Updated : April 2023
I’m proud to say I did a Solo Travel in Frankfurt – my first trip alone after so many years and after having kids. It was probably not as nerve-racking knowing and speaking German, but it would have been different 15 years back. I probably would not dare go around a city as big as Frankfurt when I was 21. ^_^Find flights
As I set foot at Frankfurt’s really huge airport, I could already feel how safe and easy it would be even though the airport was huge. I can’t explain why, but there’s that sense of security I feel when in Vienna but much different. It felt as though the city is so clean, carefree, and it would be just a joy to be walking around, doing what I do when in a different city: taking pictures of a very modern landscape, its skyscrapers, and then pretty cobblestone streets, and hidden corners. And I did all that plus having taken pictures of people when they saw me lugging a big camera around my neck. I went home with a long list of email addresses later.
Table of Contents
Facts About Frankfurt
Frankfurt is a city in Germany, specifically located in the state of Hesse. It is the fifth-largest city in Germany and is known as a major financial hub of Europe, hosting the European Central Bank and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. And I find it expensive compared to other German cities.
Some notable awards and recognitions that Frankfurt has received include:
- In 2014, Frankfurt was named the “Most Livable City” in Germany by the consulting firm Mercer.
- Frankfurt has been ranked as the seventh-best city in the world for quality of life, according to the 2021 Mercer Quality of Living Survey.
- The city is also known for its sustainable urban development, and in 2019, it won the European Green Capital Award.
- Frankfurt has been named the “Best Airport in Europe” several times by Skytrax, a leading air transport rating organization.
In 2020, Frankfurt was named as one of the top 10 global cities for entrepreneurship and innovation by the research firm Startup Genome.
Has World’s Third Largest Airport
Frankfurt is home to Europe’s third-largest airport located in the centre of Europe and it is conveniently only 10 minutes away from Frankfurt’s main station. Frankfurt Airport, which is a major international airport and serves as a hub for Lufthansa, Germany’s flagship airline.
World’s Largest Trade Book Fair
Frankfurt hosts the world’s largest trade book fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is held annually in October and attracts publishers, authors, and literary enthusiasts from around the world.
Financial Capital of Germany
Frankfurt is widely considered to be the financial capital of Germany, as it is home to many major banks, financial institutions, and the European Central Bank. It is also one of the largest financial centers in Europe.
Always on Best Quality of Life Lists
Frankfurt is consistently ranked among the best cities in the world for quality of life, with a high standard of living, excellent public transportation, and a diverse cultural scene. Three of the more famous Best Quality of Life lists include “The Economist,” the magazine “Monocle,” and the best-known ranking is done by the consulting firm Mercer. Frankfurt will always be on these lists, despite having different criteria and requirements to be included. It has been named as the seventh-best city in the world for quality of life in the 2021 Mercer Quality of Living Survey.
A Skyscrapers City
Well, 14 out of the 15 tallest skyscrapers in Germany are in Frankfurt. Reason that it is often referred to as “Mainhattan” due to its impressive skyline dominated by sleek, glass-clad skyscrapers. The city’s financial district is one of the most significant in Europe, housing the headquarters of major banks and financial institutions. Among the iconic buildings is the Commerzbank Tower, Europe’s tallest building until 2003. The juxtaposition of historic landmarks with these modern structures adds to Frankfurt’s unique appeal.
Home to the Largest Botanical Garden and Forest in Germany
Nature lovers will find solace in Frankfurt’s green spaces. The Palmengarten is the city’s botanical garden, covering around 22 hectares and hosting an incredible diversity of plant species from around the world. Visitors can explore themed gardens, glasshouses, and enjoy peaceful strolls amidst lush greenery. Additionally, Frankfurt’s city forest, the Frankfurter Stadtwald, is a vast expanse of woodland, providing ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and reconnecting with nature.
Best Train and Tram System
Frankfurt boasts a highly efficient and well-connected public transportation network. The city is a major transportation hub in Germany, and its main train station, Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, is one of the busiest railway stations in Europe. From here, travelers can easily access regional, national, and international destinations. The tram system complements the train network, making it convenient to explore different neighborhoods within the city.
Where to Book Your Trip
There are several popular travel booking websites that allow you to book flights and hotels together/ as a package. Some sites may offer discounts or special deals when booking both a flight and hotel together, so it’s worth checking your options to see which one suits you best.
