Museumsuferfest August 25th 2017

The annual Museums Embankment festival is in the heart of Frankfurt and not to be missed. It is the largest outdoor festival in the region with stalls and booths on both sides of the River Main offering a huge variety of gastronomic delights plus beer, wine and bands who play into the early hours, and its free! This year the festival runs from Friday 25th August through to Sunday 27th. The festival is in walking distance from most hotels in the city centre, if you're staying/living further out, this link offers a map of tram, bus and U-bahn stops nearby.

For a printer friendly (less images) version of this post -> Frankfurt-Museums-Fest

Along the river bank by the städel at the Museumsfest, in Frankfurt.

Along the river bank by the städel at the Museumsfest, in Frankfurt.

The Museumsuferfest Button

A major highlight of the festival is the 7€ badge - this gives you free access to 23 museums in Frankfurt the whole weekend, starting from 3pm on Friday 25th until closing time on Sunday 27th. You can buy the badge, or 'button' as the locals call it, from any participating museum or from the Tourist Information Office. This link lists all the museums taking part and also has the extended opening times during the festival weekend.

the Museumsuferfest 'button' For free Museum Entry

the Museumsuferfest 'button' For free Museum Entry

What to do and see at Museumsuferfest Events and Stalls

During the day, visit the many stalls along the south side of the river bank. Up at street level, starting from the Friedensbrücke, walk through the many stalls selling second hand books, vintage vinyl and local art and crafts. Down at the waters edge, close to the Holbeinsteg, local artists also display art and sculptures.

As you progress eastwards, at the street level, the stalls change to booths offering food and drink. Down on the riverbank itself, there is more food and drink and live music too.

By the evening the festival turns into a party atmosphere. Live bands, and DJ's playing sets from techno to rock,  there is something to suit everyone's musical taste. All events are listed in this link, select the date or the type of event you are interested in.

Along the northern bank of the River Main are more stalls offering food and drink and live bands. This side can sometimes be less busy than the southern side of the river, but it still gets busy!

Museum Gardens

Many of the museums, Städel, Liebieghaus, the Museum of Applied Arts (Museum Angewandte Kunst) open up their gardens offering more chances to eat and drink and listen to live music. It's an opportunity to escape the hectic pace of the festival and the crowds on the river bank itself.

Another major highlight is the fireworks display which rounds off the celebrations at 10:30pm on Sunday night. A handy hint for novices - if you want to be on the riverside for the display, then head down to the bank about an hour before the fireworks start, grab some food and drink and find a good viewing spot. As 10:30pm approaches the police sometimes stop people descending onto the river bank to prevent overcrowding.

The weather is forecast to be warm and pleasant for the whole weekend - so come along to the festival and enjoy having a party with the locals.

Apple wine - a speciality of Frankfurt

The 2017 Apfelweinfest, Frankfurt

The 2017 Apfelweinfest is being hosted on the Hauptwache in Frankfurt until August 20th. If you are coming to Frankfurt then you should definitely try a glass or two of this beverage famed as the local drink of Hessen and commonly called Äppler. The name however is misleading being more like a cider than a wine with an average alcohol content of 4%. Also be aware it has a sour flavour which is why you often see the locals ordering a bottle of sparkling water, along side their bembel (jug) of apple wine, which they use to top up the drink and soften the sourness.

How to order your apple wine

When ordering by the glass,  apple wine 'pur' means it is pure apple wine. If you want your glass topped with a little water, then order an apple wine 'sauer' and if you need a little sweetness, then order an apple wine 'suss', in this case the glass is topped with a little lemonade.

Bembels (jugs) of apple wine always come 'pur' and you order by the number of glasses. E.g if you are with a group of 6 friends you might order a '6er' bembel which holds six glasses of apple wine. Don't forget to order a bottle of sparkling water for those in your group who want to soften down the flavour. Better still go to Kelterei Heil, a known and respected brand in Frankfurt, and they'll include a bottle of water with your bembel.

Kelterei Heil offering a 6er Bembel and bottle of water for 12€

Kelterei Heil offering a 6er Bembel and bottle of water for 12€

One joy of the Apfelweinfest is trying apple wine from a variety of producers. Each brand has it's own flavour. Some producers offer unfilterred apple wine which is cloudy and labelled 'naturtrüb' whilst the more regular applewine is clear. Two producers offering naturtrüb at this years festival are Hofmann's and Trageser. My favourite regular apple wines offering a fresh taste are by Nöll, Walther and Stier This year Nöll, Walther and Stier have their stalls side by side, so not too far to wander to sample from all three!  Rosé apple wine is another variety worth a try and has a less sour taste. Nöll offer an Apfel-Secco which is milder and naturally sweet. 
 

Apple wine is always served in a 'gerippte' glass. The pretty diamond shape etching serves a practical purpose - it's to stop the glass from slipping through your greasy fingers, which is a very likely peril after a bratwurst or two. This year the Apfelweinfest is hosting a variety of foods, including vegetarian and vegan, fish and chips, traditional green sauce and the ever present Schwenkgrill (swinging grill over an open fire) for the meat eaters. 

