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Moving to Frankfurt

Expats moving to Frankfurt will find themselves in a confident, global city that effortlessly combines its role as a leading modern business centre with a charming cultural character.

Frankfurt is the economic powerhouse of Germany and central Europe, and is an important industrial and financial metropolis, as well as a key transport hub.

While working opportunities predominantly entice expats to the area, Frankfurt is nonetheless beautiful and enchanting, brimming with history and culture. Expats living in Frankfurt enjoy a wonderful lifestyle. There are superb opportunities for shopping, as well as sightseeing attractions like museums, historic spots and world-class opera and theatre to enjoy.

Getting around in Frankfurt is easy with the city's excellent rail connections, river transport and the Autobahn system. Frankfurt is home to the third busiest airport in Europe and is the natural hub for anyone wanting to explore the surrounding towns or the German countryside.

Accommodation in Frankfurt can be expensive, but salaries are generally raised in order to afford residents a decent standard of living. While there are many different types of property available in the city, demand for affordable housing in Frankfurt is high and expats need to be quick to secure a home.

Expat parents moving to Frankfurt with children will have a number of different schooling options. However, while public and private schools in Germany offer an excellent standard of teaching, most expats prefer to have their children educated at one of the many international schools in Frankfurt.

Negatives are few and far between, but there are a few points that may take some getting used to. Frankfurt is known to have a relatively high cost of living, especially in comparison to other areas like Berlin

Ultimately, the advantages of living and working in this cosmopolitan city continue to entice expats. Crime is virtually non-existent and the unemployment rate is relatively low.  With its very central location, business trips to surrounding cities in Europe are made easy, explaining why Frankfurt is so favoured by the expat community.  

Weather in Frankfurt

Expats moving to Frankfurt will enjoy a temperate continental climate, where warm summers and cold winters dominate the seasons. New arrivals will be pleased to know that temperatures are never too extreme, but the winter months can often be stormy with snowfalls.

Frankfurt Climate Chart

Working in Frankfurt

Frankfurt has been a popular expat destination for decades. Its major drawcard is the world of work and the opportunities the city provides for ambitious professionals. 

The workplace in Frankfurt is certainly not for the faint-hearted. New arrivals are expected to work efficiently and prove their worth. Their hard work is usually rewarded with great salaries and the excellent standard of living which Frankfurt offers its residents. 


Job market in Frankfurt

Frankfurt is the financial, commercial and industrial capital of Germany, and along with Paris and London, is one of the major banking and financial centres of Europe. The city is home to over 400 banks and financial institutions as well as the Frankfurt Stock Exchange – the largest in Germany.

Major names in finance with large operations in Frankfurt include Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte. The city is also home to two important central banks, namely the European Central Bank and the German Federal Bank.

The aviation industry is another prominent employer in Frankfurt. Frankfurt International Airport is one of the world's busiest airports and the single largest place of work in Germany, employing over 70,000 people. Other major employers in the aviation industry include Lufthansa, Condor and Fraport. 

Frankfurt is also home to Germany's highest concentration of lawyers and, as a result, most of the world's large international law firms maintain offices in the city, including Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklalters and Norton Rose Fulbright. 


Finding a job in Frankfurt

Such a high-profile work environment means expats should prepare for a competitive, professional and fast-paced experience. Most expatriates naturally work in the financial, banking and business industries, and most often for international employers that are building their presence in Germany. It is important to note that many of the expats in Frankfurt are relocated by companies they have worked for previously or are headhunted, so it is important to be well qualified when applying for positions in the city. 

Regardless of where one works, however, it is essential to speak some German, both to better business interaction and to smooth out social dealings. Ideally, German lessons should be taken before arrival in Frankfurt, and continued with one of the many courses available for German second language speakers in the city.

Expats from non-EU countries and some newer EU-member states are required to have a work visa to commence employment in Frankfurt. This can be applied for at the German consulate in an expat's home country. EU nationals have the considerable advantage of not requiring a work permit in Frankfurt.

Cost of Living in Frankfurt

According to Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey, Frankfurt is the second most expensive city in Germany, after Munich. Frankfurt was ranked 74th out of 209 expat destinations worldwide. However, expats will find that there are a number of ways to save money while still maintaining a good quality of life in this highly industrialised city.

Just like in anywhere else, an individual expat’s cost of living is dependent on their lifestyle. While Frankfurt allows residents to indulge, it is also a city where it's possible to live cheaply and comfortably.


