Renting a car in Europe is a great way to explore the continent, but rental prices vary greatly from country to country. That said, the average cost of renting a car in most European cities is between 25 EUR and 40 EUR daily.
In some cities like Vienna in Austria and Ljubljana in Slovenia, the rates can be as high as 80 EUR per day. This cost is critical to evaluate as it will impact your overall travel budget as a foreigner.
Some of the countries in Europe with the lowest rates of renting a car include:
- Spain – 18 EUR
- Poland – 19 EUR
- Portugal – 19 EUR
- Croatia – 22 EUR
- Italy – 24 EUR
- Czech republic – 28 EUR
We can’t argue that a rental car offers flexibility, convenience, and comfort. It’s for this reason you should prefer the option of traveling. In this article, we analyze the cost of renting a car across different European countries and give tips on how to go about it to avoid going beyond the budget.
If you want to rent a campervan in Europe, check out this article.
Which country in Europe has the cheapest car rental?
When choosing a country with the lowest car rental prices, we have considered several factors, including:
- Size of the car
- Condition of the car
- Model/class of the car
- Discounts on different packages
To give you some ground to compare, the global average rate to hire a car was 32.29 EUR in 2019 and 38.94 EUR in 2021.
Also read: Can you rent a car in Europe with a US driving license?
Top cheapest countries to rent a car in Europe
By far, the most affordable car rentals can be found in Spain, Portugal, and Poland.
Spain is a perfect destination to rent a car in Europe and is also home to the cheapest rates. The average cost of car rental is just 17,50 EUR per day.
Bear in mind that you will pay more in the high season, which is usually from June to August. During that time, in places like Ibiza, car rental can cost as high as 116.80 EUR per day.
The most popular places to rent a car in Spain include the islands Majorca and Tenerife, as well as regions on the mainland like Málaga in Andalusia. Don’t miss out on the experience, hire a car in Spain.
Poland is not your typical travel destination, but it has a list of things you can check out. Thanks to the low cost of living, Poland’s car rentals are also some of the cheapest in the region. You can get a comfortable vehicle for as low as 19 EUR.
Why should you visit Poland? If you are in Germany, Poland is a perfect destination to explore. Cities like Warsaw and Gdansk have a lot to offer, including a range of cultural and gastro activities. You can easily drive from one place to another without relying on public transport.
Portugal is a must-have when visiting Europe. It’s also one of the best countries to hire a car and cruise around. The rate is the second cheapest in Europe. Cars are available for rent for as low as 19 EUR.
You can also rent a car in Portugal and kill two birds with one stone by traveling to Spain.
Croatia is a popular destination for vacationers from around the world. Renting a car is a good decision because otherwise, you will need to take a taxi or other private transfer to move between small cities.
Thankfully, rentals are very affordable in Croatia. You can rent a car for 22 EUR in the low season. In pick months like June, July, and August, prices will increase significantly.
Italy is more expensive than the places mentioned above, but you will need a private vehicle to fully discover this place. The average price to rent a car in Italy is 23,95 EUR in a low season.
In a high season (June-August), the rate goes quickly up to about 30 EUR on average.
Italy is home to the best road trips accompanied by the amazing quality of the road. In the end, this country is made for cyclists, so they have to keep the roads in excellent condition.
Other affordable places to rent a car in Europe include:
- Greece – 24 EUR/day
- Czech Republic – 28 EUR/day
- Cyprus – 30 EUR/day
- Lithuania – 32 EUR/day
- Poland – 33 EUR/day
The Covid 19 pandemic affected the prices of renting cars in Europe as businesses closed and most cars were sold out due to the low demand.
In the post-pandemic era, as countries work to regain stability, the car rental sector has seen shifts in terms of prices charged for the service. The summer of 2022 experienced a boom in the travel industry as many chose to go on road trips.
In 2022, the cheapest cities to rent a car in Europe include:
However, it’s questionable if you can rent a car for 8 USD. Such low rates might involve some promotional deals from Cheapflights.com.
Small cars are more popular for hire when you’re looking to transverse across the country affordably. The table below illustrates the increased rates of renting a car in different European countries as of 2022:
|Country||Rate of renting a car (EUR)|
Car rental rates in the cheapest countries in 2021
In the table below, you can see the average rates to hire a car for one day in the most affordable countries:
|Country||Average price in 2021 (EUR)|
At the same time, prices of car rentals have increased significantly in the following countries:
|Country||Price in 2020 (EUR)||Price in 2021 (EUR)|
The month in which you hire a car will also determine how much you pay. As summer sets in around July, the rates go up in most countries.
It’s cheaper to rent a car in January across Europe. For instance, a car can go for as low as 35 EUR in January, and the same could go for over 100 EUR in July. This is attributable to the high demand for rental cars during the season.
