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    Car hire in Germany - A Land of Variety and Adventure

    Car hire in Germany

    From the stunning beauty of the Alps to the exquisite baroque palaces of Bavaria, Germany is a remarkable tourist destination of exceptional variety and the highest possible standards. Thanks to a superlative network of main roads and Autobahnen (motorways), there's no better place to hire a car and enjoy an exciting driving holiday with family and friends travelling around its many different regions..

    Bustling Berlin is a city of extreme contrasts with more history than most other European capitals. No visitor can resist having their photo taken at Checkpoint Charlie before walking through that striking symbol of progression and unification - the world-famous Brandenburg Gate. And there’s Munich, queen of Bavaria and a place crammed with historic monuments, first-class museums and excellent shopping possibilities.

    Germany is a land of stout, crenellated castles, jagged Alpine peaks, top-class culture and vast swathes of fertile vineyards, some of which date back to Roman times. It’s also a place that sets the pace at the forefront of modern tourism development as it strives to preserve and protect its time-honoured heritage.

    Take a scenic drive through Altes Land from Hamburg to Stade to enjoy the lush, green landscapes of northern Germany before exploring the quintessential spa towns of Wiesbaden, Aachen (home to Charlemagne's 8th-century octagonal Palatine Chapel) and Baden-Baden. Likewise, winter visitors won’t want to miss the traditional Yuletide markets in town squares right across the land selling regional delicacies washed down with warm mulled wine.

    Founded in 1954, Auto Europe is a well-established car hire broker offering hundreds of pick-up and drop-off locations all over Germany, including Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin. In just a few clicks of the mouse you can confirm your reservation through the Auto Europe booking engine by selecting your dates and destination, after which you can choose from the cheapest deals available on the Internet - guaranteed! You can save even more money by taking advantage of our special promotions offering free upgrades, GPS included, free winter tyres, etc.

    Our rental specialists are on hand to help you book your car hire in Germany seven days a week, so if you have any questions or need advice on planning your itinerary, please give them a call on +44 123 3225 114 and they will be more than happy to assist you. For even more peace of mind, why not take a look at our Germany car hire reviews page to see what others have to say about their recent Auto Europe car rental experience.

    For more information on renting a vehicle in Germany, click on the car hire related topics listed below:

    Our Car Hire Suppliers Car Hire FAQs Vehicle Options

    Where to Pick up a Car Hire in Germany

    You're spoilt for choice when it comes to renting a car in Germany, there are dozens of pick-up and drop-off points in key locations all over the country, including Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Hamburg.

    If you're visiting Bavaria and the rest of southern Germany, we have plenty of excellent car hire destinations for you, most notably Munich where you can pick up your vehicle at the airport, main railway destinations and many other convenient downtown locations. Berlin is equally accessible for people booking a car rental in Germany, with pick-up points at Brandenburg airport, as well as Hauptbahnhof Station in the city centre.

    When you book your car hire with Auto Europe, you can choose from over 24,000 locations in more than 180 destinations all over the world, with Germany very highly placed amongst them. You can pick up your vehicle at all the country's main airports, railway stations and most convenient parts of the cities' downtown areas.

    Planning a trip in a country as large and varied as Germany takes lots of planning, especially if you are not too familiar with the destination. If you can't find the information you require here, Auto Europe's award-winning rental specialists are available 7 days a week on +44 123 3225 114 should you have any further questions. We've also posted an article on our blog covering everything you need to know when picking up a car hire to give you a head start when you arrive at your destination to collect your vehicle.

    Compare Car Hire Rates at the Most Popular Airport and Rail Stations in Germany

    Book with the Best Car Hire Suppliers in Germany

    As one of the market-leading car hire brokers, Auto Europe works very closely with all the world’s top car rental companies, including Thrifty, Budget, Avis, Europcar and Hertz, along with the most reliable local suppliers such as Buchbinder.

    Auto Europe’s price guarantee means that our clients will not find cheaper car hire deals anywhere else, with the added bonus of being able to cancel up to 48 hours prior to the time of pick-up, completely free of charge.

    Besides offering the lowest rates for people searching for a cheap car rental in Germany, we also take pride in the fact that our suppliers' car hire fleets are the most modern and extensive with the right car always available for the right person at the right price.

