Sitting along the banks of the River Main, Höchst – a small town in the western part of Frankfurt – is a popular day-trip destination for both locals and visitors. Its winding laneways, ancient buildings, beautiful half-timbered architecture and numerous historical sightseeing attractions combine to give the place a typical old-world atmosphere visitors will be enchanted by. Known for both its beauty and its history, Höchst has been a member of the official German Timberframe Road since 2013.
Spared by the destructive WWII air raids, the scenic old town of Frankfurt’s oldest city is still home to a number of historic buildings placed under monument protection in 1972. The Carolingian St Justin’s Church, over 1,200 years old, is not only the most historically significant structure in Höchst, it is also one of Frankfurt’s most important cultural monuments. Every year, the Höchst Summer Organ Festival turns it into a spectacular concert venue that calls in thousands of fans of organ music.
Central to Höchst is Schlossplatz, named after the picturesque castle square it hosts. During the warmer months of the year, the Schlossplatz offers plenty of outdoor seating for al-fresco wining and dining. During winter, the square plays host to the city’s Christmas market. Cosy pubs featuring views of the old toll tower invite visitors to enjoy their time following the example of one of Germany’s greatest authors: Johann Wolfgang Goethe was so much in love with this place he even celebrated two of these historical taverns, Der Karpfen and Zum Bären, in his famous work “Poetry and Truth”.
When it comes to the town’s many sightseeing attractions, the New and Old Castle of Höchst stand out as particularly eye-catching. The former residence of the archbishops of Mainz was constructed in several phases between the 13th and 16th century. At the end of the WWII, the New Castle became the home of the American forces radio station, AFN. Around the castle, some 400 metres of the former city walls remain standing along the River Main, along with the old riverside gate. They represent the last remains of the former city walls.
A short walk to the eastern part of the old town will take the visitor to the magnificent Bolongaro Palace, a breathtakingly beautiful baroque-styled structure featuring a romantic terraced garden. Various sculptures and a Neptune fountain lend further splendour to this unique location, which also offers visitors impressive views of the confluence of the Nidda and Main rivers. During the summer, this imposing setting becomes the scene of open-air theatre performances, such as those presented during the “Baroque on the Main Festival” in the last week of August.
Höchst is also well known for its porcelain, also referred to as “white gold”. Founded in 1746, the Höchst Porcelain Manufactory is Germany’s second-oldest porcelain production site, and one that continues to hand-manufacture top-quality porcelain to this day. Visitors of the manufactory have the unique opportunity of witnessing the production process first hand, from the mixing of the porcelain paste to the hand-painting of the finished models. Some 1,800 classic pieces of porcelain and faiences from the Höchst Porcelain Manufactory are on display at the Porcelain Museum Frankfurt, Kronberger Haus. These magnificent porcelain articles represent various artistic epochs ranging from the rococo to the classicistic era. Items on show include porcelain figurines and tableware featuring various landscape, flower and bird motifs. More porcelain arts are located in the Historical Museum Frankfurt.
Interested in a leisurely stroll through unique natural surrounds? Well, the why don’t you pay visit to the Schwanheim Dune Nature Reserve. Just take one of the many ferries that sail between Höchst and Schwanheim and you’ll find yourselves into a very unique environment in mainland Europe. The Reserve, indeed, is home inland dunes, one of the very few – maybe a handful – in all of Europe. Rare birds and plants add to the charm of the place.
Another attraction among Höchst’s many natural environs is the Main embankment. This recreational area with its countless blossoming trees is a popular favourite amongst walkers and bikers. Cycling enthusiasts are sure to find the 10-km cycling path around Höchst’s industrial park to their liking. This loop features many scenic impressions of the industrial park as well as beautiful vistas of the surrounding landscape. Along the path, cyclists will find information boards shedding light on local industry, nature and culture.