Explore the backroads of Germany via rental car
Explore the backroads of Germany via rental car is the best option for car rental in Germany. We are a family-run company emphasizing low rates and knowledgeable customer service—before, during and after your trip. When you call us, you talk to a live human being who has been in the rental business for many years and can steer you away from car rental pitfalls and dangers. We’ll book your car rental in Germany with a major rental company at the lowest rates available, then provide 24/7 third-party in-Europe support and, if required, post-rental billing assistance.

There are several reasons to choose Germany as a base for touring Europe in a rental car. It’s central, of course, and has a great highway system, but the best reason may be cost.

Car Rental Rates in Germany

For several years, car rental rates in Germany have consistently been the lowest of any European country. In 2019, a midsize sedan could be rented for a week for a little as $160, including the 19% value added tax. France, Austria, Holland, Belgium, and especially Switzerland and Italy, are substantially higher.

For “outside the box” auto travelers, a quick look at a map can sometimes save important dollars. For example, why rent an intermediate sedan, such as a VW Passat or similar, in Salzburg, Austria, for around $325, when the same car is less than half the price, at around $160, just 10 minutes across the border, in Freilassing, Germany?

A longer rental, say 14 days, may even warrant a bit more of a detour. Instead of paying about $570 for an intermediate sedan at the Zürich Airport, it could be worth the 90-minintue train ride to Konstanz, Germany, where the same intermediate car is $240 for two weeks.

Germany’s car rental fleets probably offer Europe’s widest selection of vehicles; Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Porsche, Opel and Ford all have factories in the country and are prominently featured in the rental fleets of the major companies.

The customer whose heart is set on driving a Mercedes, Audi or BMW has a much better chance of getting one of those brands in Germany than in any other European country. Rent in France and you're likely to drive away in a Renault, Citroen or Peugeot; in Italy Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia dominate. (Always remember: rental companies book by category and will not guarantee a specific make or model.)

In late 2019, a luxury category sedan (Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Audi A6) could be had for less than $300 per week in Germany. The same category car was about $400 in Paris and London, and over $500 in Rome.

And, of course, if you want to drive a high-end sports car 125 to 150 mph on the Autobahn, Germany is place to do it. Every year we book the Porsche 911 for a handful of customers. Rates range from about $350 to $450 per day, depending on length of rental and pickup locations.

Eastern European Car Travel

For travelers who plan to drive into Eastern Europe, Germany offers the best selection of vehicles allowed to cross the borders that once defined the Iron Curtain. In fact, for travel deep into the East, to such countries as Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Bosnia, Serbia and a few others, Germany is the only Western European country from which such a rental car itinerary is even possible.

Finally, Germany is a great place to explore by automobile; it offers a vast network of scenic, beautifully-maintained country roads, its drivers are skillful and predictable, and, of course, the adventurous traveler looking for some really fast motoring will find it on the Autobahn.

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“We rented a car for a week in Germany through Bob Bestor and his crew are nothing short of fantastic! Not only did I get a rate that was 30% less than what I could get from other vendors but also got tremendous support is dealing with an overcharge from Avis we found on our CC after returning. Bob provided great counsel on the best way to handle the claim and made sure we understood all the deadlines for recovering the erroneous charges. We will definitely use Gemut for our Europe rentals in the future.”Posted by S. P. on Rick Steves’ Graffiti Wall.

When moving from city to city in Germany, the country’s rail system makes for delightfully easy and fast travel. Some trains reach speeds of 200 mph and it’s great to let someone else do the “driving.” But if you want to really see the countryside, the small towns and villages, the “real” Germany, you must rent a car.

Having heard about high speeds on the Autobahn in Germany, many North Americans are apprehensive about driving there. While it’s true that portions of the Autobahn system have no speed limit, you’ll find posted limits, usually 60 to 130 kph in sections of consistently high traffic volume, or when there is construction or adverse weather conditions. In truth, there are not a lot of really long stretches of highway anymore where drivers can go flat out. The idea of going 200 kph per hour from Frankfurt to Munich is a myth. There may be portions where really high speed are attainable but most of the way will be much slower.

