Europe Car Travels

Car Travels – Driving in Europe

Travelling to Europe can show thrilling times and with there being many modes of transport available, this can provide that chance to further discover the attractions that Europe has to offer. There are many countries to choose from when visiting Europe, with each country having something for everyone to enjoy whether it is a short or long term holiday that is planned. The main modes of transport available when travelling around Europe has by trains, air planes and buses. A better thought however, is to plan on renting a car in Europe during your stay. Driving in Europe is a particularly useful preference and one which is becoming more popular now a days; its flexibility being able to provide that extra independence when planning sightseeing expedition.

With a car rental you have the suppleness to go where you want to, when you want to. It can also end up a lot cheaper than taking taxis and tour buses to the places that interest you (especially if you are a couple, a family or travelling in a group), something you can’t really deal with, to do when travelling by alternative means.

It is usually a more cheaper to reserve a car rental in advance of the trip, as conflicting to renting one from the closest car rental depot to your hotel. There are plenty of car travels company that offer the ability to check rates and make reservations online.

Use a car rental websites which checks a selection of the main Car Rental Companies and offers you the best price for the particular day you are travelling on. Check several websites before you book. You will be amazed by the variety of quotes you receive and by the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive quote, for the same car on the same day.

Make sure that you are comparing the quotes given by different companies. Some car rental companies offer “all comprehensive” quotes which means what they quote is what you will pay when you reach your destination to rent the car; including insurance and taxes. Other company’s leave the insurance out and then you are hit with a much bigger price when you arrive to rent the car. As long as you are driving in Europe with a brand name car rental company, you will be offered a new, low mileage car, so choose the service that offers the best price.

If car rental is a well thought-out choice for travelling across Europe then there are many different types of cars available to decide from and depending on the period and number of people occupied in your journey, the preference of car made will meet your personal needs; whether it’s a small, economical vehicle or a family-sized car you are considering renting.

Driving in Europe Countries

France

The best way to travel around the popular cities of France is through car travel because the real freedom and enjoyment that car travel offers is much desired for exploring cities in France. Cruising through the south of France, there are many attractions like museums and restaurants to experience. Visiting these attractions is most suitable with a car because busy public transport systems can be frustrating at times. As hiring a car in France from the airport is simple, one can sit back and drive through the delightful country lands without a care in the world. Driving in France offers a outstandingly deluxe comfort along with other world famous tourist attractions which few other places can offer.

Tips for Hiring a Car 

  • Prefer a Car which can without difficulty hold you and your family without being too big – traffic can be a main problem in some cities.
  • A GPS direction-finding system aids in travelling without getting lost in the wonderful country side and also helps in saving time.
  • Check with different number of Car hire companies for the different prices so that you do not end up with a costly package. Travelling to France may be on the wish lists of every travel-ambitious person and you can make your trip even more outstanding by travelling through the country in a car.

Hiring a car in France will allow you to explore at your own speed and in comfort. You won’t have to worry about public transport timetables and will be able to set your own to-do list. Travelling by rental car will also permit you to see places that you might otherwise miss, giving you a real taste of France.

Driving in Europe

Paris

France roads are classified into five types; they are numbered and have letter prefixes: A (auto route, expressways), N (route national), D (route departmental), and the smaller C or V. There are excellent links between Paris and most French cities. When trying to get around Ile-de-France, it’s often difficult to avoid Paris—just try to steer clear of rush hours (7 – 9:30 am and 4:30 –7:30 pm). A toll must be paid on most expressways outside Ile-de-France: the rate varies but can be steep. Certain booths allow you to pay with a credit card.

The major ring road encircling Paris is called the peripherique, with the peripherique interior going counterclockwise around the city, and the peripherique exterior, or the outside ring, going clockwise; maximum speed is 70 kph (43 mph). Up to five lanes wide, the peripherique is a major highway from which 30 gates connect Paris to the major highways of France. The names of these highways function on the same principle as the metro; with the final destination as the determining point in the direction you must take.

