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There’s so much to enjoy – and to wonder at – in the remarkable city of Frankfurt. Wherever you go in Frankfurt’s city center you’ll see evidence of its gutsy rebirth aspfter the devastation of World War II. Visitors now can enjoy a buzzing, thriving city that’s a unique blend of the old, the new, and the new-old.
So if you’re planning to visit Germany, make sure to spend time in this historic town, and experience its vibrant atmosphere. One helpful feature for travelers is that many residents speak English as well as German. And the city’s strong multicultural vibe helps visitors feel at home.
Although the city is part of a greater conurbation with a 2 million+ population, it has its own individuality. There’s plenty that makes Frankfurt special – and I’m not just talking about the famous sausages. So to help you make the most of your time in this lovely city, check out this list of key places to visit in Frankfurt.
- Things to do in Frankfurt, Germany
- 1. Römerberg
- 2. Main Tower
- 3. Iron Footbridge
- 4. Palmengarten
- 5. Marshall-Brunnen
- 6. Goethe House
- 7. Zoo Frankfurt
- 8. Museumsufer
- 9. Freßgass
- 10. Paulsplatz
- 11. Goethe-Denkmal
- 12. Dom Römer
- 13. Hammering Man
- 14. Eurotower
- 15. Frankfurt Cathedral
- 16. Westhafen Tower
- 17. Friedensbrücke
- 18. Frankfurt Bahnhofsviertel
- 19. Römer
- 20. Alte Oper
- 21. St. Paul’s Church
- 22. Kleinmarkthalle
- 23. Städel Museum
- 24. Naturmuseum Senckenberg
- 25. Grüneburgpark
Things to do in Frankfurt, Germany
Address: Römerberg 26, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
You’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time at Römerberg. This historic plaza has hosted markets and fairs since the Middle Ages.
But to look at the beautiful gabled buildings you’d never guess they are, in fact, modern. What you’re seeing is the city’s determination that everyone should remember its Medieval glory.
So the gabled Römer building, one of old town Frankfurt’s most significant spaces, was completed in 1988. The fairytale half-timbered buildings of the Römerberg (Ostzeile), or eastern wing, are also a 1980s restoration.
And to experience more of Frankfurt’s weaving of old and new, check out the house named Großer Engel, or Big Angel. This was the home of Frankfurt’s first bank in the 1600s. The city is now continental Europe’s key financial hub – and it all started here.
Römerberg is especially worth visiting in December when it’s transformed into a glittering Christmas market. It’s very easy to reach by public transport, both subway (U-Bahn) and tram (Straßenbahn).
See Related: German Christmas Markets to Visit
2. Main Tower
Address: Neue Mainzer Str. 52-58, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
In contrast to the Medieval vibe of the old town’s historic buildings, The Main tower is a powerful modern statement. A stand-out feature of the Frankfurt skyline, it’s a 56-story skyscraper with a height of over 780 ft including its red-and-white spire.
Super-tall buildings are rare in Germany. Frankfurt, though, has embraced modern skyscrapers and has more than any other German city.
What makes this one special is that it’s the city’s only skyscraper with a public viewing platform. This is open every day from 10 am and provides stunning views of Frankfurt’s iconic sights.
As well as being a financial center, the tower is also home to Europe’s highest fitness club. And check out the fabulous views from the 53rd-floor Main Tower Restaurant and Lounge, open Tuesday-Saturday. There’s also a gallery devoted to contemporary art, open Monday-Friday, in the Main Tower foyer.
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3. Iron Footbridge
Address: Eiserner Steg, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Another popular photo spot is Eiserner Steg, an iron and concrete footbridge over the River Main. This neo-Gothic style bridge connects Frankfurt’s old town with the Sachsenhausen district. From the bridge, you’ll get striking views of the Frankfurt skyline.
Originally constructed in 1868, the iron bridge has been through several changes. It’s historically significant as it was the first bridge Germany rebuilt after World War II.
Its most recent makeover was in 1993. You’ll find out more about the bridge by taking a walking tour of city center attractions.
What also attracts visitors are the hundreds of padlocks fixed to the bridge. The “Love Lock Bridge”, as it’s known, is where lovers attach a lock and then throw away the key.
If you fancy a romantic stroll, this is the place to cross the river. Around 10,000 people a day seem to think so!
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Address: Palmengarten der Stadt, Siesmayerstraße 63, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The Palmengarten is one of the best places to visit in Frankfurt and is a refreshing oasis in the big city. Among the 50 acres of plants, you’ll find a stunning Art-Deco-style Palm House, one of the largest in the world.
