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Frankfurt is the business and financial center of Germany and the largest city in the German state of Hesse. The city is known for its futuristic skyline and the biggest German airport.
Located on the river Main, Frankfurt is the financial capital of Continental Europe and the transportation center of Germany. Frankfurt is home of the European Central Bank and the German Stock Exchange. Furthermore, it hosts some of the world’s most important trade shows, such as the Frankfurt Auto Show and the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Frankfurt is a city of contrasts. Wealthy bankers, students and granola drop-outs coexist in a city that has some of the highest, most avant-garde skyscrapers of Europe next to well maintained old buildings. The downtown area, especially Römer square and the museums at the River Main, draw millions of tourists every year. On the other hand, many off the beaten track neighborhoods, such as Bockenheim, Bornheim, Nordend and Sachsenhausen, with their intact beautiful 19th century streets and parks are often overlooked by visitors.
Frankfurt is the place where Germany’s major autobahns and railways intersect. About 650,000 people commute to the city each day, not counting the 660,000 people who really live here. With a huge airport — the third-largest in Europe — it is the gateway to Germany and for many people also the first point of arrival in Europe. Further, it is a prime hub for interconnections within Europe and for intercontinental flights.
Frankfurt has the highest percentage of immigrants in Germany: about 25% of Frankfurt’s 660,000 people have no German passport and another 10% are naturalized German citizens. With about 35% immigrants, Frankfurt is the most diverse of German cities.
Frankfurt is home to many museums, theaters and a world-class opera.
Frankfurt Airport (IATA: FRA) is among the busiest in Europe — third in passenger traffic after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport — and the ninth busiest airport in the world. Frankfurt is the banking center of Germany and hosts numerous international trade fairs. Therefore all major airlines and all airline alliances fly frequently to Frankfurt and connects it to every continent and major city in the world. The German flagcarrier Lufthansa is the main airline in Frankfurt and offers the best connections.
The airport has two terminals (A third is scheduled to be opened in 2015). Terminal 1 is the home of Lufthansa and the Star Alliance airlines. Terminal 2 is for all other airlines. Terminal 1 is separated into Concourses A, B and C. Terminal 1 is a multi-level maze with poor signage & changing entrances due to ongoing construction work and insufficient capacity. Lufthansa tries to ease the confusion, therefore Business Class passengers (+ Gold & Silver Star Alliance Card Holders) have a designated check in area in Terminal 1 A. First class passengers of Lufthansa & Swiss Int’l Airlines (+ LH HON Circle card holders) are allowed to check-in in the separate First Class terminal on the right side of Terminal 1, which has its own driveway. All Star Alliance economy class travelers and other Star Alliance partners are checked in in Terminal 1B & 1C. The terminals are connected by the Sky Train (both landside and airside).
The departure gates have some of the most innovative seating around, with bench seats facing many directions and cafe-style tables and chairs for those who wish to whip out their laptops (sans coffee, alas). Passengers requiring special assistance should be advised that they might have to descend several flights of stairs to get to a bus that takes them to the plane, rather than disability-friendly ramps, so talk to the gate agent early if stairs are a problem.
Terminal 1 has public showers for €6 (includes towel, foot mat, shower gel, and hair dryer). One location is in the B Departures area, in the Shopping Boulevard, across from “TUMI”. The other is in the secure area of B Concourse (good for transit passengers), Level 2, near gate B 30 and the duty free shopping. There is luggage storage in both terminals for €5 per bag per day.
The airport has a long visitor terrace on top of terminal 2 (adults €4). It also offers 45-minute airside bus tours (adults €6, hourly from 11 (holidays) or 1-4PM, ticket booth is at the bridge between terminal 1 and “Frankfurt Airport Centre”, follow signs and information for Flughafen Erlebnisfahrten (“Airport Experience Tour”).
The airport is connected to downtown Frankfurt by taxi, bus (Line 61 to Frankfurt Südbahnhof (Frankfurt South Station), and most easily by S-Bahn (fast commuter trains). To get to the city, take lines S8 or S9 in the direction of Offenbach Ost or Hanau at the Regionalbahnhof (regional train station) in Terminal 1 (entrances in section A and B): interactive route planner. The lines S1-6/8/9 travel through the cornerstone of the system, an underground tunnel (the Citytunnel) through central Frankfurt. If you want to change to long-distance trains get off at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof(Frankfurt Central Station) or Frankfurt Südbahnhof (Frankfurt South Station). If you want to go downtown, get off at Frankfurt Taunusanlage, Frankfurt Hauptwache or Frankfurt Konstablerwache, which are in the heart of the city. The ride from the airport to the central station takes 14 minutes. Be sure to purchase a ticket at the vending machines in the train station before boarding the train.
If you want to go to the airport via S-Bahn, take the S8 or S9 in the direction of Wiesbaden. Don’t take the S1 — while it has the same general direction and leaves the central station at the same platform, it will go along the wrong side of the river Main. The line S1 does not stop at the airport.
The Frankfurt airport also has connections for inter-city trains. Regional trains to Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Hanau stop at the same place as the S-Bahn to Frankfurt. Connections outside the Frankfurt region have a separate train station, the Fernbahnhof (“long-distance train station”). Here, you can board high-speed trains to Cologne, Munich and other destinations.
InfoSource: Wikitravel Under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.