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GERMANY: Frankfurt and Leipzig are like oil and water, but each has their own quirks and attractions. Frankfurt is characterised by its modern skyscrapers and a spectacular skyline whilst Leipzig has a much more historical cityscape to offer. But both have one thing in common, there's plenty to see and do in each city.
What Type of Architecture Are You Into?
If you look at Frankfurt, you might think you're in Manhattan, which is why the city, which sits on the Main River, is affectionately known as "Mainhattan". The breath-taking skyscrapers that make up Germany's only city skyline, give the city a rather cosmopolitan feel: A must-do for any visitor is a trip to Main Tower - their viewing platform is 200 metres high and magnificent views. And, if you're an architecture buff, why not take a high-rise tour and get to know the city inside and out?
In Leipzig, which is a 160km drive from Berlin, you can still find architecture, valuable cultural monuments, and historic buildings from the Middle Ages - the cornerstone of the Old Town Hall was laid in 1556 and these days it's a museum - that have been preserved or reconstructed. But Leipzig's old town and centre is where this city really shines. the variety of architecture is like a walk through the ages with buildings from the Wilhelminian period (the Völkerschlachtdenkmal is a monument to the battle of Leipzig), as well as industrial architecture and modern architecture (the glass cube of the Museum der Bildenden Künste is pretty impressive). Be sure to add St Thomas' Church to your sight-seeing agenda. Not only was Johann Sebastian Bach the cantor at this 13th-century Gothic church, but it is also his burial place.
With a population of around 750,000, Frankfurt is only slightly larger than Leipzig (with a population of around 600,000)... so it's up to you whether you like old or new.
Alternative or Mainstream?
Quirky Leipzig is often referred to as "the new Berlin" because of its emerging subculture and art scene. The city is currently reinventing itself as old residential districts are transforming into young creative districts, with subcultural clubs and hipster cafés. For a taste of this, why not visit the southern district of Connewitz, home of an annual gothic festival.
Insider tip: Be sure to stop by "Mein liebes Frollein", a charming little café in the city that's our pick for a great day out.
"Mainhattan" is more for the mainstream tastes. So, if you love your shopping, then a visit to Zeil shopping street will unearth all the latest trends or take the time to unearth some of the funkier shopping shots around the city like the Borkheim area. The city's Stadel Museum has even gone so far as to digitise their entire collection, giving art lovers access to not only their incredible artwork, but also additional video and audio contributions. For traditionalists, the city is also home to a cluster of 12 museums in an area known as the Museumsufer.
Sweet Pastry or Sour Cheese?
Sweet tooths listen up: Leipzig has a sweet side that you won't want to miss with a number of pastry specialities that are often proudly displayed in the windows of Leipzig's numerous cafés. Regional highlights include the Leipzig Lerchen (marzipan-filled mini tartlets) and the mocha-ganache filled Bachtorte, created by the traditional Café Kandler to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of Leipzig's own Johann Sebastian Bach. Trust us, the Bachtortes are music for the palate, and a must-do for every visitor to Leipzig:
For more than 250 years cider has been an integral part of Frankfurt's gastronomic culture. This fermented fruit drink is typically served from a glass with a ribbed rhombus pattern and is served to thirsty Frankfurters at day's end. The city is also famous for its “Handkäs”, a spicy sour milk cheese... and whilst it is not to everyone's taste, it's definitely worth tasting. For these, and other local flavours, head to the Kleinmarkthalle and shop until you drop.
Which city makes your heart beat faster? Whether you enjoy a fast pace or slow, lazy days, our Adina Apartment Hotels offers apartment-style and studio rooms that are super close to all the action of the city centres. Adina has two modern apartment hotels in Frankfurt - Frankfurt neue Oper and Frankfurt Westend - and one in beautiful Leipzig making accommodation the easiest choice of all when planning your next visit.
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* Activities listed may be subject to Covid restrictions.*