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Europe > Germany > Frankfurt

See: Why rent a car in Frankfurt ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in Frankfurt?

Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.

That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!

  • The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
  • How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
  • Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
  • Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?

Is it worth hiring a car in Frankfurt?

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Frankfurt car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.

How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Frankfurt with other destinations locally and around the world.

This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.

Should I rent a car in Frankfurt? 

This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Frankfurt, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

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?

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. 

We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Frankfurt is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Frankfurt? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.


Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Frankfurt between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:10/10

Balance: 3

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -


Why? Visiting Frankfurt using a hire car

Why do you need 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

Why don't you need a car in Frankfurt ?

  • 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.

Ratings: How does Frankfurt compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Frankfurt? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Frankfurt, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?



Do you need to hire a car in Frankfurt? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Frankfurt (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Frankfurt? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel


Car hire basics:


Public transportation basics:


Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):


As you start ....

Does Frankfurt airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No






Has our advice for Frankfurt car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 4

2021 - 3

Average score - 3



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.


Do you or don't you need a car in Frankfurt ?

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