Frankfurt am Main is located in central Germany, and it certainly occupies a central place in its finances, being the largest financial centre in the country. It futuristic skyline, affectionately known by locals as ‘Manhattan’, seems keep in line with its important national role. Visitors can travel by train to Frankfurt from Berlin in 4h12mins on the Inter-City Express, and the train journey to Frankfurt am Main from Stuttgart is 2h51mins. From the main railway station, Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof, it is an 18-minute walk north-east to the city centre, via Taunusstraße, where all of the shopping centres and cultural highlights are clustered.
The most famous of the city’s sons, the literary hero Goethe, was born here. And, the Goethe-Haus museum, located in the writer’s family residence, is a major port of call for many visitors. It is located just to the south of the prime shopping street, Goethestraße, where shopping fans will find a whole range of international labels, such as Burberry, Gucci, Versace and Louis Vuitton. However, the real treasures are the high-end jewellery stores, and the first among them is Tiffany’s, which was modelled on the New York outlet. Still on Goethestraße but a few minutes further east, visitors will come across Paulskirche. This church is a building with historical significance for German democracy because it was the seat of the first democratically-elected government in 1848.
For visitors who are more interested in culture than history there is the Deutsches Filmmuseum (the German Film Museum), and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (the German Museum of Architecture). Of course, that is as well as Frankfurt’s Historisches Museum (Historical Museum) and the Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum). These are all clustered around the city centre and, within this area, visitors can also take a break and relax in either of the city’s two botanical gardens — Palmengarten and the next-door Botanischer Garten.
For some food and refreshment, visitors should head back to the area around Paulskirche, where local and international dining options are on offer to tempt any hungry travellers. Traditionalists should try Rippchen (cooked pork served with Sauerkraut), or Grüne Soße (a green sauce made from a mixture of herbs, eggs, oil and vinegar), which can be served with boiled eggs, potatoes or meat.
Arriving in the modern heart of Germany is a simple matter from London. You'll depart from St Pancras International Station, and on the quickest route will just need to change at Brussels or Paris to carry on to Frankfurt. A typical journey might depart at 10:30am to arrive at Paris Gare du Nord at 1:50pm. You can then spend a couple of hours getting lunch at a Parisian bistro before heading on from Gare de l'Est to travel straight on to Frankfurt.
Travelling via Brussels can be simpler, as you'll arrive and carry on from the same station, Bruxelles-Midi. You'll then arrive in Frankfurt in the late afternoon, with enough time to wander around the city before grabbing a German ale and some schnitzel at a traditional restaurant, ready to wake up the next day and explore this amazing city. Services are provided by Eurostar, SNCF (France) and Deutsche Bahn (Germany). Trains tend to arrive at Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof, the city's central station.