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Shopping in Frankfurt

Shopaholics will find their every need catered for in Frankfurt’s excellent retail districts. There are the usual large department stores, as well as specialist handicrafts shops, so whether visitors are after a souvenir or just want a bit of retail therapy, the city doesn’t disappoint.

Key areas

Many shops along Zeil sell the typical local gift, the ebbelwoi (apple wine) carafe, called bembel, which comes with matching glasses. International brands can be found in the streets leading off the main thoroughfare. Goethestrasse is known for its exclusive designer clothing and jewellery boutiques. Oeder Weg and Berger Strasse offer just the opposite - small but interesting bargain and curiosity shops in which to rummage.

Antiques can be found in the streets around the cathedral. Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse has the best delicatessens, fish shops, markets and wine merchants in town and the Kleinmarkthalle on Hasengasse is full of international delicacies. For something unusual, Comica, Stiftstrasse, offers comics, graphic novels and related memorabilia.

Markets

A flea market is held every other Saturday 0900-1400 either in Sachsenhausen, on the south side of the Main, or at Frankfurts's East Harbor. Head here for vintage relics and treasures that are unlikely to be found on the main shopping streets. An excellent produce market can be found on Saturday 0800-1700 and Thursday 1000-2000 on Konstablerwache Square, which is ideal for self-catering visitors. Another popular produce market is held on upper Berger Strasse between the clock tower and Saalburgstrasse on Wednesday 0800-1830 and on Saturday 0800-1600. The produce market on Schillerstrasse takes place on Friday 0900-1830. 

Shopping centres

The pedestrian street, Zeil (from Hauptwache to Konstablerwache), is the city's major shopping street and is lined with well-known department stores. The shopping centre MyZeil, Zeil 106, attracts visitors with around 100 shops, restaurants and cafés.

The largest shopping centres in Frankfurt are the Nordwest Zentrum, Walter-Möller-Platz 2, the Hessen Centre, Borsigallee 26 and the Isenburg-Zentrum, Hermesstrasse 4. The Skyline Plaza Frankfurt, Europa-Allee 6, has 170 shops, restaurants and a spa. A large shopping centre close to Frankfurt is the Main-Taunus-Zentrum in Sulzbach.

Opening hours

Large city centre stores and supermarkets are open Monday to Friday 0900/1000-2100 and Saturday 0900-2100. Smaller shops close at 1830 on weekdays and at 1400 on Saturday. All shops are closed on Sunday.

Souvenirs

For souvenirs, make a beeline for Roemer, Frankfurt’s main square. Small trinket shops dot the perimeter, with stalls also selling the usual array of key rings, fridge magnets, postcards and tea towels. These classic bits and bobs feature Frankfurt’s Dom Cathedral, pictures of the Main and other key city landmarks. Tourist information centres also sell souvenirs.

Tax information

VAT is currently at 19%. Travellers who live outside the European Union can obtain a tax refund (www.globalblue.com) on goods bought in Germany by submitting the purchased goods and the original receipt to the customs office at the airport. The export certificate should then be taken to any one of five counters after the security check, where a cash refund is obtained. Note that a small fee will be charged on all refunds.

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Gerbermühle

Housed in a former mill building on the south bank of the Main about 4km (2.5 miles) east of the main railway station, this small boutique hotel is where Goethe is said to have met Marianne von Willemer, who he'd later write poetry about. With only 19 rooms and suites, the hotel has very high standard in terms of comfort and service, offering a refreshing alternative to the major chain hotels that are so prevalent in Frankfurt.

Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof

Destroyed during WWII and entirely rebuilt by hotelier Albert Steigenberger, this fantastic listed building combines historical glory and modern convenience. Despite the elegant furnishings, the discreet service and the majestic atmosphere, Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof retains character and intimacy. The facilities are fantastic, including a wellness club and business centre. For very important guests, who require extra special treatment, the Presidential Suite even has bullet-proof windows.

Villa Kennedy

Now under the wing of the acclaimed Rocco Forte luxury hotel group the Villa Kennedy is firmly in the 5-star-plus category. Situated in the city centre, on the south bank of the Main and close to Sachsenhausen, the hotel consists of three buildings and the Villa Speyer, a building dating from the early 20th century. The Gusto restaurant vies with the very best in Frankfurt, while for those in need of rest and relaxation, there are full leisure and spa facilities including a swimming pool. The hotel also offers a number of meetings and events spaces for the business visitor and is a favourite with visiting celebrities too.

Hotel Palmenhof

The fine architecture of this elegant Westend building is more reminiscent of a historic palace than a modern hotel. However, the rooms of this small but stylish art nouveau residence, furnished throughout with sophisticated antiques, provide all the contemporary comforts of 21st-century business life. Satellite TV, private safes and wireless internet are basic standards in all rooms.

Maritim Hotel Frankfurt

Directly linked to the Trade Fair Centre, this very modern circular, glass hotel is most convenient for travellers visiting one of Frankfurt's numerous international fairs. The 5-star Maritim caters mainly for professionals, providing everything the sophisticated traveller expects, from extensive business facilities such wireless internet and digital fax machines to a laptop-sized safe. Excellent relaxation options are also available at the Maritim Sports Club.

The Pure

The Pure is one of the trendiest hotels in Frankfurt. Just around the corner from the main station this style haunt is decorated in a palette of white, white and white. The staff are warm enough to add a bit of colour and all rooms have flat screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi access, air conditioning and iPod docks. The lobby bar stocks an impressive range of single malt whiskies and there’s also a modest gym for more active types, as well as a sauna and steam room.