Heading north, look for Porte de la Chapelle (direction Lille and Charles de Gaulle Airport); east, for Porte de Bagnolet (direction Metz and Nancy); south, for Porte d’Orléans (direction Lyon and Bordeaux); and west, for Porte d’Auteuil (direction Rouen and Chartres) or Porte de St-Cloud (Boulogne-Billancourt).

For short journeys, you could use the car-sharing service Autolib’, a zero-emissions fleet of nearly 4,000 small electric cars docked at 1,100 stations in and around Paris. To rent one, all you need is an international drivers license (or a European drivers license), passport and credit card. The process takes about 10 minutes at stations on the street or you can sign up online. You can reserve a car and a parking spot wherever you’re going.

Parking Facility:

Finding parking in Paris is tough. If you must have a car, at least paying to park it is easy, if expensive. Metered parking in the capital costs €4 an hour for arrondissements 1–11 and €2.40 for arrondissements 12–20, Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm, with a six-hour limit for visitors. Look for the nearest dark green ticket machine horodateur and enter your license plate number to begin and then choose the amount of time you want, and insert your card (no cash or coins). Place the green receipt on the passenger side of the dashboard. You can also download the P Mobile app and pay on your phone. Parking tickets are expensive and there’s no shortage of blue-uniformed parking police doling them out.

An often cheaper alternative is finding a lot or underground garage look for the blue signs with a white “P”; rates in the city center start at about €3.60 an hour, or €20 per day, while outside of the center you’ll pay €10 to €15 per day. Parking de Paris (www.parkingsdeparis.com) lets you reserve and prepay a spot in more than 100 city car parks. Happily, you can park for free on Sunday and national holidays; sadly, the city stopped the popular practice of free street parking in August.

Italy

Italy being one of the most visited countries in Europe has always been a dream destination for tourists. No matter what season, it is always fully crowded with people. Due to all these rushes one cannot find a cab in time. Hence you need to go for a rent a car option. Recently, many rental car companies have been established in Italy, which provides you with easy, less costly and affordable rental cars.

Car travels services offer many benefits. They make renting a car not only easy and quick but also affordable for the tourists. They have a wide range of vehicles and these vehicles are normally of common car brands and types to most tourists.

Before applying for renting a car, you should choose the best car rentals Italy. Get the knowledge about different car rentals with the help of search engines over the internet. Compare the pricing options and renting rates of different car rentals companies, in order to choose a best car for you.

Select the car which suits you and your budget. Make sure there aren’t any additional charges along with renting fee. Check the age limit, as many companies provide their services or give car on rent to only those who are above 25. In order to save money as well as time, you should go for a rental that are nearer to your residing area.

While choosing car rentals company in Italy, you should consider these few tips mentioned. You should drive the car safely as in case of any accident you will be responsible of all the damages. You have to pay both for the damages and for the days the car in repair. In order to get the best offer you should also take the help from the internet.

Benefits of Car Rental services are many and rewarding. Firstly, there is no maximum number of renting cars by one person. Secondly, the rent can be paid with both credit cards and debit cards with secured server for confirming the reservation with payment. This feature is to ensure the interested tourists that their credit cards or debit cards information sent online or via telephone booking is secured. In addition, a cash deposit can be used if the tourist has no credit card or debit card.

Both cards will have full coverage regardless of the number of rental days. The rate is guaranteed in the U.S. dollars and reservation can be made online or via telephone booking as the services are available 24 hours per day and 7 days a week. There will be no cancelling or changing reservation once a reservation has been made. Insurance coverage is extensive and it includes theft, collision damage, lost keys, and damages to any of the vehicle’s body parts.

With great rates and superior service, one could agree that renting a car in Italy is an added enjoyable experience apart from the sightseeing and unforgettable trips to numerous landmarks in Italy.

