Wander the characterful streets of Frankfurt’s Old Town (Altstadt), which was once the most impressive display of Gothic-style architecture in Germany. In its prime, the Old Town was a place for the coronation of Holy Roman emperors, the site of lavish royal celebrations and a favorite inspirational spot for poets. Allied bomb raids in 1944 left the district in ruins and ongoing redevelopment is bringing it back to its former splendor.
Life in the Old Town has revolved around Römerberg square since the 800s. Marvel at its stepped gable and half-timbered buildings, most notably Römer city hall. Visit Old St. Nikolai Church, which dates back to the 13th century. Browse handicraft stalls and try mulled wine at the Frankfurt Christmas Market, held from late November to late December. Just south, look for the Wertheim House, one of few buildings to survive Word War II bombings.
Walk from Römerberg to Frankfurt Cathedral. This striking church played a key role in the election and coronation of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Find examples of antique reliquary, ceremonial robes and other religious artifacts in the Cathedral Museum. Enjoy magnificent city views from the 216-foot (66-meter) observation deck of the church’s tower.
Explore the district’s museums. The Historical Museum, housed in the Saalhof castle complex, showcases Frankfurt’s history from the medieval era. Admire the impressive collections of the Museum of Modern Art and Schirn Kunsthalle. Relive the lifestyles of ancient cultures at the Archaeology Museum of Frankfurt, set inside a former Carmelite Monastery.
Another sight worth visiting is St. Paul’s Church, where Germany’s first parliament convened in 1848. Take a guided tour of Frankfurt Goethe House, the childhood home of the acclaimed literary figure Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Alternatively, experience the lively ambiance of time-honored beer halls.
Reach Old Town easily via public trains and trams. The Dom/Römer U-Bahn station is a short walk from the major landmarks. The DomRömer project, providing extensive regeneration of the Old Town, is injecting new life into the historic courtyards, houses, passageways and squares between Römerberg and the cathedral.