By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Frankfurt?

Do you need a car in Frankfurt > Should you rent a car in Frankfurt Germany > Frankfurt ( FRA ) Do you need a car in Frankfurt? Is it worth hiring a car in Frankfurt? Should you rent a car in Frankfurt?

Frankfurt Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]


  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Frankfurt but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
  • Cost factors include - price of car hire (peak and off peak season), car hire extras, fuel, tolls and parking costs.
  • Quality factors include - scenic drives, road quality and upkeep, general safety and congestion levels.
  • A complete index of all 10 factors will be uploaded shortly.

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]



  • This is the very lowest price we could find for a one week car rental period in Frankfurt during the quiet season.
  • You will almost always end up paying more than this figure, but any extra costs or supplementary charges are usually determined by the renter, so we cannot easily compare like with like.
  • In many cases, rental companies will offer a cheap rental and then expect you to take out expensive insurance waivers. There are always ways to avoid this!

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]



  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "why not" section for more suggestions.
  • For most featured destinations, the peak season will be during the summer, typically July and August for northern hemisphere destinations. However, peak demand might occur at different times, for example in some ski resorts or winter sun destinations etc.

Free parking score

Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking. Total 373 - of which 65 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Free hotel parking is very useful to have when you are hiring a car, and it's always worth checking ahead beforehand.
  • If free hotel parking is not available, you might want to consider renting a car for a single day, rather than for your whole trip.
  • The availability (or lack of) free hotel parking can be a really important factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Frankfurt, as it can be a significant extra daily cost which you won't usually be paying at home!
  • Parking costs play a very major part in our consideration of whether or not it's worth hiring a car in each destination.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

Frankfurt public transport quick facts

Train score

Higher scores go to the systems which don't just take you to the most amazing places, but also to the ones which are easy to use, fast, reliable and frequent. A good train system on its own is usually enough to determine that you don't need to hire a car in many destinations.


  • [full notes trains]
  • Trains include all kinds of urban rail system from trams up to metro and suburban networks.
  • Trains also include mountain railways and cable cars.
  • Generally, places with a good rail network will automatically mean that you don't "need" to hire a car, but you can still might find that on balance you are better off by having one.

Water travel score

This is a general rating for all types of water travel, including scheduled ferries, sea / rivers cruises and excursions in Frankfurt


  • [full notes - water score]
  • The water score looks at means of transport on water - it does not consider water based activities like surfing or kayaking.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel, and also including ferries and other boat services, where they are part of the public transport network.


  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Frankfurt good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?
  • Even if public transport is cheap and reliable, you might still feel that you should hire a car in Frankfurt because it will still give you more flexibility to reach out-of-the-way places, especially in rural areas.

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Frankfurt. It includes factors such as the quality of the street environment, and whether you are likely to feel safe walking or cycling, together with the availability of bicycle hire and the ease of linking walking or cycling routes with public transport.


  • [full notes - active score] walking (city) | hiking | cycling (city /  country).
  • A high active travel score means that you might not need a car in Frankfurt, because you can see everything you need to see using a combination of your own two feet and the public transport system.

Car rental in - Frankfurt Need v worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Frankfurt", "is it worth hiring a car in Frankfurt", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme. Here we break each one down according to the criteria we use for each question. This is a weighted score based on the values above. These are explained further in the text which follows - [#why] [#whynot]. Do you need a car in Frankfurt?

Do you need a car in Frankfurt?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city. For the lowest "need" score, the destination should have a combination of excellent all-round public transport, great opportunities for walking and cycling, together with poor value car hire or generally poor quality roads. 
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "do I need a car in  Frankfurt " will swing towards a strong no, because you can do absolutely fine without one).
Is it worth hiring a car in Frankfurt?

Is it worth hiring a car in Frankfurt?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares? This question mainly looks at issues of cost and practicality.
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "is it worth hiring a car in  Frankfurt" will swing towards whichever option offers the lowest overall cost for a group of 2-4 people travelling together.
Should you rent a car in Frankfurt?