If you've missed the festival but still want to try apple wine, try visiting one of the famous apple wine taverns in Sachsenhausen - a few of my favourites are on my web page, click on the link and scroll down to Applewine taverns in Sachsenhausen to see a list.

A traditional 'Gerippte' glass containing a sample of Hofmann's naturtrüb Äppler - Zum Wohl!

A traditional 'Gerippte' glass containing a sample of Hofmann's naturtrüb Äppler - Zum Wohl!

A printer-friendly pdf format file, with written content but no pictures -> Apple-Wine-Frankfurt

Wetzlar, World of Leica and Braunfels

A must for all camera enthusiasts - World of Leica at Leitz Park nestled on the outskirts of Wetzlar, a pretty little town in it's own right so, first, let me tell you a little more about Wetzlar.

Wetzlar

Wetzlar is a 60 minute train ride from Frankfurt (travel details at the bottom of this page). Formerly an imperial free city, and the seat of the imperial chamber court, Wetzlar held status during the medieval period. Today, that imperial legacy leaves behind an old town, medieval layout of streets, timber-framed houses and a green belt of parkland around the old city walls.  Situated on the river Lahn, Wetzlar has it's charms and makes for a great day-trip especially if you tack on a trip to the Leitz Park. 

Map from the Wetzlar tourist information brochure, linked here.

Map from the Wetzlar tourist information brochure, linked here.

First port of call should be the Tourist Information, Domplatz 9. They have a wonderful, free leaflet, in English, detailing the beautiful buildings of Wetzlar and suggested walks through the town and around the old wall and parks. Wetzlar is particularly proud of it's connections with Germany's literary giant, Goethe, and his novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. I won't repeat the information the tourist office has already put together, but add that from the cathedral, through Fischmarkt, Kornmarkt and onto the old bridge there are medieval sights galore.

There are plenty of places to stop and eat or grab a coffee. With so little traffic in the old town, sitting outdoors in the summer is a joy. Around the cathedral, on Domplatz, the eateries have a good reputation and plenty of outdoor seating. On Fischmarkt 2, the Ratsschänke serves traditional cuisine out of a beautiful old timer-framed house. Another iconic building is Conny's Binding, Eisenmarkt 7, a bar come cafe, serving small plates into the early hours and it's located at a central point where street artists often perform and entertain. Head towards the old bridge and there are few riverside cafes. On the way to the bridge Eiscafe Rialto, Lahnstraße 27,  renown for making their own ice cream. Bröker's cafe, on the bridge itself, offers breakfast until 12 noon and a daily lunch menu.  On the opposite side of the bridge is the Paulaner Wirtschaft, with a large garden terrace along the river, offering regional and Bavarian specialities.

World of Leica at Leitz Park

This amazing, new, complex offers free photographic exhibitions, exhibits of Leica products and for a small fee, a guided tours of the Leica factory. However, if you do not have time for a tour, it is possible to view the assembly and manufacturing rooms through panoramic windows. The site itself is architecturally stunning both inside and out. There is a Leica store and a cafe on-site. The only difficulty at the moment is getting to Leitz Park without a car. It's a 3km walk from the town centre or a bus ride from Wetzlar station on Bus 11. My advice, if you have no car, is to take the bus toworld of Leica (because it's uphill all the way) and wander downhill back into town. For full local transportation details, check the RMV web site.

Travel to Wetzlar

There are regular trains from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Wetzlar (RB40 & RB99) running approximately every 30 minutes throughout the week. Travelling by car is the easiest option of you wish to visit World of Leica which is 75km north of Frankfurt. By train or car the journey time is 60 minutes.

Add on a trip to Braunfels

An additional trip, you might be interested in, is to Braunfels. Accessible by bus from Wetzlar, or a 15 minute trip by car, Braunfels has a quaint castle with a small, almost fairy-tale like village at it base. Even their own tourist information calls the village "enchantingly beautiful". Schloss Braunfels (the castle) offers tours at set times and down in the village, Kleines Cafe am Markt opens at 9am for breakfast and has a reputation for great cakes in the afternoon. There is a Tourist Information office on Marktplatz (at the foot of the castle) and of course an ice-cream parlour, Eiscafe Chintemi.

Frankfurt Höchst

Sometimes written Hoechst, this little town in the western suburbs of Frankfurt has beautiful, timber-framed, medieval housing, an old town square, a delightful castle (the former residence of the Archbishop of Mainz), and a beautiful riverside along the Main.

Höchst is just 15 minutes by train from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof and can be reached using the S1 or S2 trains. It is within the Frankfurt travel zone area and the trip is covered by daily, weekly and yearly travel cards. To find the old town, alight at Frankfurt Höchst, exit the station to the south and head along Justinuskirchstraße.

