Situated right in the heart of the Rhine-Ruhr region or also in the urban accommodation known as “Essendorf “, it’s hardly surprising that Düsseldorf has a truly excellent public transport network, but also in this very wealthy part of western Germany, car ownership and usage remains very high, and the region is straddled by numerous multilane highways.
The main reason for renting a car in Düsseldorf is that even though public transport here is very good, a car is still going to provide more flexibility, especially for getting to smaller towns within the region, or for driving to some of the attractive countryside which can be found just beyond it.
If you are staying somewhere that is more suburban, then driving between different locations is probably still going to take less time than taking public transport, because the rail networks here are still focused around a small number of central cities, so it could take several changes to get to where you want to be.
Although the major roads can get congested at peak times, if you are travelling here on holiday during the summer, this is also when many locals tend to go away, so traffic is unlikely to be a massive problem, and you’ll usually find that there are plenty of parking spaces available, even if parking garages in downtown Düsseldorf and in other major centres will charge a modest fee.
Public transport in the region is excellent, and this includes a mixture of just about every type of train service from local Street trams through to commuter trains (S-bahn) and underground (U-bahn). These are often very closely integrated and system maps will show them as essentially being the same service.
Regional intercity trains and of course the hugely impressive ICE high-speed trains, can sometimes provide fast links between the different city centres in the region within a matter of minutes.
- Düsseldorf International Airport (DUS) has not one but 2 railway stations providing fast links to just about everywhere else within the region.
- Although both stations provide connection into the city centre, if you are booking a long distance train, then this will depart from the high-speed railway station which is situated to the east of the airport’s runways. The suburban station (S-bahn) is underneath the main terminal concourses. A monorail provides a link between the terminal and the high-speed station.
- Cologne Bonn airport (CGN) is an alternative arriving point for this part of Germany, especially as it has a good range of low cost flights. It also has its own dedicated station, situated in a tunnel in front of the main terminals with fast ICE high-speed train links to Düsseldorf and beyond.
- Düsseldorf Central station is ideally situated on the edge of the main city centre shopping areas and places of interest, and this is a natural gateway to the rest of the region.
- It’s a very easy day trip excursion to travel from Düsseldorf to Cologne by train.
Europe > Germany > Düsseldorf
See: Why rent a car in Düsseldorf ? | 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 Düsseldorf?
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 Düsseldorf?
This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Düsseldorf 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 Düsseldorf 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 Düsseldorf?
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 Düsseldorf, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.
Please note that Carornocar.com 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.
Düsseldorf 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 Düsseldorf?
Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.
Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Düsseldorf between the peak and the off peak season?
5/10 (0 = stable prices)
Driving score: 4/10
Non car score:9/10
(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)
General comment -
Why? Visiting Düsseldorf using a hire car
Why do you need a car in Düsseldorf ?
Why not? Visiting Düsseldorf without a car
Why don't you need a car in Düsseldorf ?
Ratings: How does Düsseldorf compare?
Is it worth hiring a car in Düsseldorf? TBC
This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Düsseldorf, 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 Düsseldorf? TBC
This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Düsseldorf (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 Düsseldorf? 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
High Speed Rail:
Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):
As you start ....
Does Düsseldorf airport have a direct rail link?
(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No
Has our advice for Düsseldorf car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?
2017 - 2
2019 - 3
2021 - 2
Average score - 2
Do you or don't you need a car in Düsseldorf ?