Frankfurt Travel Guide and Virtual Tour
by Ed Prifogle

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VIRTUAL TOUR

To begin our virtual journey, watch this Cico TV video about Frankfurt attractions.

  1. Take a brief German beginners language course.
  2. View this MAPQUEST map to learn how to get around.
  3. Read this newspaper (in English) to learn what's going on in the city.
  4. Read these consumer reviews about where to stay and what to see.
  5. Study these 933 tips from VirtualTourist
  6. Watch a TV program (in German).
  7. Look at these LIVE Web Cams
  8. Listen to this audio tape about  trade shows
  9. Watch these Travelago  videos about the city.
  10. Listen to this audio tape.
  11. See these panoramic views and maps.
  12. Watch these Frankfurt Galaxy  Internet TV Amercan football clips.
  13. Check the current weather conditions.



HOTELS AND DINING

See the resources listed below and this information for Hotels and B and Bs. Hotel Rooms tend to be a bit expensive especially durng major trade shows. Dining options feature German Dishes as well as all international cuisine.


CITY ATTRACTION

Frankfurt boasts many fine attractions for visitors including wonderful botanical gardens, many fine museums, an excellent university, restored cathederals, and the home of Goethe, the famous German Poet. The whole city is surrounded by a lovely park. Use this hot map to locate city streets.


TRANSPORTATION

Fares from the airport to downtown Frankfurt: Taxi $30; Train $5; Bus; $4. From Rhine-Main Airport the fastest and most economical way to travel to Frankfurt is by the S-Bahn train (Lines S-14 and S-15). The trip to the city takes less than 15 minutes.Frankfurt has a similar U-Bahn and S-Bahn subway system to the one in Munich, with the U-Bahn covering Frankfurt's urban area and the S-Bahn extending into the outer boroughs. Tickets ($1.50) are sold at the blue vending machines located throughout the city. We suggest the 24-hour ticket for $6. The city buses (Stadtbus) and streetcars (Strassenbahn) are inexpensive and a reliable way to get around. Your subway tickets are valid on all forms of public transport.


SHOPPING AND TOURS

The Zeil is a major shopping area in Frankfurt with German department stores as well as a Woolworths and a Disney store. Zoos, parks, museums and good restaurants provide reasonably priced entertainment for families. A large market held every Saturday morning along the Main River in Frankfurt brings sellers from all over with new and used goods. Similar market can be found in almost all German communities, both large and small, and usually on Saturdays. These are worth going to just to experience, if not to buy something. Less than an hour away, in any direction, you can see wine country, castles, and all sorts of festivals. A train can be caught from Frankfurt to just about anywhere in Europe and reasonably priced tours are frequently available to places like Poland, Amsterdam, the Czech Republic, and cities including Cologne, Florence, and Paris. A one day excursion can take you to the oldest city in Germany (Trier - 2000 BC), a picnic along the Main River, a Rhein River cruise, or an amusement park like Phantasialand. An hour or two north of Frankfurt is the Fairy Tale Drive where the Grimms Brothers based their stories of Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty. Berlin is about 350 miles to the northwest and Switzerland is about the same distance to the south.



FAST FACTS

Airport
Mainz entry point is through Frankfurt 's Flughafen airport. The distance from the Frankfurt Airport to Mainz is approximately 30 kilometers (18 miles). Two train stations within the airport service Mainz on regular intervals. The S-Bahn regional train found on the lower level of the airport's Terminal 1 runs to Hauptbahnhof as well as Mainz and Wiesbaden. Travel time via the regional train takes around 27 minutes. The Intercity fast train also has a station within the airport and the ride takes only 15 minutes, but the fare is double that of the regional train. There are also taxis and car rental companies available to bring you to Mainz. Journey by car is about half an hour and taxi fare costs approximately 100 deutsche marks. The airport's information counters are open from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; food stores and shops are plentiful within both terminals. For inquiries call +11-4969-6903-0511

Visas
Citizens of European Union countries, U.S., U.K. need only a valid passport to enter Germany for a 90-day visa free period. Other nationalities need valid a passport and appropriate visas to enter Mainz. Some might also be required to show proof of onward passage. Always reconfirm travel document requirements from your travel agent or the nearest German consulate or Embassy.
Currency
 
