Monday, July 23, 2012

Great Daytrips from Frankfurt

Without a doubt one of the biggest advantage of living in Frankfurt is its location, being that it’s the most centrally located city in Europe. Within matter of hours, you can be in Paris or Berlin, sunbathing in the French Riviera or swooshing down the Alps. For an avid traveler like me, there was no better place to be.

Also, Frankfurt is located near some of the most idyllic landscapes, charming towns and historical landmarks in Germany, and one could easily do a day trips by car or train to some of the most beautiful sites and cities in Europe.

The Rhein (River)
The landscapes and villages along the Rhein are some of the most gorgeous landscapes in Germany, or Europe for that matter, and whether you’re traveling by train, car or biking through this area is perfect for sightseeing as well as sampling the local and traditional German culture.

The route from Frankfurt to Koblenz is one of the most scenic drives in German, and this area is home to many ancient and majestic castles, which date back into the Middle Ages, including Bingen, Burg Rheinstein, Burg Pfalz and Burg Maus, among others.

Also, some of Germany finest vineyards are located along the Rhein and offers beautiful scenery. Late September and October are great time to be in this area, and to tour and sample wine, and in the summer, there’s also a Champagne Festival in the town of Eltville near Mainz.

Notable cities along the Rhein:
  • Koln (Cologne) is home to some of the most impressive modern and contemporary art museums in Europe, notably the Museum Ludwig, which houses one of the largest Picasso collections in Europe.
  • Mainz was a long an important city in the Roman Empire hosting 7 coronations of Roman Emperors, and is a city where Johannes Gutenberg first used his movable-type printing press. Unfortunately, there is very little information about Gutenberg and the Gutenberg Museum here is fairly disappointing. However, the two major cathedrals, Dom St Martin and St Stephan are absolutely impressive. Especially worth seeing is the Chagall choir windows in St. Stephan.
  • Wiesbaden is a pretty little town that is reminiscent of the old Europe, and it’s definitely a great city for the first time visitors to Germany.
a picturesque village Rudesheim
beautiful town of Mainz
The Chagall choir windows in St. Stephan
A Francophile Russian-born Jew with French citizenship, Chagall wanted a monument of "reconciliation" between France and Germany and between Jews and Christians. Although his decision to do the windows was extremely difficult, by agreeing to make windows for Mainz, Chagall saw an opportunity. Germany has seldom been at peace in its search for postwar symbols, but the tranquil monument in Mainz seems to stand apart with its radiance and redemptive aurora. – “Chagall's Angelic Dream Comes True” by John Schmid
The Mosel (River)
The Mosel, located near Germany's western border, is a river that flows through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. The region is full of charming little villages and fine wineries, and on summer weekends and during the fall harvest time, the Mosel comes alive with wine festivals.
The most scenic piece of the valley lies between the towns of Bernkastel-Kues and Cochem, and the picturesque little town of Bernkastel-Kues, tucked between steep vineyards and the river, is a wonderful place for strolling and wine-tasting.
On the trail of the Holy Roman Empire
Slightly off the beaten path from Frankfurt are astonishing remains and reminders of days when Germany was part of the Holy Roman Empire.  Worm (pronounced "vorms") is a charming little town about 28 miles south of Mainz. Even before the Romans arrived in 14 BC, it was the capital of the Germanic tribes. Today, Worms is famous for its archive of Romanesque architecture (it boasts five Romanesque churches, including the cathedral), and along with Trier and Cologne, it remains to be one of the oldest cities in Germany.
Saalburg is the most completely reconstructed roman fort in Germany, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2005.  
In search of German Culture & Art
Darmstadt an industrial town about 30 minutes south of Frankfurt.  It’s known mostly for the Technical University; however, there is also an interesting artist colony and forum called Mathildenhohe that is definitely worth checking out.
Bad Soden is a sweet little town near Frankfurt, known mainly for the Hundertwasserhaus, a residential building by the artist/architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Heidelberg is a charming little city about 2 hours south of Frankfurt. Well-known for its world-renowned university and Heidelberg Castle, it is one of the most popular destinations in Germany. 


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