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Frankfurt

Frankfurt Travel Information

When to Go

As a major trade show and convention town, Frankfurt's population swells during March-May and September-October - which just happen to be the best times to visit weatherwise. The solution is to book ahead or stay at places either beneath or beyond the conventioneers' budgets. The winter months (November-February) are prone to storms and freezing temperatures but bring a full social and entertainment schedule and zero tourist crowds. An exception is December when the Christmas market is in full swing, June to August can be rather hot and characterized by afternoon thunderstorms, but on the plus side, much of the action moves outdoors, and cafes, parks and the riverbank bustle with activity.

The weather in May, September and October is often better than in the 'summer' months (June to August), which can be rainy and temperamental. The average temperature is around 10°C (50°F), but temperatures at the height of the summer often soar well over 30°C (86°F). From November to February temperatures frequently slide below freezing point and storms are common.

Region: Germany

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Getting Around

Frankfurt is the mother of all transport hubs. Flughafen Frankfurt-am-Main is Germany's main gateway and continental Europe's busiest airport.

Frankfurt's Hauptbahnhof is Germany's busiest main train station, and many long-distance trains also stop at the airport's train station.

Long-distance buses connect Frankfurt with most eastern and western European countries.

With most of Germany's Autobahnen converging on the city, cars can often seem to outnumber people in Frankfurt.

You'll get footsore pretty fast in Frankfurt, but luckily the public transport system is excellent and integrates the city's bus, tram, S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines. It's expensive but effective, and you can buy hourly or daily tickets at almost any stop. The underground S-Bahn and U-Bahn train lines are convenient and run more frequently than buses. Trams run on major routes and offer above-ground views.

Cycling isn't a bad way of getting around, and most streets have designated bike lanes. The maze of one-way streets in the center of the city makes driving a somewhat frustrating experience, so you're better off parking as close as you can get and hoofing it or hailing an expensive but easy-to-find taxi.

Flughafen Frankfurt-am-Main, 12km southwest of downtown, is a mini-city of two massive terminals linked by the Sky Line elevated railway, and just about every major airline flies here from around the world. Bus 61 links the Südbahnhof in Sachsenhausen with Terminal 1 every half-hour, but the fastest and cheapest route into town is via the S-Bahn lines S8 and S9. Taxis are also an easy, albeit expensive, option.

Long-distance buses leave from the south side of the Hauptbahnhof, where there's a Eurolines office catering for most European destinations.

The Hauptbahnhof, west of the center, handles more departures and arrivals than any other station in Germany, which means that there are convenient trains to pretty much anywhere. The information office for connections and tickets is at the head of platform 9.

Frankfurt features the Frankfurter Kreuz, Germany's biggest autobahn intersection - modelled, it would seem, after the kind you might find in Los Angeles. All major (and some minor) car-rental companies have offices in the Hauptbahnhof and at the airport.

The city is good for cyclists, with designated bike lanes on most streets. With Deutsche Bahn's Call-a-Bike you register by phone and then, each time you want a bicycle, you go to a Call-a-Bike Station, which can be found all over the city center, and phone to get the lock code.

Frankfurt's excellent - if expensive - transport network integrates all bus, tram, S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines (in general the U-Bahn is underground only in the city center).

Traffic flows smoothly in central Frankfurt, but the one-way system makes it extremely frustrating to get to where you want to go. Throughout the center you'll see signs giving directions to the nearest parking garage and the number of places left.

Entry Requirements

Most EU citizens only need their national identity card or passport to enter, stay and work in Germany. Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, Poles, Swiss, Japanese and Israelis just need a valid passport (no visa) to enter Germany as tourists. Passports should be valid for at least another four months from the planned date of departure from Germany.

Please contact the German consulate for up-to-date information on travel document requirements.

Health and Safety

The area northeast of the Hauptbahnhof is a base for Frankfurt's trade in sex and illegal drugs, and has Druckräume, special rooms where needles are distributed and the drug dependent can shoot up. Women in particular might want to avoid Elbestrasse and Taunusstrasse, the main red-light district. Frequent police and private security patrols of the station and the surrounding Bahnhofsviertel keep things under control, but it's always advisable to use big-city common sense.

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