Transportation and Getting Around
Public transportation in Frankfurt is highly efficient and well-regarded. The city’s extensive and well-connected public transport network makes it easy for residents and visitors to get around conveniently and affordably. Here are some key aspects that contribute to the efficiency of public transportation in Frankfurt:
- Integrated Network: Frankfurt’s public transportation system is integrated, which means that various modes of transportation, including buses, trams, and trains, are well-connected and operate under the same ticketing system. This integration allows for seamless transfers between different modes of transport, making journeys efficient and reducing waiting times.
- S-Bahn and U-Bahn : The S-Bahn (suburban trains) and U-Bahn (subway) are the backbone of Frankfurt’s public transport system. They provide fast and reliable connections throughout the city and its surrounding areas. The S-Bahn connects the city center with the suburbs, while the U-Bahn serves the inner-city areas.
- Trams and Buses: Frankfurt has an extensive tram network that covers many parts of the city, providing frequent and convenient access to various neighborhoods and attractions. Buses complement the tram and train services, ensuring comprehensive coverage even in areas not directly served by rail lines.
- Frequency and Punctuality: Trains, trams, and buses in Frankfurt generally operate with high frequency, especially during peak hours. This means minimal waiting times for passengers. Additionally, public transport services are known for their punctuality, ensuring that travelers can rely on timely arrivals and departures.
- Late-Night Service: Frankfurt’s public transportation system offers night services, ensuring that you can travel even during the late hours. Night buses and limited tram and train services are available to cater to the needs of late-night commuters and revelers.
- Clean and Well-Maintained: The vehicles used in Frankfurt’s public transportation system are clean, well-maintained, and equipped with modern amenities, providing passengers with a comfortable travel experience.
- Accessibility: Most public transport vehicles and stations in Frankfurt are designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, making the system inclusive and accommodating for all travelers.
- Connection to the Airport: Frankfurt Airport is well connected to the city center and other parts of the city by efficient train (S-Bahn) services, making it easy for travelers to reach their destinations.
Overall, Frankfurt’s public transportation system is efficient, reliable, and an excellent option for getting around the city. For visitors, using public transport is not only cost-effective but also provides an opportunity to experience the city like a local and avoid the hassles of driving and parking.
Things to See and Do on Your Solo Travel in Frankfurt
When traveling solo in Frankfurt, there are plenty of exciting things to see and do to make the most of your experience. Here’s a list of some must-see attractions and activities:
- Römerberg: Visit the historic Römerberg square in the heart of Frankfurt’s Old Town. Admire the picturesque half-timbered houses and the iconic Römer building. It’s a great place to start your exploration of the city.
- Goethe House: Discover the birthplace of the famous German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The Goethe House is now a museum showcasing the life and works of the influential poet.
- St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral (Kaiserdom): Explore the impressive Frankfurt Cathedral, an iconic symbol of the city. Climb up to the tower for stunning views of the surrounding area.
- Museumsufer (Museum Embankment): Stroll along the Museumsufer, a stretch of museums located along the Main River. There are over a dozen museums covering art, history, and science.
- Main Tower: Head to the Main Tower for a panoramic view of Frankfurt’s skyline. It’s a great spot for sunset and cityscape photography.
- Palmengarten: Relax in the Palmengarten, Frankfurt’s botanical garden, with a wide variety of plants from around the world. Enjoy a peaceful walk in this beautiful green oasis.
- Frankfurt Zoo: If you enjoy wildlife, visit the Frankfurt Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Germany, with a diverse collection of animals.
- Kleinmarkthalle: Explore the bustling Kleinmarkthalle, a covered market where you can taste local specialties, fresh produce, and international delicacies.
- Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge): Take a walk across the Eiserner Steg, a pedestrian bridge over the Main River, adorned with love locks and offering lovely views of the riverbanks.
- Sachsenhausen: Cross the river and explore the Sachsenhausen district, known for its traditional apple wine taverns (Apfelweinlokale) and vibrant nightlife.
- Ride a Bike: Rent a bike and explore the city’s bike-friendly paths along the river and through various parks.
- Senckenberg Natural History Museum: If you have an interest in natural history, visit this museum, featuring extensive exhibits on dinosaurs, fossils, and biodiversity.