Germany employs the euro, the common monetary unit of the European Union states.   Click here for currency conversion.
Credit Cards
Generally, shops prefer to do transactions in cash. Major credit cards such as American Express, Visa and MasterCard as well as Eurocard are accepted in international hotel chains. Expensive restaurants and department stores also honor credit cards but give discounts if you pay in cash.
Tipping
Restaurant bills often include a 10% Bedienung or service charge, and tax listed as MWST. Nonetheless, it is common practice to leave a small tip for the service staff. Simply round up the bill to the nearest mark or give 5% of the bill to the waiter. Tip hotel porters, bellhops, room cleaning staff a couple of marks for their services. Cab drivers need not be tipped, but will appreciate your rounding the fare up to the nearest mark.
Useful Numbers
Tourist Information:   06131/ 286210
Fast Facts (continued)

Electricity
220 volts, 50 cycles. Electric outlets are for two round prong plugs. Bring a converter and adapter for 110 volts appliances.
Health Risks
No special vaccinations or health certificates are required to enter, except from certain Third World countries. Sanitation standards in restaurants are high. Health care and facilities are good and reliable throughout the city. European Union citizens are entitled to free emergency health care. Tap water is safe for drinking. Most locals prefer bottled water and restaurants only serve bottled water.
Time Zone
GMT + 1
GMT +2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in September
Business Hours
Banks are open weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. And have extended banking hours on Thursdays, banks close at 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. Bank branches in airports and main train stations, open early at 6:30 a.m. and close at 10:30 p.m.

Most department stores in main shopping areas open around 9:00 a.m. and close shops at 8:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Saturdays, most shops close early at around 2 or 4 in the afternoon, except during winter and the summer when shops have extended shopping hours. All stores are closed Sunday, with the exception of some new stands and bakeshops.
Holidays
Jan. 1, New Year's Day. Apr. 20, Good Friday. Apr. 23 - 24 Easter holidays. May 1, Labor Day. June 1, Ascension Day. June 22, Corpus Christi Day. Oct. 3, German Unity Day. Nov. 1, All Saints' Day. Dec. 24 (Government closed. Shops open half day only.) Dec. 25-26, Christmas holidays. Dec. 31 (Government closed. Shops open half day only.)
Climate  .
Summers are warm and humid while spring days are cool and pleasant. Average summer temperatures range 18 to 32 degrees Celsius. There is no specific rainy season in Germany, but you can expect drizzle in the summer and spring months. The best time to go to Mainz is from May to October, when the weather is more predictable. Those are the tourist months, however, and most places are crowded. Winters are often bitter and cold in Germany. Beginning in November until February, snow can be expected and temperatures may drop to zero. Click here for a 3-day weather forecast in Mainz.
Clothing
Business attire  calls for two or three piece suits for men, and dress suits for women. Dark conservative colors and subdued ties are well suited for business. Outside of business, jeans and other casual clothes are acceptable. The Germans are very fashion conscious and more formal clothes may be required when eating out at night. In packing clothes, take into consideration, the season you are visiting, summers are hot but may have unexpected rain, so carry around a lightweight jacket. Winters on the other hand can be really cold, bring a thick trench coat to protect you from the cold.
GDP Growth Rate
Real growth rate: From 2.2% in 1998 it decreased to 1.4% in 1999.
Per capita: purchasing power parity-$22,100 (1998 est.)
Exports
Machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals, manufactured foodstuffs and textiles.
Imports
Machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals, foodstuffs and textiles
Trading Partners
EU (France, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium-Luxembourg), Japan and US.
Industries
Producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, metal fabrication, brown coal, shipbuilding, machine building, food and beverages, textiles, petroleum refining
Teledensity
1.8 persons per telephone
Government
Democratic Federal Republic
Geography
Germany is in central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Countries, which share borders with Germany, are Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Germany's 357,000 square kilometers of land area consists of plains, valleys, gorges and rugged mountains. Mainz is located on the Rhineland, on the western area of Germany. It is close to Frankfurt.
Population
National Population: 82,584,731
Ethnic Groups
German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, Italians 0.7%, Greeks 0.4%, Poles 0.4%, other 4.6%
Language
German. English is spoken widely in hotels, restaurants, airports, stations, museums and other places of interest.
Literacy Rate
99%
Religion
Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 37%, unaffiliated or other18%