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Frankfurt/Environs Itinerary Help: 12/23-26

We have a few free days at the end of a family trip in Heidelberg and Rothenburg. We're checking out of our Rothenburg hotel on Dec 23 (morning) and need to fly out of Frankfurt midday on 12/26. We're an active, busy family of 3: 2 adults and a 17 year old. We know it's not a very tourtist-y time and many things will be closed.

Should we take a scenic train somewhere?
Should we just head back to Frankfurt and base ourselves there?

Things we like: Eating, wandering, architecture, landscapes/mountains, Christmas music, riding trains/other transit
Things we don't love: Driving

Posted by
5059 posts

When you leave Rothenburg on the 23rd, take the train to Wurzburg (on the way to Frankfurt) and spend that day and the 24th there. It has a great deal to offer in the way of things to do and see. The Prince Bishop's Residence (particularly the small chapel on the end) is not to be missed. There is also a huge fortress on the hill overlooking the city. Many good places to eat. Do some google searches and see what you think of the town. You can spend part of the 25th there before going to Frankfurt to spend the night before the flight the next day. With holiday schedules, give yourself some wiggle room for transportation.

Posted by
9042 posts

The Christmas market in Frankfurt closes on the 21st, so you will miss that, but the Winter Lights in the Palmengarten are on every evening except for the 24th. I go to these several times each winter as I enjoy them so much. If you are in Frankfurt on the 24th, there is the Pealing of the Bells in downtown Frankfurt at 17:00. This is 50 bells from 10 churches, ringing for 30 min. This is very popular and the inner city will be full of people listening to the bells as this only happens 4 times a year.
Make sure where ever you are, that you have dinner reservations someplace, like a hotel, as everything sort of shuts down in Germany on the 24th, especially restaurants. Besides which it is a Sunday and stores will all be closed that day, as well as on the 25th and 26th. All the museums, etc. will all be closed on the 24th. On the 25th and 26th, check the websites for any museums or tourist attractions you want to visit as many of them will be open, but some will be closed. This goes for any town or city you will be in over this period of time.

Markets that are open on the 23rd that are near Frankfurt:
Frankfurt Goethe Turm – 27.11-23.12
Wiesbaden – 28.11-23.12
Mainz – 30.11-23.12
Hanau – 1-23.12
Marburg – 1-23.12
Rüdesheim – 20.11-23.12
Darmstadt – 20.11-23.12
Worms – 20.11-23.12
Limburg – 24.11-23.12
Offenbach – 27.11-29.12
Speyer – 27.11-6.01

Posted by
6798 posts

In SPEYER, the Technik-Museum will be open from 12/23-26.
https://speyer.technik-museum.de/en/exhibition
https://speyer.technik-museum.de/en/hours-of-admission

Speyer's Romanesqe cathedral is a fine example of this genre and a UNESCO World Heritage site:
https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/168/video

Additonal choices in Speyer:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g198634-Activities-oa0-Speyer_Rhineland_Palatinate.html

A long train ride sounds like a good idea to me on 12/25. And there are things you can do. Assuming you wake up in and depart from Speyer... Here's the best Christmas Day plan I have to offer...

3-hour train ride to Koblenz via Germany's most scenic train route, the Middle Rhine Valley (river gorge + castles between Bingen and Koblenz) plus...

Cable Car ride from Koblenz over the Rhine to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress... plus...

Christmas Garden... then...

Return south from Koblenz by train (direct RE train = 1 hour) through the Middle Rhine Valley to MAINZ for the pm of 12/25. Mainz is a nice city for stretching your legs with its extensive pedestrians-only zone. Mainz sends off multiple trains per hour to FRA airport starting at around 4 am, and the ride is just 25 minutes.

Notes:
- Koblenz has lockers for your bags. Or if you take a layover in Mainz Hbf (main station) on the way to Koblenz, you can drop bags in a station locker there, or possibly AT YOUR HOTEL if you book near the station.

  • This or that will be open at the rail stations if you need to pick up some quick food, groceries, or other supplies.

  • You can buy ONE ticket to cover all of you on all of your train rides on 12/25. It's the Rheinland-Pfalz ticket, priced at €38, and it's available at a ticket machine at Speyer's train station. Ride the regional trains (RE, RB, S) on this ticket.

  • Heading from Mainz to FRA airport: Fare is €5.80 ea from an RMV ticket machine at Mainz station.

Posted by
2 posts

These are all great suggestions. Russ, I particularly like the idea of a Christmas train ride as well.