It is also a very pleasant cycle ride to Höchst travelling west, out of Frankfurt, along the south bank of the river Main towards Schwanheim. As you draw level with Höchst, on the opposite riverbank, there is a small ferry boat which shuttles passengers to and fro, across the river, for just 1€. Once on the Höchst riverbank, you are directly in front of the old city gate and walls. Walk through the gate and you enter the old town. Alternatively, you can take refreshment at the Alteschiffsmeldestelle, an open air cafe 100m to the west of where the shuttle boat docks.

Höchst castle has some lovely grounds to explore and is in the heart of the old town. The small square as you approach the castle has plenty of quaint places to eat and relax. From the square it is possible to walk down, through the gate of the old town walls and to the river bank.

Close to the castle is Justinus Church, one of the few, almost complete, early medieval churches in Hessen. Open to the public from 2pm- 5pm, Tues - Sun during the summer months, it also has a pretty flower and herb garden worth visiting too. 

Just taking a walk through the streets of old Höchst will provide the quaint sight of beautifully restored medieval, timber houses. Streets of note are: Burggraben, Antoniterstraße, Kronengasse, and Alt-Höchst. At Alt-Höchst 7, stands a quaint, traditional weinstube (wine bar) Alte Münze , serving light bites and local wines. It's open daily (except Tuesday) from 4pm. On Bolongarostraße 152, is the Kronberger Haus which hosts the Höchst Porcelain Museum. The museum is small but it's a must for anyone interested in porcelain and pottery manufacture, open Sat & Sun from 11am - 6pm. 

On Tuesday, Friday and Saturday morning a market is held at Höchster Markt, lots of fruit and vegetable stalls and a flower market outdoors. In the indoor market is a good variety of diary, meat and delicatessen stalls. The coffee stand is particularly popular.  Outside, on the north-eastern corner of the market place is Cafe Piccolo, serving delicious ice-creams. At the eastern side of the market place is a large, ugly, pink building which is an old air-raid shelter built during World War 2. However, it is the former site of the local synagogue which was destroyed to make way for the shelter. Take a look through the binoculars stationed outside the bunker to see image of the former synagogue as it previously stood.

Whilst in Höchst, take some time to visit the church of St. Josef, on the corner of Hostatostraße and Justinuskirchstraße. Plain on the outside but a treasure of early 1900's architecture on the inside.

Enjoying German wines at the 2017 Rheingau Wine Festival (30th August - 8th September)

The 2017 Rheingau Weinfest, hosted on the Freßgass' in Frankfurt,  is a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with classic German wines. Put any preconception of sweet wine out of your mind. Good German wine is a whole new World waiting to be appreciated, however the German wine classification can feel complicated to novices so, to get the most out of the wine festival, below are some hints and tips to launch you into your voyage of wine discovery.

Dry or Sweet

Trocken is the word to look for if you want a dry, crisp wine. If you find the wine too crisp and minerally you might want to try a halbtrocken or feinherb wine which contains a small amount of residual sweetness, but are not sweet wines! Lusciously sweet wines, the ones you associated with dessert wines, carry the labels Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein or Trockenbeerenauslese.

Trocken and feinherb labels. Photograph © Anne Noble

Trocken and feinherb labels. Photograph © Anne Noble

Grape Varieties

The Rheingau is renown for it's riesling, the king of grape varieties. Many people underestimate riesling however Masters of Wine highly rate it for it's complexity and amazing ageing qualities. Gently sniff the bouquet of your riesling and you'll be amazed at the variety of scents ranging from floral, fruit, honey, herbs and the very distinct 'petrol' nose of an aged riesling. The Rheingau offers some other grape varieties which might be more familiar once you recognise their English names: Grauburgunder = Pinot Gris and Weissburgunder = Pinot Blanc. If you have the chance also try a Scheurebe a truely unique German grape created in 1916 by Dr. Scheu. He combined two grape varieties, riesling and bukettraube (of silvaner heritage) resulting in a wine which is dry with gentle fruit overtones.

Spätburgunder, aka Pinot Noir, dominates red wine production in the Rheingau. The style produced varies from a light finesse, which reflects the cool climes of the Rheingau area, to a richer, darker wine from grapes nurtured in the vineyards using select harvests. The difference is easy to spot in the glass, a light transparent red wine of the old style and a rich deep red of the new style.   

VDP

Some producers belong to the elite VDP association. VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) started in 1910 and serves to promote quality viticulture focussed on regional grape designation, quality production and vineyard management working in harmony with nature. Wine producers have to meet with strict requirements before they can carry the VDP eagle on their bottles. There are a few VDP producers at the Rheingau Weinfest. One repeat visitor is F. B Schönleber and Weingut Hamm is another renown producer which has also achieved the organic certification.

VDP Eagle. Photograph © Anne Noble

VDP Eagle. Photograph © Anne Noble

Wine Stands

This is a list of this years participants, and all offer great quality wines. All along the Freßgass will be the wine stands interspersed with food stalls making it a great place to head for an evening out with friends.

