Just outside of Frankfurt’s modern metropolis, there are fairy-tale towns, sweeping Rhine Valley vineyards and ancient settlements ripe for exploration. When staying in Germany’s capital of culture and commerce, take time out of the city with our picks of the best day trips from Frankfurt.
Distance: 1-hour drive
An hour west from Frankfurt, the ancient city of Mainz has millennia of wine-making history thanks to the Romans who settled on the Rhine’s left bank and established its vineyards. The star of the show is the Romanesque sandstone cathedral, with its cavernous basilica and treasury resplendent with artworks. Pay a visit to the Gutenberg Museum for a fascinating journey into the history of the printing press and make sure you try local delicacy spundekäs, a smooth cheese paste seasoned with pepper, salt and sweet paprika.
Distance: 45-minute drive
Long thought to be the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s 19th-century novel, Frankenstein Castle is all Gothic splendour and rugged drama set upon a wooded Langenberg hilltop. After exploring its atmospheric architecture, enjoy a pleasant walk in the surrounding nature trails and take lunch in the acclaimed Burg Frankenstein Restaurant. On your way back to Frankfurt, pay a visit to Darmstadt and admire its pretty Art Nouveau architecture.
Distance: 2-hour drive
Located in the Mosel Valley, Cochem is a sublimely picturesque town framed by steep, sloping vineyards with rows of guild cottages and timbered buildings perched along the waterfront, and presided over by an imposing 12th century castle. Spend the morning wandering through its winding alleyways and medieval city gates before lunching on Marktplatz in view of the baroque town hall. Moselpromenade offers a great vantage point to drink in gorgeous views of the Mosel Valley. If you like hiking, there are nearby trails that weave through rustic vineyards to Koblenz or Trier.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Distance: 2-hour drive
Plucked from the pages of a Grimms’ fairy tale, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a medieval Bavarian village with quaint architecture and endless charm. Spend the morning meandering through its narrow, cobbled lanes and admiring its charming timber-framed buildings. Head back to Frankfurt via the town of Heidelberg in the afternoon. This baroque beauty on the banks of Neckar river is home to a grandiose castle, whose earliest structures date back to 1214.
Rhine River Valley
Distance: From Frankfurt
Taking a boat through Germany’s wine country is one of the best day trips out of Frankfurt to get a real flavour of all this scenic region has to offer. There are a number of tour operators that cruise out on a traditional steamer along the romantic Rhine. You’ll glide past undulating vineyards, historic locales and hilltop castles. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rhine Valley is an enchanting place to explore and take in landmarks such as Loreley rock and wine-making town Rüdesheim am Rhein.
Distance: 40-minute drive
North of Frankfurt in the Taunus Hills, the Saalburg Museum was once a Roman fort home to more than 600 soldiers. Thanks to years of restoration, it’s now a fascinating archaeological park telling the story of the region’s rich Roman heritage, and it’s one of the best day trips from Frankfurt for families. Discover what life was like as a garrison, walk the ramparts and browse the ancient pottery and bronze artefacts. Children will love the archery lessons, javelin-throwing and the Saalburg Museum’s interactive experiences that brilliantly illuminate Roman history.
Whether visiting Frankfurt for business or a family city break, Jumeirah Frankfurt is perfectly positioned to access the Rhine region’s stunning highlights.