If Berlin epitomizes all that is trendy and edgy about the country, Frankfurt is the chic and uber-cool face of modern Germany. As a hotspot for international trade and finance, business travellers constitute the bulk of passengers on Frankfurt flights and most of them are heading to one of the many trade fairs which are held throughout the year for products ranging from trains to books, and electronics to furniture.
But Frankfurt isn't about all work and no play. When you're done with whatever business brought you to the city, stroll through the quaint old-town centre of Romer Square, grab a schnitzel on the go from vendors along the river Main, or make you way straight to Sachsenhausen or Bokenheim where you will find a large chunk of Frankfurt's workforce dancing the night away at techno-clubs and bars.
The city's skyline is often confused with New York, but hidden between the skyscrapers are historic buildings like St. Bartholomeus' Cathedral, Alte Oper (a 19th century opera house), and the 180-year old Hauptfriedhof, Frankfurt's main cemetery. Between the German stock exchange, the Bundesbank national bank, museums dedicated to architecture, film, and art, and the fast-paced business atmosphere of the city, there's certainly a lot to keep you occupied in Frankfurt. But there is also a great deal to explore nearby, so consider a day trip to one of the smaller towns in the area. Strasbourg, Rothenburg, Nuremburg, and the Rhine Valley are all only a short drive away and you can get back well in time for your flight home.
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Located 20 minutes away from the city centre, Flughafen Frankfurt-am-Main or Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is Germany's largest and Europe's second largest airport. In addition to the national carrier Lufthansa, over 130 other airlines fly to FRA, including Air Canada, Air Transat, US, United, American, and Delta. Some of these offer direct flights to Frankfurt from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver, making it an easy, hassle-free trip for Canadian travellers.
Passengers who are strapped for time and not familiar with Germany's airports should be wary of booking airline tickets to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HNN) instead of Frankfurt Airport. Despite its name, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport is more than an hour and a half away from Frankfurt city.
The peak travel period for tourists flying to Frankfurt is between June and August when it is warm and sunny, and again from November to early-January when Frankfurt's Christmas Markets are set up.
Frankfurt flights are cheapest from mid-January until March, but bear in mind that temperatures average 3-5°C and there are fewer outdoor events during this time. For milder weather and cheap airfares, plan your trip from September to early-November or from late-March to May. But be sure to check well in advance if there are any major trade fairs being held around that time as this may make cheap flights harder to find at the last-minute.
Frankfurt Airport (FRA) has two terminals which are connected by the Sky Line train as well as a bus service, both of which are free of charge. An AIRail Terminal is located close to Terminal 1 and this is where long-distance trains operate from.
Catering to the large number of business travellers who frequent this airport, there are facilities like showers, left-luggage services, shops for travel essentials, massage and salon services, as well as rest areas where you can catch a quick snooze between flights. Visit the airport website for more detailed information on the ground transportation choices listed below.
Public Transit: You can buy tickets for local trains and buses at the Mobility Center operated by the local transit authority, Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV). For the Deutsche Bahn (DB) long-distance trains, buy tickets from the DB TravelCenter or the automatic machines located in Terminal 1.
Train: There are two train stations located at Frankfurt Airport: A regional station is located on Level 0 of Terminal 1's B Concourse, and is served by S-Bahn city trains and regional services. A long-distance train station is located on the third level of the AIRail Terminal and is used for international and inter-city services.
To get to the city centre, take the S-Bahn trains from Platform 1. Tickets for these services are cheap at about €4.
Bus: RMV operates several bus routes via the airport and you can connect to destinations in downtown Frankfurt and the suburbs using these services. Most bus stops are located outside Terminal 1 and a one-way ticket to the city centre should not cost you more than about €5.
Airport Shuttle: Lufthansa operates an Airport Bus from the airport but passengers flying to Frankfurt on any other airline can use these services. Departure points are located outside Terminal 1 and you can connect to Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Munich via these buses. Fares vary by route and destination.
You can also use the bus service between Frankfurt-Han Airport and Frankfurt Airport which goes via the city centre. The bus stop is located at Terminal 2 near exit E9 and one-way fares are about €13, and there are discounts for round-trip bookings and children's tickets.
Hotel Shuttle: Hotels like Mercure Wings and Kempinski operate shuttle services from the airport for the convenience of their guests arriving on Frankfurt flights. If you have arranged to have your hotel shuttle collect you from the airport, make your way to the pick-up zones located at Level 1 of Terminal 1 and Level 2 of Terminal 2.
Taxi: Metered taxis are easily available outside both the airport terminals but trips to the city are not cheap, costing anywhere between €50-€100 depending on your destination.
Car Rental: Several car rental companies operate booking kiosks at both terminals, including Avis, Hertz, Sixt, and Alamo. If you're flying to Frankfurt for a major trade fair, it's advisable to book your car in advance.