Cost of accommodation in Frankfurt

There is a range of accommodation in Frankfurt and the price will depend on a number of factors, including the area one chooses to live in, the size of the property and whether the property is furnished or unfurnished.

Remember that when renting property in Germany, ‘warm’ rent includes certain utilities. 


Cost of transportation in Frankfurt

Getting around in Frankfurt using public transport is fairly inexpensive. There are plenty of money-saving programmes available for one to choose from. For expats who will use public transport to commute on a daily basis, it is wise to invest in a monthly or annual travel pass. Furthermore, expats moving to Frankfurt will be pleased to know that these passes cover the cost of travelling with children in the evening or at weekends.

Generally, most people do not need a car to get around Frankfurt. However, those that do wish to drive will need to factor in the cost of parking fees and petrol.


Cost of groceries in Frankfurt

The cost of grocery shopping varies depending on where one shops. Supermarkets operated by Galeria or Karstadt tend to be more expensive. Most expats shop at Rewe. 

For those on a tighter budget, there is Lidl and Aldi. Unfortunately, it is not too common to see bulk buy offers in supermarkets in Frankfurt.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Frankfurt

Frankfurt is a bustling, cosmopolitan city and expats will find there is a lot to keep them entertained here. Frankfurt has lots of good restaurants offering traditional German cuisine as well as international fare.

Tipping is common practice in Frankfurt; however, how an individual tips will differ from one person to another. The general practice is to give a 10 percent tip.


Cost of schooling in Frankfurt

While public schools in Germany are of an excellent standard and fees are very low, for most expats this is not a viable option. Unless expats plan on relocating to Germany in the long-term or have children who are young enough to pick up the local language, international schools are usually the best option, but they come at a hefty price.

Those relocating to Frankfurt for a lucrative job offer should try to negotiate an allowance to cover school fees for their children.


Cost of living chart for Frankfurt

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider and the list below shows average prices for March 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,800 - 2,200

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,100 - 1,500

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 900 -1,200

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 700 - 900

Shopping

Dozen eggs

EUR 2

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 0.75

Rice (1kg)

EUR 2

Loaf of white bread

EUR 1.20

Chicken (1kg)

EUR 8.40

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 7

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

EUR 8

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.50

Cappuccino 

EUR 3.30

Bottle of beer (local)

EUR 4

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 50

Utilities/household

Internet (per month)

EUR 30

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

EUR 0.10

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

EUR 200

Transportation

Taxi rate per km

EUR 2

City centre bus fare/train fare

EUR 2.75

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

EUR 1.45

Accommodation in Frankfurt

Most expats relocate to Frankfurt for a definite period of time and therefore renting accommodation in Frankfurt is a more common choice than buying property. Frankfurt has a variety of accommodation options for every type of expat. 

Rent in Frankfurt is relatively high compared to other German cities. Apartments are commonly found in the city centre and as one moves further out to the suburbs it is possible to find more and more large family homes. There are plenty of apartment units in historical buildings built in the 1900s that have been modernised by landlords. The majority of expats choose to live in the city, and therefore typically rent apartments rather than houses.

Flatsharing is a popular option among young expats as it is a great way to save money and meet new people. 


Finding accommodation in Frankfurt

New arrivals should note that there is 'cold rent' and 'warm rent' in Germany. The ‘warm rent’ includes heating and miscellaneous costs but excludes electricity. ‘Cold rent’ excludes the cost of all utilities.

The tenant is responsible for the agent fee which is around twice the amount of the basic 'cold rent' on a property. In addition, most landlords will ask for two or three months' rental as a security deposit.

It is advisable to obtain proof from the landlord that he has kept the security deposit in a separate account from the monthly rent.

While rental costs are generally cheaper in Frankfurt than those in other major cities such as London, New York and Paris, expats should beware of false advertisements online. If rent is really low for a huge apartment, no agency fees are involved, and the only way to contact the 'landlord' is via email, the advertisement is more than likely a scam.

It is also fairly common to use newspapers to look for apartments, but this requires a fairly good understanding of German. 


Renting property in Frankfurt

Before expats start renting a property in Frankfurt, they should note that it is mandatory to purchase home insurance. There are plenty of home insurance service providers in Germany ranging from banks to private insurance providers. It is also fairly common to purchase Third Party Liability insurance in Germany, which can be quite extensive. The type of cover one requires should be discussed with a professional advisor, especially if the rental property includes assets belonging to the landlord.

Most contracts do not have a specific end date. Expats need to notify the landlord if they wish to terminate their rental contract and this should be done in writing, three months in advance.