A day out in Bad Homburg

Bad Homburg, spa town to royalty and Russian nobility during the 19th century, is a short train ride from Frankfurt (train details details below). It's a great place to spend the day enjoying the beautiful Kurpark, the Schloss Homburg gardens, the great variety of architecture, and the numerous cafes and restaurants for refreshment.

Bad Homburg Kurpark

In the 19th century, the Russian nobility flocked to Bad Homburg to enjoy the spa baths and casino located in the Kurpark, a beautiful park landscaped by Peter Joseph Lenné and lovingly maintained to this day. The park has a Russian orthodox church and two Siamese temples. The first Buddhist temple, inaugurated in 1914, was sent as a gift by King Chulalongkorn of Siam. Later in 2007 the Thai royal family sent another temple to commemorate the long standing ties between the town and Thailand. Back in the 1800's the German royal family constructed a spa house in the park. The Kur Royal Day Spa, is still open to the public and and there is also the more modern Taunus Therme baths. After the Kurpark wander along the streets nearby e.g. Landgrafenstraße towards the high street, which are filled with fine examples of art nouveau architecture.

Bad Homburg High Street

Bad Homburg high street (starting at the southern end of Louisenstraße) is pedestrianised, which makes for a pleasant, traffic free stroll up toward Schloss Homburg. There are plenty of places to grab a coffee and have a break, of particular note is Eiscafe De Pellegrin, Louisenstraße 9, serving excellent ice-creams. Don't forget to check the side streets for some 'off the beaten track' restaurants (Audenstraße has quite a few).

Schloss Homburg

At the northern end of the high street is the Schloss Homburg, the summer residence of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Today, the gardens are open to visitors and the main entrance is on Dorotheenstraße. Beside the main entrance is the Erlöserkirche, commissioned by the Kaiser, with a lavish interior presenting a mix of byzantine and art nouveau styles.

Edward VII was a regular guest at the Schloss and is credited with making famous the Homburg hat, which is still produced in Bad Homburg today. The original Homburger Hutsalon (hatters shop),  is on Rathausstraße 8, in a beautiful 16th century building, surrounded by other beautifully restored timber-framed houses. 

If you enjoy architecture, on returning back to the station, instead of walking along the high street, take the route along Dorotheenstraße, starting at the Schloss, and enjoy the lovely examples of 18th century Baroque housing. Along the way is the beautiful church of St. Marien.

Trains to Bad Homburg and map

Bad Homburg can be reached in 21 minutes by taking the S5 from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (or directly from Frankfurt city centre at Hauptwache and Konstablerwache) Trains run every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes at weekends. A single ticket costs 4,80€, a day card costs 9,35€ or, if there is between two to five people travelling, a group card is only 16,40€ (prices correct as from June 2017) If you have a Frankfurt travel-card, you will need to pay a 2,95€ supplement each way. The Bad Homburg tourist information web page has lots of additional information.

Bad Homburg - click on map will enlarge it and this link is the searchable web version.

Festivals in and around Frankfurt this summer

This blog post is work in progress for 2017 and will be updated with festivals hosted in and around Frankfurt this summer. As you can imagine, wine festivals are very much about the wine, but all festivals offer plenty of food and drink options and always have live music.

Festivals are listed by date and every festival is either in Frankfurt or is easily accessed by public transport. I've added a few notes about trains, but please check the RMV website for full details.

Festivals in June

  • 1 - 11 June - Frankfurt Croatian Festival on Roßmarkt. A festival celebrating the culture, food and drink of Croatia.
  • 2 - 11 June - Bad Sodener Weintage. A wine festival every evening hosted in the Bad Soden Altem Kurpark. Official opening at 5.30pm on Fri. Other days opening at 5pm til midnight, on Whit Sun & Mon opening at 3pm. (S3 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 30 min throughout the week)
  • 3-6 June - Frankfurt Wäldchestag, in Sachsenhausen Forest (take the number 21 tram to Am Oberforsthaus). A funfair with live entertainment hosted in the Stadtwald. Sat & Sun 12pm - 1am Mon &Tues 12pm - Midnight
  • 9-12 June - Oberursel Fountain Festival The festival takes place through the town and at the weekend, on Rathhausplatz, there is a special arts and crafts fair.  Opening at 5.30pm on Fri. On additional days the festival starts at 11am. (S5 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)  
  • 10 - 11 June - Frankfurt Bergenstraßen Fest. Between Bettmannpark and Höhenstraße various stalls with arts and crafts, food, and drinks on sale.
  • 12 June (Sun) - Kronberg Strawberry Fest. Strawberries on sale throughout the centre of town, festivities and Sunday opening hours for the local shops. (S4 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 30 min throughout the week)
  • 24 - 25 June - Frankfurt Schweizer Straße Fest, Sachsenhausen. Literally on the Schweizer Straße, two days of drinks, food and live music into the night. 
  • 28 June-7 July - Frankfurt Opera Square Fest, at the Alte Oper. Lots of food and drink stands, plus entertainment starting at lunchtime and into the evening.
  • 29 June-3 July - Darmstadt Heinerfest, opens at 18:00 on June 29th. An amazing array of events and attractions during this 5 day festival hosted all around Friedensplatz, with a firework display on Monday evening. This link offers some information in English. (Numerous regional and S-bahns depart Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof on a regular basis)
  • 30 June-2 July - Hugenotten Market, Friedrichsdorf - and the festival is in the centre of town at Landgrafenplatz. Fri 6pm - 2am, Sat 10am - 2am, Sun 10am - midnight (S5 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)  
  • 30 June-3 July - Eltville Sekt & Biedermeier Festival, This is a lovely festival along the Rhein promenade at Eltville, celebrating the sparkling wine of the region. The link also contains details of all other wine festivals in the Rheingau region. (RB10 regional train departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every hour)

