Moving to Frankfurt
Are you moving to Frankfurt? If you’re moving to Frankfurt this dynamic city offers plenty of highlights for both singles and families.
Moving to Frankfurt like any other city involves getting to know a lot of customs and lifestyle issues which will be unfamiliar to you.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Frankfurt report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Frankfurt on the Map
South east of the Taunus Mountains, Frankfurt straddles the River Main, covering an area of 96 square miles, with the centre of the city lying on the north bank. The Main is the longest tributary of the Rhine and the longest river lying entirely within Germany. It joins the Rhine just a few miles west of Frankfurt. The city is surrounded by the larger, crowded Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region, home to 5.5 million, and Germany’s second largest conurbation. It also lies pretty much at the geographical centre of Europe, which puts it in the perfect position to be one of the continent’s major transport hubs.
- Frankfurt Airport, seven miles to the southwest of the city centre, is one of the busiest in the world.
- The airport has four runways, serves 265 destinations and is the second busiest cargo airport in Europe.
- It can currently handle nearly 60 million passengers a year, though expansion plans mean it will be able to accommodate 88 million by 2020.
- Frankfurt is a major hub of the German autobahn system.
- The Frankfurter Kreuz, the motorway junction near the airport, is the busiest interchange in Europe with more than 300,000 cars passing through it each day.
- A number of major European road routes intersect at Frankfurt, and within the city congestion is frequent.
- Frankfurt Central Station ranks with Munich and Hamburg as one of Germany’s biggest railway stations.
- It’s the major station in Germany’s high-speed rail network, ICE.
- The Frankfurt Trade Fair has two railway stations of its own, and there are several other railway stations in the city centre.
- Frankfurt has two rapid transit systems—the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn. Each system has nine lines, serving the suburbs of the Rhine Main region around the city.
- There are 10 tram lines and an extensive bus network.
Not surprisingly as a major centre for finance and commerce, Frankfurt is an expensive city to live in.
Furthermore, most apartments are let unfurnished, which you’ll need to take into account when assessing how far your budget will go. As an example, when looking for an apartment, you need to make sure you ask for closets before ending up with an empty room.
Like most cities, if you want to live in the centre of town, you’ll be mainly offered apartments. If you want a family house with outdoor space, you’ll need to look to the suburbs.
Also, when you’re looking at properties, check with the agent whether the rent is ‘warm’ or ‘cold’—which means including or not including the cost of heating and utilities.
In general, demand for good rental properties within the city is high, so if you see one you like snap it up. This level of demand also means that landlords are unlikely to negotiate on the rent.
Frankfurt is divided into 46 districts, which are sub-divided into 118 boroughs and 448 electoral districts. However, various residential areas such as Nordweststadt, Goldstein, Riedberg and Europaviertal actually straddle administrative districts.
Here are some of the more popular residential areas you might consider when moving to Frankfurt.
This large and dynamic quarter of Frankfurt lies south of the river. The most central portion, Alt-Sachsenhausen is part of the medieval centre of the city, and it’s an area with lots of galleries, museums, shops and restaurants. Schweizer Strasse is the epicentre of Frankfurt’s café culture and you’ll also find the fascinating flea market in this area. If you’re lucky, you could end up in an apartment with river views.
Young professionals who want to embrace an urban lifestyle should try Bornheim
—the bars, clubs and restaurants in this area make it the focus of the city’s nightlife. It’s convenient for the CBD and most of the apartments on offer are modern and well-appointed. However, these facts all add up to make rents higher here than in other parts of Frankfurt.
This suburb is well positioned for the airport and has good commuter links into the city centre. It’s popular with expats and the area offers good amenities, reasonable rents and a wide range of accommodation options.
This is the green and leafy part of Frankfurt, with both Grüneburgpark and the Palm Gardens located here. It’s also architecturally elegant and stylish, which makes it easy to understand why so many legal and financial companies choose to locate their offices here. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive areas in the city in terms of rent, but there are some beautiful and luxurious apartments in historic buildings.
A quiet quarter of Frankfurt, popular with young families for its sense of community and good schools. It’s also well-located for people working in the city centre and generally the rents are reasonable.
For expat families with children, Kronberg comes high on the list—not least for the presence of international schools in the area, but also because there are larger properties available and a number of good parks and gardens. It means a slightly longer commute to the CBD but the district is served by two S-Bahn line. However, rents can be high due to healthy demand.
Who Lives in Frankfurt and Why?
Given that Frankfurt’s the financial and commercial capital of Germany and one of Europe’s most important financial centres, it’s easy to see why so many expats come to work here. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is Germany’s largest, two central banks are head-quartered here and there are nearly 500 financial companies with offices here. This financial prominence came about as Frankfurt took over as Germany’s centre for commerce when Berlin was partitioned at the end of World War Two.