Should you rent a car in Frankfurt?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
  • The final "carometer" swing is much more opinion based, and it takes into account which options will give you the truly best travel experience (n our humble opinion of course). Where a destination offers an excellent score with or without a car, the swing will go towards whichever option we feel gives the most truly unforgettable experience.
  • Ultimately, it's your choice whether or not you rent a car here. We're trying to give you something that's sufficiently far enough away from a "maybe" to help you make that choice. Ultimately, people only come to us because they are uncertain, but we don't really know what each person's preferences are. Whether we say you should or you shouldn't rent a car in  Frankfurt, you might also want to look up some of our other cities to see how  Frankfurt compares with other destinations in  Germany or  Europe.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

What does everyone else do?

Do most people hire a car in Frankfurt?

This is based on our observations of (a) car rental facilities and (b) what we think most people will do here. It's not an exact figure, just an estimate of how likely people are to get hold of a rental car here.
  • his is based on the percentage of people "in the market" who we think are likely to hire a car. This includes anyone arriving on holiday here who would usually hire a car on their travels, so it doesn't include people who don't usually drive (or don't drive), people staying with friends etc.


Visitors per year (million)

  • Cities with more visitors are more likely to have more complex airport car rental arrangements, and generally they will also have better public transport, but this is not always the case, especially in North America.


  • [full notes - do as everyone else does?]
  • You may wish to go with the flow, or you might prefer to avoid doing the most popular or obvious option. This will vary according to the range of choice available. This tends to be much higher in destinations which are closer to the middle of the car or no car scale.

Who is travelling?

Your group size and travel budget has a major impact on whether or not getting a rental car is good value compared to using public transport as your main means of getting around. Ultimately, these are all "worth" questions:

Is it worth renting a car in Frankfurt if I am a solo / budget traveller?

Generally, hiring a car is not good value for solo travellers for multiple reasons, especially as most of the costs of renting apply to the car, not the occupants. With public transport, the reverse is usually true! However, there are always some places where you will need a car, simply because they are almost impossible to reach using public transport.

Is it worth renting a car in Frankfurt for 2 people travelling together?

A rental car can be good value for couples or for friends travelling together, but since most cars come with at least four seats, it's often still better value to use public transport. However, if you prefer to keep yourselves to yourselves, then you might still want to rent.

Is it worth renting a car in Frankfurt for families?

Families of groups of 3-4 people travelling together will always get the best value from a rental car. However, you may also be burdened with extra costs for car seat hire, and you well also prefer to use local trains and buses, if they are quicker than getting stuck in heavy traffic.

Where are you staying?

The place you are staying, together with the sort of places you want to see, will have a large impact on whether or not you "need" to rent a car:

Do you need a car in Frankfurt if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

Most large towns or purpose built holiday resorts will have some kind of public transport, whereas parking provision will vary greatly from one place to the next. 

Do you need a car in Frankfurt if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

Typically you may be staying in an apartment or hmall house on the edge of a resort or urban area. These places usually have some level of public transport, but not as much as city / resort centres.

Do you need a car in Frankfurt if we are staying in a rural area?

Rural proprties might include larger villas or apartments, but they can still be within a short walk of a bus stop or local railway station, and the opportunities for hiking and cycling might also be substantial, depending on the destination.

What is your attitude towards driving?

We can give you suggestions based on whatever we consider to be a "typical" visitor to Frankfurt, but ultimately your decision is also going to be influenced by whether or not you ususally prefer to hire a car in the first place.

Should I hire a car in Frankfurt if I prefer not to drive?

This is especially the case when there is only one main driver in the group, and it's based on the attitude of the driver rather than their passengers! The main driver may also simply prefer to use public transport, or they may prefer to take scenic train journeys where available.

Should we rent a car in Frankfurt if we are easy either way?

This is more aimed at the typical visitor who isn't that bothered about how they get around, as long as it is the most convenient / best value option.

Should I rent a car in Frankfurt if I prefer to drive?

For people who usually prefer the freedom and flexibility of having a hire car. Is it still best to rent a car in Frankfurt, or are there good reasons not to?

Frankfurt might be best known as Europe’s financial heart, and it is very much a work hard, play hard city. Ultimately, Frankfurt’s transport network is a great all-rounder, whether you’re planning on getting around by train, by car, or if you are simply looking at flights to get here in the first place. So is there a need to get a hire car in Frankfurt, or is it even a useful option?

