Frankfurt (German: Frankfurt am Main; See Online ) is the business and financial centre of Germany and the largest city in the German state of Hesse. The city is known for its futuristic skyline and the busiest German airport.
Located on the river Main, Frankfurt is the financial capital of Continental Europe and the transportation centre of Germany. Frankfurt is home of the European Central Bank and the German Stock Exchange. Furthermore, it hosts some of the world's most important trade shows, such as the Frankfurt Auto Show and the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Frankfurt is a city of contrasts. Wealthy bankers, students and granola drop-outs coexist in a city that has some of the highest, most avant-garde skyscrapers of Europe next to well maintained old buildings. The city centre, especially Römer square and the museums at the River Main, draw millions of tourists every year. On the other hand, many off the beaten track neighbourhoods, such as Bockenheim, Bornheim, Nordend and Sachsenhausen, with their intact beautiful 19th century streets and parks are often overlooked by visitors.
Frankfurt is the place where Germany's major autobahns and railways intersect. About 650,000 people commute to the city each day, not counting the 691,000 people who really live here. With a huge airport — the third-largest in Europe — it is the gateway to Germany and for many people also the first point of arrival in Europe. Further, it is a prime hub for interconnections within Europe and for intercontinental flights.
Frankfurt is the most diverse city in Germany and has the highest percentage of foreigners in the country: about 25% (660,000) of Frankfurt's residents have no German passport and another 20% are naturalized German citizens.
Frankfurt is home to many museums, theatres and a world-class opera.
When to visit
The best times for Frankfurt are late spring to early autumn. The summers tend to be sunny and warm around 25 °C (77° F). Be prepared, however, for very hot summer days around 35° C (95° F) as well as for light rain. The winters can be cold and rainy (usually not lower than -10 °C/14 °F). It rarely snows in Frankfurt itself.
If you intend to stay overnight, you may wish to avoid times when trade fairs are held, as this will make finding affordable accommodation a challenging task. The biggest are the Frankfurt Motor Show (Automobil-Ausstellung) every two years in mid-September (next in 2013 and then in 2015) and the Book Fair (''Buchmesse'') yearly in mid-October;
There are two offices for tourism information. The easiest one to get to is inside the Central Station. Look for the signs: it is near the main exit, next to the German Rail (DB) service area.
The official contact data is:
Touristinfo HauptbahnhofSee Online , (Tourist Information Central Station), Hauptbahnhof - Passage. +49 69 21 23 88 00 (''fax: +49 69 21 23 78 80'', ''mail: email@example.com''). M-F 8AM - 9PM, Sa-Su + Holidays 9AM - 6PM; New Year + New Year's Eve 8AM - 1PM; closed on December 25th + 26th. Touristinfo RömerSee Online , Römerberg 27. +49 69 21 23 88 00 (''fax: +49 69 21 23 78 80'', ''mail: firstname.lastname@example.org''). M-F 9:30AM - 5:30PM, Sa-Su + Holidays 10AM - 4PM; New Year + New Year's Eve 10AM - 1PM; closed on December 25th + 26th.
Frankfurt Airport See Online(IATA:FRA) is among the busiest in Europe — third in passenger traffic after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport — and the ninth busiest airport in the world. Frankfurt is the banking center of Germany and hosts numerous international trade fairs. Therefore all major airlines and all airline alliances fly frequently to Frankfurt and connects it to every continent and major city in the world. The German flagcarrier Lufthansa See Online is the main airline in Frankfurt and offers the best connections.
The airport has two terminals (A third is scheduled to be opened in 2016/17). Terminal 1 is the home of Lufthansa and the Star Alliance See Online airlines. Terminal 2 is for all other airlines. Terminal 1 is separated into Concourses A (inside Schengen passport control), Z (the level on top of A, outside passport control), B and C; Terminal 2 is separated into Concourses D and E. Terminal 1 is a multi-level maze with poor signage & changing entrances due to ongoing construction work and insufficient capacity. Lufthansa tries to ease the confusion, therefore Business Class passengers (+ Gold & Silver Star Alliance Card Holders) have a designated check in area in Terminal 1 A. First class passengers of Lufthansa & Swiss Int'l Airlines (+ LH HON Circle card holders) are allowed to check-in in the separate First Class terminal See Online on the right side of Terminal 1, which has its own driveway. All Star Alliance economy class travelers and other Star Alliance partners are checked in in Terminal 1B & 1C. The terminals are connected by the Sky Train (both landside and airside).
