Frankfurt is well located in Germany and Europe as a whole and has great transport infrastructure. Whether by plane, train or bus, getting here is easy.
Frankfurt International Airport
Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) is one of the biggest (and busiest!) in Europe and less than 15 minutes by train from the city. Don’t get confused by the name – Frankfurt Hahn Airport is further away (about 2 hours by bus – there’s no train connection) and has far fewer flights.
The cheapest way to get from Frankfurt International Airport to the city is by using a commuter train (S-Bahn) or a regional train. They run regularly and tickets can be purchased from a machine (the language options include English). Or talk to the people in the office above the platforms in Terminal 1. From the airport, regional trains stop at the Central Train Station while the S-Bahns continue through the city.
Frankfurt Airport is also served by long distance trains (from a different station at the airport to the S-Bahns and Regional Trains) and public buses as well as taxis.
Frankfurt Central Train Station
The Central Railway Station is a major transport hub. All the regional trains stop here as do most of the long distance trains. A station side street acts as the interchange for the inter-city buses. The S-Bahn lines and a couple of the Underground (U-Bahn) lines also stop at the Central Station and there are trams outside on the street.
There are a large number of hotels near the station, so that might be as far as you need to go. If not, you will probably need to change to another mode of transport. Bear in mind it is only a 20 minute walk from the Central Station into the middle of the city.
Getting around Frankfurt is easily done, too. There are various modes of public transport and you may need to use a combination of them to get to your destination.
Public Transport Tickets
S-Bahn, U-Bahn, tram or bus, the one ticket system is valid across them all. Tickets can be bought at machines at each train station or tram stop, at the various transport offices in the city or direct from bus drivers.
There are several different tickets available, mainly depending on how long they are valid for. Do you envisage making two or more trips on a particular day? Buying a Daily Ticket is cheaper than buying multiple Single Trip tickets. If you are going to be around for several days, a Weekly Ticket will soon pay for itself.
If you buy a ticket in Frankfurt, it is valid for the ‘Frankfurt’ zone only. This zone is quite large, extending well out into the suburbs (see the ‘50’ Zone in the route map below). However, if you wish to travel outside this zone, you will need to purchase either:
- a daily ticket, valid for the Frankfurt zone and the zone your destination is in, or
- a connecting ticket for your zone of destination, to accompany a Frankfurt daily, weekly or monthly ticket. Remember to buy a connecting ticket from your destination for your return trip – connecting tickets are only valid one way!
WARNING – Travelling without a valid ticket is illegal. Those caught doing so face a fine.
The centre of Frankfurt is quite compact and walkable. You may not need to use the public transport system except to get to and from the Central Station or Airport.
U-Bahn vs S-Bahn vs Strassehbahn (tram) vs bus
With so many ways to get around the city, which should you use? Short answer – the one that gets you to where you want to go!
S-Bahns go beyond Frankfurt to cities in the local area. They all stop at Frankfurt Central Station and have the one track through the centre of the city.
U-Bahns generally serve the suburbs of Frankfurt. Unlike the S-Bahns, different lines pass through different stations in the city centre, something to be aware of if you need to catch one.
Strassenbahns (trams) also travel from the city centre into the suburbs of Frankfurt, complementing the U-Bahn network.
Buses provide coverage between the train and tram stops. They do travel from one area of the city to another, but they take the long route, with numerous stops.
To see the S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines, check out the map.
To view the extent of the Frankfurt ’50’ Zone, view this map.
For more detailed information, head to the RMV website (click here).
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