3 Days in Frankfurt, Germany
Updated: Jun 29
Quite a few people asked me when I booked my flight to Frankfurt: Why? According to some people it's not an interesting city, especially not for 3 days. They couldn't be more wrong though. I thought it was a beautiful city, and with the Christmas markets being on there was definitely plenty to occupy ourselves with. We walked around the city several times and kept finding new things and places to explore. The food at the market was incredible, like all German food usually is, and there were lots of historic sites to see which I loved. The River Main at sunset is simply stunning as well, where there's a mixture of new and old buildings dotting the skyline. Yes, it's a big financial centre, but there's so much more to the city than that so don't let its reputation put you off visiting. We had an amazing 3 days in Frankfurt, and managed to see all of its top attractions.
Flying Into Frankfurt
There are two airports you could fly into. We flew into Frankfurt Airport with Ryanair, which was ideal because it was only 40 minutes by train (30 minutes by bus) to the city centre. The second airport, Frankfurt Hahn, which Ryanair also fly into, takes about 2 hours to get into the city centre from, and the buses aren't that frequent so it could really put a dent in your travels. Even if the flight is slightly more expensive flying into Frankfurt Airport, I'd recommend taking that option in order to save some precious time.
Getting Around Frankfurt
The city is very walkable, and there are lots of buses and trains available throughout the city if your hotel is further afield or you want to get out of the city centre for a day trip. We ended up walking most of the time in order to save a bit of money, and because we wanted to see more of the city on foot.
What To See in Frankfurt in 3 Days
I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much Frankfurt has to offer. Visiting the German Christmas markets had always been something I wanted to do, so we visited Frankfurt in December and had a fantastic time. The weather cooperated for the most part, and it was still a comfortable temperature to walk around outside all day. Here are my recommendations for what you can do during a 3 day trip to Frankfurt:
1. Walk Around Römerberg
The centre of the historic old town is known as Römerberg. It was rebuilt in the late 20th century to its original plans, and every house here has its own name. It's also the spot of many markets and fairs, if you're lucky enough to be in the city when one of them is on. Since we spent 3 days in Frankfurt in December, the Christmas market was on in full force which was a major highlight of our trip.
2. Eiserner Steg
Eiserner Steg is the only pedestrian bridge to span the River Main. It's also the site of thousands of love locks, and is a great spot to take some photos with the city in the background. I would recommend going here in the evening, so you can see Frankfurt's skyline lit up and reflecting off of the water.
3. Check out the Museums
Frankfurt is full of some great museums, so make sure you check at least one out. Historisches Museum, for example, is located right in the heart of Frankfurt's old town, which you can easily add to your list of things to see in Frankfurt without having to go out of your way.
4. Frankfurt Cathedral
Frankfurt Cathedral is an absolute must, especially if you're only visiting for 3 days. It's the most dominating building along the city's skyline, and from the 16th century it held the coronation ceremonies of the Holy Roman Emperors. On certain days you can take a tour to the top of the tower as well. Just make sure you clarify what day it is, unlike me who bought a ticket only to realize the tour was a couple of days later.
5. Explore the Streets
From the old town to the newer parts of the city, there are lots of interesting places to be found. We ended up walking along a lot of the streets in the city centre, following the route of the Christmas market which is enormous. Sometimes the best thing to do when visiting a new city is to walk around and see what you stumble upon.
6. Sachsenhausen Neighbourhood
Sachsenhausen neighbourhood is full of museums, bars and restaurants. It's a very relaxed area of the city, and is located just a short walk over the river from the old town. There are a lot of art galleries in Frankfurt, and many of them can be found in this area. So if you have time during your 3 days in the city, take a look around Sachsenhausen.
7. Stroll Through the Old Town
Make sure you take the time to walk around the beautiful medieval style streets in Frankfurt. The old town itself was my favourite area of the city, since I'm a big fan of history. The buildings are all very colourful and reflect a different time in German history. The old town needs to be at the top of your itinerary, regardless of if you're staying in Frankfurt for a few hours or 3 days.