The departure gates have some of the most innovative seating around, with bench seats facing many directions and cafe-style tables and chairs for those who wish to whip out their laptops (sans coffee, alas). Passengers requiring special assistance should be advised that they might have to descend several flights of stairs to get to a bus that takes them to the plane, rather than disability-friendly ramps, so talk to the gate agent early if stairs are a problem.
Terminal 1 has public showers for €6 (includes towel, foot mat, shower gel, and hair dryer). One location is in the B Departures area, in the Shopping Boulevard, across from "TUMI". The other is in the secure area of B Concourse (good for transit passengers), Level 2, near gate B 30 and the duty free shopping. There is luggage storage in both terminals for €5 per bag per day.
Wireless internet access is available. 30 minutes is "free", but requires receiving an SMS (text message), which isn't free if you have to pay to receive an SMS or can't receive an SMS in Germany. More time is available by paying (e.g., €5 for 1 hour, €10 for a significantly longer period).
The airport has a long visitor terrace on top of terminal 2 (adults €5). It also offers 45-minute airside bus tours (adults €8, hourly from 11 (holidays) or 1-4PM, ticket booth is at the bridge between terminal 1 and "Frankfurt Airport Centre", follow signs and information for Flughafen Erlebnisfahrten ("Airport Experience Tour").
Airport to the city centre
The airport is connected to central Frankfurt by taxi, bus (Line 61 to Frankfurt Südbahnhof (Frankfurt South Station), and most easily by S-Bahn (fast commuter trains). To get to the city, take lines S8 or S9 from ''Regionalbahnhof'' (regional train station) in Terminal 1 (entrances in section A and B) in the direction of Offenbach Ost or Hanau: interactive route planner See Online . The lines S1-6/8/9 travel through the cornerstone of the system, an underground tunnel (the ''Citytunnel'') through central Frankfurt. If you want to change to long-distance trains get off at ''Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof''(Frankfurt Central Station) or ''Frankfurt Südbahnhof'' (Frankfurt South Station). If you want to go the city centre, get off at ''Frankfurt Taunusanlage'', ''Frankfurt Hauptwache'' or ''Frankfurt Konstablerwache'', which are in the heart of the city. The ride from the airport to the central station takes 14 minutes. Be sure to purchase a ticket at the vending machines (only cash) in the train station ''before'' boarding the train. The adult ticket is €4.1.
If you want to go to the airport via S-Bahn, take the S8 or S9 in the direction of Wiesbaden and jump off at F-Flughafen (airport station). Don't take the S1 — while it has the same general direction and leaves the central station at the same platform, it will go along the wrong side of the river Main. The line S1 does not stop at the airport.
Other airport connections
The Frankfurt airport also has connections for inter-city trains. Regional trains to Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Hanau stop at the same place as the S-Bahn to Frankfurt. Connections outside the Frankfurt region have a separate train station, the Fernbahnhof ("long-distance train station"). Here, you can board high-speed trains to Cologne, Munich and other destinations.
The smaller airport called Frankfurt/Hahn (IATA: HHN), mostly used by no-frills airlines, advertises proximity to Frankfurt. However, Hahn is far away from Frankfurt and it takes about 2 h to drive there from the city centre. For that airport, if you have to use it at all, allow more time in your travel plans and budget. A bus See Online from Frankfurt/Hahn to Frankfurt Main airport and on to ''Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof'' (Frankfurt Central Station) costs about €14 and leaves roughly every hour (much less often on Sundays, i.e. 8:00, 12:00 and so on): tickets are available from the kiosk, outside in front of the main entrance.