ICE Train in Frankfurt Central Station

As Frankfurt is quite centrally located in Germany, there are numerous day trips that you can organise.  Even going across the border into a neighbouring country is doable in one day.  It really depends how much time you want to spend travelling versus exploring.  The following options are definitely not the only day trips possible from Frankfurt, but they are popular destinations and the travelling times should leave you with ample opportunity to have a good look around.

Around Frankfurt

Königstein and Kronberg

These are towns to the north west of Frankfurt.  They have beautiful half-timbered buildings and quaint little streets for you to wander.  The towns have a castle each and Kronberg has a palace as well (now a hotel, but part of the garden is open to the public).  Königstein is a resort town – if you have the time, relax in the thermal waters.

Kronberg is about a 25 minute S-Bahn ride away from Frankfurt.  Königstein is 45 minutes.

Bad Homburg

Thai Pavilion, Bad Homburg
Thai Pavilion in a park at Bad Homburg

This town became the summer residence of the German Kaisers.  They stayed in the castle, part of which is now open to the public. The carefully restored Old Town retains its historical feel with small buildings lining the narrow alleyways. 

Feeling claustrophobic?  There is plenty of room to move in the parks.   Visit the Thai Salas, or Pavilions (yes, two of them) one in the Park and one at the spring.   Best known for its mineral waters (used medicinally), Bad Homburg is another spa town where you can indulge in some wellness therapy.

You can reach Bad Homburg in just under 30 minutes from Frankfurt on the S-Bahn. 

Further afield

Wiesbaden

This city is the capital of the state of Hesse.  It has many beautiful old buildings, including the Kurhaus, now a convention centre, also housing the Wiesbaden Casino.  There are thermal water fountains in the city – this is another place with spa options. 

A notable attraction is the Nerobahn, a funicular that takes you to the top of the Neroberg, a hill behind the city centre.  From the hill, you have a commanding view over the city.  

Wiesbaden is about a 45-60 minute trip using the S-Bahn.   

Mainz

Mainz is the capital city of Rhineland Palatinate, the state next to Hesse.  It has a lovely Cathedral right in the middle of the city.  The square in front of the Cathedral is home to the vibrant Farmers’ Market each Saturday.  The city is famous as the birthplace of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press – visit the Gutenberg Museum to learn all about him and his invention.

Mainz is renowned for its Carnival parade and celebrations.

You can get to Mainz by S-Bahn (45 minutes or so).  Travelling by Regional Train or ICE (Inter City Express train) is also possible and a bit faster.

To the North

Marburg

Marburg is university city with a lovely Old Town.  Above the city sits the Castle of the Landgraves.  Walk up for a visit.  Part of the Castle is now the Museum for Cultural History.  The Grimm Brothers lived in Marburg while studying at the university and Luther visited at the bequest of the Landgrave of his time, to settle theological questions.  You can follow the paths of the Grimm Brothers and Luther through the city.

It takes 60-90 minutes to get to Marburg from Frankfurt, depending on which Regional or ICE train you take.

Limburg

Limburg is another smaller but beautiful old city.  The half-timbered buildings are all original, one of only a few places with such a number.  The Limburg Cathedral towers above the River Lahn and behind it is the Castle, built in the thirteen hundreds.  The Lahn River Bridge leading into the city dates from around the same time.  

It takes an hour and a quarter to get to Limburg using a Regional Train from Frankfurt Central Train Station.

To the East

Würzburg

Marienberg Fortress overlooking Wuerzburg
Marienberg Fortress above Würzburg

Würzburg is on the Main River and on the western bank, overlooking the city, is the Marienburg Fortress.  You can walk up into the Fortress where there are buildings you can visit, including a Museum.  Behind the central city area is the Residenz, where the Prince Bishops lived.  Inside, the rooms have been beautifully restored – the ornate finishes are truly amazing!  If you have good weather, explore the superb gardens.   

There are vineyards right along the Main River.  Many of the wineries have shops and tasting rooms in the city, where you can just try, or also buy.  A visit to one (or more!) of these is undoubtedly a must for wine connoisseurs. 

Historically Würzburg’s resident of renown was Mr Roentgen, of X-Ray fame.  You can visit the part of the Würzburg University where he worked, read about his life and work and view his office. 

It takes just over one hour to get to Würzburg on an ICE train.

Nuremberg

The castle in Nuremberg was the residence of the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire when they were in town.  A visit provides plenty of information about the history of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and about Nuremberg itself.  Another popular spot to see is the Hangman’s Bridge, an old wooden bridge which leads to an island in the Pegnitz River.  Cross the bridge and browse the shops on the island.  

If you are around just before Christmas, then you should consider visiting the Christmas Market here – it’s one of the most famous in Germany.

Nuremberg is just over two hours from Frankfurt using the ICE.