The size of a car is also a key aspect that will determine the price you pay to rent a car.
Overall, small cars are the most common cars that companies rent out. Most companies in the industry have categories that set out the different classes of rental cars. The common packages include:
- Compact SUVs
The car you choose is determined by the number of passengers, budget, and preference. The most common models across Europe are:
- Toyota Yaris
- Hyundai i20
- Hyundai Accent Hatch
- Nissan Micra
- Nissan March
Gas prices have gone up globally, leading most travelers to consider the fuel consumption rate of a car before renting. For this reason, small cars remain favorites when renting a car in Europe.
The price you get when renting a car is also affected by the duration you intend to have the vehicle. Some rental companies offer discounts if you want to rent the car for longer.
Most will have a day package, three days, and weekly. Evaluate the plan that suits you best based on how long you’ll need the car.
To get a good deal when renting a car in a foreign country, the right approach would be to get the car from the capital city. Within the capital, there are different rental companies competing, which means the prices are competitive.
Some examples of capital cities in Europe with the lowest car rental prices include:
Petrol is another important consideration when talking about the total price of car rentals. Here is how much it will cost you to tank a car in various European countries (in USD):
- Spain – $62.40
- Croatia – $66.40
- Switzerland – $66.40
- The UK – $69.20
- Germany – $69.60
- Ireland – $70.80
- France – $73.20
- Portugal – $75.60
- Netherlands – $78
- Italy – $78
- Greece – $78
Consequently, the cheapest country not only regarding rental prices and also the cost of fuel is Spain.
Average car rental prices in Europe
The average car rental in Europe is 275 EUR weekly which translates to 39 EUR daily. The rate applies across most European countries.
The time of the year affects the average rental prices. For instance, the summer of 2022 saw the average car rental price skyrocket to 500 EUR weekly owing to the high demand and low fleet.
This was attributed to most companies that disposed of their cars during the pandemic and the high inflation rate.
Apart from the summer months, the average car rental prices vary across the different months of the year, as seen below:
Some of the most popular Europe destinations where rental cars experienced a spike in the average car rental price in 2022 include:
In 2022, the cities experienced over a 100% increase in the average hire price, with the Swiss city Geneva experiencing the highest shift at 160%. Milan saw a lesser upward change of 70%.
When comparing the average car rental prices across Europe, you need to evaluate the components included in the price quoted. The laws governing car rentals differ between countries and companies.
The quoted price will mainly include the cost of driving the car for any mileage, third-party insurance cover, and applicable VAT.
In some European countries, you’ll be liable to pay extra for:
- Baby seat
- Automatic transmission
- Additional insurance
- Second driver
These costs will add up to the average car rental price, further escalating the overall rent value. It’s important to ask about the factors covered in the price to avoid problems with the authorities in a foreign country on a rented car.
For instance, in Italy, you’re required to pay for theft protection which is about 20 EUR a day. This will escalate the average price by close to 140 EUR a week.
If you’re bringing a baby on board, expect to pay extra for the child safety seat. Although different countries have varied rules on child seats, most car rental companies will charge you an additional 50 EUR for the seat.
Any add-on to the rental car comes at a cost, meaning the more they are, the higher the average price.
Considering the soaring gas prices globally, when renting a car, it’s crucial to evaluate the driving costs. Some European countries have high fuel costs. Additionally, compare the toll fees and parking fees chargeable.
Most countries in central Europe expect you to buy a window sticker for an average of 20 EUR, while others like Germany have freeways where you won’t be charged a dime.
Best country to rent a car in Europe
In choosing the best country to rent a car in Europe, several aspects come to play. They include:
- The size of the country
- The scenery
- Natural heritage sites
- Development of public transport
- Rental price
- Driving rules and regulations
- Age requirements
- Toll and parking fees
Some of the countries in Europe where all these aspects are favorable include:
If you depend on France’s public transport, you could miss out on a lot during your vacation. Rent a car and transverse the country through the villages and fields for a fulfilling travel experience.
Ireland is friendly to foreigners, and the best way to experience the country is by hiring a car and traversing through the wilderness. The rules governing rental vehicles in the country are more relaxed and friendly.
Besides, you will need private transport to see the most epic natural attractions of Ireland.
To experience nature at its best, you should rent a car in Iceland. You’ll experience breathtaking volcanoes, waterfalls, geothermal pools, and mountains. You can only experience all these through the convenience of a rented car.
If you’re looking for an Italy experience, hop in a car and transverse through Siena, Florence, Naples, Rome, and Sicily. The country has a lot to offer regarding culture, landscapes, and cuisines. The prices of renting a car and the rules governing your road experience are friendly.
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