Besides palms, there are lots of themed gardens, showcasing thousands of species. Expect to travel through every vegetation zone in the world.
A visit here is also one of the best things to do in Frankfurt with kids. There’s a fantastic adventure playground where kids can enjoy swinging and climbing, a sandpit, and a fun water garden for paddling.
And in summer you can rent a rowing boat or paddle boat on the little lake. There’s also a butterfly house where you can get up close to the exhibits.
Do be aware that the gardens close early in the winter months.
Address: Taunusanlage 20, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Marshall-Brunnen, or the Marshall Fountain, is a compelling symbol of Frankfurt’s renewal. It was built in 1963 to honor the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, who authored the Marshall Plan. This plan was designed to aid the economic recovery of European countries affected by World War II.
Because of its dynamic design, this stunning piece of modern art is also great for photos. The fountain shows bronze water nymphs representing the three Graces in Goethe´s classic novel Faust. A stone slab nearby carries a verse from Goethe, linking the three mythical women with giving, receiving, and thanking.
6. Goethe House
Address: Großer Hirschgraben 23-25, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Ten minutes walk from the Marshall-Brunnen is The Goethe House. This was the birthplace of Germany’s most famous poet and author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and where he spent his youth.
It’s also where he planned and wrote some of his best-selling works, such as Faust, and The Sorrows of Young Werther. You can even see his writing desk.
The building is a loving reconstruction of the Goethe family’s 18th-century townhouse. As well as the iconic exterior, there are beautiful recreations of the stylish interiors.
You’ll see original furnishings as well as some of Goethe’s childhood possessions. Among the treasures on display is an 18th-century puppet theatre.
To find out more about Goethe, visit the modern glass-fronted Goethe Museum next door. This contains a wealth of 18th- and 19th-century artifacts focusing on Goethe’s legacy. As well as the many manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures on permanent display, check out the museum’s special exhibitions.
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7. Zoo Frankfurt
Address: Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1, 60316 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
If you’re visiting Frankfurt with kids, one of the best attractions in town is Zoo Frankfurt. This 27-acre green refuge in the east of Frankfurt’s inner city is Germany’s second-oldest zoo, dating from 1858. With its strong focus on wildlife conservation, it’s also a must for natural history buffs.
The 4,500+ animals in the zoo include big cats, great apes, meerkats, and piranhas. There’s a special nocturnal animal house, as well as a petting zoo for kids. You can also plan your visit to coincide with feeding time for your favorite creatures. And if you fall in love with one of them you can take part in the adopt-an-animal scheme.
As well as the wildlife on show, there’s a kid’s playground, located right between the wallabies and the tree kangaroos. There are also two snack bars, plus picnic tables.
Do note that you can’t use selfie sticks in the zoo. The good news is that the Zoo Frankfurt is open every day of the year.
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Address: Brückenstraße 3-7, 60594 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
A short walk from Römerberg square is the Museumsufer or Museum Embankment. This is a group of museums in Frankfurt along both banks of the river Main. The museum district is one of the best places to go in Frankfurt with kids, as you’ll find something to suit everyone.
There are 30+ museums in the area, with plans to include new museums. On the north side of the Main look out for museums dedicated to techno music, satiric comic art, and photography.
And children will love the Junges Museum or Young Museum. Here there are tons of hands-on activities where touching, testing, and trying-out are a must.
On the south bank, you can find out about ancient sculpture, German architecture, and the history of communication. There’s also a modern art museum, plus the impressive Städel art museum, a treasure trove of old masters. Movie fans will enjoy the German Film Museum, with its exhibitions on everything from anime to the Oscars.
If you visit in late August you’ll also be able to enjoy the fabulous Museum Embankment Festival. This is when the riverbanks are buzzing with music, displays, and great street food.
Address: Große Bockenheimer Str., 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The English translation of Freßgass – sometimes spelled Fressgass – is ‘Feeding Lane.’ This pretty much says it all about Große Bockenheimer Straße and Kalbächer Gasse.
Since the early 20th century these streets have teemed with delicatessens and grocery stores. Now a pedestrianized area, the Freßgass streets constitute the city’s culinary mile. If you want to check out Frankfurt food, this is the place.
Along with its wide range of delis, bars, and bistros, Freßgass is now also home to high-end shopping outlets. You’ll find more high-fashion retail opportunities a short walk away in Goethestrasse – but make sure you fill up at Freßgass first.
And try to visit during the May Freßgassfest, when the streets are filled with stalls offering free samples of delicious food. This is a good chance to try some genuine Frankfurter sausages or the famous local green sauce. Or you could treat yourself to a Frankfurt foodie walking tour.