    Buchbinder - Car Hire Information Dollar - Car Hire Information Thrifty - Car Hire Information
    Hertz - Car Hire Information Avis - Car Hire Information Sixt - Car Hire Information

    When choosing our partners, the top priority has always been to make sure that their company standards for service and quality are as high as our own, meaning that the customer’s experience of renting a car in Germany is as pleasant and convenient as driving their own car back home.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a Car in Germany

    Contact UsThe idea of this section is to provide a list of the most popular questions that arise when hiring a car in Germany. Keep scrolling and you'll find information on a wide range of subjects, from age limits, cross-border travel suggestions and local driving rules to paying motorway tolls, choosing the best coverage and adding another driver to help out on a long trip. Just click on the link and you'll find all the info you need, or if you prefer you can speak to one of our rental specialists in person who are on duty 7 days a week and can help resolve any issues you might have prior to finalising your car rental reservation.

    How old do I have to be to rent a car in Germany?

    Generally speaking, you'll be able to rent a car in Germany if you are at least 18 years old. Some suppliers set the minimum age limit a bit higher and will not rent a car to drivers under the age of 21. If you are booking your first car hire, whether in Germany or elsewhere in the world, we have plenty of tips and other advice for less experienced drivers who are urged to consult our blog-post designed to get them started and help them on their way. If you want to know about car hire age requirements in general, our dedicated section provides full information on the kind of restrictions sometimes imposed on young and old drivers alike.

    For drivers under the age of 26, it's important to know that you will normally be required to pay a Young Driver Surcharge, which can often be a substantial fee to be paid on top of the daily car hire rate. Please note that this is a locally-charged fee and it's easy to find out how much it is by clicking on the blue and white info icon (i) after selecting your chosen destination and preferred vehicle/supplier during the process of making your reservation through the Auto Europe booking engine. The amount of this Young Driver Surcharge is also listed in the Terms and Conditions sent to you by e-mail shortly after your booking is confirmed. Please also remember that it is essential to state the correct age of the main driver when booking a car hire with Auto Europe, thus enabling us to properly inform you of any restrictions that might apply to your reservation.


    Can I pick up my car rental in Germany in one place and drop it off in another?

    Yes, as in many other popular destinations it is quite possible to collect your car from one car hire location in Germany and drop it off somewhere else, including some of the neighbouring countries. Please note that a fee will apply if you are booking a one-way car hire, which is imposed by the car rental supplier and charged in the local currency (EUR). Please note that certain restrictions might apply when opting for particular car hire categories, minimum rental durations and travelling between specific cities and locations.

    Vehicles selected from most Auto Europe car hire categories can be driven anywhere in Western Europe without any restriction, including Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. But due to insurance regulations, it’s worth remembering that certain restrictions often apply to luxury car categories and to those travelling in specific countries. It’s important to mention that drivers MUST indicate their intention to travel to other countries at the time of making the reservation, with each specific country being duly noted on the voucher. In other words, it is essential that you inform Auto Europe about your travel plans at the time of making your booking, especially if you are intending to drive the vehicle across the border and into another country, which would require our confirmation prior to completing the reservation process.

    Due to certain regulations relating to car hire cover, some restrictions apply to specific luxury car categories and travel to particular countries. If you are planning to drive in Eastern Europe, please be aware that permission to travel to those countries is decided by the suppliers themselves and not Auto Europe. We can, however, check with the supplier on your behalf if any fees and/or travel restrictions will apply to you whilst driving in that part of Europe.

    All one-way fees (without VAT) are indicated in the booking engine results below the car rate, the amount of which is further communicated to customers once the reservation has been confirmed. Please be aware that Auto Europe does not receive any part of this fee, with the full amount being paid directly to the local supplier. Nevertheless, we feel that it’s important to inform our clients of all the fees included in their car rental in Germany in order to provide them with the best possible service and to help them make a well-informed choice. Each supplier determines their own fees independently and it might be that one company charges significantly less than another for the same pick-up and drop-off points, while some might not permit any travel at all! This is because all the car hire companies operate independently from one another and offer different options and rental locations.

    When planning your trip, you will want to know all about the above travel restrictions and whether or not they apply to you. To find out, all you need to do is click on the blue and white info icon (i) when making a search using the Auto Europe booking engine. All relevant information is also clearly stated on the booking voucher sent to you after the reservation is finalised.


    Do I need a credit card to rent a car in Germany?

    Yes. Credit cards are a standard requirement when picking up a rental car in Germany, with car hire companies placing a hold on the credit card for the value of the cover. This deductible amount is refunded shortly after the vehicle is returned undamaged and in full working order. A percentage of this credit card hold might be avoidable in the event of the customer purchasing zero deductible coverage, thus freeing them from paying for repair costs in the event of the vehicle being damaged or written off.

