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For most, Frankfurt is love at second sight. At first glance you may only see a business-centric metropolis of skyscrapers, grey facades and Europe’s third busiest airport. But look again, because Frankfurt is a secret waiting to be revealed.
As one of the most underestimated cities in Germany you will likely arrive in Frankfurt with simple expectations of Frankfurt sausages, but scratch a little deeper and you’ll discover a bustling hub that boasts impressive architecture, medieval aesthetics, fine dining and little corner cafes that are so craggy they make Stonehenge look hip.
How do you take your potato?
Bypass the Frankfurt and indulge in all things potato. Seriously, no other city in the northern hem can prepare a potato as extensively as Frankfurt. From fried, shredded, tossed in oil and baked in garlic, getting to know your rostis from your Bratkartoffes is as pleasurable for the palette as it is for your German pronunciation. For sweet treats, Frankfurt offers any number of rugged neighbourhood cafes, all boasting cosy wooden interiors, low lighting and old-school glass cabinets. These little gems of yester-year serve up as much character as they do tarts, flans and Grandmutter’s best baked butter cookies.
Be sure to check out Kaffee Wackers; as well as boasting a great name, it’s a Frankfurt institution that has survived two world wars and a never-ending line of returning customers. Popular for its hand-picked coffee beans and on-the-go gossip between city slickers in need of an espresso, the rich aroma of freshly roasted coffee will engulf you at the door and follow you all the way down the street.
Buildings good enough to eat
Romerberg is by far the most retina-pleasing area of Frankfurt; a centuries-old historic square flanked on all sides by half-timbered houses and medieval beauty, including the 600 year old Romer Hall. With top-heavy designs and steep roofs, each building is crammed to the next like tin soldiers in strict formation. Orderly yet somehow chaotic, they possess a fairytale quality reminiscent of the Grimm Brothers, with pointed roofs and intricate facades; so whimsically quaint, you half expect to break off a turret and find it coated in icing sugar.
Parks and padlocks
For greenery, explore Gruneburgpark with its long stretches of lawn, idyllic sunbathing spots and countless sport’s junkies running its perimeter, or practicing yoga from beneath the pavilion of the Korean Garden. For romantics, the tree-lined banks of the Main River are just as stunning shroud in snow as they are in sunshine, so it’s a definite year-round pleaser. We recommend you venture to the Eiserner Steg Bridge, where the young and in-love attach miniature padlocks engraved with the names of their lovers. The keys are then tossed into the river. Let’s hope there’s longevity in the wind, because a good lock, like love, is hard to come by.
Small in scale but big on impact
Frankfurt serves up a rich collection of culture, history and architecture, with fantastic dining, an abundance of beauty and an under-stated charisma that’ll take a hold of even the most discerning traveller. Whether you’re in the city for a while or you’re just passing through on a stop-over, be sure to give Frankfurt the time it deserves. Blink and you’ll miss it, but stay and you’ll love it.
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