First Impressions of Frankfurt, Germany

I’ve been to a lot of destinations now in Germany, but Frankfurt for some reason was not somewhere that I’d gotten round to seeing yet. That is until I spent a few days there recently before hopping on a flight to Marrakech. Frankfurt is no Berlin, but it actually gets a bad rap I think from the people I’ve met in hostels talking about it. These were my first impressions;

CBD Skyline

When you walk out of the train station you are immediately met with a Central Business District style skyline. Some people don’t like that because it just reminds them of big business and the 9 to 5. For me, provided I don’t have to work in those sky high offices I think it creates a nice aesthetic at night. It would be a lie though to pretend that Frankfurt is not a business city. Unfortunately, that is what most people come here for – work. From a travellers point of view this makes it not the greatest city to visit in Germany. It’s very hard to compete with somewhere like Berlin on all levels.

Transport Hub

Frankfurt is a transport hub in Germany and Europe because of it’s such central location. It’s almost bang in the centre of Germany, and therefore centre of Europe geographically, with a slight weighting to the western side. Ryanair and other budget airlines have a base near Frankfurt so if you’re travelling out of Germany by air you may find a lot of cheap flights from here. Frankfurt is also a main stop for overnight trains and buses too within Germany and internationally, and is not to far from the German borders with France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

Blatant Red Light District

My hostel happened to be 2 minutes walk from Frankfurt HBF train station. I thought it was further and walked an extra 5 minutes down the street. In that 5 minutes I must have counted at least 20 sex related shops, brothels, lap dancing clubs, or brothels. I’m not sure if prostitution is legal in Germany, but if it isn’t they certainly don’t try to hide it very well in Frankfurt! For some people this may be a big downside. For me, although it’s not an industry I plan on being a customer of, it’s not the kind of thing that bothers me. I actually got no hassle on that street. In Marrakech, where I went after Frankfurt, a walk down an ordinary street just to get a bottle of water resulted in at least 20 propositions for sex from strangers on the street! I sometimes find that with countries or cities where people have more liberal attitudes such as in Frankfurt. Although it may look bad on the outside, it’s actually not at all as bad as the other scenario, and in fact it’s just an acceptance of the fact these things go on, rather than trying to pretend they don’t which often results in worse things happening sometimes. For me it’s always refreshing to find a liberal country, and also gives me a little chuckle every time I see stuff like this. I guess the 5 year old in me never grows tired of giggling at rude words and nudey pictures… 🙂

Frankfurt Hostel

I stayed at ‘Frankfurt Hostel’ while in Frankfurt. It’s 2 minutes walk from the main train station, smack bang in the city centre, and sandwiched between a kebab shop and a sex museum! I like to pick the classy joints…

In actual fact Frankfurt Hostel is a really cool hostel. The bar area is especially atmospheric and really cool place to hang out. You can also bring your own food in from outside and eat it there. Aside from that there’s really good views of the surrounding city from the balconies, free internet access, a good breakfast, and just an all round easy place to meet other backpackers.

Frankfurt hostel never asked me to write a review, but I just really liked the hostel so I thought I would mention it here. If there was any downside I would say the service at the hostel is very slow. As soon as the guys are done their shift they literally won’t serve you a minute after it finished and you have to wait until the next member of staff is ready. However, if they can get on top of some lazy staff I think it would be a really great hostel.

– If you liked this post you may be interested in my First Impressions of Berlin, and my First Impressions of Prague.

5 Responses to “First Impressions of Frankfurt, Germany”

  1. Mark says:

    Frankfurt is a nice city. I went there last year to catch a flight. You’re right. It’s never going to be as popular as Berlin, but it is a nice city.

  2. Andrew says:

    A few remarks. Yes, prostitution is legal in Germany. It is regulated and I have heard there is even a specific company that provides health care (based on general German regulations).

    Ryanair has a base that is labeled Frankfurt, but as far as I know Frankfurt(Hahn) is well nearly two hours on the bus from Frankfurt. Just so you know.

    I remember that hostel. We used to stay the next street down next to the Irish pub. There is plenty of Frankfurt to see from there. About 15min walk toward the center is a set of squares with old buildings to see and a park near the river.

    I too have really only been through for transport reasons. Except for once with a school group to see the stock exchange and drink at a bar. Otherwise, it is a standard modern German style city. Not flashy, but ordentlich.

  3. I have very nice memories connected to Frankfurt – it was the first city I lived in outside of my home country. I spent 3 months there and I am always very sad hearing all the bad things about it. The city has many nice corners and it’s full of tradition. Unlike many others I also love Frankfurt CBD 🙂

  4. Matt Falcus says:

    I lived in Frankfurt for a year when I was a student. It really is a great place when you get to know it – loads of world class museums, excellent bars and restaurants, lovely buildings and riverside walks. I long to go back!

    But I agree, having the red light district outside the station isn’t a good first impression for visitors.

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