Since the late 1970s, the Ebbelwei-Expreß has been giving visitors the opportunity to tour Frankfurt while enjoying the city’s famous apple wine.
For the love of apple wine
Beer is typically known as the adult beverage of choice in Germany, but in Frankfurt, apple wine takes precedence. Though the drink wasn't invented in Germany, it became a regional staple after authorities banned the planting of new vineyards in 1501, blaming poor harvest yields. Wine imports were deemed too expensive, setting the stage for apples to triumph over grapes. The drink is typically poured from an earthenware pitcher called a bembel into a geripptes, a diamond-patterned glass meant expressly for apple wine. To learn more of Frankfurt's dialect, take a crash-course in Hessian with this list of important phrases.
History of the tram
In 1977, Stadtwerke Frankfurt commissioned artists CM and Estine Estenfelder to transform the interior and exterior of a classic tram car into an apple wine pub on wheels. Since then, the Ebbelwei-Expreß has run on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, giving visitors and locals alike a unique way to tour the city. In exchange for your €8.00 fare, the one-hour trip includes your choice of hard cider, apple juice or mineral water as well as a bag of pretzels. Under-14s can travel for €3.50, but should probably steer clear of the cider.
Going to the zoo
The Ebbelwei-Expreß offers a free German-language podcast, so you can tune into a guided audio tour of the sights you pass along the tram’s route. You'll also find a written English guide on the tram's website. The ride begins and ends at the Frankfurt Zoo, which dates back to 1858 and is just a 20-minute drive from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Frankfurt. Toward the start of the trip you'll pass by the country's second-oldest Jewish cemetery, followed by the Museum Judengasse, a branch of the Jewish museum in Frankfurt. Keep your eyes peeled along the route and you'll soon spot the Zeil, the most famous shopping street in the city, the Museum of Modern Art, and Frankfurt Cathedral.
Römerberg and Willy-Brandt-Platz
The Römerberg is the historic center of the city, rebuilt in 1986 according to the original plans. In the center of the square sits the city's iconic Fountain of Justice. Its centerpiece, cast in bronze, is the goddess Justitia, a reliable presence in tourist shots of the city and a popular choice for groups in search of an easily visible meeting point. St. Paul’s Church and the city’s original town hall are also nearby. Near the Willy-Brandt-Platz stop is the fairytale fountain, Ernst Friedrich Hausmann’s art nouveau structure. Originally built in 1910, the bronze statues at the base of the fountain were melted down during World War II but have been recreated and restored to their rightful place.
Apple wine district
Toward the end of the tour the tram stops in Sachsenhausen, a part of the city that originated as a fishing village and is now known as the apple wine district. Here you can find many of the city’s apple wine pubs, all of which serve the crisp, dry drink. Hop off the tram for a glass of apple wine accompanied by hearty traditional sausages or schnitzel at Affentor-Schänke.