- Alte Oper (Old Opera House): Admire the neoclassical Alte Oper building, which hosts concerts and performances. Even if you don’t attend an event, the exterior itself is worth seeing.
Enjoy the Food Scene: Frankfurt offers a diverse culinary scene. Try local specialties like Grüne Soße (green sauce), Handkäse mit Musik (cheese marinated in vinegar and onions), and of course, Frankfurt’s famous sausages.
Practice your German with the locals
What and Where to Eat
Frankfurt, offers a delightful array of traditional German dishes and international cuisine. Here are some must-try foods to eat when you’re in Frankfurt:
Wiener Würstchen (Sausages): These are the famous sausages that originated in Frankfurt. They are typically served with mustard and bread rolls. Try them at one of the local sausage stands or traditional restaurants. While the name suggests Viennesse origins, these sausages are called Frankfurter in Vienna. 😉
- Grüne Soße (Green Sauce): A specialty of the region, Grüne Soße is a cold, creamy herb sauce made with various fresh herbs like parsley, chives, sorrel, and more. It is usually served with boiled eggs and potatoes.
- Handkäse mit Musik: Translated as “hand cheese with music,” this dish features a strong, tangy cheese served with onions and vinegar, often accompanied by rye bread.
- Apfelwein (Apple Wine): Also known as Ebbelwoi, Apfelwein is a traditional apple cider, a popular drink in Frankfurt. Pair it with traditional German snacks like pretzels or sausages.
- Rippchen mit Kraut: This dish consists of succulent pork ribs cooked with sauerkraut, a flavorful combination that will leave you wanting more.
- Grie Soß mit Kartoffeln (Green Sauce with Potatoes): Similar to Grüne Soße, this dish features the green sauce served with boiled potatoes instead of eggs.
- Bethmännchen: These are traditional marzipan cookies made from almonds, powdered sugar, rosewater, and rose petals. They are usually shaped like four almond halves and represent the Bethmann family crest.
- Bratwurst: While the Frankfurter Wurst is a local specialty, you can also find other types of delicious German sausages like Bratwurst throughout Frankfurt.
- Frankfurter Kranz: This is a classic buttercream cake covered in roasted nuts and filled with redcurrant jam, typically served on special occasions.
Budget and Money Saving Tips
I’m used to German cities being less expensive compared to Vienna when it comes to food, transportation, and other things. I was surprised how Frankfurt isn’t the same. My though is Frankfurt’s higher cost of living compared to other German cities can be attributed to several factors:
Frankfurt is the financial capital of Germany and a major financial hub in Europe. The presence of numerous banks, financial institutions, and multinational corporations attracts high-income professionals, leading to a higher demand for premium services and upscale housing, which drives up the overall cost of living. Frankfurt is a melting pot of cultures, with a significant international population. This diversity fosters a vibrant atmosphere but can also lead to higher prices for international products and services. The city’s excellent public transportation and infrastructure come at a cost, which is reflected in higher taxes and fees for residents and businesses.
If you are planning to visit Frankfurt, budgeting and planning ahead can help you manage expenses and enjoy the city’s offerings without overspending. Here are some money-saving tips to help you make the most of your trip without breaking the bank:
- Public Transportation: Frankfurt has an excellent public transportation system, including buses, trams, and trains. Invest in a Frankfurt Card or RheinMain Card, which offers unlimited travel on public transport within the city and discounted admission to many attractions.
- Walking Tours: Explore the city on foot with self-guided walking tours. Many of Frankfurt’s attractions are within walking distance of each other, and you’ll get a better feel for the city’s ambiance.
- Free Attractions: Take advantage of free attractions, such as the Römerberg (old town square), Main River promenade, and beautiful parks like Palmengarten and Nizza.
- Museums and Galleries: Some museums in Frankfurt offer free admission on specific days or during certain hours. Plan your visit accordingly to save on entrance fees.
- Picnics: Instead of dining out for every meal, consider having picnics in the parks or on the riverbank. You can purchase fresh produce from local markets and enjoy a budget-friendly meal outdoors.
- Street Food and Market Stalls: Opt for street food and market stalls to experience local flavors without spending a fortune. You’ll find delicious snacks and quick meals at affordable prices.
