Oberursel: Enchanted half-timbered alleys

Recently I was visiting Frankfurt (Main) for the annual Nippon Connection Film Festival – but there is always time for a quick trip to a town like Oberursel.

Getting to Oberursel from Frankfurt couldn’t be easier. The small town is connected by both subway (tram) and regional trains. The former one will get you closer to the old town, while the latter are faster.

With its proximity to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, Oberursel is one of the more affluent cities. Along with other towns around Frankfurt, Oberursel isn’t a cheap place to live, but I wasn’t apartment hunting anyway.

Half-timbered house in Oberursel
Old Town Hall of Oberursel

Old Town

I was looking for the old town (Altstadt). It’s easy to explore on foot. I started with the old town hall, built in the 15th century and rebuilt in the 17th. Walking through the building, there were plenty of historic buildings on the way to Oberursel’s iconic St. Ursula Church.

Like the town hall, St. Ursula was built in the 15th century. The museum, the bell and the bell chamber are all located in the tower. From here, you can enjoy a great view of Oberursel and the wider Rhine-Main area.

Oberursel’s central marketplace

Town view

If you want to dive further into the history of Oberursel, the Vortaunus museum is located in the central market place. One particular interesting piece about this museum is that it illustrates the history of soap box derbies. While no one is sure which city was the birthplace of soap box races, Oberursel was for sure among the first where brave people drove small vehicles without engines.

In 1904, the first soap box derby was held in Oberursel. The Orscheler Seifenkistenrennen has since become a tradition, with a race for adults and children. The next race will be held on August 31st.


Due to its proximity to Frankfurt and the frequent trains, it’s easy to get in and out of Oberursel. Would I recommend Oberursel? It depends. It’s not a particularly historic town, but it’s worth a short trip. As most of the sights are around the central market place, the town is easy to explore.

All this made Oberursel a nice side trip before I had to head back to Frankfurt for the next film. If I were to come back, I’d probably watch the soap derby race.

Peak from the wall of the old town hall to the market place.
One of the lovely alleys in Oberursel.

Mia Jaap

Journalist, developer and passionate about Japanese and Korean language. Loves to travel in Japan, but is open to explore the major and lesser known sights of Germany.

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