Car rentals Italy websites also vary in different categories: discount rentals which give up to 40% discounts for early customers; cheap rentals that offer as low as $300+ for a whole week rental. Most of these car rental websites even give a complete overview of Italy and its driving regulations.

When you are hiring a car in Italy, you need to make sure that the rental company provides you with Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection as these are compulsory in Italy. Your agency should also inform you that you must have an International Driver’s License.

You could not rent a car there when you are below 25 years old. All agencies require a Young Driver Surcharge.

Most of the car rentals Italy companies give many freebies. This is most possibly because Italy has been one of the top five countries with a large number of visitors’ attendance. They throw in map of Italy’s top destinations, unlimited mileage and surcharge-free pickups in some locations like train station and airport.

Rome

Car Driving in Rome

The main access routes from the north are the A1 (Autostrada del Sole) from Milan and Florence and the A12 – E80 highway from Genoa. The principal route to or from points south, including Naples, is the A2. All highways connect with the Grande Raccordo Anulare Ring Road (GRA), which channels traffic into the city center. Markings on the GRA are confusing; take time to study the route you need. Be extremely careful of pedestrians and mopeds when driving. Romans are casual jaywalkers and pop out frequently from between parked cars. People on scooters tend to be the most careless drivers, as they weave in and out of traffic.

Parking

Be warned, parking in Rome can be a nightmare. The situation is greatly compounded by the fact that private cars without permits are not allowed access to the centro storico on weekdays 6:30 am – 6 pm, Saturday 2 – 6 pm, or Friday and Saturday nights (11 pm – 3 am). Other areas, including Trastevere, Testaccio, and San Lorenzo, are closed to cars at various times.

Check the Agenzia Mobilita for the most up-to-date information. These areas, known as Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL), are marked by electric signs, and bordering streets have video cameras for photographing license plates. Fines are sent directly to car rental companies and added to your bill. There is limited free parking in Rome; most parking is metered, on a pay-by-the-hour basis. Spaces with white lines are free parking spaces with blue lines are paid parking and spaces with yellow lines are for the handicapped only. All other color-coded spaces are usually reserved for residents or carpooling and require special permits.

If you park in one of these spaces without a permit, your car could be ticketed or towed. Make sure to check with your hotel regarding appropriate places to park nearby. Meter parking costs €1– €1.20 per hour with a limit on total parking time allowed in many areas; however, if you pay for four consecutive hours, you will get eight hours of meter time for just €4. Parking facilities near historic sites exist at the Villa Borghese underground car park (entrance at Viale del Muro Torto) and the Vatican (entrance from Piazza della Rovere).

Roadside Emergencies

There are phone boxes on highways to report breakdowns. Major rental agencies often provide roadside assistance, so check your rental agreement if a problem arises. Also, ACI (Auto Club of Italy) offers 24-hour road service. Dial 803–116 from any phone anytime to reach the nearest ACI service station. When speaking to ACI, ask and you will be transferred to an English-speaking operator. Be prepared to tell the operator which road you’re on, the direction you’re going—for example, “verso (in the direction of) Pizzo”—and the targa (license plate number) of your car.

Rules of the Road

Driving is on the right. Regulations are largely similar to those in Britain and the United States, except that the police have the power to levy on-the-spot fines. Although honking abounds, the use of horns is forbidden in many areas; a large sign, “zona di silenzio,” indicates where. Speed limits are 50 kph (31 mph) in Rome, 110 kph (70 mph) on state and provincial roads, and 130 kph (80 mph) on autostrade, unless otherwise marked. T

Talking on a mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited and if caught, the driver will be issued a fine. Not wearing a seat belt is also against the law. The blood-alcohol content limit for driving is 0.5 gr/l with fines up to €6,000 and the possibility of 12 months imprisonment for surpassing the limit. Fines for speeding are uniformly stiff: 10 kph (6 mph) over the speed limit can warrant a fine in the hundreds and even thousands of Euros over 10 kph and your license could be taken away.