As rental contracts are in German, expats are advised to consult someone who knows the language to go through each clause to fully comprehend the terms and conditions.

Utilities

Mainova is the main service provider in the Rhein-Main region of Germany and so most expats living in Frankfurt will use this company as their utility supplier.

Utility bills are based on an approximate rate, which is dependent on the size of the apartment and the number of people living there. The monthly repayments can be adjusted accordingly and the company issues an annual invoice stipulating the actual amount used and if there are any outstanding payments to be made. If one has paid more than the amount used for the year, they should receive a refund from the company.

Furnished versus unfurnished properties in Frankfurt

The majority of rental properties in Frankfurt are unfurnished. It is also fairly common to find properties without kitchens. Hence, it is important to factor in the cost of buying a kitchen if the property is without one. It is important to check with the landlord or agent as to what is provided before signing the papers.

In Germany, tenants either paint the apartment when they first move in or before they move out. It is advisable to paint the walls with generally acceptable colours to save the trouble of repainting them before moving out.

There are advantages and disadvantages to renting an unfurnished apartment. For expats who do not plan on living in Frankfurt for a long period of time, it may be more economical to rent a furnished place. Those who are looking to live in the city for a couple of years or more do tend to engage the services of a relocation company to ship their furniture from their home country to Frankfurt.

Temporary short-term accommodation in Frankfurt

Unless their company has provided long-term accommodation, most expats usually rent short-term accommodation while they find another place. Short-term accommodation can be furnished or unfurnished. All utility costs are usually included.

Similarly, tenants are liable for the agent fees incurred for short-term accommodation. However, the costs incurred should be pro rata if the tenancy is for less than 12 months. 


Putting in an offer on a property in Frankfurt

The demand for property in Frankfurt is high among both expats and Germans as Frankfurt is a relatively small but intercultural city with lots to offer in Continental Europe.

Upon viewing an apartment which seems to meet an individual's requirements, expats should not hesitate to put in an offer. Haggling is not an option in Frankfurt since the landlord is likely to have other potential tenants who are interested in their property as well. Unfortunately, securing a rental property does not work on a first come, first served basis. The landlords usually have a handful of applicants to select from.

As tenants are well protected in Germany by the Tenants’ Protection Association, landlords will only rent their place to someone they can trust and get along with.

For expats who do not speak any German, it is worth enlisting the services of an agent. Tenants are only required to pay the agent fees once they have successfully signed a rental agreement. However, expats should note that once the papers are signed and the keys have been handed over, the agent’s job is done. The tenant then assumes the responsibility of liaising with the landlord for any issues that may occur during the tenancy.

Areas and suburbs in Frankfurt

Frankfurt is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city and each year hundreds of expats move to the city to have a German expat experience. One of the biggest decisions facing those considering a move to Frankfurt is where exactly to live.

Choosing which neighbourhood to live in is determined by a number of factors, including price of accommodation, facilities available, and proximity to workplace, good international schools and transport links. Luckily, there are areas and suburbs in Frankfurt to suit every expat's accommodation and lifestyle needs.


Young and trendy areas of Frankfurt

Bornheim

Bornheim provides a lively atmosphere to young professional expats with a selection of pubs, bars and restaurants in the area. With an active night scene, most of the best entertainment spots are located along Bornheim’s main street, Berger Strassa, which is also home to some of Frankfurt’s best cider houses. Bornheim is well served by public transport and is on a number of bus routes and two underground train lines.

The majority of accommodation in Bornheim comes in the form of apartment units in modern complexes. This is a popular area to live in because of its vibrant entertainment scene and close proximity to the city centre, so accommodation costs are quite high.

Sachsenhausen

Sachsenhausen is a highly sought-after area for expats, especially those interested in the arts. This is a well-populated area of Frankfurt. There are lots of activities on offer to keep the residents of this neighbourhood entertained, including great flea markets and some of Germany’s best museums.

Located on the south side of the river, Alt-Sachsenhausen is famous for its cobbled streets. For those preferring Frankfurt’s café culture, Schweizer Strasse is also located in Sachsenhausen. Apartments are relatively affordable and many properties have great views of the River Main. 


Family-friendly suburbs of Frankfurt

Kronberg

Kronberg is an ideal place to bring up children as properties are spacious and there are lots of open spaces and leafy green parks in close proximity. Kronberg is also home to a number of good international schools.

