Whether you’re embarking on an international journey or just passing through Frankfurt Airport, seize the opportunity to make the most of your time in Germany. Instead of confining yourself to the airport terminal, break free for an adventurous day trip. Explore nearby historic towns and cities that provide culturally rich escapes beyond the confines of the airport. In this guide, we present four standout day trip ideas that are easily accessible from Frankfurt.
Heidelberg is a charming old town just a few minutes over one hour by train or a 60-minute drive from Frankfurt. It sits next to the Neckar River and has the ruins of a beautiful old castle on a hill above it. Heidelberg feels like stepping into a fairytale. It’s the perfect place to spend a day surrounded by history. And easy to explore on foot.
After finding a reliable parking airport Frankfurt lot, hop the train and alight in the historic center. The most famous part of Heidelberg is the red sandstone Heidelberg Castle ruins. They look over the valley and the Old Town.
Taking a walk across the iconic Old Bridge is a great way to enjoy views of the castle reflecting on the river. The Old Town has cute cobblestone streets, cafes, shops, and restaurants that are nice to wander. Spend a day lost in this historic town by the river. You will return to Frankfurt feeling refreshed and inspired.
Once the Romans established a spa resort here, Wiesbaden has long been renowned for its thermal baths and mineral springs. Stroll the pedestrianized city center to admire the beautiful neoclassical Kurhaus main hall and theater, the ornate city palace, and the historic market square.
When you need a break, order apple wine and local fare at a sidewalk cafe on the bustling Market Square. Or relax over cake and coffee like the locals do. The city’s top patisseries serve delicious creations that showcase Wiesbaden’s foodie side.
Whether you appreciate architecture, history, nature, or just a sophisticated urban vibe, Wiesbaden makes for a memorable day out from Frankfurt by train or car.
#3 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
For a truly magical day trip back in time, head to the medieval walled town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. With its mazes of cobblestone lanes, half-timbered houses, and towered town walls circling the village, Rothenburg will transport you right into the pages of a storybook.
Getting delightfully lost in the narrow alleys as you discover tucked-away cafés, craft shops, and museums is one of the best parts of visiting Rothenburg. Be sure to see the gothic St. Jakob’s Church and walk around the town’s medieval walls. Beyond the walls, bike rental shops and Segway tours let you explore the countryside surrounding the town.
Rothenburg’s magical atmosphere makes it a must-see day trip from Frankfurt by either train or car. Take your time soaking up the charm before heading back to the airport with memories of your medieval German adventure.
The charming city of Mainz is located just 40 minutes from Frankfurt by train along the Rhine River. Mainz is known for its renowned wine, vibrant university, and friendly locals.
A must-see is the Gutenberg Museum, which celebrates Mainz native Johann Gutenberg and showcases the history of writing, printing, and books. Wander the pedestrian-friendly old town to see the Roman theater ruins, Saint Martin’s Cathedral, and half-timbered houses.
Be sure to try local food specialties like Handkäse mit Musik (hand-shaped cheese), Spundekäse (cheese spread), or Winzerteller (vineyard plate of meats, cheeses, and bread). Paired with local Rieslings and surrounded by hillside vineyards, Mainz makes for an intoxicating day trip from Frankfurt.
While traveling through or based in Frankfurt, don’t forget to venture out and explore. These charming day trips offer delicious culture and history just minutes from the airport chaos. Though each town offers variety, all provide welcome respite and stories to share with others. Take these trips and you will find an excursion to spark joy and new insights during your visit to Germany.