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Germany / Frankfurt help

I just found out I'm going to Germany for work in March.

Flying into Frankfurt arriving Sunday morning, work meetings Monday through Thursday, flying back Sunday morning. Will be staying in Wiesbaden for Sunday night through Thursday night.

What should I do on Friday and Saturday? I probably will not rent a car so something via the train is preferred. I know Frankfurt isn't exactly the place to be but I also don't want to spend 8 hours each way on a train somewhere...

I like museums, outdoors / hiking stuff, and just about anything else - I've never been to Germany...

Posted by
8100 posts

I don't know why you think that Frankfurt is not the place to be. There are soooo many museums here to visit, so much history to be found, medieval churches to see, as well as lots of Jewish cultural heritage. I can list you dozens of things to see and do here that would take you a week to see all of them.

You do know that Frankfurt was an Imperial city don't you? That the Holy Roman Emperors were elected here beginning in 1152 and crowned here since 1562? That this was the home of the Passion Plays? The 1st German Parliament? That one of the oldest churches in Germany is here, built in 850? That one of our Romanesque churches has the only "hanging vault" in existence? Did you know that Frankfurt had one of the oldest and largest Jewish ghettos, lasting from 1462-1810? Or that Anne Frank was born here and that her name is also included on the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Wall as well as 12,000 other names?

Why this stuff is ignored by the guide books, I just don't know. Personally, I find the sense of ancient history fascinating here. I love the Farmer street markets in all the old, turn of the century neighborhoods, with their cobblestone streets, the Klein Markt Halle with the butchers, bakers and produce on display, our old guard towers, I even love our skyscrapers. Frankfurt is so beautiful at night, or walking down the river, or hiking through our city forest.

So that you do not have to go so far away as Koblenz, you might consider a visit to the town of Bad Homburg, which has the Saalburg, the only reconstructed Roman fort in existence.

Posted by
159 posts

I'm no expert, but I did live in the area for a year in the 80's and I went back for a visit in 04. I personally would recommend visiting the little towns along the Rhine, specifically St. Goar (for Rheinfels Castle) and Bacharach. St. Goar is about 1 1/2 hrs from Frankfurt via train. I would definitely purchase RS Germany for more info.

Posted by
478 posts

How far from Frankfurt is Rothenburg ob der Tauber? I love that little town; very picturesque. I would think it would be easily accessible by train.

Posted by
18297 posts

From Wiesbaden to Rothenburg will take about 3½ hours by the fastest express trains, a little over 4 hours by regional train. I assume you would do this as an overnight trip.

For a single person, if you commit to a specific date and train and book well ahead, your best fare is a €19 Sparpreis, each way. That would use an ICE from Frankfurt Hbf to Würzburg.

It looks like the best connection without the commitment of a Sparpreis is a local train to Aschaffenburg, a regional express (RE) from there to Würzburg, and regional trains (change in Steinach) to Rothenburg. You would need a €13,60 point-point ticket from Weisbaden to Kahl am Main and a €20 Bayern-Ticket-Single (Bavarian Länder-Ticket for one) for all of your travel from Kahl on. Depending on where you went to on the way back (FRA?), you would need another Bayern-Ticket-Single and a P-P ticket to there from Kahl.

Posted by
18297 posts

I agree with Steve that the middle Rhine is the place to go, but you don't have to go all the way to Koblenz. From Wiesbaden to Bacharach by train will take less than an hour and cost you €7,80 pP, one way. If they are open, Pension Im Malerwinkel, in Bacharach, is in a lovely setting, pretty close to the center of Bacharach, but far away from the tracks. Or stay in St. Goar, a little over an hour, €10,50 pP, each way.

There are not a lot of boats running in March. If you really want to take a boat, one line does run a few boats, although not in the most interesting section, from Bacharch to St Goar. If you have only one day, see Rheinfel and take a boat ride. If you have two days, take the ferry across from St Goar to St Goarshausen and the train down to Braubach and see the Marksburg.

Posted by
38 posts

Thanks for the info.

I'm thinking about spending 1 night in Bacharach and 1 night in Heidelberg, it should give a day to explore each area.

If you have any specific travel suggestions let me know....

Posted by
18297 posts

Hint: To go from Bacharach to Heidelberg, use a Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket Single (€20 for one person). That will get you from Bacharach to Mainz to Mannheim. You will also need to get a local ticket in Mannheim for the S-Bahn to Heidelberg (€4,80).

Or, if you are willing to commit to a limitedly refundable, train-specific ticket, you might be able to get a Sparpreis ticket for the entire trip to Heidelberg (by EC/IC from Bingen or Mainz) for €19, online from the German Rail (Bahn) website.

There is nothing terribly wrong with spending the night in Heidelberg and coming into FRA in the morning, as long as you pay attention to the schedule and leave enough time. There are about 2 S-Bahn/ICE connections from Heidelberg to FRA via Mannheim per hour. They take slightly less than 1 hour.