Whenever the city decides to implement an “Ecological Day” in order to reduce smog levels, commuters are prohibited from driving their cars during certain hours of the day and in certain areas of the city. These are usually organized and announced ahead of time; however, if you’re planning to rent a car during your trip, make sure to ask the rental company and your hotel if there are any planned, because the traffic police won’t cut you any breaks, even if you say you’re a tourist.

Car Rental

When you reserve a car, ask about cancellation penalties, taxes, drop-off charges (if you’re planning to pick up the car in one city and leave it in another), and surcharges (for being under or over a certain age, for additional drivers, or for driving across regional or country borders or beyond a specific distance from your point of rental). All these things can add substantially to your costs. Request car seats and extras such as GPS when you book.

Make sure to ask the rental car company if they require you to obtain an International Driver’s Permit beforehand. These can generally be obtained for a fee through AAA in the United States. Rates are sometimes—but not always—better if you book in advance or reserve through a rental agency’s website. There are other reasons to book ahead, though: for popular destinations, during busy times of the year, or to ensure that you get certain types of cars (automatic transmission, vans, SUVs, exotic sports cars).

Make sure that a confirmed reservation guarantees you a car. Agencies sometimes overbook, particularly for busy weekends and holiday periods.

Rates in Rome begin at around $75 per day for an economy car with air-conditioning, a manual transmission and unlimited mileage. This includes the 20% tax on car rentals. Note that Italian legislation now permits certain rental wholesalers, such as Auto Europe, to drop the value-added tax (V.A.T.). All international car-rental agencies in Rome have a number of locations.

It’s usually cheaper to rent a car in advance through your local agency than to rent on location in Italy. Or book ahead online—you can save as much as $10 per day on your car rental. Within Italy, local and international rental agencies offer similar rates. Whether you’re going with a local or international agency, note that most cars are manual; automatics are rarer, so inquire about those well in advance.

In Italy, your own driver’s license is acceptable. But to be extra safe, an International Driver’s Permit is a good idea; it’s available from the American or Canadian Automobile Association and, in the United Kingdom, from the Automobile Association or Royal Automobile Club. These international permits are universally recognized, and having one in your wallet may save you a problem with the local authorities.

In Italy you must be 21 years of age to rent an economy or subcompact car, and most companies require customers under the age of 23 to pay by credit card. Upon rental, all companies require credit cards as a warranty; to rent bigger cars (2,000 cc or more), you must often show two credit cards. Debit or check cards are not accepted. Call local agents for details. There are no special restrictions on senior-citizen drivers.

Car seats are required for children under three and must be booked in advance. The rental cost is €5 and up, depending on the type of car.

The cost for an additional driver is about €5 – €7 per day.

Car Insurance

Everyone who rents a car wonders whether the insurance that the rental companies offer is worth the expense. No one including us has a simple answer. It all depends on how much regular driving in Europe insurance you have, how comfortable you are with risk and whether or not money is an issue. Keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for drivers in Italy to cruise the roads without insurance so it can be better to read the side of caution to protect your own rental.

If you own a car, your personal auto insurance may cover a rental to some degree, though not all policies protect you abroad; always read your policy’s fine print. If you don’t have auto insurance, then seriously consider buying the collision- or loss-damage waiver (CDW or LDW) from the car-rental company, which eliminates your liability for damage to the car. If you choose not to purchase the CDW coverage, you could be liable for the first €500 worth of damage.

Some credit cards offer CDW coverage, but it’s usually supplemental to your own insurance and rarely covers SUVs, minivans, luxury models, and the like. If your coverage is secondary, you may still be liable for loss-of-use costs from the car-rental company. But no credit-card insurance is valid unless you use that card for all transactions, from making the reservation to paying the final bill. All credit-card companies exclude coverage in some countries, so be sure to find out about the destination to which you are travelling.

