Frankfurt, the venue for HP Discover 2012 in Frankfurt, 4-6 December, is both the financial centre of Germany and the intersection of the country's major railways and rivers. You can easily explore nearby medieval castles, hardwood forests, and storybook villages by rail or riverboat.
One of the most popular day trips from Frankfurt is to the mountainous Taunus region, which is home to relaxing spa towns and impressive castle ruins. Bad Homberg is the biggest town in the region and is only a 20-minute train ride away. It boasts one of the world's first casinos, famous natural springs, and the 17th-century residence of the kaiser. From there, you can start a breathtaking hike up the 869 metre (2,850-foot) Grosser Feldberg mountain.
Devote at least an afternoon to taking a 30-minute express train to Mainz, a city on the Rhine River that dates to the Holy Roman Empire. It's also home to the Gutenberg Museum, which traces the history of printing in Johannes Gutenberg's rebuilt workshop starting with his hand press from 1452.
For extra scenery, take a full-day river cruise through the Rhine River Valley. You'll float down the stretch of the Rhine River that's been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Many trips end with tasting wine made locally. Most cruises are one-way only, so make sure you have a bus ride back to Frankfurt.
Still time for travel documents
To visit Germany and attend HP Discover 2012, you'll need travel documents. It's not too late to get them! You need either a visa or a passport to enter Germany. Citizens of India and Russia, for example, need a visa, while attendees from the U.S. and other European Union countries must show their passports. Check this list to find out which documents you need, according to your country of citizenship.
Visas take seven to 15 days to process. You should submit your application no later than Friday, 16 November, so you can arrive in Frankfurt by Monday, 3 December and attend HP Discover on 4 December. You can request a letter of invitation when you register for HP Discover 2012. The HP Visa Agency will try its best to get this to you as fast as possible, but timelines can't be guaranteed as we get closer to the event. Please check the HP Discover visa information page for more information.
Also, check in with your local German consulate to make sure you have all the necessary travel documents. Even if you need a visa, you may not need a letter of invitation. A copy of your hotel reservations and itinerary along with your visa application may be all you need, but do check with your local consulate.
Our visa invitations are issued for a two-week period, Thursday 29 November through Wednesday 12 December. This gives you plenty of time to see the sights of Frankfurt and wander the picturesque countryside.
We look forward to seeing you in Frankfurt!