Germany’s business and financial centre is the fifth-largest city in the country, although the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region is the second most populated area in the country. The city centre is dotted with avant-garde skyscrapers that sit next to historical buildings, with the city boasting a beautiful contrast of old and new. The Main River dissects the city, offering some spectacular skyline views, while the Taunus mountain range sits just to the west, giving it a stunning backdrop. Vineyards, picturesque towns, spa cities and castles surround Frankfurt and make for great daytrips, with car rental the most convenient way to get out and explore the beautiful Hesse region and other neighbouring areas.
Who to Book With
A number of worldwide car hire agents have depots in Frankfurt, including Hertz, Europcar and Avis. Vehicles can be picked up in the Arrivals hall in Terminals 1 and 2 of Frankfurt Airport as well as in the city centre at the Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof. It is highly recommended to arrange car rental online ahead of time to guarantee a vehicle is available.
Best time to go
Late spring and autumn are the best times to visit Frankfurt, as summers tend to be extremely hot and winters quite cold. Frankfurt is famous for its Auto Show and Book Fair, which take place in mid-September and mid-October, respectively. The city is at its busiest during these world-famous fairs, so expect to see a hike in prices.
Need to Know Essentials
When picking up your vehicle, you will be asked to present the following:
- An international driving permit or valid EU licence
- Some addition form of ID
- The credit card that you used to book the car hire
- Verification of the booking
For more info read our FAQ's
Driving in Frankfurt is not recommended, especially during rush hours and when the city is hosting a fair. Parking is scarce in the city centre, so it is best to park in a park-and-ride facility and take a bus or commuter train into the city. Those that do drive into Frankfurt’s city centre should park in one of the city’s pilot system car parks, which can be found by following the signs. Frankfurt is a low emissions zone, so only cars with green badges can enter the city. Be sure that the car you rent has a badge before attempting to drive into the city.
Frankfurt is the Autobahn hub of Germany, with the A3, A5, A66, A661 and A648 all serving it. This means that all corners of Germany are easily accessible by road from here. Autobahns are clearly marked with blue signs and white letters and are famous for having no maximum speed limit, although drivers are advised to keep to a speed of around 130km/h. Autobahns are toll-free for cars, but vehicles over 12 tonnes must pay a toll.
For additional information on driving here, read our guide to Germany.
The VGF transportation network is by far the best way to get around Frankfurt, offering nine U-Bahn lines, nine S-Bahn lines, 11 tram lines and numerous bus routes. The city is also extremely bicycle-friendly and has a number of designated bicycle lanes. There are also plenty of taxis, and drivers are more than happy to take visitors around the city.
VGF tickets can be purchased from automatic ticket dispensers and from the bus driver. Automatic ticket dispensers offer instructions in English, German, Italian, French and various other languages and accept only Euros for payment. Fares are based on zones travelled, but travel within the city centre costs around €2.60, while an all-day pass is €6.40.
There are three major railway stations in Frankfurt: Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof, Frankfurt Südbahnhof and Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof, which serves the airport. Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof is the busiest, although they are all operated by Deutsche Bahn. Trains are both regional and long-distance, linking Frankfurt to Munich, Hamburg, Berlin and a number of regional destinations.
Taxis are plentiful, with ranks being found throughout the city centre. It is also extremely easy to hail a taxi in the street. Taxis in Frankfurt accept credit card payments as well as Euros. Reputable companies include Taxi Frankfurt eG and Time Car GmbH. Taxis can be quite expensive here, with rates starting at around €2.80 and going up €0.10 for every 60 metres thereafter. There are also bicycle taxis throughout the tourist areas of the city. These are quite fun but can only take a maximum of two passengers.
Buses and Trams
Buses are the least-favoured form of public transportation in Frankfurt as a result of the city’s extensive underground railway network. Still, after 1:30 in the morning they are a great way to get home. Trams are much more popular and operate every 10 minutes throughout the day and every five minutes during rush hours.
Frankfurt has a wealth of historical landmarks, museums, art galleries and other attractions that will keep any visitor busy for days. Its restaurants, city forest, Feldberg Mountain and shopping districts ensure that there is something for everyone here. However, it is still recommended that you get out of the city and explore further. Mountains, rivers, valleys and national parks are close enough to Frankfurt that they make for lovely daytrips. Alternately, venture farther away and explore Southern Germany or Western Germany.
Bad Homburg vor der Höhe - Famous for its Roman Fort Saalburg, Landgrave Castle and Roman spas, and located just a 20-minute drive north of Frankfurt, sits at the edge of the Taunus Mountain Range.
Rhine Valley - The journey to the Rhine Valley offers one of the most picturesque drives in the country. The Rhine River road cuts through hill tops and runs pas plenty of magnificent castles, wineries, ruins and quaint towns. The valley starts in Bingen, which is less than one hour west of Frankfurt, and stretches all the way to the North Rhine-Westphalia region and into the Netherlands.
Darmstadt - The art nouveau city, is dotted with beautiful architecture, including the Hochzeitsturm (Wedding tower), Castle Frankenstein and Hundertwasser Waldspirale (Forest Spiral). Luisenplatz square is a great place to sit and people-watch, while the baroque garden of Orangerie is ideal for a romantic stroll.