Some rental agencies require you to purchase CDW coverage; many will even include it in quoted rates. All will strongly encourage you to buy CDW—possibly implying that it’s required—so is sure to ask about such things before renting. In most cases it’s cheaper to add a supplemental CDW plan to your comprehensive travel-insurance policy than to purchase it from a rental company. That said you don’t want to pay for a supplement if you’re required to buy insurance from the rental company.

Florence

Car Driving in Florence

Florence is connected to the north and south of Italy by the Autostrada del Sole (A1). It takes about 1½ hours of driving on scenic roads to get to Bologna (although heavy truck traffic over the Apennines often makes for slower going), about 3 hours to Rome, and 3 to 3½ hours to Milan. The Tyrrhenian Coast is an hour west on the A11.

An automobile in Florence is a major liability. If your itinerary includes parts of Italy where you’ll want a car (such as Tuscany), pick the vehicle up on your way out of town.

By Taxi

Taxis usually wait at stands throughout the city (in front of the train station and in Piazza della Repubblica, for example), or you can call for one (055/4390 or 055/4242). The meter starts at €3.30 from any taxi stand; if you call Radio Dispatch (that means that a taxi comes to pick you up wherever it is you are), it starts at €5.40. Extra charges apply at night, on Sunday, for radio dispatch, and for luggage. Women out on the town after midnight seeking taxis are entitled to a 10% discount on the fare; you must, however, request it.

More Information : Transportation in Florence

Venice

There are no cars in Venice, so plan to arrive by train or plane, or if you do drive, return your rental on the outskirts of the city as soon as you arrive. Several rental agencies have outlets in Piazzale Roma, the terminus of road access to Venice.

Driving in Venice

Venice is at the end of SR11, just off the east–west A4 autostrada. If for some reason you choose to keep a car while visiting Venice, you will have to park in one of the garages on the outskirts of the city around Piazzale Roma or on the island of Tronchetto.

Parking in Venice

A warning: don’t be waylaid by illegal touts, often wearing fake uniforms, who try to flag you down and offer to arrange parking and hotels; use one of the established garages. Consider reserving a space in advance. The Autorimessa Comunale costs €24 for 24 hours. The Garage San Marco  costs €24 for up to 12 hours and €30 for 12 to 24 hours with online reservations. On its own island, Isola del Tronchetto charges €21 for 6 to 24 hours. Watch for signs coming over the bridge—you turn right just before Piazzale Roma. Many hotels and the casino have guest discounts with San Marco or Tronchetto garages. A cheaper, and perfectly convenient, alternative is to park in Mestre, on the mainland, and take a train (10 minutes, for €1) or bus into Venice. The garage across from the station and the Bus 2 stop costs €8–€10 for 24 hours.

Milan

Driving in Milan is difficult and parking a real pain, so a car is a liability. In addition, drivers within the second ring of streets (the bastioni) must pay a daily congestion charge on weekdays between 7:30 am – 7:30 pm (till 6 pm on Thursday). You can pay the charge at news vendors, tobacconists, Banca Intesa Sanpaolo ATMs, or online; parking meters and parking garages in the area also include it in the cost.

It is essential that you pay attention to the Italian rules of the road while driving in Milan in order to avoid traffic accidents and expensive citations. Driving in Milan’s city center is not recommended, as access to this part of town is limited by the Congestion Charge area (Area C) on weekdays at different times. To enter Area C, drivers must purchase a ticket in advance for €5. These tickets can be purchased at ATM points, newsstands and tobacco shops.

Pay attention to the rules such as not parking in front of driveways and loading zones, and not parking on days when the street will be cleaned. Hefty fines run up to € 60.

In case your car breaks down: call toll-free 116 for assistance.

Street Parking

In the city center you can park in the areas marked by BLUE lines. You’ll need a blue “Sosta Milano” card which you can buy in tobacco shop or at the news stand. You scratch the month (“mese”), date (“giorno”), time in hours (“ora”) and minutes (“minuti”), and display it on your dashboard. In some areas there are coin parking meters and you must display the ticket on the dashboard. Chances are you may find a parking attendant in a green vest to help you.