Other important employers in and around Frankfurt include the aviation industry—Frankfurt Airport is Germany’s largest workplace—and the legal profession. The Messe is one of the world’s largest exhibition centres, covering 578,000 square metres, with 10 exhibition halls and a convention centre. It’s home to the world’s largest motor show and the famous Frankfurt Book Fair.
As place to live, Frankfurt scores well in quality of living surveys—usually within the top ten of world cities, but it also comes high the most expensive city rankings. Among the 2.5 million residents of the municipal area, there are 180 nationalities, with sizeable populations of Turks, Afghans, Russian, Americans and other European nationals. Foreigners make up nearly 25 percent of the population.
Frankfurt is one of the wealthiest cities in Europe by GDP per capita and city surveys show a high level of satisfaction with living there. The crime rate is listed as the highest in Germany but apparently this is because of a calculation anomaly by which the entire crime level in the municipal area is ascribed to just the smaller city centre. Furthermore, the city’s crime figures also include smuggling and similar crimes which take place at the airport. The rate for violent crimes against the person is actually lower than the German average.
In a country which prefers to rent property than to buy it, Frankfurt boasts the highest number of home owners—most probably due to the number of financial workers and foreigners living in the city. Its buoyant property market is also attracting interest from the Far East.
The Best Bits
Frankfurt is a historic and sophisticated city with plenty of highlights.
- The Altstadt—despite sustaining serious damage in the War, sympathetic restoration means the medieval centre has retained its character. Look out for the Römer, or town hall, and St Bartholomew’s Cathedral. Further restoration of medieval buildings is being undertaken in the quarter between the Römer and the Cathedral.
- St Paul’s Church was the seat of Germany’s first democratically elected Parliament in 1848. It’s no longer used as a church but for exhibitions and events.
- The Eschenheimer Turm looks like part of a Disney castle. It was built in the 15th century as part of the city fortifications and is the oldest building in the city centre.
- The IG Farben Building was completed in 1930 as the headquarters for a chemicals conglomerate. It was the largest office building in Europe until the 1950s and is now part of Goethe University.
- The city boasts 14 skyscrapers that are over 150 metres tall.
- The Goetheturm is a 43 metre high tower built entirely from wood in 1931. It stands in the Frankfurt City Forest in Sachsenhausen, offering spectacular views of the city.
- There are more than 30 museums, 20 of which are situated on the banks of the Main.
- Oper Frankfurt is Germany’s most prestigious opera company and orchestra.
- The city has two botanical gardens and an archaeological garden in which one can view parts of old buildings recovered in the city.
- The local drink is Apfelwein or cider, while no one could visit the city without sampling a genuine Frankfurter Würstchen.
Bringing the Kids
Frankfurt is an exciting and cultured city and an ideal place to bring up children. There’s plenty to stimulate young minds here, and if you don’t mind living in the suburbs, you’ll be able to find a spacious house for a growing family. There are good educational options too.
- For German speakers the public school system is a fantastic choice. There are no tuition fees and the city has invested heavily in the IT infrastructure of its schools.
- The public schools are divided between Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium. Which school a child attends is based upon academic ability, with the brightest students attending Gymnasium.
- There are a number of bilingual public schools in Frankfurt, which make a cheaper alternative to the expensive international schools. These make an excellent choice if you want your children to speak German and integrate with German children. There are currently French, English, Greek and Japanese bilingual public schools, teaching in both German and the mother tongue. They are very popular, however, and entry is competitive.
- Frankfurt does not have a huge number of international schools, which means there are long waiting lists.
- Most of the international schools offer the International Baccalaureate.
- There are English, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Greek language international schools.
Relocating to Frankfurt
As Germany’s economic powerhouse, Frankfurt is a significant city on the world map. It lies in the heart of Europe and it’s a major hub in the European transport network. It’s also a significant financial centre and has one of Europe’s few skyscraper skylines. In terms of quality of living, it has a lot to offer: history, culture, greenery, a plethora of museums along the riverfront, Germany’s only city-centre forest and the original of what is probably the world’s most famous sausage. It’s got a vibrant centre that will appeal to urbanites, while it offers the best in terms of family lifestyle too.
At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes. Do you have children that need to be enrolled in school? Are the transport links convenient for your needs? Does this location fit with your expectations of expat life and is the space configured in a way that suits your requirements? We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – to Frankfurt, and destinations across Europe. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.
Average Monthly Rent - Frankfurt
|1 bedroom apartment in city centre||€891.07|
|1 bedroom apartment outside of centre||€652.22|
|3 bedrooms apartment in city centre||€1,732.61|
|3 bedrooms apartment outside of centre||€1,191.30|