Trendy bars, upscale shops, and exclusive restaurants intermingle with notable landmarks such as the grand Frankfurt Cathedral and the lovely, picturesque Römerberg. Large green gardens sprawl in the north, while museum after museum lines the river in the south explore all of these with our 48 hour Frankfurt itinerary. Through it all, you’ll find a friendly and dynamic crowd, filled with people looking to share the intricacies, quirks, and flairs of the multicultural and vivacious economic empire. Because of its many sights, Frankfurt is best traveled with a plan and we have found the best way to spend 48 hours. Use our Frankfurt itinerary to discover the best kept secrets and travel authentically.
Our Frankfurt itinerary would be incomplete without spending the morning strolling around central Old Town. Follow it up with a leisurely afternoon in nature, breathing in the fresh blossoms at Palmengarten Botanical Gardens.
Morning: Explore the Old Town
Despite centuries of history, the Old Town is a neighborhood in central Frankfurt where nearly everything is new. Destruction from WWII led to near-total reconstruction of the area, which is now popular for its shopping, dining, and picture-perfect architecture. Stop one on any Old Town excursion should be Römerberg, a historic district known for its picturesque 15th-century style half-timbered houses and Frankfurt’s city hall, or Römer. For stop two, check out the famous Frankfurt Cathedral. Unlike most Gothic cathedrals, the Frankfurt Cathedral is not a defining figure on the city skyline, although it should be – the 600-year-old structure escaped WWII with only minor damage, making it one of the oldest and most impressive architectural feats around – and one of the best locations on this Frankfurt itinerary.
Lunch: Feast at Kleinmarkthalle
Around the corner from the Frankfurt Cathedral is Kleinmarkethalle, a delightful cultural experience nestled in the heart of historic downtown Frankfurt. The indoor market is relatively small by European standards, but still manages to pack all the delicacies that your heart could ever desire. From thick roast beef sandwiches, to the biggest quiche slices you’ve ever seen, to chocolate bonbons and pastries galore, you’ll leave full and fueled for an afternoon stroll through Frankfurt’s botanical gardens.
Afternoon: Enjoy nature at the Palmengarten Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking for a place to beat the heat, try camping out on a recliner under the shade of an oak tree in Palmengarten’s green rest area. Surrounded by dancing butterflies, listening to the sound of chirping birds and breathing in the aroma of the rose garden in full bloom…yeah, that’s a pretty nice way to spend the afternoon. This historical botanical garden lies northwest of the city center, near Goethe University and Gruneberg Park. It is most famous for the Palm House, which has served not just as a lush tropical landscape and flower gallery, but also as an artistic exhibition center since 1869.
Evening: Chill at a wine bar
Frankfurt’s two greatest delicacies are green sauce and apple wine. Enjoy the latter at one of the city’s wine bars. A refreshing change of pace from the typical beer gardens scattered around Germany, many of Frankfurt’s wine bars look as though they’ve sprung from the Tuscan southern vineyards themselves. Let your troubles fade away under the shade of a vine-covered terrace or breathe in the cool breeze from the Main River with a glass of apple wine in hand.
Explore the Deutsches Filminsitut Filmmuseum and any of Museumsufer’s other museums, then continue soaking up some knowledge by visiting Goethe House. Top it all off by beating the heat with a refreshing paddle boarding session on the Main River.
Morning: Learn about the world of film at the Deutsches Filminstitut Filmmuseum (DFF)
Lights, camera, action. The DFF is a fun and interactive museum that takes visitors through the history and evolution of film production. Start on the first floor with a peep show from the past. Zoom past those panoramas and flip books, on to the second floor where you’ll encounter information on the film production process, including costume design and storyboarding. Finish on the trippy third floor in the hectic 21st century world of video games and filmmaking, where the special effects and throwback arcade music will make you feel like a character in Mario Super Smash Bros. Afterwards, check out one of the other 11 museums in the Museumsufer neighborhood. Options include the magnificent and famed Stadel Museum, as well as smaller museums such as Liebieghaus, a former villa containing figurines and statues dating from ancient Egypt to the Neoclassical period.
Afternoon: Read up on Goethe at Goethe House
Goethe was an 18th century poet who was born, raised, and rose to fame in this not-so-humble abode. The home was sold to another family in 1795 when the final Goethe child married, but was later acquired for the public and set up as a memorial in 1863. One of the house’s most impressive features is an astronomical clock from 1746 featuring a bear that falls onto his back when it is time to wind the clock up again. The home is located in Old Town, meaning you can polish off a coffee and an “Ode to Frankfurt” poem inspired by the legend himself at a nearby café when you’re done exploring.
Evening: Cool off on the river with a paddle boarding or kayaking adventure
The Main River is one of Frankfurt’s best features. Try renting a paddle board or kayak and exploring the city’s skyline by water. With the cool breeze coming off the river and the setting sun lighting up the financial district, there’s no better place to spend the evening than on the Main, feet dipped into the refreshing water, a smile on your face, and joy in your heart that you just spent a wonderful 48 hours using our Frankfurt itinerary!