    People are often surprised when their debit card is refused when they rent a car in Germany, so please make sure that you carry a major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Diners and American Express) in the main driver’s name with enough credit prior to arriving at your destination. For those booking a luxury category car, the local supplier might ask for an additional credit card in the name of the primary driver. You will find all the information you need regarding credit cards and which ones are accepted when making your reservation. After choosing your dates, destinations and preferred vehicle/supplier, just click on the blue and white info icon (i) where you'll find all the relevant information.

    Please note that debit cards are very rarely accepted by suppliers at the time of picking up the vehicle. However, it’s important to bear in mind that the main driver will need a credit card in his or her name to pick up the car because the local supplier will hold a sum of money as a security bond for the duration of the rental period, which is later refunded when the vehicle is returned intact. For a quick overview on what to look out for when planning to drive in Germany, please consult our information page providing six of the most important things to know about credit cards and deposits before your next trip.


    What are the most important driving rules in Germany?

    When taking to the roads in Germany, it is very important to comply with the local traffic laws in order to enjoy a seamless and stress-free travel experience in this wonderful country. The purpose of the following section is to help you get around quickly and easily with a much better understanding of Germany's most important driving rules and regulations. It is also intended to help you avoid getting stopped by the police and receiving a fine for speeding, using your mobile phone, not wearing a seat-belt, etc.

    The speed limits in Germany are a sensible 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas and 100kph (62mph) elsewhere. When driving on the famous autobahns (around 13,000 kilometres of them in total) that connect most German cities, you’ll find there are two types of speed limit: suggested and compulsory. Depending on which particular stretch of autobahn you are driving on, you’ll find the 'suggested' speed limits indicated by blue square signs (keep to the right because some cars drive alarmingly fast!) and 'compulsory' speed limits indicated by red circular signs. In case of emergency or breakdown, you can call the emergency number 112 day or night to contact the local police, fire or ambulance services. It's completely free of charge whether you’re calling from a land-line or mobile phone.

    Don’t forget to keep to the right-hand side of the road when driving in Germany, as in most of the other European countries. Please also remember that the wearing of seat-belts is mandatory for all occupants of the vehicle, including the driver who is also required by law to carry a valid driver’s licence and registration/insurance documents at all times. You must also make sure that any children travelling in the vehicle are all properly buckled up, with those aged 11 and under (or less than 5 feet tall) obliged to sit in the back. When travelling with kids, please note that hiring child and booster seats will be necessary for children up to the age of 12 travelling in the back, although height/weight restrictions might apply in specific cases and can vary from supplier to supplier. Never use a mobile phone whilst at the wheel (although hands-free devices are permitted) and you should always switch on the lights when passing through a tunnel. And filling up your petrol tank is never a problem in Germany; petrol stations are in abundance and open from 8am until 8pm, with many in large towns and cities and along the autobahns open 24/7.

    Germany is a highly disciplined country and heavy fines await any driver who flouts its strict rules and regulations on the roads. For instance, please be aware that vehicles will receive a ticket if they are parked opposite the flow of traffic, and running a red light or stop sign can result in a fine of almost €400! In the unfortunate event of receiving a penalty in Germany, you’ll first need to get in touch with your car hire supplier as soon as possible to arrange payment. Some drivers have reported a succession of letters with increasing amounts if the fine remains unpaid for an extended period of time. In most situations, the rental supplier will automatically charge the fine to your credit card, as well as a small administration fee.


    Do I need to pay tolls when driving my car hire in Germany?

    No. Visitors will never have to pay a cent on tolls when driving their car hire in Germany, making it one of the cheapest destinations for a driving holiday in Europe. Nevertheless, if you are planning to visit neighbouring Austria, please be aware that you will require a toll vignette to drive on the country’s motorways, which are also called autobahns. This sticker is placed on the vehicle’s windscreen and automatically registers the payment each time you pass through a toll booth. The vignette can be acquired from the supplier at the time of pick-up or, alternatively, you can get one at larger petrol stations or major border crossings between Germany and Austria. Entering either Austria or Switzerland without one is illegal and subject to a heavy fine.


    What kind of insurance do I need for my car hire in Germany?

    Auto Europe’s rates for car rental in Germany always include the legally-required minimum coverage and CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) with or without excess, depending on the supplier. Please note that CDW never covers damage to tyres, glass, wing mirrors, underside, the vehicle’s interior, roof, engine, locks and loss of keys. Our prices also include Theft Protection (TP), with or without excess, but again it largely depends on which car rental company you are booking with.