Yellow line street parking is reserved for residents which are registered and have permits. Weekdays and Saturdays 8am -7pm, the max stay is 2 hours costing about € 1,25 per hour. 7pm to Midnight, there’s a fixed rate of €2,50. Midnight- 8am parking is free of charge.

On Sundays

All day: about € 1,25 for one hour or €2,50 for up to 4 hours.

If you have parked in the wrong place, and your car does get towed, call the Municipal Police Department to find out where it is.

Parking Garages

Prices vary according to the city zone. A few parking garage locations in central Milan:

  • Piazza Diaz (near Duomo)
  • Via Pantano 4 (near Duomo)
  • Rinascente Department store Via Agnello (near Duomo)
  • Corso Europa 2 (near Duomo)
  • Via S. Pietro all’Orto (near Corso V.Emanuele)
  • Via Bagutta (near san Babila)
  • Via Cerva (near San Babila)
  • Piazza V.Beccaria (near via Larga)
  • Via Pisani (Milan Central Station)
  • Via M. Pagano (near Corso Vercelli)

Tip:  To avoid heavy traffic in the center of town, and avoid fines for driving in the restricted traffic zone, park your car at Cascina Gobba, South Milan metro station (green line)  or at Sesto San Giovanni North Milan metro station (red line) where there are large parking lots, and take the metro into the center of Milan. Also parking garages can be recognized by a square blue sign with a white P.

More Information : Transport in Milan

Germany

Germany is the ideal destination for most of the tourists because of its historical connections and impressive architecture. There are a lot of things which attracts the tourists because of its culture. Till now history of Germany was not touched by modern development.

You can enjoy visiting Germany, if you have a car. You will find various car rentals companies in Germany. Most of them offer cheaper rates so you can conveniently travel in Germany. Also, there is no toll road because of which renting a car in Germany is cost-effective.

There are varieties of cars offer by car rentals companies in Germany. You can choose a car on rent according to your requirement. Also you will find different types of cars depending on their purpose. Also, cars are categorised into many groups. You can choose sports car, luxury car, economy car, automatic car and many more.

Different car rentals companies in Germany have different renting rates. This variance may depend on company and on many other factors. These factors may include type of the car, number of days, mileage and much more. Remember, if your residential area is too far from the company then you might be charged extra.

Before getting a car from a rental company, you should go through all the terms and conditions of the car rentals companies. Also, by using internet you can make a comparison of pricing options from different car rental companies.

Frankfurt

You can rent a car and get around the city. In fact, Frankfurt is a driving-friendly city that had a regulated system governing the parking. There are many remarks that you can approach for renting cars that are in good condition.
Travel tips:

  • Avoid using cars to hot tourist spots on weekends.
  • Use the parking garage priced at 8 euros for the entire day, if you want to enter the city.
  • Look for parking that are reserved for the locals. Look for parking signs, else you might attract a fine.
  • Do not drink and drive. The law is stringent when it comes to the influence of alcohol while driving.
  • Stick to the speed limits.

Taxi:
Taxi drives are plenty and the fares are high. There are bike taxis that can be used by one or two passengers that let you explore the city fast.
Travel tips:

  • Taxi drivers tend to drive fast. Let them know of you feel uncomfortable.
  • The drivers may take a detour if they identify that you are new to the city. So, be informed of the distance.
  • Not all taxis are licensed to drive to the airport. So, be very careful before boarding an unauthorised taxi.

More Information : Travel Frankfurt by Car

Driving in Europe are a sensible and cost-effective option. No other mode of transportation allows you the convenience, privacy, flexibility and utility of driving yourself around. Save on cost, de-stress yourself. Enjoy the same freedom and flexibility you have back home. Rent a car in Europe and discover its romantic beauty intimately.

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