If you have a job in Frankfurt, at some point you will probably wonder if you should move to one of the pleasant towns to the North of the city. This area is called the Taunus due to the hills which they sit near. They are famous throughout Germany (particularly Bad Homburg) for their natural spring waters which attracted the German nobility for hundreds of years. The area is still renowned for the number of wealthy families living there, but there are also plenty of lower cost housing options.
The reasons that you might want to move out of town are:
- better environment
- cleaner, safer and calmer streets
- good schools and less pressure on school places
- more space and greenery
The towns included in this group (from East to West) are Bad Vilbel, Friedrichsdorf, Bad Homburg, Oberursel, Kronberg, Königstein and Bad Soden. There are many smaller villages in between, but these are the main spots.
The odd one out in this group is Königstein. It is the only one which is not the end of either an sbahn or ubahn line. Transport is key to the equation here. You will probably want a car if you live in any of these places, but commuting into Frankfurt is a mug’s game. Do not plan on driving in or out of Frankfurt during rush hour as you will simply be sat in traffic for at least an hour. The actual driving time to any of these places is 20 minutes top.
Bad Homburg and Oberursel are especially popular with foreigners and the international community is large. There are also several big international schools in the area. And importantly, both places are served by both an ubahn and sbahn line which means you always have a choice in times of strike.
Bad Vilbel was the least attractive that I looked at. Housing options are very limited and the transport relies on just the sbahn or a slow bus. And since they have major expansion plans coming up for the train lines (planning for more freight) I didn’t really fancy the stress.
Kronberg was very cute and has its sbahn, but services were a little too limited due to the small population. The same went for Bad Soden which doesn’t even have its own Gymnasium (high school). If anywhere I would recommend Bad Homburg for a foreigner. It has enough of a population (50,000) that there is a real community and life of its own. The town centre has plenty of shops and places to go and with the added tourism due to its history, there is always a lot happening. It is also home to one of the best state high schools in the region, Kaiserin Friedrich Gymnasium, although how this was measured I can’t say. This is more of a local rumour than anything :-).