To be safe, it might be better to spend Friday night in Bacharach, then come back to Wiesbaden/Mainz/Frankfurt for Saturday night to be closer to the airport and tour Frankfurt on Saturday.

Posted by
12875 posts

First of all, I don't mean this as a criticism, but I must say that what you see of Frankfurt as not being a place to be is, I would suggest, inaccurate.

Present-day Frankfurt is not the same as it was 35 years ago. In 1977 I was there for the second time and this time spent some days visiting the sights, mostly on foot, maybe back then I might have seen more validity in Frankfurt as not being where you should be, especially in the vicinity of the Hauptbahnhof. I was in Frankfurt most recently in July of 2007 for two days ... a big and most pleasant change since 1977. Give the city another chance...see that fantastic Opera House and also Goethe's house, Germany's greatest poet.

Posted by
38 posts

RS talks minimally about Frankfurt in his book - I have had really good luck with his recommendations in the past so that's what I was going to stick to! It doesn't mean I've forgotten about Frankfurt - I plan on spending Sunday there when I fly in. It should give me pretty much a whole day to spend there!

Posted by
8100 posts

Not sure who Rick toured with while here in Frankfurt, but I would love to wring their neck.:-)) They neglected most of the really wonderful things here. Rick can only write about what he was shown.
As nice as the Goethe house is, I would devote less time to it since most people have never heard of him, let alone read any of his stuff, and why Rick has all that info about the Red Light District is also a mystery to me. (shuddering to think about glorifying human trafficing, legal or not)
Zero info about the beautiful old Romanesque and Gothic churches, (St.Justinus - 850, St. Leonhards - 1219, Alte Nikolai - 1290, Deutsche Orden - 1309, and the Karmeliter Cloister with its 150 meters of frescos from 1513) very little info about the Jewish history here, hardly any info about the multitude of museums and galleries here, and well, it just makes me sad to see the history and beauty of this city not better highlighted. I do think people are missing out on a lot by not exploring Frankfurt a bit more.

Hopefully, Rick will come back some day and check out a few more sights here.

Posted by
313 posts

From a Different Lauren --

Don't lose heart, Jo. The list of sites you gave me a week or so ago sounded very interesting and we will spend more time in Frankfurt that originally planned.

I think Rick's books are primarily intended as an overview and are surely not comprehensive. I agree with Lauren from Sunnyvale that I have appreciated what he has recommended for the most part, but not 100%. Also, I don't mind that he sticks with the same locales, as sometimes I want to go places not packed with tourists. Maybe you can get the Germany guidebook folks to take another look though! :>)

Posted by
59 posts

Jo- When I read Laurens post I really laughed out loud with the thought in mind....man if Jo reads this she will have something to say about the Frankfurt comment and sure enough there it was. I have been everyplace in Germany Austria and Switz I want to go except for the Rhine area and Frankfurt. Every time I read one of your posts on Frankfurt I copy it and put it in a notebook so when I come back to Germany I plan on flying into Frankfurt and staying for several days. Thanks to your posts I know I will really enjoy it there for several days and will know all the things to see before I go off to the Rhine and Mosel areas. So thanks for posting and please keep posting about all the cool stuff you see and do there.

Posted by
59 posts

If you read Ricks blog he is changing the Heart of Belgium and Holland tour. He will be taking the folks to the red light district in Amsterdam and to one of the "coffee shops" to talk to locals about smoking legal dope. I can go to downtown Seattle and learn all I need to know about prostitution and dope and then form my own opinion about if they should be legal or not. When I go to Europe I go to learn about the history, culture, architecture and to see the beautiful little villages that have been there for 700 years...history and culture that our young nation doesnt have yet.

Posted by
1354 posts

Before you plan Bacharach in March, see which hotels are open. I liked both Bacharach (St. Goar even more) but I remember that many hotels were only open mid spring to the mid autumn. Cities: Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Würzburg, etc. might all be safer bets that time of year.

If you are sold on the Rhein, Boppard near St Goar is more likely to have hotels and restaurants open. Check HRS:

http://www.hrs.com/web3/

Regards, Gary

Posted by
18297 posts

Boppard might be a good option. There is a very old church there, with some connection, I think, to Roman times. There are also ruins of a Roman fortification. There is also some kind of a museum there, but I only found out about it the last day, a Monday, and it is closed on Mondays.

What Boppard does have is a 1 km long riverside park with hotels facing the river across it. Two you might want to check on, the Bellevue, which is a Best Western and should be listed on their website, and the Rheinlust.

Although most of the important sites on the Rhein are not in Boppard, they are easily accessible by train.

Posted by
638 posts

Lauren, is there any way you can take a couple of extra vacation days, either before or after? Since the company is paying anyway.....

Posted by
12 posts

I would like more help from Joe!
I will be staying evening and half of the next day in Frankfurt with my 12 year old son. What would you recommend for us to see? I know it not nearly enough time to explore this amazing city, but we want to do as mach as possible.
Thank you.
Vlada