Public transport links that connect Kronberg to other parts of Frankfurt are fairly good. The neighbourhood is located on two S-Bahn lines and average commute time into Frankfurt’s city centre is approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 

Property can be quite pricey here, so expats interested in the areas should negotiate an accommodation allowance with their employer.

Nordend

Nordend is a relatively peaceful part of Frankfurt, which is particularly popular with young couples and families as there are a number of good schools in the area. Nordend residents have a strong sense of community and regularly organise small-scale events within the neighbourhood.

Nordend is centrally located and well served by local buses. Being so close to Bornheim allows residents of the area to easily access some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. The area is also well loved by those who enjoy upscale wine and cocktail bars. Property prices are more reasonable here than in Kronberg.


City living in Frankfurt

Niederrad

Niederrad is a convenient place for expats who work in the area. It is also very close to Frankfurt International Airport (specifically Frankfurt Main station) so it is well connected to the city centre by public transport. Rent costs vary considerably in Niederrad as there is a range of different accommodation options.

A number of people choose to live in this area because of its excellent location and facilities that cater to the needs of expats. Those living in Niederrad have no shortage of activities to keep themselves entertained. There are lots of restaurants and bars in the area, which tend to be filled with an international crowd, as well as a number of great shops, coffee shops and restaurants.

Westend

Westend is another area that attracts many expats. Grüneburgpark and the Palm Gardens are located within the area, which provide residents with a great place to relax. This is a beautiful part of the city to live in, with stylish and architecturally stunning historic buildings lining the streets.

The neighbourhood is home to the offices of Frankfurt’s top legal firms and financial companies, and it is particularly popular among expats who are employed in those industries, as they appreciate living in close proximity to the workplace. 

The area is an upmarket part of Frankfurt and accommodation costs are some of the highest in the city. Westend has an abundance of luxury living options and most apartments are located in converted historical buildings.

Healthcare in Frankfurt

Expats moving to Frankfurt will find an excellent standard of healthcare and a culture centred on healthy living.

Both public and private hospitals in Frankfurt meet international standards and expats with a specific health problem can find comfort in the fact that there are a handful of specialist hospitals in the city.

All the leading hospitals that are accessible to expats in Frankfurt will accept major health insurance policies. Private hospitals in Frankfurt offer state-of-the-art medical technology, first-class facilities and access to top doctors and specialists.

Expats moving to Frankfurt will be pleased to know that almost all medical staff at hospitals in Frankfurt speak fluent English and waiting lists are short.  

Pharmacies, or Apotheken, are easy to find in Frankfurt and usually located on main shopping streets or inside malls. Pharmacies in Frankfurt tend to be closed in the evenings, on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and holidays. Some even close early on Wednesdays. While there are laws in Germany which have prevented the growth of pharmacy chains, there are a number of reputable pharmacies in the city.


Hospitals in Frankfurt

Below is a list of the most prominent hospitals in Frankfurt. Expats can expect to receive a good standard of treatment at these facilities.

Clementine Kinderhospital

www.clementine-kinderhospital.de
Address: Theobald Christ Str 16

Bürgerhospital

www.buergerhospital-ffm.de
Address: Nibelungenallee 37

The University of Frankfurt Hospital

www.kgu.de
Address: Theodor Stern Kai 7

St Katherine's Hospital

www.sankt-katharinen-ffm.de
Address: Innenstadt, Seckbacher Landstrasse 65

Education and Schools in Frankfurt

The standard of educational facilities in Frankfurt is on par with the rest of Germany. German public and private schools in the city offer an excellent level of teaching, and Frankfurt is home to a number of Germany’s top universities. 

While the German school system is highly regarded globally, most expats opt to send their children to international schools in Frankfurt. These schools offer expat students the opportunity to continue studying the same curriculum from their home country. Continuing studies in their native tongue plays a significant role in allowing children a smoother transition into expat life in Frankfurt.

Generally, all schools in Frankfurt will break for holidays in April, July/August and October, with an additional break in December for Christmas.


International schools in Frankfurt

There are just a handful of international schools in Frankfurt. Expats moving to the city will not have as much choice as they would in the German capital, Berlin.

Most of the international schools in Frankfurt are English speaking and follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. However, there are also international schools which follow the American, British and Japanese curricula, among others.

Expats should note that tuition fees at international schools are expensive in Frankfurt, and those moving to the city as part of an international transfer should be sure to negotiate an education allowance into their contract. 


Bilingual schools in Frankfurt

Public bilingual schools are a good alternative and worth considering, especially if there is no provision for the payment of school fees within an expat’s employment package.

