Admire the medieval architecture and experience the charm of a magical Christmas market at this pretty square, which marks the center of the Old Town.
Picture-perfect Römerberg is the gateway to Frankfurt’s atmospheric Old Town (Altstadt). Ever since the 9th century, this vast square has been the heart of the city’s historic center and a location for coronations, executions, markets, pompous festivals and royal tournaments. Today, the stepped gable and half-timbered houses of Römerberg present a wonderful snapshot of Frankfurt’s medieval cityscape.
Dominating the square is the beautiful Römer, a neo-Gothic building that has served as the town hall for over 600 years. Some of the most powerful Holy Roman emperors were crowned here and enjoyed lavish feasts in the banquet hall. Spot statues of these emperors on the decorative balcony. The Römer, and much of the square, was reconstructed after severe bomb destruction during Allied air raids in World War II.
From the 1500s onward a Fountain of Justice has stood in the center of the plaza. Nearby is a brass plaque in the paving stones that commemorates a 1933 book burning by Nazis. Look to the square’s eastern edge, where half-timbered frame houses evoke images of the medieval period. Just south is the Wertheim House, one of the few buildings to survive the bomb attacks.
Gaze up at the tower and listen to the soothing sound of the 47-bell carillon of Old St. Nikolai Church. Beyond the church is the Historical Museum, set inside the buildings of a former castle complex and a modern exhibition center.
Visit from late November to late December for the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Dating back to 1393, this is one of Germany’s oldest and largest yuletide markets. Shop for Christmas handicrafts, such as snow globes, at the many stalls, each decorated with twinkling fairy lights. Sip mulled wine and snack on almond cookies, gingerbread and roasted chestnuts. Let your kids ride the antique carousel.
Römerberg is only a few steps away from tram stops and the Dom/Römer U-Bahn station. Other Old Town attractions nearby include Frankfurt Cathedral and the Schirn Kunsthalle art gallery.