Cycle along the Nidda river

The Nidda river originates to the east in Vogelsberg and runs downstream to joins the River Main at Frankfurt-Höchst. The river arcs around the north of Frankfurt and has an excellent cycle path offering a gentle, almost no gradient, cycle ride with lots of varied and interesting sights along the way.

The cycle path is accessible from many points around Frankfurt, and you can cycle along the river bank for as far, or as little, as you like. One option is to cycle in one direction and travel back on the S-bahn train. S-bahn stops along the way: Bad Vilbel, Frankfurt-Berkersheim, Frankfurt-Eschersheim, Frankfurt-Rödelheim, Frankfurt-Nied and Frankfurt-Höchst.

From Höchst to Bad Vibel (about 23km)

Whether you start or finish your cycle ride in Höchst, the old town is worth a look around. The old castle is impossible to miss and at the heart of the pretty medieval town square. However, the cycle path is on the Schwanheim side of the river, so you will need to catch the small ferry boat (approx. 1€ fare) to cross over to the Höchst side.

Heading upstream along the Nidda and on the right bank, away from Höchst, the next place you'll come across is Schwanheim. Those of you with an interest geology might want to detour to the Schwanheim dunes, an area of sandy deposits in stark contrast to the usual flora and fauna found in the these parts. Schwanheim is very small but has a local historical museum and a children's zoo open on the weekends.

Continue along the cycle path and past the Grill'sche Weg Nied, where there is a small lake and a picnic spot for grilling. Just beyond Nied you pass under the motorway bridges (which are very low, so duck down as you cycle under!) After the bridges are numerous Schrebergartens to your left, and signs and pathways pointing to various Gaststätte. All the Gaststätte offer hearty food and refreshment, Haus Biegwald, and Gaststätte für Jedermann to name but two. You'll also see a few of the gardens have bee hives and one even offers honey for sale.

Next, the path leads you through Solmspark, a park with beautiful, soaring, trees and then onto the well maintained Brentanopark. On the left bank of the river, opposite Brentanopark is the pretty Petrihaus, a former place of 'retreat' for the Brentano family and saved from demolition in 1999.

At the end of Brentanopark, the cycle path takes you onto a bridge and across to the leftbank of the river. If you stop on the bridge, you might catch sight of the coypu who populate the Nidda. The local Gaststätte at the bridge has a biergarten and terrace overlooking the river (and has Weizenbier for 3,20€). However, if Indian food is what you are craving then cycle on for another kilometre to find Restaurant Nidda, with a terrace overlooking the river and serving plates of delicious Indian cuisine.

The next section of the river offers open fields and meadows, a real feel of escaping the city but it's not long before you discover yet another urban point of interest along the Nidda - Römerstadt! On the left bank, as you continue to cycle upstream, you'll spot some more Schrebergartens and a large fortress like wall. Beyond this wall is Römerstadt, a former Roman settlement and better known today as an area of 1930's housing designed by the architect Ernst May. The Ernst May Haus is open to the public, but check opening times.

After Römerstadt, use one of the bridges to cross over to the right bank and continue on your journey. In 5km you reach the old Bonames airfield, an area of conservation. The airfield itself is on the left bank. The old runway and air traffic control tower are still there along side the excellent Tower Cafe. If you are cycling through on a Sunday morning, the Fire Engine Museum is also open from 09:30 to 12:30.

The final stretch of this cycle ride takes you back along the right river bank through bucolic scenery and onto Bad Vibel. A small town famed for it's natural water source. It has a cute little old town, a pretty park and is rightly proud of it's Burgfestspiele, an old castle converted to an outdoor concert venue. It also has a quite a few ice-cream cafes, Eiscafe Milano is one of my favourites, and after that long cycle ride you deserve a treat, right!     

     

From Frankfurt (FRA) airport into Frankfurt city

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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 then spend the day sight-seeing, shopping and grabbing a bite to eat before heading back to the airport for your connecting flight.

Train station at the airport and buying a ticket

The train station for local trains into Frankfurt city centre is downstairs in Terminal 1 under Hall B. Once downstairs, the first thing to do is buy a ticket from one of the ticket machines. There are two banks of ticket machine - make sure you use a green machine (for local tickets) and not the red machines. You then have several choices of ticket:

  • single journey tickets which cost 4,90€ (a return = 9,80€).
  • a day travel card which costs 9,55€ (cheaper than buying a return ticket) This ticket permits you to travel on all the city transport for the whole day.
  • a group travel card which costs 16,60€ and permits up to 5 people to travel together on all the city transport for the whole day, and is excellent value if there are two or more of you. 

You will need cash, or a credit/debit card with a PIN to purchase tickets from the ticket machines.

The video below shows you how to buy a ticket:

Which train?

S-bahn trains, S8 & S9, run every 15 minutes from Platform 1 and travel directly to Hauptwache and Konstablerwache, the two most central stations in Frankfurt.

After you have bought your ticket, head downstairs 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 on the way are: Stadion, Niederrad, Hauptbahnhof, Taunusanlage, Hauptwache and Konstablerwache. Alight at Hauptwache or Konstablerwache for the centre Frankfurt.

If you need to get to another location, look up stations and tram-stops using local travel maps  on the RMV local transport pages.

In Frankfurt city centre

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 Primus Line, local river cruise which only takes 110 minutes, or head up to the top of the Main Tower and enjoy the views across the whole of the Frankfurt and beyond. Click on this link indexing various blog pages offering detailed information on places to eat 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.

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday the city has a Farmers' market (details listed here). Thursday and Saturday the market is on Konstablerwache, and on Friday it's on Schillerstraße, close to the Stock Exchange. These markets really do hibit a slice of local Frankfurt life and are well worth a visit.   

Returning to the airport

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.