There are very low fees attached to bilingual schools in Frankfurt. They are a great option for those planning to spend a good few years in Frankfurt and are keen to have their children integrate well with the local German population.

In these state-sponsored schools, there are usually two streams of curricula based on a child's mother tongue and German. In Frankfurt, there are currently bilingual schools that teach in German and either French, English, Greek or Japanese.

Bilingual schools are a popular option for Germans who want their children to experience a broader education. For this reason, space does tend to disappear quickly; thus, expats preparing for a move to Frankfurt would do well to start making arrangements as far in advance as possible.


Public schools in Frankfurt

Expats who have children young enough to pick up the language quickly, or who foresee themselves relocating to Frankfurt on a long-term basis, should consider standard German public schools. There are no tuition fees attached to these institutions, but there may be registration fees or minimal extras that will need to be financed.

Expats may initially find the system complicated, but it is ultimately based on achievement and is tailored to the abilities of each student.

Children attend Kindergarten at the age of three and start Grundschule (primary school) at age six. From this age, students learn a standard set curriculum.

After this point, they attend one of three types of secondary schools: Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium. German education is thus not divided according to age from this point forward, but rather according to what direction a student chooses to take their education.

A child's academic ability usually determines which school they attend, but the final decision also often rests with the parents.

Bear in mind, though, regardless of which school a child attends, all students are required to complete at least nine years of education. Also, as schooling is usually conducted during the morning, students often receive a lot of homework and are thus unable to involve themselves in too many extra-curricular activities.

Hauptschule, while offering the same subjects as Realschule and Gymnasium, teaches children at a slower pace and includes vocational courses. During grade 10, students study at a vocational training school and then attend Berufsschule, where they receive further education and apprenticeship training up until grade 12. 

Realschule, on the other hand, is attended up until and including grade 10, after which students go straight to Berufsschule. Depending on their academic progress, Realschule students can go to a Gymnasium upon graduation.

Gymnasium is generally accepted as the type of school for top students. Subjects included here are mathematics and natural science, as well as classic and modern language studies. It covers grades five through 13 and successful scholars receive a degree called an Abitur, which offers university and college preparatory classes, or combined academic and vocational training. 

International Schools in Frankfurt

International schools in Frankfurt are of a very high standard. These private institutions offer education based on foreign curricula. Popular options include the British curriculum (including the Cambridge IGCSE and A-levels), the American curriculum (including SATs and AP subjects) and the International Baccalaureate.

International schools in Frankfurt are known for having excellent facilities, highly qualified teachers and small class sizes. Parents may find that there is a school in the city offering their home country's curriculum – if so, their child's education can continue with as little disruption as possible. If one's home curriculum is not available in Frankfurt, international schools remain an excellent choice as they provide a high standard of education leading to globally respected qualifications.

Unlike in larger German cities, there is a relatively small selection of international schools available in Frankfurt. For this reason, international schools in the city often operate waiting lists, so it's always a good idea to start applications early to ensure a spot. 

See below for a list of international schools in Frankfurt popular among expats.


International schools in Frankfurt

European School, Frankfurt am Main

This prestigious school is one of 13 schools across Europe overseen by the European Union. Four different streams are available: German, English, French and Italian. In preschool, there is also the option of a Spanish stream. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: European
Ages: 4 to 18

Frankfurt International School

More than 1,800 children of over 60 nationalities make up this prestigious school's diverse student population. As an International Baccalaureate founding school, Frankfurt International School is well-qualified to offer this prestigious academic programme. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Japanische Internationale Schule Frankfurt has decades of history of providing an excellent Japanese education in a German context. A short train ride away from central Frankfurt, the school is centrally located and easily accessible. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Japanese
Ages: 6 to 14

Lycée Francais Victor Hugo

With more than 1,000 students, Lycée Francais Victor Hugo is a prominent school known for its high standard of education. Students have a choice of two streams: French or bilingual (French and German). Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French and German
Ages: 3 to 18

Metropolitan School Frankfurt

Students at this well-respected school earn the Cambridge IGCSE in Grade 10 and graduate with the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Grade 12. Extra-curricular options are plentiful and include everything from saxophone and mask making to fitness club and dance aerobics. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Cambridge IGCSE and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Strothoff International School

Strothoff International School offers all three International Baccalaureate programmes. There are numerous after-school clubs available, including sport, academic, creative and science-related activities. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate 
Ages: 3 to 18

Lifestyle in Frankfurt

Frankfurt prides itself on being the largest city in the German state of Hesse and also one of the largest financial centres in Europe.

