The classical answer – it depends! There are always things to see and do here. Choosing when to visit Frankfurt am Main is about the weather, major events in the city and your personal preferences.
Due to its geographical location, Frankfurt has a pleasant climate. From early spring until well into autumn, people enjoy the outdoors, whether taking a stroll by the Main or relaxing over a coffee. Summer temperatures vary, but are typically between 23°C and 33°C. Some years it can be hot and dry for weeks but other years it can rain every few days. Yes, even in summer.
Compared to other parts of Europe, the Frankfurt winter is not so cold. There are normally some days below 0°C, but how many and how far below depends on the winter. It can get down to -20°C, but in recent years a couple of weeks with daytime temperatures at -5°C or -6°C has been the limit. Occasionally it snows, but even if there is enough to settle, it typically lasts a couple of days at most. Days can be wet and ordinary or clear and sunny, but often they are just chilly, allowing you to move around outside quite comfortably.
Spring and autumn have the in-between temperatures and hours of daylight. They also bring their own colour palettes – the fresh hues of blossom and new leaves in spring and yellows, reds and browns in autumn. In these seasons you can enjoy the city without overheating or freezing. Cafes and restaurants provide outdoor seating from early spring until late autumn, giving locals and visitors alike the opportunity to utilise every outdoor moment.
Frankfurt has a large Exhibition Centre, the Frankfurt Messe, that hosts some major trade fairs. Of particular note are the International Automobile Fair every second September and the Frankfurt Book Fair every October.
For a complete list of the Trade Fairs at the Frankfurt Messe, click here.
These trade fairs are attractions in their own right – people travel from all corners of the globe to attend, both as exhibitors and visitors. However, if attending a fair isn’t what is bringing you to Frankfurt and you are flexible, you should probably consider choosing different dates. Several fairs test the city’s accommodation limits. Hotel prices skyrocket. Getting a room at short notice can be near impossible. If hotel prices seem expensive at the time you are looking to visit, check out what prices are like a week or so earlier or later. Maybe you are competing with a trade fair.
There are also a couple of sporting fixtures that keep the hotels full and limit the services of some modes of public transport. The Iron Man Triathlon, usually on the first Sunday in July and the Frankfurt Marathon, on the last Sunday of October are the main ones to be aware of. If you are around at these times, expect to rub shoulders with plenty of toned and trim athletes.
There are a number of festivals throughout the year, each with their own flavour. For example, during the Harvest Thanksgiving Festival, all things agricultural move into the city centre, most notably pens of animals and a display of tractors. These festivals add to the local colour and culture and can provide a highlight for visitors. Most of them, however, do not push the city to its limits.
The Christmas Market
The exception could be the Christmas Market. In Frankfurt, the Christmas Market opens in the week before the fourth Sunday before Christmas (the First Sunday of Advent) and closes around 23 December. The paths between the stalls may be reasonably empty in the early afternoon, but in the evenings things are definitely on the crowded side. Locals flock to the stalls after work, to share a mulled wine with colleagues and visitors from other countries come in their droves to experience firsthand the unique atmosphere of this classic German event. The Frankfurt Christmas Market may not be the oldest or have any outstanding feature like the Markets in some other German cities, but that doesn’t mean it has a shortage of guests!
Of course, it can also be worth noting when the school holidays occur each year. Generally schools in Germany have a spring holiday (around Easter), an autumn holiday (usually early October), a couple of weeks off over Christmas/New Year as well as a longer summer holiday. The timing of the summer holiday is slightly different for each German state but they basically run from June to August. Domestic travel accounts for some visitors to Frankfurt during the German school holidays, but as school holidays take place across Europe at similar times, expect to share the city with guests from other European countries as well.
To help you choose the best time for a visit, here is a calendar listing the major events in Frankfurt. It is not exhaustive. Only the biggest trade fairs, ones that really impact the city are listed (follow the link given to see the complete list of everything scheduled at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre). Likewise there are other festivals, but these are the main ones that occur right in the city centre, and are therefore very easy for visitors to access and enjoy.
Hopefully it is now easier for you to decide on the best time for your trip to Frankfurt am Main. Or, if your dates are fixed, you now have an idea of what will be happening in the city when you are here. In the end, it doesn’t matter so much – any time is a good time to visit. There is always something going on.
Do you need more information about when to visit? Do you have other questions about visiting Frankfurt that you would like answered? Simply send them in to your Friend in Frankfurt using the form below.