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.

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.

Frankfurt day trips - Lohrberg by bus or bike

Lohrberg is 7km north east from Frankfurt city centre and is accessible by bus, car or bike (travel details are at the end of this post). It offers one of the best views of the Frankfurt skyline but that's not it's only attraction, Lohrberg is also renown for it's vineyard and orchard. With two cafes offering local food and refreshment lots of Frankfurters head up to Lohrberg to enjoy a relaxing day and be at one with nature. It's free to wander around the orchard which is maintained and cultivated in harmony with the local wildlife. While you wander around you are certain to stumble across chickens, bee-hives and small garden plots offering information about how different habitats benefit different animal species.

View of Frankfurt skyline from Lohrberg (Photo copyright © by Anne Noble)

View of Frankfurt skyline from Lohrberg (Photo copyright © by Anne Noble)

Having enjoyed the orchard, take time to relax with other visitors (many arriving on their bikes) at MainÄppelHaus, a small cafe selling apple juice produced from the orchard's apples. This Sunday, 18th September 2016, the MainÄppelHaus is hosting an Äpplerfest offering fun for all ages. If you have more of an appetite, head over to the Lohrberg-Schänke for a plate of traditional Frankfurt food and take in the skyline view while you eat.

Orchard at the MainÄppelHaus, Lohrberg (Photo copyright © by Anne Noble)

Orchard at the MainÄppelHaus, Lohrberg (Photo copyright © by Anne Noble)

After Lohrberg head into Bad Vilbel, a town renown for it's mineral water. It's local Hassia brand appears on many a restaurant table across Germany. The Kurpark has lots of interesting features to explore and has a map to download listing the key sites to visit. In addition there is the Milano ice-cream parlour, to be found at Niddapl. 1, 61118 Bad Vilbel

Only a couple of kilometres further on from Bad Vilbel is Dottenfelderhof, a small organic farm open from Monday to Saturday. At the farm you can visit cows, pigs and chickens and afterwards relax for coffee and home-made cake at their cafe. On-site is a small shop, full of organic produce and, depending on the time of year, you might be lucky to "pick-your-own" flowers from one of the nearby meadows.

Piglets at the Dottenfelderhof, near Frankfurt (Photo copyright © by Anne Noble)

Piglets at the Dottenfelderhof, near Frankfurt (Photo copyright © by Anne Noble)

Getting there

Cyclists from Frankfurt can enjoy a lovely cycle heading out to Lohrberg and Bad Vibel by following the Nidda river from Frankfurt in an easterly direction. The river meanders through gentle country side and a special highlight on the way is the Tower Cafe at the old Bonames airfield.

By public transport, take bus 30 to the bus stop Heiligenstock, or bus 43 to the bus stop Budge-Heim and a short walk will bring you to Lohrberg. Both journeys are included in the Frankfurt travel zone. Be aware however, that Bad Vilbel is out the travel zone and a supplement will need to be paid. 

There is a car park at Lohrberg with plenty of spaces on Friedrich-Heyer Weg.