    For a very reasonable additional fee, drivers are strongly urged to consider taking out Auto Europe’s excellent Full Protection product. This is extremely good value for money and covers damage to glass, wheels, roof, underside, towing fee, loss of key, mis-fuelling and any administration costs incurred. Please note that the rate depends on the location, rental duration, car category and supplier.

    You can find all the necessary coverage-related details (ie CDW, theft and liability insurance, etc.) quickly and easily when searching for the best car hire deals in Germany. Once you have selected your dates, destination and preferred vehicle, just click on the blue and white info icon (i) where all this information can be clearly seen. we will send you the same information in more detail once your booking has been confirmed.

    As often happens, your chosen company might try to sell you additional coverage when you arrive to pick up your vehicle. This kind of coverage includes, but is not restricted to, PAI (Personal Accident Insurance), PEC (Personal Effects Coverage), Super CDW, Seguro Relax Insurance, Road Assistance etc. Please be advised that you are NOT obliged to purchase it and are free to choose whether or not to accept it. It’s also important to note that Auto Europe cannot refund any locally-purchased insurance charges or fees, even if the customer discovers that it was an unnecessary purchase after returning their rental car.

    To find out how you can acquire full protection for your next trip, please consult the comprehensive car hire coverage section on the Auto Europe website. Additionally, you can find more tips and handy advice in our complete car hire coverage blog post


    Can I use my UK licence to drive my rental in Germany?

    Anyone hiring a car, be it the main driver or any additional drivers, are obliged by law to present a valid driving licence at the time of picking up their vehicle. Furthermore, they must have held this licence for at least two years.

    In the event of their driving licence not being entirely written in the Roman alphabet, then an International Driving Permit (IDP) is mandatory if the customer is planning to drive a rental car during their time in Germany, which must also be presented along with their national driving licence.

    Please note that some car hire companies might require an IDP anyway at the time of pick-up, even if the customer’s driving licence is actually written in the Roman alphabet. For full details see the Auto Europe voucher's terms and conditions.

    It’s also worth mentioning that every single car rental supplier has its own minimum age requirements, while some of them also impose a maximum age limit. These terms are valid for both the main and additional drivers.

    Since the 8th of June 2015, people travelling on a UK licence have sometimes been asked by the car rental provider to provide a DVLA code in order to check the driver's record. To anticipate this request, you can print a copy of your driving licence record from the DVLA website. 21 days prior to the start of your rental.

    Please also be aware that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, you will need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to be able to drive in Germany. For updates, please visit the Germany travel advice section in the UK government website.


    Can I add an additional driver to my rental car in Germany?

    Yes, definitely! In fact, it couldn’t be easier to add an additional driver when booking a car rental in Germany with Auto Europe. Note that some car hire companies include the Additional Driver Fee in their published rates, while others will charge you a daily fee when you arrive at your destination to pick up your vehicle, the amount of which is determined by the local supplier.

    Whichever the case, any additional drivers will need to be pre-registered in the car rental agreement at the time of confirming the reservation, after which they will be asked to present the same documents as the main driver at the time of pick-up (ie driving licence, passport or ID card plus an International Driving Permit where required).

    It’s very often possible to add another driver absolutely free of charge in destinations all over the world, including Germany, when making a reservation through the Auto Europe booking engine. When planning your trip, don’t forget to consult the Auto Europe Free Additional Driver page to see which suppliers are included in this very special offer.

    The price of adding another driver is always clearly stated on the Auto Europe website and can be accessed by clicking on the blue and white info icon (i) in the car details. Additional Drivers Fees also appear on the car rental voucher sent to you by e-mail once the reservation has been confirmed.

    Please be aware that if a friend or family member not properly registered in the contract decides to drive the vehicle at any time during the rental period, the insurance coverage will be automatically null and void, making them liable for the total amount of any damages caused in the event of a crash or if the vehicle gets stolen. Therefore, it’s very important that anyone intending to drive the vehicle should be fully authorised for insurance purposes before leaving the car hire pick-up point.


    Do I need an emissions sticker for my car hire in Germany?

    Yes, when renting a car in Germany your rental vehicle will need an emission sticker. This is supplied by the local car hire company, (known locally as a Umweltplakette), and is a legal requirement in many of the country’s larger cities, including Berlin, Munich, Franfurt, Bonn, Stuttgart, Cologne and Hannover. This is part of the German government’s plan to improve air quality in high-emission zones by restricting access to certain parts of the city centres, depending on the volume of the car’s emissions. A colour scheme denotes how much pollution the vehicle is responsible for according to its emissions standard. Each city has its own designated areas, emission standards and timings so when entering a city you’re not familiar with, make sure you check the Umweltzone sign to avoid a fine.