8. Alte Oper
The Alte Oper is a stunning building, and if you have time you can purchase a ticket and watch one of the performances. We didn't have enough time (or the budget) to do that, but we wanted to visit it anyways to get some photos.
9. Window Shop on Goethestrasse
I know I keep telling you to walk around different areas of the city, but that's because there are a lot of unique places to see. Goethestrasse is a luxury shopping street only a few minutes walk from the opera house. We obviously had no intention of buying anything on this street, but window shopping is always a fun activity!
10. Eschenheimer Turm
Eschenheimer Turm is one of Frankfurt's most famous landmarks. It once stood as part of the city's 15th century fortifications, as a city gate. This medieval tower now stands among modern high rise towers and also functions as a restaurant. This definitely wasn't my favourite attraction in the city, but I added it to our 3 day itinerary anyways just to say we've seen it.
11. Take a River Cruise
Primus Linie cruises are very inexpensive and so worth it. You can either take a 50 or 100 minute cruise, and you get to see the stunning city skyline along the way. There are a lot of river cruise operators in Frankfurt, but Primus Linie would be my top recommendation. Prices start at €10.50 per adult.
12. Eat at the Markets
Eating German food is a must, especially if you come across a market. We chose to visit Frankfurt for 3 days in mid-December, so that we could take full advantage of the German Christmas market. It's one of the largest markets in Europe, and dominates most of the city's historic quarter. Check out my post covering the best things to eat at the Christmas market here. There are various markets on throughout the year too, so if you're not visiting around Christmas don't worry.
13. Explore Höchst
Höchst is a great hidden gem in Frankfurt. It's about a 15min train ride from the city centre, and it reminded me of the little village from Beauty and the Beast. Since it's not in the centre, there was hardly anyone around, which was a bonus. There isn't a lot to do here, but it's very picturesque and if you have 3 days in Frankfurt you should be able to add it into your plans quite easily.
14. Hop on a Train to Mainz
A very short train ride from Frankfurt is Mainz, a charming historic city complete with a cathedral and medieval streets. This is a great option for a day trip from Frankfurt, especially during Christmas time because the Christmas market here is amazing. We added Mainz to our 3 day itinerary at the last minute, since we had some extra time to spare.
15. Frankfurt Airport
It may sound weird to recommend an airport as a tourist attraction, but Frankfurt Airport is one of the largest in the world and there is a lot to explore in it. It took almost 30 minutes for us to shuttle from the plane to the main terminal, that's how big it is!
Where To Stay In Frankfurt
Living Hotel Frankfurt is located about a 30 minute walk from the old town, and public transportation is easily accessible too. We stayed here for 2 nights, in the Deluxe Double Apartment, which had free WiFi, air conditioning, and a large kitchen and dining area which we took full advantage of. This is a great option for accommodation in Frankfurt if you like staying in an apartment-style hotel room. You can read more about our stay in this hotel here.
Price range: €135 +
QGREENHOTEL by Meliá is located in the western part of Frankfurt, only a 5 minute walk from the Exhibition Centre. It's a bit of a trek to the old town if you're walking (50 minutes), but you can easily hop on a bus and be there in no time. We stayed in their Premium Room for 2 nights, which was a great size and had a lot of amenities in it. Click here to read more about our stay.
Price range: €47 +
Frankfurt is a great German city to visit for 3 days, with a lot more to offer than just its business side. Its old town is a world away from its modern skyscrapers, and there are a lot of interesting attractions to explore. If you're looking for Christmas markets to visit in Europe, I would highly recommend coming to Frankfurt. Not only is it huge, it also has an amazing selection of German food to sample, freshly prepared right in front of you in the heart of the old town. In my opinion, no 3 days in Frankfurt is complete without eating some type of German street food.
If you have any recommendations about where else I should visit in Germany, drop me an email or get in touch via Instagram!