Address: 60547, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Just next to Römerberg in Frankfurt’s city center, you’ll find Paulsplatz or St Paul’s Square. This is the largest square in the old town of Frankfurt. It’s a charming tree-lined plaza and a great place to unwind with a cup of coffee from one of the many nearby cafes.
The first thing you’ll see is St Paul’s Church, a striking red-brick building in the classical style. This church is particularly significant as it’s considered the cradle of German democracy. Germany’s first National Assembly happened here, giving rise to the country’s modern constitution.
Now the church is a public concert hall. You can visit for free, but be aware that there might be an event taking place.
Next to the church is the Unity memorial. This is a limestone obelisk topped with a bronze figure, dedicated to the pioneers of German unity.
A great time to visit Frankfurt is in late November-December. This is when one of Germany’s largest Christmas markets takes over Paulsplatz and nearby Römerberg. Stunning decorations also make this one of the country’s most beautiful Christmas markets.
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Address: 60313 Frankfurt, Germany
Fans of Goethe will want to make the pilgrimage to the Goethe-Denkmal, or Monument to Goethe. This stands on Goetheplatz, a short walk from Goethe’s house.
The bronze statue, over 22 ft high, was first installed in 1844 as a memorial to Germany’s greatest poet. It suffered severe damage a hundred years later in an air raid but was finally restored in 2007.
The imposing monument is also a popular subject for photographers. If you photograph him from the north, you’ll get a great view of high-rise Frankfurt in the background.
12. Dom Römer
Address: 60313 Frankfurt, Germany
The Dom-Römer Quarter, New Frankfurt Old Town, is in the heart of old town Frankfurt. This breathtaking recreation of a Medieval-style city center is one of the best places to visit in Frankfurt. The streets and squares of the reconstructed old town have a dream-like, storybook feel.
This was once Germany’s largest Gothic center, but of the city’s 1,500 wooden buildings, only 11 survived the Second World War. So the Dom-Römer Project was born, using original blueprints. 15 half-timbered buildings are exact replicas, and 20 more are Gothic-style with a modern twist. Construction began in 2012, and the area opened in 2018.
A must-see building is the Haus zur Goldenen Waage or House of the Golden Scales. This fabulous recreation of a 1618 house sparkles with intricate gold details.
It was once the home of a Dutch confectioner, and it certainly has a gingerbread look. To discover more about the New Old Town, try one of the inexpensive walking tours available.
13. Hammering Man
Address: vor dem Messeturm, Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage, 60327 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
If you’re a worker, Hammering Man is for you. Designed in 1990, this monumental kinetic sculpture represents the workers of the world. You may have seen something similar in other parts of the world – there are versions in Seattle and Seoul, for example.
The Frankfurt version is the largest, approaching 70 ft tall, and is an Instagram must. Made of steel and aluminum, it looks like a giant silhouette of a man with a hammer. Its motorized arm never stops, as it looms over the street.
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Address: Kaiserstraße 29, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
You can tell you’re at Eurotower when you see the giant Euro symbol. Named the Euro-Skulptur, this is one of Frankfurt’s most photographed objects. The bright blue sculpture is 46 ft high and weighs around 55 U.S. tons.
Once the H.Q. of the European Central Bank, Eurotower is now home to the E.C.B.’s legislative and institutional framework, the Single Supervisory Mechanism.
The tower itself is in the Bankenviertel, or banking quarter, in the Innenstadt region. This is Frankfurt’s business center, home to 10 of the city’s tallest skyscrapers.
Eurotower is over 480 ft high but is a baby compared with some of its neighbors. The Commerzbank Tower, for example, is a massive 850 ft. This makes it not only the tallest building in Frankfurt but in the whole of Germany.
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15. Frankfurt Cathedral
Address: Domplatz 1, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The majestic Frankfurt Imperial Cathedral or Frankfurter Dom is also known as the Kaiserdom Sankt Bartholomäus. Dedicated to St. Bartholomew, it’s the largest religious building in the city. It was built between 1315 and 1358, but archaeological research suggests buildings existed on the site as early as the 7th century.
Frankfurter Dom has never actually been the seat of a bishop, but it has played a huge role in German history. From 1562 it saw a total of 10 elections or coronations of German emperors and kings of the Holy Roman Empire.
Today, the Election Chapel is set aside for silent prayer. The cathedral is also seen as a symbol of German unity. A good way to find out more about the cathedral’s history is to take one of the city tours available.