Festivals in July

  • 1 July - Frankfurt Deutschherrnfest. Along the Deutchherrnufer in Sachsenhausen it s a day of fun for the family and entertainment into the evening. (Trams nr. 14 & 18 to Frankensteiner Platz)
  • 1-2 July - Frankfurt Höchst Altstadt Fest. Taking place at the Schloss and Justinusplatz. Daily from 1pm - midnight. Lots for the family to enjoy (S1 & S2 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof regularly throughout the week)
  • 7-10 July - Wiesbaden Schierstein Harbour Fest, Wiesbaden-Ost. A festival along the Habour promenade with plenty of music, food and drinks. On Saturday morning there is a flea-market, and throughout the weekend a dragon boat regatta. (Wiesbaden-Ost is the closest station. S1, S8, S9 depart Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min)
  • 7-10 July - Hochheimer Wine Fest, hosted in the old town of Hochheim. A chance to try Queen Victoria's favourite wine! (S1 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min throughout the week)
  • 14-16 July - Frankfurt Christopher Street Day, Frankfurt. The main parade is on Saturday starting at Römerberg. Festivities all weekend long around Grosse Friedberger Strasse.
  • 14-17 July - Geisenheimer Lindenfest. A wine festival hosted in the Geisenheim cathedral square and special opening of shops on Sunday 16th too. (Regional RB10 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof for Geisenheim Bahnhof every hour throughout the week)
  • 21 July - 8 Aug - Frankfurt Sommerwerft Theatre Fest - along the northern banks, near Weselerwerft, of the Main river a festival of theatre and events for all the family. Of course they'll be drinks and food too!
  • 28-30 July - Mainz Light Fest All along the Rheinufer you will find food and drink stalls as you enjoy the festival of lights. Special ships are chartered to view the lights from the river and there is a spectacular firework and laser show on the Saturday evening. (S8 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 30 min throughout the week)
  • 28-31 July - Frauensteiner Weinfest, Wiesbaden. Hosted on St. Georg and Katharina Platz, Georg Str. 2 in the centre of Wiesbaden.  (Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof is the closest station. S1, S8, S9 depart Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min)
  • 28 Jul-6 Aug - Dietzenbach Wine Fest Taking place on Europaplatz in the heart of Dietzenbach this festival draws vintners from around the region. Lots of live music. Opens at 5pm every day. (S2 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)
  • 29-30 Jul - Amazing Thailand Fest, Bad Homburg. A weekend of Thai celebrations, arts and food, hosted in the the Kurpark. (S5 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)

Festivals in August

  • 4-6 Aug - Wallufer Weindorf A wine festival in the oldest wine producing village of the Rheingau. Hosted along the river bank at La-Londe-Platz, Walluf. (Regional RB10 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every hour throughout the week)
  • 4-7 Aug - Frankfurt Main River Fest Hosted along the northern bank of the Main River, by the Eisener Steg in the heart of the old town. Funfair rides and lots of fun for the family. Firework display on Monday (7th) night.
  • 5-6 Aug - Kronberg Art and Wine Fest. A weekend of festivities starting at 3pm on Saturday until 8pm and Sunday from 11am - 7pm. Stores are open on Sunday too! (S4 to Kronberg departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 30 min throughout the week)
  • 11-20 Aug - Frankfurt Applewine Fest. A celebration of apple wine takes place on Roßmarkt with multiple producers selling many varieties of apple wine. 
  • 11 - 20 Aug - The Rheingauer Weinfest in Wiesbaden One of the largest wine festivals in the World which takes place at Wiesbaden’s Schlossplatz and Dern’sches Gelände. (Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof is the closest station. S1, S8, S9 depart Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min)
  • 17 Aug - Frankfurt Bahnhofsviertalnacht starting at 7pm. Roads are closed and the Bahnhofsviertal streets are handed over to the people of Frankfurt - drinks, food and music into the early hours.
  • 19 Aug - Frankfurt 1st Bockenheim Weinfest, Weingarten, Bockenheim. Go along to Bockenheim and support their very first wine festival (we want to encourage them to host it again next year!)
  • 18-21 Aug - Frankfurt 527th Fountain Festival in Sachsenhausen. A festival in old Sachsenhausen, celebrating the purity of the old water fountains. Yes, it live music, food, drinks and a party atmosphere all weekend.
  • 25-27 Aug - Frankfurt Museumsuferfest starting at 3pm on Friday and finishing with fireworks on Sunday night. Stalls of arts, crafts and old books along the Museumsufer. Whilst on the riverside on both the north and south side of the Main river are music, food and drink booths. 
  • 30 Aug-8 Sept - Frankfurt Rheingauer Weinfest A wine festival hosting a huge variety of Rheingau wine producers along the Fressgass' (Große Bockenheimer Straße). 