Famous for its breathtaking skyline along the River Main, Frankfurt is one of the most international cities in Germany and attracts many expats in search of high salaries and career advancement.

The city is charming and brimming with history and culture. There are in-demand shopping outlets, impressive museums, interesting historic sites and world-class opera theatres to enjoy.

Frankfurt offers working professionals an attractive work-life balance. Employees can expect to receive 30 days of annual leave every year. This allows expats to not only discover nearby towns and cities, but also the chance to travel to neighbouring countries, given that Frankfurt has excellent rail connections and one of the busiest airports in Europe.


Eating out in Frankfurt

One is always spoilt for choice when dining out in Frankfurt. The restaurant scene reflects Frankfurt’s multicultural nature. Like many cities in the world, dining out can be expensive so it is essential to know where to look if wanting to keep costs low.

The Fressgasse pedestrian street is the place for traditional German food, while the Westend and Nordend are where a great range of stylish and upmarket restaurants can be found. For those wanting more of a café or pub atmosphere, there is Berger Strasse in Bornheim.


Nightlife in Frankfurt

Despite the city's financial reputation, the nightlife in Frankfurt is not dominated by hotel bars and expensive bottles of champagne. Frankfurt’s nightlife scene is very varied, catering to almost every kind of entertainment - from casinos, bars and cocktail lounges to live music venues and dance clubs. Jazz clubs are particularly popular in Frankfurt and there are numerous performances taking place across the city.

Much of the city’s nightlife is centred in the north of the city in Fressgasse, Zeil and Römerberg. Sachsenhausen is a good place to find Latin, Irish and local joints.


Shopping in Frankfurt

Frankfurt’s main shopping street is Zeil. Here, shoppers will find their regular high-street stores like H&M, Zara and Promod, as well as department stores such as MyZeil, Galeria, Karstadt and Parfümerie Douglas. The Apfelwein district in Sachsenhausen is the place to find traditional German buys, while Goethe Strasse sells top-end designer goods and is packed with jewellery stores. Schweizer Strasse has beautiful boutiques and independent stores aimed at a trendier clientele. 


Outdoor activities and sport in Frankfurt

Frankfurt is among Germany’s most green urban cities and as such it offers a wide variety of outdoor pursuits for residents to get involved in. The city is cyclist-friendly, with plenty of urban bike paths in addition to mountain trails. Furthermore, there is no charge for taking bicycles on board public transport.

There are more than 50 parks and green spaces in Frankfurt, most of which are suitable for walkers and runners. Some parks in the city even have designated areas for roller-skating, ping pong, football and basketball. Expats who enjoy water-based activities will be pleased to know that Frankfurt is home to a number of water parks, large indoor swimming pools and open-air pools, which are extremely popular during the summer months.

Kids in Frankfurt

Expats moving to Frankfurt with a family will find that the city may not be Germany's most child-friendly locale, but nonetheless, there is still plenty to see and do with the little ones.


Activities for kids in Frankfurt

An ideal attraction for kids is Eissporthalle Frankfurt. There are two ice-skating rinks here in winter, which are used for inline skating in summer, so it's a fun outing for the whole family.

Parents can take their children to explore the Frankfurt Zoo or devote a day to the Children’s Museum, where kids can learn about geology, biology and architecture in an interactive and fun way.

For those who are a bit older, the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a wonderfully fascinating place to visit.

On warmer days, pack a picnic and head to the Palmengarten to enjoy the wide open spaces, or take a trip to the Rebstock Bath to take advantage of the slides and pools – the little ones will certainly be cooled off and tired out.

See and Do in Frankfurt

Expats moving to Frankfurt will be pleased to know that there are many attractions and activities in the city.

Sights include the Well of Justice Fountain in Romerberg Square, the beautiful and opulent Goethe-Haus, and the Eschenheimer Turm (the old city gate which dates back to the 15th century).

Culture and history buffs will love meandering through the Städel Gallery or the Museum of Sculpture, while those preferring a bit of rest and relaxation can head to the beautiful Frankfurt Botanical Gardens for a picnic in the great outdoors. 


Recommended attractions in Frankfurt

Eschenheimer Turm

Dating back to the 15th century, the Eschenheimer Turm is one of the few remaining medieval portions of the wall that was built to encircle Frankfurt. Expats who are new to the city should climb to the top of the 154-foot high (47m) Gothic tower to admire the views of the city.

