breakfast each morning and some rooms provide kitchenettes.

Aparthotel Adagio Frankfurt City Messe – This aparthotel located in central Frankfurt is a great choice for those after their own fully-equipped apartment. They have a range of flats on offer and there’s even breakfast available in the mornings.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Frankfurt hotels!

While it can be so easy to get lost in the city, spending 2 to 3 days in Frankfurt is the perfect amount of time to make you fall for the city. From its history to its beauty and charm, your adventures in Frankfurt will stay with you forever.

Are you planning to visit Frankfurt? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Paola

Paola is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the state of Arizona in the USA, she lived in Germany before moving to the United Kingdom. Paola loves spending her free time travelling in Europe and sometimes ever further afield.

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