Hey there fellow travelers! If you're anything like me, you know that there's nothing quite like the magic of snow season. So, as my exams ended in mid-January and I had a few weeks before heading back to Portugal, I decided to take a winter trip to Frankfurt to meet up with Thomas. Now, Frankfurt isn't exactly known for its snow, but Thomas and I had a plan up our sleeves! We decided to head to the Bavarian city of Füssen, nestled at the foot of the stunning Alps. Our goal? To check a visit to the famous Neuschwanstein castle off our bucket list while enjoying some snowy fun (check our post here).
However, fate had even more plans for us! Just before our trip, Thomas heard rumors of snow on the nearby Taunus mountain range. The magic word, "snow," was all it took to convince me to join in on this other winter adventure. What makes the Taunus mountains extra special? They're incredibly easy to reach from Frankfurt! In this post, we'll give you all the info you need to reach this winter wonderland, as well as a list of all the amazing things to see and do once you get there. Trust us, you won't want to miss this!
Nestled just 80 kilometres north of the city, the stunning Taunus mountain range in the Hessen region boasts dense forests and breathtaking views. While these mountains may not be as high as their Bavarian counterparts, they still pack a punch! The highest peak, Großer Feldberg, stands at 879.5 meters (2,887 feet), offering panoramic views of the surrounding valleys.
The Taunus Mountains are a popular year-round destination for locals looking to escape the noise of the city and recharge their batteries. With two nature parks to explore, including the second largest nature reserve in the Hessen region, there's no shortage of things to see and do. So whether you're seeking adventure or just a peaceful retreat, the Taunus Mountains have got you covered!
HOW TO GET THERE?
The Taunus mountains are located just a stone's throw away from Frankfurt and are easily accessible by subway and bus. To get there, take the U3 subway line heading towards Oberursel Hohemark and ride it to the last stop. Once there, you'll find yourself at the foot of the Taunus, where you can catch bus line 57 to take you to the top. The journey takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes and costs only 5.30 EUR for an unlimited full-day subway ticket. If traveling in a group, a group ticket for up to 5 people can be purchased for just 11.30 EUR.
Before you go, make sure to check out the Taunus Information Center for helpful tips and recommendations. And if you're heading up to the mountains for some snow, make sure to check the forecast before you go – the weather can be unpredictable, but webcams can help you stay on top of current conditions.
EXPLORING THE TAUNUS - THINGS TO SEE AND DO
1. ENJOY OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
With its extensive trail system, the Taunus Nature Park is the perfect destination for hiking enthusiasts during the summer months. With over 210 hiking trails covering a total length of approximately 1.200 kilometers, you're sure to find a trail that suits your level of experience. And if cycling is your thing, then you're in for a treat as well. The Taunus mountains offer numerous marked bicycle paths that pass through different areas of the range, making it a cyclist's paradise.
But why settle for a regular hike or bike ride when you can experience the Taunus mountains from the air? Hop on a hot air balloon and discover the stunning landscapes from above, giving you a unique perspective of the area. During the warmer months, there are also plenty of facilities available for visitors, from campsites to barbecue facilities, making it an ideal destination for a weekend getaway with friends or family.
As the snowflakes start to softly blanket the Taunus mountains, the landscape transforms into a magical winter wonderland. For those who love outdoor adventures, this region offers a wide range of activities to experience the snowy beauty in unique ways. Hiking trails take on a new life, providing ideal paths for snowshoeing and winter hikes. Tobogganing and cross country skiing are also popular activities that will get your adrenaline pumping. While you immerse yourself in the scenic surroundings, keep your eyes peeled for the occasional surprise: perhaps you'll spot a beautiful wildlife sighting or catch a glimpse of the stunning night sky.
Don't just take our word for it, check out the Taunus brochure to see all the possible activities available for visitors. And for more information, head to the Taunus Information Center located in Oberursel, where an interactive exhibition is available all year round.
2. EXPERIENCE LOCAL CUISINE
After an adventurous day of exploring the Taunus Mountains, satisfy your hunger with delicious homemade regional food at the rustic and charming Feldberghaus restaurant. Located near the bus stop at the summit, it boasts a cozy alpine decor and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. This restaurant serves German traditional cuisine, and their signature dish, the Flammkuche, is not to be missed. Imagine indulging in a mouth-watering pizza-like pastry topped with melted raclette cheese while enjoying the stunning views from the mountain top. Feldberghaus is the perfect place to relax, recharge and savor the flavors of the Taunus.
3. EXPLORE THE REGION'S HISTORICAL LANDMARKS
The Taunus Mountains region is steeped in rich history, with plenty of historical sites to explore. The area has a long and fascinating history, dating back to the Roman times. Visitors can explore the remains of the ancient Roman Limes Wall, a defensive barrier built by the Romans to protect their borders. The wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is one of the most significant Roman ruins in Germany. In addition to the Roman ruins, the Taunus Mountains region is home to many castles and historic towns.
Visitors can explore the medieval town of Königstein, which is home to the Burg Königstein, one of the largest castle ruins in Germany. The castle dates back to the 12th century and has played an essential role in the region's history, serving as a military fortress and a political center. Another historic town to visit is Oberursel, a charming medieval town with a rich history dating back to the 13th century. The town's historic center is home to a range of impressive buildings, including the St. Ursula Church, the town hall, and several well-preserved timber-framed houses.
For those interested in more recent history, the region also played an important role during World War II. Visitors can explore the Feldberg bunker, a massive underground bunker built by the Nazis during the war, or visit the site of the former Rhein-Main Air Base, a significant US military base during the Cold War era.
Overall, the Taunus Mountains region offers a fascinating glimpse into the region's rich history, with a range of historical sites and landmarks to explore. Whether you're interested in ancient Roman ruins, medieval castles, or more recent history, there is something for everyone to discover in this beautiful region!
HICCUPS ALONG THE WAY
If you're planning a winter trip to the Taunus Mountains and using public transportation, let us share a cautionary tale from our own experience. On the day we visited, snow was falling steadily, covering the roads with a thick blanket of white. Despite the picturesque winter wonderland scenery, we soon discovered that there was a problem with the machinery company responsible for clearing the roads. As a result, the bus company decided to halt bus traffic for safety reasons, without any prior warning.
We found ourselves stranded at the bus stop, unsure of why the bus was not coming. After waiting for almost an hour, we decided to hike back up to the top to see if we could find out what was going on and warm up at the restaurant. Once there, we learned about the issue with the roads and began exploring alternative options for transportation. However, local cab companies informed us that it would take at least 2 hours for them to reach us due to the difficult driving conditions. Just when we thought we were out of luck, the kind owner of the Feldberghaus restaurant offered us a ride back down the mountain on his way home. It was a true act of kindness that we'll never forget!
So, if you're planning a trip to the Taunus Mountains during the winter and it happens to snow on the day of your visit, make sure to keep a close eye on the bus traffic and be prepared for potential delays or cancellations. Alternatively, consider renting a car or booking a private transfer in advance to avoid any unexpected transportation issues.
We would love to hear from you about your experiences, thoughts, and tips for visiting the stunning Taunus Mountains near Frankfurt. Please share your insights and recommendations in the comments section below.