- Accommodation: Look for budget-friendly accommodation options, such as hostels, guesthouses, or budget hotels. Consider staying in the outskirts of the city, where prices might be lower, and public transport is still easily accessible.
- Lunch Specials: Many restaurants in Frankfurt offer affordable lunch specials that can save you money compared to dinner prices. Take advantage of these deals for a tasty and budget-friendly meal.
- Discount Cards and Coupons: Check if there are any discount cards, city passes, or coupons available for attractions, restaurants, or transportation. These can provide significant savings during your trip.
- Water and Snacks: Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it at public water fountains to save on bottled water costs. Also, bring along some snacks to avoid buying expensive treats when hunger strikes.
- Avoid Taxis: Taxis can be expensive, so try to use public transportation or walk whenever possible.
Travel in the Off-Season: Consider traveling during the shoulder season or off-peak months when prices for accommodation and flights are generally lower.
Where To Stay
Frankfurt, Germany’s financial hub, offers a variety of accommodation options for solo travelers. Here are some popular areas to consider:
- Altstadt (Old Town): Staying in the Altstadt puts you close to many of Frankfurt’s historic landmarks, museums, and charming cafes. It’s a great choice for travelers interested in history and culture.
- Bahnhofsviertel: Located near the main train station, this area is known for its vibrant nightlife, diverse dining options, and trendy bars. It’s a convenient choice for those arriving by train and looking to experience the city’s energetic atmosphere.
- Sachsenhausen: This district is famous for its traditional apple wine taverns, known as “Ebbelwoi Lokale,” where you can enjoy local cuisine and drinks. It offers a more laid-back atmosphere compared to Bahnhofsviertel.
- Westend: Westend is an upscale neighborhood with beautiful architecture, parks, and a quieter ambiance. It’s an excellent option for solo travelers seeking a more peaceful stay.
- Nordend: This neighborhood is popular among young professionals and students, offering a mix of cafes, bars, and parks. It’s a trendy and lively area to stay in.
- Bockenheim: Known for its university and student life, Bockenheim has a youthful vibe and is a great choice for solo travelers looking to interact with locals.
When choosing your accommodation, consider factors such as your budget, preferred neighborhood vibe, and proximity to public transportation.
How to Stay Safe on a Solo Travel in Frankfurt
Frankfurt is generally a safe city, but like any major urban area, it’s essential to be cautious and take some safety measures while traveling alone:
- Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to your surroundings, especially in crowded places and public transport.
- Use reputable transportation: Stick to official taxis or ride-sharing services. If you use public transportation, avoid empty carriages late at night.
- Keep your belongings secure: Be mindful of pickpockets, especially in busy tourist areas. Keep your valuables in a secure bag or money belt.
- Avoid dark and isolated areas: Stick to well-lit and busy streets, especially at night.
- Share your plans: Inform someone you trust about your travel itinerary and check in with them regularly.
- Stay sober and alert: Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, especially when alone.
Use secure accommodation: Choose reputable hotels or hostels with good reviews and security measures.
Packing List and Essentials
Here’s a packing list to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable solo trip to Frankfurt:
- Passport and travel documents: Don’t forget your passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, and any necessary reservations or confirmations.
- Comfortable walking shoes: Frankfurt is a walkable city, so comfortable shoes are a must.
- Weather-appropriate clothing: Check the weather forecast and pack clothes suitable for the season.
- Travel adapter and chargers: A universal adapter is handy to keep your devices charged.
- Cash and cards: Have some euros with you for small expenses, along with credit/debit cards.
- Basic toiletries: Carry a small travel-sized toiletry kit with essentials like toothpaste, soap, and shampoo.
- Medication: Bring any prescription medications you need, along with a small first aid kit.
- Daypack or backpack: A small daypack is useful for carrying your essentials during daily explorations.
- Map or GPS device: Have a map or use a GPS-enabled device to navigate the city.
- Reusable water bottle: Stay hydrated throughout the day with a refillable water bottle.
- Camera or smartphone: Capture your travel memories with a camera or smartphone.
- Travel guidebook or apps: Consider bringing a travel guidebook or using travel apps to discover the best places in Frankfurt.
With these essentials, you’ll be well-prepared for a fantastic solo adventure in Frankfurt! Enjoy!