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 4? Is it worth hiring a car in 4? Should you rent a car in 4? Should you rent a car in 4?

Frankfurt Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all factors, including driving roads, hire and fuel costs, road safety etc. [Full notes - drive rating]


Cheapest rate for one week

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



  • 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.
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 "whynot" section for more suggestions.
Free parking score Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking.Total 373 - of which 65 have free parking. [full notes - parking]




  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.

Frankfurt public transport quick facts

"Top trumps" train score

Higher scores go to the systems which take you to the most amazing places.



  • [full notes - top trumps trains]
  • A good rail system doesn't mean you shouldn't hire a car, but it often means you have a decent range of options.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel.



  • [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?

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Frankfurt



Take to the waters!

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


Need, 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:

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.

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?

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?

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?

Do you need a car in Frankfurt? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Frankfurt?", this often breaks down to two key questions:

  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Frankfurt? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?

Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Frankfurt as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Frankfurt?

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

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?

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

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 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.

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.

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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