Navigating Frankfurt: Your Guide from Airport to City Centre

So you’ve booked your dream trip to Frankfurt, the vibrant heart of German finance and home to a killer museum scene (looking at you, Städel!). But wait, you’re flying into one of Frankfurt’s two airports, and you’re not sure how to get from the tarmac to the town centre. Fear not, because we are here to help you navigate your way to Frankfurt city centre from Frankfurt airport.

Skyline of Frankfurt city centre.

Frankfurt is a vibrant hub of culture, finance, and history. Whether you’re touching down at Frankfurt Main Airport or the more distant Frankfurt Hahn Airport, you’ll want to dive right into the city’s bustling streets as efficiently as possible. Here’s your ultimate guide to getting from both airports to the heart of Frankfurt, ensuring your journey starts smoothly.

First things first, which Frankfurt airport are you landing at? There’s a key distinction between the two:

  • Frankfurt Airport (FRA): The big kahuna, Frankfurt am Main Airport, is the closer option to the city centre (about 12 km away). It’s a major international hub, so expect a bustling atmosphere and plenty of travel options.
  • Frankfurt Hahn Airport (HHN): Don’t be fooled by the name! Hahn Airport is actually located a whopping 120 km west of Frankfurt, closer to Luxembourg than the city itself. It’s a much smaller airport favoured by budget airlines like Ryanair. Although it is called Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, it is nowhere close to Frankfurt, but it is a cheaper option than Frankfurt Airport.

Both airports handle domestic and international flights, but Frankfurt airport handles more flights, and more airlines operate from FRA than HHN.

Escalators at Frankfurt airport.

Are you ready to visit Frankfurt?

We have travelled the world and have experienced many booking partners throughout that time, some good and some bad. These are the booking partners that we regularly use and trust.

If you need help choosing your Frankfurt accommodation, then check out our recommendations for boutique hotels in Frankfurt.

Now that you know your landing zone, let’s explore your options:

From Frankfurt Main Airport (FRA) to City Centre

Frankfurt Main Airport (FRA) is one of Europe’s busiest and most well-connected airports. Located just 12 kilometres southwest of central Frankfurt, it offers several convenient options for reaching the city centre.

  1. Train: The Fast Track
    • S-Bahn: The S8 and S9 S-Bahn lines run frequently from the airport’s regional train station (Regionalbahnhof). Trains depart every 15 minutes, and the journey to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (main train station) takes just about 15 minutes. Tickets are reasonably priced around €5.
    • Regional Express: For a slightly quicker trip, hop on the Regional Express (RE) trains. They also run from the Regionalbahnhof and can get you to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof in about 10 minutes.
  2. Taxi: Door-to-Door Comfort
    • Taxis are readily available outside both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The ride to the city centre usually takes around 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic, and costs between €25-€35. It’s a great option if you have a lot of luggage or prefer a more private journey. If you like a more personal approach, you could also book an airport transfer with Get Transfer before you leave so that your private transfer will be waiting for you when you land.
  3. Bus: The Scenic Route
    • Several bus lines, including the 61, 77, and 58, connect the airport to various parts of Frankfurt city centre. While this option is less direct than the train, it offers a more scenic introduction to the city. The bus fare is similar to the S-Bahn, around €5.
  4. Car Rental: Freedom to Explore
    • If you plan on exploring beyond Frankfurt, consider renting a car. Major rental companies have desks at the airport, and the drive into the city centre is straightforward via the A3 and A5 motorways.
Frankfurt Altstadt at night.

If you have only limited time in Frankfurt, then check out our guide to spending one day in Frankfurt. If you have more time to explore, then we suggest that you check out our guide on how to spend one day in Heidelberg and a day trip to Erbach and Michelstadt, two fairytale German villages. If you happen to be in Germany over Christmas, then check out our complete guide to the Hamburg Christmas Markets.

Bridge over the Main River in Frankfurt at sunset. Skyscraper buildings of the financial district are lit up in the background.