There are some amazing treasures inside the cathedral, and in the neighboring museum, including a van Dyck painting. The cathedral tower is noteworthy for being the home to the Gloriosa, at 13 U.S. tons the second heaviest bell in Germany.
If you can manage the 328 steps, you can pay a few Euros to climb the 215 ft. tower. You’ll get stunning views of the New Old Town, Paulsplatz, the Main River, and the museum district.
16. Westhafen Tower
Address: Westhafenpl. 1, 60327 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Westhafen Tower is another to tick off the list of Frankfurt skyscrapers – this one’s a modest 360 ft. The name Westhafen means West Port. Yet Frankfurt residents often refer to the tower as the “ribbed glass” or the “apple wine tower”.
When you see it you’ll understand why. Its patterned green glass façade bears a striking resemblance to a ribbed cider glass full of apple wine. This eye-catching effect comes from reflections from the tower’s 3,500 triangular window panes.
The reference to apple wine or apfelwein is very much part of the local culture. Frankfurt’s love affair with apple wine has been an essential part of the city’s soul for centuries.
It all started over 250 years ago when there was a failure of the grape harvest. Apple orchards replaced vineyards – and the taste caught on. Look out for apfelwein pubs, particularly in the Sachsenhausen-Nord district.
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Address: Friedensbrücke, 60327 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The Friedensbrücke or Peace Bridge over the Main River is a good place from which to see Westhafen Tower. In fact, this road bridge offers great views of Frankfurt old and new, and the banks of the Main.
The bridge is 940 ft long and connects the northern Gutleutviertel district with Sachsenhausen on the south. On the southern bridgehead, you’ll see a bronze sculpture called The Docker, created in 1890. Underneath the bridge on the northern side is a mural commemorating the victims of a terrorist attack.
18. Frankfurt Bahnhofsviertel
Address: Kaiserstraße, 60329 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
North of the Friedensbrücke is the Bahnhofsviertel district. The English translation of Bahnhofsviertel is Train Station Quarter, and you’ll find the main train station right next door to the west.
The Bahnhofsviertel is a hub for entertainment in Frankfurt and has a somewhat spicy reputation. This began centuries ago when the area was outside the official city boundaries.
For this reason, it wasn’t subject to civic laws. Unlike much of the historic center of the city, it escaped heavy bombing in the war. The occupying U.S. forces added to the lively night scene and the area’s been a red-light district ever since.
Now you’ll find a wide range of clubs, cocktail bars, and restaurants in Bahnhofsviertel. There’s a real speakeasy, where you have to ring the bell to get in. Look out also for the English Theatre Frankfurt, one of the largest English-speaking theatres in mainland Europe.
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Address: Römerberg 23, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
You’ll find the Haus Römer or Roman House in Römerberg square in Frankfurt’s Altstadt. Some say the reference to Rome comes from the Italian merchants who worked here in Medieval times. Although this gorgeous ancient building suffered during WWII, it has now been restored to its former glory.
The complete three-story complex comprises nine houses in total, surrounding six courtyards. The Römer is the central house in a row of three attractive step-gabled buildings. Its current main entrance faces onto the Römerberg plaza.
The building has been part of the town hall or Rathaus complex for over 600 years. It’s still used as the Lord Mayor’s headquarters to this day.
For this reason, you can only look around it as part of a guided tour, although you can visit the tourist office here. It’s also a very popular wedding venue. The glorious Gothic façades make a stunning setting for wedding photographs.
One great way to experience the Römer, together with other city highlights, is on a walking tour, or even a guided bike tour of Frankfurt.
20. Alte Oper
Address: Opernplatz 1, 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
A stone’s throw from the foodie delights of Freßgass lies Opernplatz, Opera Square. This is a lovely place for strolling or taking photos – check out the Lucae-Brunnen or Lucae Fountain. The jewel in the crown, though, is the spectacular opera house, Alte Oper.
Dating from 1880, the neo-classical-style building was another sad casualty of the Second World War. It even had a reputation as “Germany’s most beautiful ruin.” But four decades later the Old Opera House reopened, looking as splendid as ever.
Now it’s an acclaimed entertainment venue, with a vibrant program of musical events. You’ll find star tenor Jonas Kauffman performing, as well as ukulele bands. All genres feature, including classical music, jazz, blues, pop, rock, and musical theatre.
The Alte Oper also hosts dozens of glamorous balls and conferences each year. For young people, there’s the Pegasus kids’ program. This includes participatory concerts, workshops for exploring music, and more.
