Car rental Frankfurt
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Why rent a car in Frankfurt?
Frankfurt is an interesting place to explore. Often underrated as a travel destination, it offers an exciting mix of urban diversity, large green areas, and world-class museums. Getting a rental car is the best way to get around the city, as well as to travel to other destinations in Germany and neighboring countries.
Top ways to enter Frankfurt
- Frankfurt Airport. The largest airport in Germany and one of the busiest in Europe, Frankfurt Airport is projected, for the first time in its history, to serve more than 70 million passengers in 2019. The airport is located southwest of the city.
- Hahn Airport. Despite being 120 km (75 mi) west of Frankfurt, this small airport is sometimes also called Frankfurt-Hahn. Served by a number of low-cost airlines, it can sometimes be a cheaper alternative to get to or from Frankfurt.
- Cologne-Bonn Airport. Serving not one, but two large Western German cities, Cologne-Bonn Airport sees more than 12 million travelers every year. The airport is located about two hours drive northwest of Frankfurt.
- By rail. If you arrive in Frankfurt by train, you can also conveniently pick up your rental car at Frankfurt Central Station.
Useful city facts
- Thanks to the influence of the nearby North Sea, Frankfurt has an oceanic climate. Summers are quite warm and can even get very hot in July and August, while winters are cold with occasional snowfall. The precipitation is relatively even throughout the year.
- Although a large commercial and industrial center whose skyline is dotted with skyscrapers, Frankfurt is also a very green metropolis. It is home to many beautiful parks, but the most interesting natural areas to explore are Frankfurter Stadwald, the largest urban forest in Germany, as well as two botanical gardens, the Palm Garden and the Botanical Garden of the Goethe University, that are home to many unique local and foreign plants and trees.
- Frankfurt is also a culinary destination. Some of the many local specialties include Apfelwein, or apple wine; Grüne Soße, or green sauce; and many types of German wursts, or sausages.
Top destinations and activities
- Frankfurter Dom. The main cathedral of Frankfurt, and one of the most famous in Germany, witnessed the coronation of the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Although its political influence has waned, the Gothic building has lost none of its architectural charm. Observe it from below, but also climb its impressive towers - the views from the top will be worth it.
- Römerberg. The old center of Frankfurt is without a doubt its most picturesque area - if you’ve ever seen a postcard of the city, it probably showed Römerberg. Park your rental car nearby and go for a long walk, visit the neighborhood’s many landmarks and also pay a visit to one of the local restaurants.
- Museum of Modern Art. Designed to resemble a large boat, this impressive museum houses many interesting contemporary artworks, both from German artists and world-famous icons like Andy Warhol. Pay a visit to its website before visiting in person as there are always new exhibits next to the permanent collections.
Traffic and parking tips
- Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limit is 50 km/h (31 mph) in populated or built-up areas. There is no national speed limit on the autobahns (highways) and many of them don’t have a set speed limit. However, contrary to what is sometimes stated, about 50% of the autobahns do have their own individual speed limits, so carefully follow the speed limit signs on each road that you’re driving on.
- Where the speed limits are enforced, the tolerance for speeding is low. Driving just 3 km/h (2 mph) above the speed limit can, and often will, lead to fines. Many roads that do have speed limits have radars in place.
- Some autobahns have a minimum speed limit that applies to specific lanes, for example, a minimum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph) for the left and 90 km/h (56 mph) for the center lane.
- Because of the very high speeds used by some on the German autobahns, be extra careful before switching lanes.
- Parking spaces in downtown Frankfurt can be very limited. It is often a better idea to use a Parkhaus, a paid parking garage.
- Many parking spaces are only available for the local inhabitants of the city. These are indicated by a sign that says "Parkausweis Nr.X" (with X being replaced by a number). If you park in these spaces, you risk receiving a fine.
- It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. This is strictly enforced and the fines are high.
- Children under the age of 12 have to use a child safety seat.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.00% for novice drivers. Exceeding these limits can lead to high fines and a licence ban.
- The insurance and car documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The general emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112.
Although Germany has a large number of high-speed motorways, only vehicles that weigh more than 7,5 tons need to pay a toll fee. This excludes practically all types of rental cars.
There are two tolled tunnels in Germany, the Herren Tunnel in Schleswig-Holstein and the Warnow Tunnel in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Neither of them is near Frankfurt.
Find out more about the toll roads in Germany on the European toll road website.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Oberursel. This small medieval town is famous for its picturesque architecture but also offers things like a historic marketplace or the nearby Opel Zoo, where you can see exotic animals such as giraffes, rhinos and zebras. Located just a 20 minute drive north of Frankfurt, Oberursel is probably your best bet for escaping the hustle and bustle of the big city.
- Heidelberg. Famous for its high-class universities and impressive buildings from different historical periods, Heidelberg somehow feels more cozy, grand, and authentic than most other German cities at the same time. What makes it really great is that it’s just an hour’s drive south of Frankfurt.
- Feldberg mountain. The highest mountain in Germany outside of the Alps, the Feldberg is about a three-and-a-half hour drive from Frankfurt. The long road is well worth it not only for the impressive summit itself, but for the many winter sports opportunities it provides and the beautiful Black Forest that surrounds it.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car in Frankfurt is the VW Polo, although many travelers also go for the Toyota Aygo or the Opel Corsa. The most popular rental car type is a compact, followed by economy and mini.
- Brussels. The capital of Belgium and the European Union is not all just government and politics, it is also a vibrant and fascinating metropolis. From medieval and classical architecture to fascinating museums and distinct local neighborhoods, it’s a place that can be explored for days. From Frankfurt, it can be reached in less than four hours. Before driving to Brussels, make sure that your car rental provider permits it.
- Cologne. One of the most famous historic cities of Germany, Cologne still has something of an old time grandeur about it. Ruled by Romans, Franks, and others, its heritage can be observed in its beautiful cathedrals and other buildings. Cologne is about a two hour drive northwest of Frankfurt.
- Luxembourg. Despite being very sparsely populated, this small country that’s squeezed between Belgium, Germany, and France has a lot of beautiful natural areas you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere in the region. Its local culinary specialties shouldn’t be overlooked too. From Frankfurt, you can reach it in just two hours and 30 minutes. Before you go to Luxembourg, ask your rental car provider if they permit it.
How can I save money on my rental car?
Follow these tricks to get a cheap rental car in Frankfurt:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Frankfurt is the cheapest in October, when renting a car is about 25% cheaper than the yearly average and a whole 50% cheaper than renting a car in April. Come visit Germany in autumn!
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