New York has the Botanical Garden, London has Kew and Frankfurt has the Palmengarten. A verdant sanctuary in the midst of Frankfurt’s skyscrapers, the Palmengarten is a tropical paradise bursting with exotic blooms and enchanting flora and fauna. Discover why it’s the perfect family day out for budding junior botanists and adults alike with our guide to Frankfurt Palmengarten.
A noble history
Opened in 1871, the Palmengarten has a rather illustrious heritage. Duke Adolph of Nassau’s Wiesbaden-Biebrich castle gardens were home to an impressive collection of over 200 exotic plants. With the help of esteemed horticulturalist Franz Heinrich Siesmayer, he used them to establish the Palmengarten in Frankfurt. With a concert space in addition to the gardens, it quickly became Frankfurt’s definitive destination for discerning social gatherings. Siesmayer’s successors over the years have since expanded the grounds, added greenhouses and modernised it into the glorious destination it is today.
Frankfurt Palmengarten is home to a colossal 13,000 species of plant, all landscaped across stunning themed gardens and housed within vast conservatories. Star of the show is its Art Deco-style Palm House, one of the world’s largest. Step inside a lush jungle with giant shrubs, tree ferns and tropical plants filling every corner. The modern Tropicarium replicates sweltering biospheres such as steamy rainforests, arid deserts and mangrove swamps, and contains giant perennials and orchid flowerbeds.
It’s not all about tropical plants at the Palmengarten, however. The Subantarctic House transports you to the colder climes of outer Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands, with plants indigenous to the southern hemisphere.
The grounds themselves are wonder to stroll around. From the shrub-adorned Rock and Heather Gardens to the Japanese-inspired Bamboo Grove, Palmengarten is filled with beautiful botanics at every turn. There are seasonal exhibits on all year round where you can experience blooms like roses and azaleas at their best.
Aside from getting up close with all manner of flowering blooms, there’s plenty more to explore at Frankfurt Palmengarten. Perhaps one of the best ways to witness the garden in all its glory is by hopping aboard the Palmen-Express; a pint-sized railway that chugs around the scenic grounds. Kids will love taking a whistle-stop tour, as well as the playground, complete with fairytale castle, climbing frames, sandpits and slides.
In summer, one of the best things you can do is row a boat out onto the lake and follow it with a picnic on the lawn. The Palmengarten even has an educational centre, the Green School and innovative Children in the Garden project, which gets little ones in a green-fingered frame of mind. Here, visitors can attend a variety of horticultural-themed classes, talks and workshops.
Located in the heart of the city, just 10 minutes from Frankfurt Palmengarten, the luxurious Jumeirah Frankfurt makes a sophisticated destination from which to explore the dynamic German city’s incredible highlights.