Festivals in September

  • On-going from Aug til 8th Sept - Frankfurt Rheingauer Weinfest A wine festival hosting a huge variety of Rheingau wine producers along the Fressgass' (Große Bockenheimer Straße). 
  • 1-3 Sept - Day of the open wine cellars in Rheingau. On these days, during September, vintners open the doors to their cellars and host special tastings and events. The link above lists the individual vintners and vineyards that are taking part. The event is repeated the following weekend on the 8th & 9th of September.
  • 2 Sept - Frankfurt Brücken.Wall Fest. A festival celebrating the shops, market, restaurant and bars on Brückenstraße and Wallstraße in Sachsenhausen.
  • 8-9 Sept - Day of the open wine cellars in Rheingau. On these days, during September, vintners open the doors to their cellars and host special tastings and events. The link above lists the individual vintners and vineyards that are taking part. 
  • 8-17 Sept - Autumn Dippemess, Frankfurt Ratsweg. Fair rides and fun for all the family, starting 2pm. (Take the U7 to Eissporthalle.)
  • 15-17 Sept Wine Market, Seligenstadt. Starting on Friday evening, throughout the weekend the old town is beautifully lit up in celebration of the wine fest. (Trains depart from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof and Südbahnhof. you might need to change trains at Hanau, although there are direct trains too)
  • 15-1 7 Sept Gartenfest Schloss Wolfsgarten, Langen. A must for gardening enthusiasts. Entrance 14€.
  • 15-17 Sept - Rumpenheimer Kunsttage. Rumpenheim has a community of artists who throw open their doors to visitors. It's a great weekend centred around the Rumpenheim Schloss (Travel requires a car or a bike, or a 3km walk across pretty countryside from Arthur-von-Weinberg-Steg (Tram nr. 11)
  • 16-17 Sept - Weinfest am Morschberg, Geisenheim Local vintners offer samples of their Geisenheim wines.  (Regional RB10 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof for Geisenheim Bahnhof every hour throughout the week and the footpath to Morschberg is well signposted (approx 20-30 minute walk)
  • 21-23 Sept Frankfurt Harvest Festival, on Roßmarkt. From 10am - 8pm. Lots for the family to enjoy, and of course some food and drink!

Festivals in October

  • 6-9 Oct - Autumn Market & Fest (Herbstfest), Idstein Starting on the Friday through to Monday, hosted on Schlossplatz in the heart of this pretty old town. A family occasion plus musical entertainment.  (The RB22 runs hourly from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Idstein, every 2 hours on Sunday)
  • 7-8 Oct - Elisabethmarkt & Fest, Marburg. A pretty university town about 80km north of Frankfurt. Not only the market, but also Sunday opening for stores in the centre too. (Regional RB and IC trains run half hourly from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Marburg throughout the weekend. Buy a Hessen card, 35€, and up to five people can travel together)
  • 8 Oct - Harvest Festival, Bad Homburg. The Harvest festival is hosted along Louisastraße and stores will be open from 1pm until 6pm (S5 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)
  • 20-22 Oct - Federweisser Days, Rüdesheim An opportunity to try the fresh new wine up from the local vintners. They'll be onion cake on sale too, to compliment the wine. Hosted over two weekends! (RB10 regional train departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every hour)
  • 27-29 Oct - Federweisser Days, Rüdesheim. The second weekend of the Federweisser Days. See 20-22 Oct. (RB10 regional train departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every hour)

21-22 Oct - Harvest Fest, Kronberg
25-29 Oct - Jazz Festival, Frankfurt. Alte Oper and Monsumturm

Ernst May architecture and a lovely day out

The ernst-may-haus

Within the Frankfurt travel zone a little north of Frankfurt is an area known as Römerstadt (take U-bahn U1 or U9 to Römerstadt). Today, it is known as a 1920's housing project conceived and planned by Ernst May. Centuries ago, it was a an area of Roman activity. With an original 'ernst-may-haus' to visit and offering some beautiful countryside along the path of the river Nidda, the Römerstadt makes for a great day out. It's also accessible via several cycle routes. (I've added notes below)

First port of call is the ernst-may-haus (Im Burgfeld 136), run and maintained by the Ernst May Society. Directions to the house are well signposted from the Römerstadt U-bahn station. The ernst-may-haus is a sample house which re-creates the original interior and features of Ernst May's concepts and has a very informative video, in English, about his ideas and planning for the New Frankfurt, as it was called. Other exhibits are in German however, one can still enjoy the aesthetics and ideas which went into creating this 1920's home. In the house is an original kitchen, designed by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, a bathroom, a cellar and bedrooms. Rooms are decorated in the original colours from 1928 to give authenticity to Ernst May's vision.