Goethe-Haus

This famous house is where the renowned poet and writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born. Though the house underwent a number of modifications when it left the hands of the Goethe family, it was eventually purchased and restored as a tribute to the writer. The house was then destroyed during World War II, but has since been rebuilt.

Well of Justice (Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen)

Built in Frankfurt’s central square of Romerberg in 1541, the Well of Justice has changed a lot over the last few centuries and the original sandstone statues were moved to the Museum of Local History. Still, the historical site is worth a visit for anyone new to Frankfurt.

Botanical Garden (Botanischer Garten Frankfurt am Main) 

Spend a day strolling through the beautiful Botanical Garden in Frankfurt and enjoy the journey through its different sections of flora and fauna. This is a great spot to enjoy a picnic while relaxing in the sun during the summer.

German Film Museum (Deutsches Filmmuseum)

This museum is constantly screening old films from its collection, and expats who are eager to learn about the country’s movie history should head to the Deutsches Filmmuseum to look at the exhibits, models and images.

Liebieghaus

Built in 1896 for Czech Baron Heinrich Liebieg, Liebieghaus hosts Frankfurt's sculpture museum and is a definite must for culture lovers. It boasts a variety of sculptures from ancient Sumeria, Egypt, Greece and Rome.

Städel Gallery

This is Frankfurt’s most important gallery and contains some exquisite European works of art. The institution features everything from 19th and 20th-century German painters, to French impressionists such as Renoir and Monet. The most impressive piece in the museum is Jan van Eyck's Madonna (1433).

Frankfurt Zoo

Nearly destroyed in World War II, with only 20 animals surviving, the zoo has added over 3,200 furry and feathered friends. Today the zoo features the popular Big Cat Jungle and the Exotarium, a collection of exotic and aquatic animals, as well as some very realistic replicas of many of the creatures' natural habitats.

Historical Museum (Historisches Museum)

With changing exhibitions, the Historical Museum features objects and artefacts that date back as far as the Middle Ages – a great way for non-European visitors to catch a glimpse into the very distant past of Frankfurt and Europe.

What's On in Frankfurt

Expats living in Frankfurt will find plenty of activities to keep them entertained during their free time. Whether one enjoys culture, literature, sport or dining out, there are a whole host of festivals to enjoy. 

Here are some of main events and festivals on Frankfurt's calendar:

Fasching (February)

Fasching is a Mardi Gras-style festival celebrated throughout Germany each February. A lively parade takes place in the Frankfurt city centre and there are plenty of outdoor activities for residents and visitors to enjoy, accompanied by good food and music.

Spring Dippemess (March)

This started out as a traditional market of household crafts and is now a giant fair that attracts some 500,000 visitors who come to enjoy fairground rides, great food, wine tasting and games. The fair ends with a giant fireworks display that is not to be missed.

Museumsuferfest (July)

This festival is hosted on the banks of the River Main and is one of the most popular attractions in Frankfurt. Peruse the food stalls, enjoy the live acts, or just sit back and enjoy the fireworks display.

Apple Wine Festival (August)

Frankfurt’s apple wine culture has played an important role in the city’s social life for hundreds of years. Festival-goers can taste many excellent types of the famous wine. Attendees can also take back their very own traditional apple wine utensils, such as the typical ribbed apple wine glass, apple glass covers and, of course, the famous “bembel” apple wine jug.

River Main Festival (August)

This annual event sees spectacular fireworks launched from the bridges crossing the River Main. It also includes a variety of other activities to keep festival-goers entertained such as a regatta and the roasting of oxen.

Frankfurt Book Fair (October)

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the most important marketplace for books, media, rights and licences worldwide. About 7,400 exhibitors from 106 countries, 280,000 visitors and over 10,000 journalists flock to Frankfurt for this event.

Frankfurt Marathon (October)

With over 10,000 participants ranging from professional athletes to regular jokers who run for a laugh, expats who relocate to Frankfurt should head down to the streets to support the runners and cheer them on as they cover the 26.2 mile (42.2km) distance through the city streets.

Frankfurt Christmas Market (November to December)

The Frankfurt Christmas Market is probably one of the most important Christmas markets in Germany. The creative stand decorations, the scent of gingerbread cookies, candy floss and hot mulled wine will definitely get expats excited about Christmas. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Frankfurt

Expats will likely have many questions about what life is like in this bustling German city. Here are answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions about Frankfurt:

What is the cost of living in Frankfurt?

Frankfurt is the second most expensive city in Germany. However, when compared to some of the world's most noteworthy cosmopolitan centres, such as London or Paris, Frankfurt offers good value for money, with a relatively standard cost of living.