    With more and more cars taking to the roads each year, something definitely needed to be done to reduce emissions, especially in the most built-up areas. It’s a well-known fact that exhaust fumes are increasingly harmful to our health, which is the main reason why these zones have been introduced, with more expected to be added in the future, not just in Germany but all over Europe and elsewhere around the world. The cost of the Umweltplakette, which contains information about the pollution and emissions risk of each respective vehicle, depends on the car itself. The penalty for not having a valid emissions sticker when entering certain inner city areas is known to be very high, often exceeding 2,000 euros!


    Do I need extra equipment for my car hire in Germany during winter?

    Yes. If your winter travel plans include booking a car hire in Germany, you need to be aware that the use of winter tyres is compulsory whilst driving around the country, particularly in the more mountainous areas. Winter tyres are made from a different rubber compound meaning that they don’t harden when it is cold, providing extra grip on the road and a greater degree of safety for drivers and their passengers. Besides snow-covered roads, they are effective in frozen, wet and very icy conditions with much-improved handling on corners and shorter stopping distances at traffic lights, crossings, etc.

    Failure to comply with this important piece of car rental legislation can result in a hefty fine, and should you cause an accident then the fine might be increased and your coverage reduced by up to 30%. You’ll also need to check that your vehicle is fitted with snow chains, which are also compulsory when driving on certain roads in Germany such as the more mountainous areas during the winter months, when the mercury often drops below zero. The use of snow chains is taken very seriously in Germany, so you should always carry a set with you, but they should only be used when the roads are covered in snow or ice and when the road signs indicate it. If you try to use chains on a road that has been gritted, you’ll risk damaging your hired vehicle. They can be difficult to fit and remove so it’s best to practice fitting them and taking them off before leaving the pick-up point.

    The popular winter sports areas of southern Germany bordering with Austria can become very busy during the peak skiing season with people from all over the world, which means that snow tyres/chains and other types of winter driving equipment might be in short supply. Therefore, we suggest that you book early and put in a firm request for any such equipment in order to avoid disappointment once you arrive at your destination, especially in light of the fact that some hired vehicles don’t automatically come equipped with winter tyres, hence the reason to book well in advance.

    When searching for your winter car hire in Germany in the Auto Europe booking engine, be sure to look out for our special seasonal package displaying the message 'Winter Tyres Included', which will give you added peace of mind when travelling from city to city and region to region. Please also consult our rules and regulations section which offers lots of advice for people driving around Germany during the winter months. Not all suppliers sign up to our free winter tyres promotion, so you’ll have to look out for our special seasonal package when booking your car hire online, ensuring that you’ll save precious time and money when you arrive at your destination.

    Additional Vehicle Rental Options in Germany

    You’ll find all the best car hire deals in Germany on the Auto Europe website. Just select your travel dates and destination in our state-of-the-art search engine and we’ll do the rest. You can choose from an extensive range of vehicles, large or small, compact or sumptuous, practical or something a little bit more glitzy. We have Mini and Economy categories for those on a tighter budget and/or staying in and around the cities, and we have Large and SUV categories for people planning an extended road-trip and requiring a bit more durability and luggage space. You can also opt for Midsize-category cars to maximise on engine power and space or you might want to book a vehicle from our Van category to cater for a large group of friends or the entire family!

    To help you make the right choice for your next trip, please consult our Germany fleet guide which provides full details of all the features and specifications to expect in each respective car hire category.

    Luxury Car Hire Germany Hire a Van in Germany Campervan Rentals in Germany

    Luxury Car Hire Germany - Auto Europe offers an exciting range of performance cars for hire, and there’s no better place to enjoy them than on the famous autobahns of Germany, where speed limits are much more liberal. If you’ve ever dreamed of driving through the Bavarian countryside in a high-end Mercedes, Audi or BMW, then now is your chance!

    Van Hire Germany - There’s nothing better than a road-trip in Germany with a group of your closest friends or family members travelling together in the same vehicle. With Auto Europe’s comprehensive Van category, you can see the best of the Black Forest or Rhine Valley in some of the most comfortable and spacious minivans available.

    Campervan hire Germany - Germany is tailor-made for touring in a modern motorhome, with the majority of its towns and cities very well prepared for tourists constantly on the move. With its romantic castles and extensive vineyards, the Mosel Valley offers some of the best scenery and campervan parks in the whole of Europe.

    Useful links

    Travel Inspiration and Information for Your Trip to Germany

    Driving and Traffic Information for Germany

    Winter Equipment Guide