From Frankfurt Hahn Airport (HHN) to City Centre

Frankfurt Hahn Airport (HHN) is located quite a bit farther from the city—about 120 kilometres to the west. Though it’s not as conveniently situated as Frankfurt Main, there are still several viable options for making your way into Frankfurt.

  1. Bus: The Reliable Option
    • Flibco and Bohr buses run frequent services between Hahn Airport and Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof. The journey takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes, and tickets can be purchased online or at the airport. Prices range from €15 to €20, making it an affordable and straightforward choice.
  2. Taxi: A Costly Convenience
    • While taxis are available at Hahn, the long distance makes this an expensive option, often costing upwards of €160. It’s generally not recommended unless you’re traveling in a group and can split the fare.
  3. Car Rental: For the Adventurous
    • Renting a car at Hahn Airport gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace and perhaps explore some of the picturesque towns and countryside along the way. The drive to Frankfurt takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes via the A61 and A3 motorways.
  4. Shared Rides: The Middle Ground
    • Ride-sharing services like BlaBlaCar can offer a more cost-effective and social way to travel. Check the app for available rides heading to Frankfurt; prices typically fall between the bus and taxi options. Ridesharing apps like Uber are less readily available at Hahn Airport compared to Frankfurt Main Airport. It’s best to check the app and book in advance if possible.
Train at Frankfurt Airport to take you to the city centre.

Bonus Tip: Download the DB Navigator app for real-time train schedules and ticket purchases in Germany.

The skyline of Frankfurt city at sunset.

Tips for a Smooth Journey

  • Plan Ahead: Particularly if you’re arriving at Frankfurt Hahn, check the bus schedules and book tickets in advance to avoid long waits. Factor in travel time when booking flights and accommodation, especially if you’re flying into Hahn Airport. Purchase tickets for trains and buses online in advance if possible, particularly during peak travel times.
  • Currency: Ensure you have some Euros on hand for transport tickets or taxis, as not all options accept credit cards.
  • Stay Connected: Consider getting a local SIM card or portable Wi-Fi device to navigate your way through Frankfurt with ease.

Frankfurt Like a Local: Train Hacks for Airport to City Centre (FRA)

Navigating Frankfurt like a local means leveraging the efficiency and convenience of the city’s public transport system. When taking the train from Frankfurt Main Airport to the city centre, consider grabbing a Frankfurt Card at the airport. This card offers unlimited travel on all public transportation within Frankfurt, as well as discounts on various attractions, making it a cost-effective option for both transit and sightseeing. If you’re arriving during peak hours, avoid the busiest times by traveling before 8am or after 10am to enjoy a more relaxed journey. Additionally, use the DB Navigator app for real-time updates on train schedules and platform changes, ensuring a seamless trip into the heart of Frankfurt. With these hacks, you’ll be blending in with the locals and making the most of your time in this dynamic city.

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People sitting around a fountain in the centre of Frankfurt city on a sunny day.

Whether you’re arriving at the bustling Frankfurt Main or the more remote Frankfurt Hahn, getting into the city centre is manageable with a bit of planning. Choose the mode of transport that best suits your needs, and you’ll be exploring Frankfurt’s rich tapestry of attractions in no time. Get ready to explore the city’s charming Altstadt (old town), devour a Frankfurter Würstchen (sausage), and maybe even snag a photo with the iconic iron lady, the Frankfurter Frauenturm. Safe travels!

The iconic iron lady, the Frankfurter Frauenturm in Frankfurt Altstadt.

About us

We are Nicola and Ronan Lavin experts in finding unique accommodation all over the world. Voted as the Top 6 Travel Bloggers in Ireland by Stellar Magazine and the Top 10 Travel Influencers in Ireland by readers of the Irish Independent, we are dedicated to helping you find authentic and immersive travel experiences to help you plan your perfect vacation.

**Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you book through one of our links, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us create the wonderful, free travel guides that we do.**

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