How safe is Frankfurt?

Frankfurt is a relatively safe city and incidents of crime are low. However, it is advisable not to walk around in poorly lit areas after dark, especially for women.

What is the closest getaway destination from Frankfurt in the countryside?

Drive out of Frankfurt along the Romantic Road and meander through Bavaria. The German countryside is beautiful, dotted with small towns offering bed and breakfasts for overnight stays. The road officially goes between Würzburg and Füssen before it ends up at King Ludwig's famous crazy castles, and is busiest during the summer.

What is the weather like in Frankfurt?

Frankfurt is known for having a temperate continental climate. Summers are warm and mild and characteristically have the odd wet day here or there. Winters are very cold, but temperatures are never severe.

Getting Around in Frankfurt

One of the advantages of living in Frankfurt is its inexpensive public transport system. For those who live and work in the city, a car may not be necessary. With a good city map or Google Maps, expats will find that getting around Frankfurt is quite easy. 

For those who enjoy a good walk, it is possible to walk around the city centre. The public transport system in Frankfurt is of a very efficient and reliable.

There are a variety of different ticketing options, depending on how often a person uses public transportation in Frankfurt.


Public transport in Frankfurt

The Rhein-Main Transport Association (RMV) operates the S-Bahn lines, while the Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt (VGF) operates the U-Bahn lines, trams and buses in Frankfurt. Given the city’s bustling nightlife, especially on the weekends, there are night buses which run till the early hours, allowing Frankfurt residents to save on taxi fares and to get home safely late at night. 

Trains

Frankfurt’s Central Station is possibly the most important transport hub in Germany. More than 1,000 trains connect Frankfurt with other cities in Germany, as well as with international destinations. All the S-Bahn services stop at the Central Station. Trains are usually very punctual and there is a timetable of all the trains that stop at each station.

The S-Bahn connects Frankfurt with the densely populated Rhein-Main region. When the S-Bahn leaves the city, it travels above ground, covering the main areas in Frankfurt (such as Konstablerwache, Hauptwache and Frankfurt Central Station), and also provides access to the trade fairs and airport. The S-Bahn trains also travel to nearby cities, including Wiesbaden, Bad Homburg, Mainz, Darmstadt, Kronberg, Friedburg. The U-Bahn serves Frankfurt and the larger suburbs of Bad Homburg and Oberursel in the north. 

Trams

Frankfurt has a very efficient tram service. The trams travel over ground and usually run on tracks which go down the middle of roads. Trams serve more stops than the trains do in Frankfurt.

It might be a shock for some people as passengers might have to walk onto the road to get on or off a tram at times. While it is perfectly safe to do so, be very careful to check that cars have stopped before crossing. It is mandatory for drivers to stop behind the line and give priority to tram passengers. However, there may still be reckless drivers on the road who don't always obey this law.

Trams stop at every designated stop so passengers do not need to press the bell to request a stop.

Buses

A number of buses serve Frankfurt. Each stop has a name which will be announced and displayed onscreen prior to the stop. Buses in Frankfurt cover a greater area and serve more distant suburbs which are not covered comprehensively by Frankfurt's train network.

All night bus services start and end at Konstablerwache.


Taxis in Frankfurt

Taxis are readily available in Frankfurt. If a passenger knows the street name and postal code of their destination, the driver should not have any problem finding a place.

Just like any other city, taxis can be expensive depending on how far one wants to travel. Taxis are a viable option when travelling short distances within the city centre. Travelling by taxi also becomes cost-effective when a number of people are travelling together to the same destination.


Cycling in Frankfurt

Frankfurt is a pretty safe city for those who wish to cycle. There are bicycle lanes in most parts of Frankfurt.

Although it is not compulsory to wear a helmet while cycling in Frankfurt, expats are advised to do so at all times. 


Driving in Frankfurt

While most people living in Frankfurt opt to use public transport to commute in and out of the city each day, driving does have its own benefits – such as increased independence and ease of access, which cannot be replicated by other modes of transport. Having a personal vehicle is especially useful for expats with children as well as those who wish to explore the outskirts of Frankfurt more freely in their spare time.

The standard of road infrastructure and signage in Frankfurt is excellent so expats will find that driving in Frankfurt is a pleasant experience. Furthermore, local motorists are generally patient and courteous. 

The major downside to driving in Frankfurt is the lack of parking in the city, which is not only hard to find but expensive. Rush hour traffic can also be a problem for commuters.