Once you leave the ernst-may-haus, you'll notice how the housing on every street conforms to the Ernst May principles, front lawns, back gardens, flat roofs and long terraces of identical buildings. Next you'll notice the amazing amount of greenery and nature incorporated into this residential project.

Nearby walks

My recommendation is that after you have visited the mayhaus, you walk back along the street, Im Burgfeld, towards the U-bahn, but instead of going into the station keep walking down the street (Hadrianstraße). Eventually, on the left you'll reach a road called "An der Ringmauer", walk beyond this street and take the next left which is a pathway leading you around the back of the housing and along the Schrebergartens. (Schrebergartens are small allotment gardens) The individuality of the Schrebergartens themselves are are pretty sight in the summer and the other unavoidable view are the imposing boundary walls, to the left as you walk, jutting out like battlements. Walk up upon one and capture some great Frankfurt skyline views.Find a path that takes you through the Schrebergartens and to the banks of the river Nidda. Suddenly you are transported away from housing and into the heart of the country-side with large green vistas and nature all around. Head toward the small bridge signposted as, "Am Bubeloch" and enjoy the views. For a pleasant walk, cross the bridge and walk down stream, in under 2km you reach another bridge where you can cross over, explore Steinbech (a small water inlet) and then walk back up towards Römerstadt. An alternative walk from "Am Bubeloch" is not to cross the bridge but to follow the bank of the river Nidda upstream for 3.5km and you will reach the old Bonames airfield which is today a nature reserve and has the excellent Tower Cafe, serving lunches and home-made cakes. (From The Tower Cafe it is possible to walk into town and catch the U2 or U9 trains at the Kalbach station.)

To incorporate a walk along the river, on route back to Frankfurt, turn left at Am Bubeloch and follow the river path upstream. The path will eventually take you up onto a road bridge. Turn right onto the bridge and cross the Nidda river. Turn right onto Niedwiesenstraße and then left onto Am Brückengarten. Turn left at the T-junction, at the end of Am Brückengarten, and you'll see some steps leading up. Follow the steps up and you'll find yourself on a busy road (Am Weißen Stein). Turn left and you'll see the S-bahn station Eschersheim. Turn right and follow the road down toward the U-bahn stop called Weißer Stein. This stop is served by the U1, U2, U3 and U8 trams. For a treat head to the Lido ice cream cafe, just behind the U-bahn stop. They make the ice cream on-site and the quality is top notch.

For cyclists

The cycle along the Nidda river, from Frankfurt heading north east is lovely. There is a small bridge at Am Bubeloch allowing you to cross over into Römerstadt where upon the Schrebergartens and Ernst May housing is directly ahead of you. Turn left at Am Bubeloch and follow the Nidda downstream and under the road bridge. The ernst-may-haus is across the fields heading north away from the river. After visiting Römerstadt head back to the river turn left and follow the Nidda upstream to Bonames and it's old airfield to rest and grab a bite to eat at the fabulous Tower Cafe.

From Frankfurt (FRA) airport into Frankfurt city

Frankfurt is the ideal airport for a layover. It only takes 20 minutes, by train, to travel from Frankfurt airport into the heart of Frankfurt and spend the day sight-seeing, shopping and grabbing a bite to eat before heading back to the airport for your connecting flight. For clients doing a WALK FRANKFURT layover tour, tickets and travel are taken care of by your guide when they collect you from the airport. However, some travellers like to do their own thing, so this is a quick guide how to do it.

S-bahn trains, S8 & S9, run every 15 minutes from Terminal 1 and travel directly to Hauptwache and Konstablerwache, the two most central stations in Frankfurt. There are two railway hubs at the airport, you will need to find the regional station which is downstairs in Terminal 1 itself. Once downstairs, the first thing to do is buy a ticket from one of the ticket machines. You have several choices:

  • single journey tickets which cost 4,80€ (a return = 9,60€).
  • a day travel card which costs 9,35€ (cheaper than buying a return ticket) and permits you to travel on all the city transport for the day.
  • a group travel card which costs 16,40€ and permits up to 5 people to travel together on all the city transport for the day, and is excellent value if there are two or more of you. 

Step by step instructions on how to buy a ticket have been added at the bottom of this page. You will need cash, or a credit/debit card with a PIN to purchase tickets from the ticket machines.

After you have bought your ticket, head down to Platform 1 and wait for an S8 or S9. Frankfurt has a barrier-free transport system so you just show your ticket to the inspector on the train during your journey. It's five stops and 20 minutes to the centre of town. The stops are: Stadion, Niederrad, Hauptbahnhof, Taunusanlage and Hauptwache where you alight, or you can travel through to Konstablerwache. Local travel maps can be found on the RMV local transport pages.