[top num=”91″]

Why should you rent a car in Frankfurt?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Frankfurt?
  • Romantic Road – this popular driving trip has its northenmost point in Wurzburg, around 120km to the east of Frankfurt. Given the sheer range of inward flights to Frankfurt, then this is the natural place to pick up a rental car for this trip.
  • The great outdoors — look on any map of the Frankfurt hinterland, and whether you go north (Naturpark Hochtaunus), south (Pfalzerwald) or east (Bayerischer and others), there are numerous opportunities to reconnect with nature.
  • Frankische Schweiz — head slightly further east to Nuremburg to visit the area known as Little Switzerland, so named because of its wonderful alpine scenery, even though it is actually only a few miles away from the border with the Czech Republic.
  • Frankfurt Hahn — there are two airports serving the Frankfurt region, and if you happen to be flying into this former airbase that is around 70 miles from the city of Frankfurt itself, then it is certainly much easier to pick up a hire car, rather than to spend forever on a bus.
  • Luxembourg — as the range of flights to Luxembourg is still relatively limited, many people fly to Frankfurt instead, and then transfer overland to Luxembourg. This time round, it is much easier to use Hahn airport rather than Frankfurt International. However, buses are also available from Hahn, together with trains from Frankfurt International, but the service is slow and indirect. That is why it is much easier to get a hire car.
  • Baden-Baden — this delightful spa resort, whose name literally means “Bath-Bath” is well worth a visit if you want to do some serious unwinding, German style. Although you can easily get there and back by train, having a hire car means that you can also drive around the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) region, and access a much wider range of hiking trails than you would otherwise be able to visit if you just confine yourself to those which are nearer to, or easily reached by bus from, Baden-Baden.

Why not? Visiting Frankfurt without a car

What is public transport like in Frankfurt? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in 4?
  • Frankfurt city — the city of Frankfurt itself has a rich cultural scene, as would be expected in a place which has the money to sponsor the arts. Frankfurt is well-known for its opera, and is also home to the famous annual book fair, one of the largest in the world.
  • Architecture — known locally as “Mainhattan”, modern Frankfurt has a skyline to rival any great American city. This is dominated by the Commerzbank Tower, which was designed by the British architect Norman Foster. You can also visit the viewing platform at the top of the Europa Tower. For the anoraks amongst us (myself included), this is also a great place to view planes coming in and out of Frankfurt International airport, which is only 7 miles away from the city centre.
  • Easy public transport — this goes without saying, Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof is one of the busiest stations in Germany, with a vast network of underground (U-bahn), tram, suburban (S-bahn), regional and long-distance trains fanning out in all directions. Most underground lines pass through the Hauptbahnhof, although a number of lines run through nearby Hauptwache / Zeil instead.
  • River tours — Frankfurt looks at his most impressive when viewed at dusk from the River Main, and why not make the most of this with a dinner cruise? For longer trips, the Rhine River flows through nearby Mainz, with many cruises also running through nearby Koblenz.
  • Scenic railway lines — although speed freaks will want to travel on the ICE fast trains, the route along the Rhine around and above Koblenz, and then westward along the Mosel Valley down to Traben-Trarbach is particular scenic.
  • Cities nearby — it is easy to base yourself in Frankfurt and then make day or overnight trips to other major German cities which are nearby. The fast ICE trains really shrink the distance between Cologne and Frankfurt in particular as this is one of the newest German high-speed routes, taking just over an hour, whilst
  • Stuttgart is also less than 90 minutes away from Frankfurt. Visiting any of the cities by train is the best way to explore their main cultural attractions, which are nearly always in the city centre, where parking can also be expensive.

Conclusion – As all of the transport infrastructure around Frankfurt is of high quality, you shouldn’t have any problem getting around, whatever means you choose to use. 

Do you need a car in Frankfurt? In most of the cities has reviewed, it is quite easy to give a clear cut verdict. In Frankfurt, this isn’t the case — a hire car will give you the flexibility to see more rural areas, whereas the trains are better for Frankfurt itself, or for visiting nearby larger cities. Ultimately, there is certainly no need to hire a car in Frankfurt, but as with anywhere else, doing so might give you a bit more flexibility. Needless to say, for a trip like the famous romantic road, then your own wheels of some kind are completely essential!

Verdict — no


Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


What is our final score for Frankfurt on the Carornocar scale?

Remember, this isn't so much a rating of the road network, or a score for what we think of the buses or trains, but it's simply a scale showing the swing between whether or not we think a rental car is a good idea here.


Would you hire a car in Frankfurt?

Have you driven in Frankfurt? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Frankfurt}? Do you need a car in Frankfurt? For some or all of the time? Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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