Home to one of Europe’s busiest airports, Frankfurt is no stranger to welcoming travellers. In fact, there’s no better city to be stuck in for 24 hours, with its abundance of historical charm, one of the most important financial hubs in the world and an authentically German culture all located just 15 minutes away from the runway. Spend the afternoon wandering down the banks of the River Main. Hop into some museums, taste the local apfelwein and be back at the airport in plenty of time to catch your next connection. Here’s how we think you should spend a 24-hour layover in Frankfurt.
From Gucci, to Chanel to Prada, if luxury shopping’s your thing, you’ll be in heaven on Goethestrasse. Named after Germany’s famous writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Frankfurt’s premier luxury retail street has all your favourite brands. Located west of the Zeil promenade and just under 400 metres long, it’s right next to Frankfurt Hauptwache Station which makes it easily accessible. Nicknamed the ‘Fifth Avenue’ of Frankfurt, get ready to shop till you drop – just make sure you’ve enough room in your suitcase to take it with you!
Boasting a plethora of picturesque architecture, the square is in the heart of the Altstadt and brings a sense of historic Germany to the otherwise concrete jungle that’s taken over most of the city. In the square you’ll see the Romer which has been operating as the town hall since the 15th century and the Fountain of Justice that sits in the centre. The fountain dates back to 1543 and is in honour of the Roman goddess of Justice, Justitia. Look to the east and be met with the stunning row of half-timbered houses, the Ostzeile. Only one of the houses made it through the war bombings unscathed and has been serving home-style cuisine since 1479. Grab a coffee, sit back and relax as you take in the sights of the post-card worthy surroundings.
Head to the CBD, Bankenviertel and visit one of the world’s most influential stock exchanges. Sitting in the district of Innenstadt, the famous old Borse is a neo-classical structure that was built in 1843. Open to the public, go inside and watch the erupting trading floor below from the observation deck. Witness the stocks of the world move on a massive electronic board and make sure to get a photo with the iconic bear and bull statue in the square out front.
Tight for time? Don’t miss out on that panoramic city selfie. Take the lift up 56 floors in one of Frankfurt’s skyscrapers and quickly snap a shot on the observation deck of Main Tower. If you can hang around, Germany’s fourth tallest building has a spectacular restaurant on its 53rd floor with full-length windows, taking dinner with a view to a whole new level. Find it on Neue Mainzer Strasse 52, the building is part of the ever expanding skyline which has earnt itself the nickname Mainhattan.
The drink of choice in local taverns for over 250 years, you can’t stop in Frankfurt without trying some ‘apple wine’. Despite its name, the tart beverage is best compared to cider and served to you in a wooden pitcher. Visit Apfelwein Solzer at Bergerstrasse 260, one of the last remaining taverns to both produce its own and sell traditional Frankfurt specialities.
Spanning the river Main, the wrought iron footbridge is an iconic landmark of the city. Connecting the Old Town to the Sachsenhausen district, the bridge was built in 1869 and has been rebuilt twice in 150 years. If you have the luxury, cross it at sunset to see the light glisten off the steel glass buildings in Bankenvietel and watch as the city transforms from day to night. Following the trend of the love locks, every available space is covered with a padlock bearing a love letter to someone’s nearest and dearest. It’s well worth making the time to check out this one if not for the structure itself, for the spellbinding views of the city spread out on either side of you.
After all that sight-seeing you’ll be shattered so book into one of Frankfurt’s airport hotels to rest up before you take off again.
Hilton Frankfurt Airport
Just 15 minutes from downtown, the hotel is directly linked to Terminal 1 via a pedestrian walkway.
Steigenberger Airport Hotel
Located near the airport, this hotel is ideal for a short lay-over. With comfy rooms and a choice of restaurants, the Steigenberger offers a free shuttle bus transferring guests to and from the airport 24 hours a day.
Passing through Frankfurt soon? Be sure to tag us in your photos of what you did during your layover in Frankfurt using the hashtag #ryanairstories – you might even be featured on our Instagram feed!
Flights to Frankfurt
- Lucy Norris