Car rental - Europe

Things which affect the renting of the car in Europe:

  • Driverโ€™s license: In the European Union / Schengen a driver's license from an EU country is sufficient, although for North Americans it is recommended to carry a separate international driving license, in addition to the American driving license.
  • Direction of traffic: In Europe the traffic is mainly right-handed. The exception is Great Britain, which is left-handed traffic.
  • Insurance: In Western Europe, all rental cars include some kind of insurance, so additional insurance policies are often unnecessary (unless you are going to Russia or Eastern Europe).
  • Driving abroad: You can drive a rental car almost everywhere within all countries of the European Union / Schengen territory without additional fees. Eastern European countries and Russia are the exceptions and you should always ask the car rental company in advance about the rules.
  • Age restrictions: The minimum age for renting a car ranges from 19 to 24 years, depending on the legislation. There is usually no upper age limit. Usually drivers who are under 24 - 25 years of age are charged an extra fee or get rental terms and conditions, which include a requirement to have an additional insurance for damage / collision.
  • Return in a different location: Large car rental companies often allow the return of the car to a different state than the starting point, although it can be considerably more costly.
  • Winter tires: Winter tires are mandatory during winter in almost all States located north of the Alps. In France and Italy, there is no winter tire obligation, but some car rental companies are offering cars with winter tires.
  • Additional costs: Renting a car from the airport can be more expensive than elsewhere, because almost all EU countries charge 10-25% additional fee for bringing a car to the airport or to the train station. Although when returning the car additional fees are usually not charged.
  • Tolls: Some rental companies have their own electronic toll pay devices in their cars, which must be specified as an option in connection with the rental.
  • Highway payments: In some European countries, cars must have a separate surcharge sticker, which entitles you to drive on motorways. Even rental cars, almost without exception, need to have a surcharge sticker of the country in which they are rented. It may even be the case that you will have to buy a separate sticker for the next country you visit, when you cross the border. You should find out in advance, if you need additional stickers. An updated list of European countries, in which you must use separate highway stickers can be found at:
  • Traffic: The traffic in the big cities, is very congested at almost all times of the day and inside the cities it is preferable to use public transportation or taxis.
  • European roads, bridges and tunnels with tolls: Wikipedia article.