For the keen traveller, touring a city in just a day doesn’t appear to be a good idea at all. But there are others who would prefer to make a few rounds and see the best sights, take photographs and possibly bring home a few keepsakes and collectibles. Most business travelers with a spare day after or before a conference or a business assignment fall into this category. And Frankfurt being one of the busiest hub airports in Europe, perfectly fits into this picture.
Start off your tour at old town. This will probably take you half a day at the most. Before the Second World War bombings flattened the city, this was one of Germany’s greatest and most historic places. Tastefully restored, the old streets here lead to some of Europe’s most monumental landmarks. Take a trip to Goethehaus, the house where the greatest German writer, Goethe, was born in the year 1749. Follow the great writer’s footsteps down the Altstadt, where he spent most of his early childhood years.
Another intriguing place to visit is the red-sandstone tower of the Dom, which is also the most dominant structure here. Consecrated in 1239, the cathedral was chosen as the electoral and coronation site for the kings of the Holy Roman Empire. This is where ten royal coronations took place between 1562 and 1792. Today, it’s significant mainly for its highly ornamented towering Westturm or west tower. Within the church, you’ll discover the impeccable Upper Rhine craftsmanship epitomised in the mid-14th-century choir stalls.
Did you know that Frankfurt had a city hall as early as 1405? Romer, the official seat of Frankfurt’s Lord Mayor, is surrounded by three gothic houses with stepped gables. The Romerberg is the historic centre of the old Altstadt, and renowned for these spectacular half-timbered houses, which have been restored to their original shape. The Imperial Hall can be visited as part of a guided tour, provided it’s not in use for any special events.
At the northern fringe of the Altstadt lies the An der Hauptwache or the Guardhouse square. The place derived its name from the historic Hauptwache or guardhouse, which stands on it. This square is the core of modern Frankfurt. Beneath this, you can visit the Hauptwache U-Bahn station and explore the modern shopping promenade.
If you’re an artsy person, Liebieghaus, housed in an 1896 villa, will be a memorable treat. Rivaled only by the Bargello in Florence, this is one of Europe’s most important sculpture museums. Visitors can take a glimpse into its impressive collection of objects from ancient Egypt, classical Greece and Rome, and medieval and renaissance Europe. If time doesn’t allow you to explore the entire place, be sure check out the 8th-century B.C. bronze horse, and Roman copies of the Torso of Polycletus, Praxiteles’s Satyr, and Myron’s Athena.