In Frankfurt city

Once in Frankfurt there is plenty to see and do. The old town is down by the river near the Cathedral, museums are centrally located and there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and bakeries selling food and drinks. On a fine day you can take a local river cruise which only takes 110 minutes, or enjoy the view across the whole of the Frankfurt urban area from the Main Tower. Click on this link indexing various blog pages offering detailed information and more ideas. Over the summer months there is usually an outdoor festival being hosted in the city centre and whatever the theme of the festival you can be sure to find bratwurst, beer and local wine. If you're lucky enough to be in town on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday then a real treat is to catch one of the fabulous Farmers' markets (details listed here).  

For your return journey to the airport go to either Hauptwache or Konstablerwache station and follow signs for the S-bahn. Wait on platform 3 for the S8 or S9 train which run every 15 minutes.

Buying your travel ticket at the airport

The ticket machines are touch screen, so touch the screen to bring up the main main menu. Tap the appropriate flag at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu in your chosen language. 

For single tickets select the single ticket option (see central column options in image above). The next screen will ask you to select an adult or child fare. The payment screen will then appear and you simply pay by inserting cash cash, or a card (with PIN). On inserting card, the screen will tell you to follow instructions on the card reader. Once payment is made the tickets will be issued.

For a daily travel cards, select either Day ticket for individual tickets or Group day ticket for a group of up to 5 people. If you selected day ticket then the next screen will ask you to select an adult or child fare (this screen is omitted for group tickets) Next, the screen will show a calendar from which you select the date you wish to use the ticket. Select the date and then the payment screen appears. Simply pay by inserting cash cash, or a card (with PIN). On inserting card, the screen will tell you to follow instructions on the card reader. Once payment is made the tickets will be issued.

Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free restaurants in Frankfurt

It can be difficult to find vegetarian, vegan and gluten free restaurants in the centre of Frankfurt so I've listed some of the places that I like, which offer something for alternative appetites.
I've used the following markers at the beginning of each restaurant for easy identification:
V = Vegetarian
VG = Vegan
GF = Gluten free

Near the main station (Hauptbahnhof) and Willy-Brandt-Platz

V -  Saravanaa Bhavan (Kaiserstr. 66) is 100% vegetarian and serves the best Indian food in town. Try the dosa, it's a good as any in India! Close the main station in the Bahnhofsviertal.

V - Urban Kitchen (Kaiserstr 53 & Börsenplatz 14) with two centrally located restaurants in the city, Urban Kitchen is a little formulaic but offers a choice of dishes, e.g. pizza, noodles, salads and it clearly identifies vegetarian options on the menu.

V, VG & other allergens - Kaiserzeit (Kaiserstr. 59) close to the main station is an organic bakery which opens early (7am) to cater for the breakfast crowd. It identifies all manner of options and allergens including wheat-free and lactose-free (no GF though!)

V, VG, GF - Im Herzen Afrikas (Gutleutstr. 13) The concept is simple, the food tasty and gluten-free flat breads are available.

V, VG, GF - Vevay (Neue Mainzer Str. 20) Vegetarian restaurant and predominantly vegan too. The menu clearly denotes other allergens. Very close to the New Opera house and city theatre on Willy-Brandt-Platz.

V, GF - Pizzeria Scicilia (Niedenau 9) on request this tiny, basic pizza place serves up excellent, gluten-free, pizza. Close to the Bahnhofsviertal however it is slightly off the beaten track. 

A map of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free restaurants in Frankfurt - use this link for the interactive map

A map of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free restaurants in Frankfurt - use this link for the interactive map

In the city centre and old town

V, VG, GF- Mainkai (Mainkai 15) is just south of the Cathedral in the old town. It's known for it's breakfasts and offers plenty of choice for vegetarians and also some gluten-free and vegan options. At the weekend reserving a table for breakfast is advised!

V, VG, GF -  Metropol Cafe (Weckmarkt 13-15) is right behind the Cathedral. Plenty of seating inside and on a sunny day it has a lovely garden to relax in. Metropol is popular with the locals at the weekend and has the option of a vegan breakfast. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available at other times of the day.

V, GF - Baltique (Heiligkreuzgasse 31 ) is a pancake cafe offering gluten free buckwheat pancakes in both savoury and sweet varieties. It's close to Konstablerwache and has a late kitchen (22:30).

V, VG, GF - Viapiano (Goetheplatz 1-3)  in the heart of the city centre, this might be a chain restaurant but it clearly identifies vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options on it's menu. 

V - Leib & Seele (Kornmarkt 11) this is the staple "go to" restaurant if you want to try traditional German fair but need to cater for vegetarians in the group too.

V, VG - Lebegesund (Kleinmarkthalle) A market stall perfect for lunch tucked away at the back of the Kleinmarkthalle. Lebegesund offers a variety of vegan dishes to take away.

V, VG - Langosch am Main (Fahrgasse 3) Lots of vegan options in this laid back, kinda restaurant come bar. Nice area of outdoor seating too.