The Taunus is frequently referred to as "Frankfurt's living room," a title earned because so many people choose to live in the green vistas of the Taunus Mountains but work in Frankfurt. The area is dotted with picturesque towns, many of them with excellent restaurants, interesting historical exhibits and entertaining leisure activities. The Taunus has developed over the past 50 years from a series of sleepy farming villages into prosperous towns, each with its own identity. The largest community in the Taunus is Bad Homburg with 53,000 residents; other prime locations include Königstein, Kronberg, Hofheim and Oberursel.
Hofheim is increasingly becoming one of the leading communities in the Main Taunus region. Located equidistant between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden, Hofheim's population of 40,000 residents steadily rises every year. While it doesn't have a castle like Königstein, Hofheim can boast a picturesque old town with half-timbered homes, numerous street cafes and quaint shops.
The S-Bahn connection to Frankfurt is excellent, and many more international families now live here because of the proximity to the Internationale Schule Frankfurt ISF in nearby Sindlingen. Hofheim also offers nice leisure activities, such as the Rhein-Main Therme water park and the Hof Hausen Golf Club.
Nestled at the foot of the verdant Taunus Mountains, Bad Homburg is the most important town in the Hochtaunus district. Bad Homburg has a long and illustrious history that stretches back to the Roman Empire. In the mid 1800s, Bad Homburg developed into an internationally-fashionable spa town. A stroll through the Spa Park will remind guests of the elegance of the by-gone era.
There you can see the famous spring waters, the Russian Chapel, the Thai Temple and the famed Bad Homburg Casino. Bad Homburg's surrounding forests and countryside offer a wide range of recreational activities, such as hiking, tennis, golf, horseback riding or simply relaxing at one of the many spas. Two bilingual schools are located nearby: accadis International School directly in Bad Homburg and the Rhein-Main International Montessori School in neighboring Friedrichsdorf.
The jewel of Kronberg is undoubtedly the Schlosshotel, which was built by Empress Frederick - the eldest child of Queen Victoria of England and wife of the heir to the Prussian throne. Today, the Schlosshotel is one of the best hotels in the region with an authentic historic atmosphere. The restaurant is also a favorite not only of many locals but also out-of-town guests.
Kronberg is considered one of the region's most exclusive - and expensive - communities. The town has an excellent public transportation connection to Frankfurt - just 25 minutes on the S-Bahn to the main Frankfurt train station - and is therefore one of the locations of choice for the international community.
Königstein is located at the foot of the Feldberg - the highest peak in the Taunus Mountain range. Depending on where you live, the altitude in Königstein is between 200 meters and 800 meters above sea level. Considered one of the most exclusive communities in the Taunus area, Königstein is home to many of Frankfurt's bankers. Looming over the historic village is the Königstein Castle, which was first built in 1215 but was partially destroyed by French troops in 1796. The castle today provides the backdrop for concerts and other cultural events. Other small communities that have been incorporated into Königstein include Falkenstein, Mammolshain and Schneidhain.
Idstein is a quaint town of cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses with 24,000 inhabitants located between Limburg and Wiesbaden just off the A3 Autobahn. The former residency of the Nassau royalty, Idstein offers a range of day-trip attractions such as the medieval Hexenturm, historical remains of the Roman-built Germanic Limes and the ornate interior of the Unionskirche. If you are a golfer, you should take a look at the 36-hole Golfpark in Idstein which offers one of the most inexpensive club memberships in the region. Idstein is also host to an annual jazz festival, which attracts thousands of visitors and more than 600 musicians every summer. (www.idstein.de)
Oberursel is the second largest town in the Hochtaunus district, with 43,000 residents. Not quite as exclusive as some of the other Taunus communities, Oberursel has its share of restored half-timbered houses in the historic center. For the expatriate community, Oberursel’s great advantage is that it is home to the Frankfurt International School. Many parents choose to live in close proximity to FIS, thereby saving on commuting time and also allowing them to take full advantage of the many extra-curricular activities at the school. (www.oberursel.de)