Frankfurt-am-Main is Germany’s fifth largest city, and is by far the most important centre for the country’s banking and financial services sector. That may sound pretty dull, but actually Frankfurt has a lot going for it. It has a number of excellent galleries and museums, and an Old Town (immaculately restored after wartime damage) which bristles with history. No-one queues to pay homage at the headquarters of the European Central Bank, but the locals certainly jostle for space in the small bars which give character to the town’s Sachsenhausen district. It’s on the opposite bank of the River Main from the city centre. The area’s signature drink is a tasty dry cider called Ebbelwoi.
The main station is the massive Hauptbahnhof, which is ten minutes on foot south-west of the city centre. It's a major hub on Germany’s ICE rail network with departures at least hourly for Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart and Munich. There are direct international services to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, Basel, Berne and Zürich.
Stations in Frankfurt are complicated. On many journeys across Germany you may find yourself changing trains at one of the airport stations rather than in the city-centre Hauptbahnhof. The principal airport station is called Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof. Yet another useful station is in the city’s Sachsenhausen district: it is called Frankfurt-am-Main Süd. It is the departure point for direct trains to Warsaw and Moscow. For some destinations in eastern Germany (such as Eisenach and Leipzig), you’ll find a wider choice of trains from the Südbahnhof than from the Hauptbahnhof.
Finally, don’t forget that there are two Frankfurts in Germany. Frankfurt-am-Main is a long way from Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, a smaller city on the Polish border in eastern Germany. Make sure you book to the correct Frankfurt!
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Image credits: Frankfurt, Germany © Sean Pavone