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21. St. Paul’s Church
Address: Paulsplatz 11, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
St. Paul’s Church, also known as Paulskirche, is among Frankfurt’s most historic churches. Located in Paulsplatz in the old town, it’s close to other popular local attractions, such as Römerberg.
The church is important as it’s seen as the seat of German democracy. It was here in 1848 that the first National Assembly took place, the origin of Germany’s modern constitution. Because of this, St Paul’s Church was Frankfurt’s first rebuilding project after WW2.
The exterior is a faithful reconstruction of the original neo-classical style. The interior, though, has a new purpose as a lecture theatre, exhibition space, and concert hall. It’s free to visit, but be aware that the building might be in use.
A good way to take in historic sites such as Paulskirche is to have a go at one of the treasure hunt games available. This has to be one of the best fun and inexpensive things to do with kids in Frankfurt.
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Address: Hasengasse 5-7, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Love to shop? Then Kleinmarkthalle in Frankfurt is a must. A few minutes’ walk from Römerberg, this is Frankfurt’s largest public marketplace. Here you’ll find over 150 stalls offering a dizzying array of foodstuffs, both local and international.
This is where to find and try out some of the regional delicacies, such as authentic Frankfurter sausages and the famous green sauce. There’s a feast for the eye, too, as Kleinmarkthalle is also a flower market. It’s an ideal destination to eat, relax, shop, and discover more about Frankfurt food.
And what about this celebrated green sauce? Well, it’s made from seven kinds of herbs – borage, chervil, cress, parsley, salad burnet, sorrel, and chives.
It’s usually served cold over boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs. What’s more, it has a glamorous origin myth.
The story goes that it was the mother of Frankfurt’s darling, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who invented the sauce. It seems it was the poet’s favorite dish. We may never know if this is true, but for sure the recipe’s been around for very a long time.
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23. Städel Museum
Address: Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The Städel Art Museum is one of Frankfurt’s most impressive museums. The stately neo-Renaissance-style building alone is well worth a visit. First established in 1815, the Städel is one of the oldest museums in the museum district, and in Germany as a whole.
The art collection provides a breathtaking survey of 700 years of European art. There’s a particular focus on the Renaissance and the Baroque periods, but there are also works from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
So you can see works by artists such as Dürer, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Monet, Picasso, and Bacon, among many others. As well as 4,000+ paintings and sculptures, the museum also holds over 100,000 drawings and prints.
To make the art as accessible as possible, Städel Museum offers helpful Art Talks and guided tours for private groups. Check out also the museum’s app which gives you an audio guide on your own device.
If you want, you can use the hop-on-hop-off bus services on offer – they deliver you to the door. But you might want to set aside more than a mere hour or two to do the museum justice.
24. Naturmuseum Senckenberg
Address: Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The Naturmuseum Senckenberg, or Senckenberg Natural History Museum, is a short walk from the Palmgarten. Like the Gardens, the Naturmuseum is one of the very best places to visit with kids in Frankfurt.
In fact, young and old will love its mind-boggling array of exhibits. Permanent exhibitions include displays on mammals, human evolution, the coral reef, and even the dodo. You can also check out some bottled anatomy!
One of the Naturmuseum’s most popular and impressive displays is the Dinosaurs Unlimited collection. As well as genuine Diplodocus and Triceratops bones, you can see a cast of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. There are also stuffed animals and immersive 3-D dioramas.
A brand-new exhibition is the Aha?! Science Lab. This is hands-on science – you can examine natural objects, join in research projects and even talk to the museum’s scientists. The museum also offers a program of temporary exhibitions to watch out for.
Children under the age of six can visit the natural history museum for free, and there are family tickets available. If you’ve come from one of Frankfurt’s twinned towns, and carry your ID card, you’ll also have free admission.
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Address: August-Siebert-Straße 22, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Right next door to the Palmgarten is another peaceful green oasis in the heart of the city. This is Grüneburgpark, 70 acres of beautiful, serene parkland.
Grüneburgpark is one of the best places to bring kids in Frankfurt as it offers lots of space to let off steam or simply kick back and relax. There’s also a kids’ playground and paths for inline skaters and cyclists.
This public park used to be the garden of a 14th-century castle. In the 19th century, the wealthy Rothschild family took it over.
They landscaped much of the garden, establishing the planting you see today. The aim was to create an idyllic English-style garden, with lawns, shrubberies, and beautiful specimen trees.
The park is also home to a charming Korean garden. This was a gift to the city from South Korea at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair. And when you’ve admired the greenery, you can have a snack at the delightful Schönhof pavilion café.
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- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.
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