Germany is often associated with midivil castles and both World Wars; however, there is a whole other side to this modern and productive country that tourists rarely consider. There’s no better place to see modern Germany than Frankfurt.

Frankfurt is Germany’s banking center and in many ways the center for European Banking as the European Central Bank is located in the center of Frankfurt. Because of this influx of well-paying jobs, Frankfurt is a prosperous city with an impressive modern skyline. This is also in part due to the devastating damage the city sustained during WWII. Unlike some German cities, Frankfurt did not choose to rebuilt in traditional German architectural fashion. While not the quaint German timber frame style that tourists flock towards, Frankfurt offers a wide variety of shopping, entertainment and dining that you would expect to find in a major world metropolis such as London or New York City

FrankfurtIf modern isn’t your thing, don’t be dismayed. First, there is a new development near the center of Frankfurt built in traditional German timber frame style, which is great for those photo ops. But if you’re looking for somehing more authentic, Frankfurt is only a short and efficient train ride away from traditional German life.

RudesheimThe Frankfurt am Main train station is your starting point to destinations throughout Germany. You needn’t go far though. Mainz is only a 30 minute train ride and offers a slightly more traditional version of Frankfurt. Go another 20 minutes to Rüdesheim am Rhein and you’ll be walking down small cobblestone alleyways while taking in the view of castle ruins in the distance. Rüdesheim is located on the famous Rhein River, a UNESCO world heritage site. Schnitzel PlateFrom here you’ll be able to take a river cruise leaving early morning year round or several times a day during the summer season. If water travel isn’t for you, consider taking the cable car to the top of the mountain/hill with breathtaking views of the vineyards and Rhein river flowing below through the valley. A 45 minute walk and you’ll be visiting Ehrenfels Castle built around year 1212. You can be back at your lux modern Frankfurt hotel before dinner. Just in time for some schnitzel at a traditional apfelwein restaurant (I highly suggest Adolf Wagner).

If Frankfurt teaches us anything, it’s that our preconceived ideas of what a place is like are often inaccurate. If we open our minds to experiencing what a place has to offer rather than what we expect to be offered, we’ll certainly have a much more enjoyable time!