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Worth Visiting For A Couple Hours Between Frankfurt and Stuttgart

Sorry to ask yet another question (instead of doing my homework!), but y'all have been so helpful I thought I'd ask: I'm picking up my sister in law from Frankfurt airport this Monday morning, and wanted to spend a few hours seeing some stuff neither of us has seen before, but we don't want to go very far out of our way on the route down to Stuttgart. I and my husband like cathedrals, SIL likes ruins/archaeology, we all are always up for castles ("real" or not!) Heidelberg seems the obvious choice but I'm tired of it.
Frankfurt seems like it has some worthy sights and museums in the innerstadt as Jo has mentioned. Also considering Worms, with it's pre-Christian history. And Speyer, also for history. Wurzburg is sort of out of the way but it loops around nicely back to Stuttgart so that's an option. I don't want to go further east than that, though (otherwise I'd consider Swabisch Hall) I'd personally lean towards Frankfurt for the Jewish history aspect, but that's not of as much interest to my SIL, and she's only here for a week, whereas I could get my butt up to Frankfurt anytime. She's obviously going to be tired, but we're trying to maximize her short time here and show her something different than what we have planned for the rest of her trip (Strasbourg, Stuttgart area including Tubingen and Ludwigsburg schloss, Munich, and Freiburg/Black Forest) I'm doing some research now but want to make sure I'm not missing an obvious option, and also just to get some personal opinions. What would you do with a few hours in the area? Also, if you recommend someplace, a reasonable and traditional lunch recommendation is also appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
252 posts

We loved Bad Wimpfen on the Neckar River close to Heidelberg and Stuttgart. Spent 3 nights there several years ago. It has a very small old town that can be covered in several hours. There is a really interesting ruin of the Imperial Palace, which was one of the largest north of the Alps, as well as the 13th century Red and Blue Towers. We thought it was a little gem. http://www.badwimpfen.de

Posted by
8965 posts

Monday can be tough as most museums are closed pretty much everywhere in Germany. Have you been to Bad Homburg to the Saalburg? This is a reconstucted Roman fort and would be interesting to almost everyone.
http://www.saalburgmuseum.de/english/home_engl.htm You could also stop in Mainz to see the Cathedral there, which is magnificent as well as some of the ruins there too. I really like the little Isis temple ruins that they found while building a shopping center. They have them displayed nicely now, and it is all free. Mainz was the Roman capital for this area and they even built a bridge across the Rhine to Wiesbaden. http://www.roemisches-mainz.de/

Posted by
12040 posts

Worms probably would not be my choice to "wow" a first-time visitor to Germany. Yes, it's one of the oldest cities in the country, but almost nothing except the cathedral and a handful of buildings remain from before WWII. I originally held the same opinion of Darmstadt, but now that I've explored the rebuilt center and Mathildenhöhe, my opinion has changed. This was the capital of the old Grand Duchy of Hess, and enough of the former royal splendour survives. It's right by the airport too... I'm going to assume you're familiar with the stretch of road along the A5 between the airport and Heidelberg. Have you driven the B3 that runs parallel to it? This is one of the more scenic Ferienstraßen in Germany, dubbed the "Bergstraße. It runs along the feet of the Odenwald and passes by countless vineyards, and a number of attractive towns. The towns look fairly mundane from the road, but they have wonderful old preserved Fachwerk centers (you won't see them, though, unless you park the car and walk). My two favorite towns are Heppenheim and Weinheim. Both have a castle (well, actually Weinheim has two, hence the nickname "Zweiburgenstadt"), and wonderful old Markts. Weinheim also has Schloß and park.

Posted by
791 posts

My vote would be Wurzburg. I've always considered it one of the hidden gems of Europe and it can easily be done in an afternoon or a day. The Residenz alone is worthy of a trip but pair it with the Marienburg Fortress and the views of the city that it offers...it's also a great place to sample the Franconia wines and there are some beautiful churches there as well. It's easily done from Frankfurt as it's autostrada the whole way. I used to love the drive on the 81 between Wurzburg and Stuttgart, it's flat with not much traffic and you can really fly.

Posted by
3049 posts

Yeah, I realized right after I posted this that museums would be closed, which definitely knocks Frankfurt out of the running. I appreciate the opinion about Worms. Someplace for me to visit later on my own (also for amazing Jewish history but probably not a great use of my SIL's time. Thanks for all the fantastic recommendations, now my problem is just picking one. Will do more research. Interesting to hear that Darmstadt is worthwhile - it's also the location of a giant international beverage store I'd driven up to once before, so if we did that I could swing in and buy some Sierra Nevada pale ale. Thanks also for alternate driving/route recommendations, as she'll be tired, a few hours somewhere plus a scenic ride back home should be perfect.

Posted by
12040 posts

Speaking of Jewish history... one of the towns on the Bergstraße (Hemsbach) has an old Jewish cemetery that somehow escaped unscathed from the Third Reich period. You have to hike up a pretty steep hill to reach it, so this probably wouldn't be a good choice for your sister-in-law after a long flight, but I mention it for future reference.