Munich

Start your visit to Munich in Marienplatz.  Depending on the time, you may get to watch the Glockenspiel.  Then you have numerous choices.  There are several world-famous art Museums, or if you prefer, the Deutches Museum, which houses exhibits from the field of science and technology. 

Bavaria had its own Royal Family and they had grand palaces.  Here, they stayed in the Munich Residenz.  Visit the Palace to see how Bavarian Royalty lived.  While here, you should also visit the Court Garden. 

Take in the atmosphere of the Viktualian Markt.  It’s Munich’s daily farmer’s market.  And of course, a trip to Munich isn’t complete without visiting the famous Hofbräuhaus.    

Speaking of beer, the celebration of Oktoberfest began in Munich, so if you are in Germany during the second half of September, consider joining the party. 

Munich is at least three and a quarter hours by ICE from Frankfurt.

To the West

Koblenz

This is where the Moselle River flows into the Rhine River.  At the place where the rivers meet is the Deutsches Eck, containing a huge statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I, on his horse.  Above the rivers, on the eastern side of the Rhine is Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, from where you have fantastic views over the Moselle and Rhine Rivers and the Deutsches Eck.  The cable car that goes across the Rhine will get you up there.   

The train trip from Frankfurt to Koblenz takes you along the Rhine valley, full of breathtaking scenery and quaint towns.  It takes about 90 minutes on an Inter City (IC) or ICE train, unless you get off and explore a castle or vineyard or two.

Bonn

This was the capital city of the old West Germany and many of the Governmental Offices are still housed here. 

Bonn has some beautiful old buildings, including the Kurfürstliches Schloss, which is now the main building of the University of Bonn.  There are also a number of museums, among them the History Museum (Haus der Geschichte).  This Museum focuses on the history of Germany from 1945 right up to the present day. 

The master musician, Ludwig van Beethoven started life in Bonn.  You can visit the house where he was born and grew up (and wrote his earliest compositions).  If you are here in September, then your trip could coincide with the annual Beethoven Festival.  Click here to find out details for the next one. 

It takes about 1 hour 40 minutes to get to Bonn by ICE and then Strassenbahn (tram). Or get there in about 2 hours with an IC direct to the Central Train Station.     

Cologne

Cologne is famous for its Cathedral and you won’t get lost looking for it – it’s right next to the Central Train Station.  You can go inside, but you can also climb one of the towers.

There are a number of brewery restaurants here and the specialty drink?  Kölsch.  That is the local beer in the local dialect (note – Kölsch is also the word for the local dialect).  Cologne beer houses are a good place to enjoy both a Kölsch and the celebrated Cologne hospitality.

Of course, Cologne being such an old city, it still has a few medieval structures including three City Gates.  There is also a delightful Old Town.

The other important thing in Cologne is Carnival.  The street parade here is incredible!   

Cologne is just over an hour from Frankfurt on an ICE.

To the South

Heidelberg

This is a university city – the University here is one of the oldest in Europe (Heidelberg is the oldest university town in Germany).  You can visit the Old University Hall.  You can also take a stroll on the Philosopher’s Walk, on the northern side of the Neckar.  This is where academics (philosophers?) from the University would go to compose their thoughts.

Heidelberg is on the Neckar River.  On the south side is the Old Town, with its long pedestrian street.  You can browse the shops, or have a coffee and people-watch.  Find the building Zum Ritter Sanckt – it’s one of the few originals left from the 1500s.   

Above the city is the castle.  Each building attempt met with disaster so it was eventually given up on.  A portion has now been restored.  A visit is definitely worth it.  You can wander the gardens, visit the Apocethary Museum and the Heidelbeg Tun (the world’s largest wine barrel) or simply admire the view over Heidelberg and the Neckar.    

 Heidelberg is about one hour from Frankfurt on an ICE.

Stuttgart

There are a number of interesting attractions here, all conveniently located in the centre of the city.  The New Castle and the Old Castle are situated opposite each other, both having been rebuilt in their original styles.  Next to the Old Palace is the Königsbau, a beautiful old building, which now houses a shopping centre. For a different style of shopping, visit the Market Hall, with all its colours and aromas  Go up to the gallery on the first floor for a great overview of the activity

For the car lover, a visit to Stuttgart isn’t complete without a visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum or the Porsche Museum (or both!).  Both museums provide relevant history and there are plenty of cars on display. If you are a true enthusiast, you can even arrange to do a Porsche factory tour with your Porsche Museum visit!      

The travel time to Stuttgart begins at 1 hr 20 minutes with an ICE train.

These are just a few of the options you have for day trips from Frankfurt and most of them are significant destinations in themselves.  However, I hope this has given you some ideas of what is possible.

For ideas on what to do in the city of Frankfurt, click here.

If there is more you want to know about day trips from Frankfurt or you have other questions about visiting Frankfurt, don’t hesitate to send them to your Friend in Frankfurt using the form below.