But don't forget Germany's complex network of scrupulously maintained (and often scenic) back roads. On these highways and surface streets, speeds are pretty much the same as they are in North America. Most country roads are in better condition than those in North America and it is our view that Germans are better drivers. They are more predictable, they move to the right lane to let faster vehicles pass, and in general are more tolerant of other drivers—though you can expect to be tailgated if you don’t keep up with the flow of traffic. Good information in English about driving in Germany can be found at For how to survive on the Autobahn, read Driving the Autobahn.

City of Frankfurt

Car Rental in Frankfurt

More cars are rented to tourists arriving in Frankfurt than any other German city. The airport is conveniently located near an extensive Autobahn network that allows the car rental traveler to be quickly en route to all points of the compass. Frankfurt's central location is half a day's drive to many of the Continent's most visited cities.

  • Frankfurt to Amsterdam: 443 km/277 miles, approx. driving time 4:09
  • Frankfurt to Berlin: 555 km/347 miles, approx. driving time 5:06
  • Frankfurt to Munich: 393 km/246 miles, approx. driving time 3:47
  • Frankfurt to Paris: 572 km/358 miles, approx. driving time 5:21
  • Frankfurt to Prague: 511 km/319 miles, approx. driving time 4:44
  • Frankfurt to Salzburg: 541 km/338 miles, approx. driving time 5:00
  • Frankfurt to Vienna: 736 km/460 miles, approx. driving time 6:36
  • Frankfurt to Zürich: 413 km/258 miles, approx. driving time 3:49

Rental car categories that are hard-to-find in smaller towns are available in Frankfurt. There is probably a greater selection of Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW, and Porsche rental cars than in any city on earth.

All the major rental companies—Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, as well as several of the second-tier suppliers—have counters in both airport terminals. For all the top suppliers it is not necessary to ride a shuttle bus to take possession of a rental car, the vehicles are directly on airport property. In Terminal 1, Europcar is open 24 hours, Hertz is open 6am to 1am, and Avis serves customers from 6am to 10pm. Terminal 2 hours are Avis, 6am-10pm; Hertz, 6am-11pm, and Europcar, 6am-12:30am.

Contact phone numbers airport rental counters:

  • Avis +49 (0) 69 - 690 - 27771
  • Europcar +49 (0) 180 - 58000
  • Hertz +49 (0) 69-694-073

The Frankfurt Airport terminals are connected by the free SkyLine train which leaves every 2-3 minutes. Travel time is 2 minutes

A free bus that departs every 10 minutes also connects the two terminals.

Off-Airport Frankfurt Car Rentals

For travelers who wish to avoid the 20-percent fee charged on rentals that originate at the Frankfurt Airport (and all other German airports), the village of Kelsterbach, less than three miles from the airport, has Avis and Europcar offices. There are no free shuttles from the airport to these rental locations but the taxi ride is brief and thus relatively inexpensive.

  • Avis, Kelsterbach, open 7am-noon, Monday-Friday, Grenzweg 9, tel. 06107 9052-50 (Directions from Airport)
  • Europcar, Kelsterbach, open 7am-6pm, Monday-Friday, 7am-noon, Saturday, Kleiner Kornweg 2-4, tel. 06107 79010 (Directions from Airport)

City offices of Frankfurt rental companies are 15-20 minutes by taxi (20-30 euros) from the airport. Though there are rental car counters at Frankfurt’s Hauptbahnhof, those tempted to try to avoid the 20-percent airport fee by taking the train from the airport to the main rail station, are advised that the same 20-percent charge is levied at German rail stations.

Key Frankfurt Area Car Rental Locations

  1. Europcar, Kleiner Kornweg 2-4, Kelsterbach, tel. 061 07 79010
  2. Avis, Grenzweg 9, Kelsterbach, tel. 061 07 905250
  3. Avis, Schmidtstrasse 39, Frankfurt, tel. 069 73011-1
  4. Hertz, Camberger Strasse 21, Frankfurt, tel. 069 242526-27
  5. Europcar, Hanauer Landstrasse 334, tel. 069 9421560

Frankfurt Links:

Book your rental car in Europe with Gemütlichkeit's travel department and get the best rates, personalized, knowledgeable service and our unique at-the-rental-counter safety net that ensures our customers get what they are promised. We book with all the major companies in more than 35 countries. If you have questions about rentals in Europe, or simply prefer to deal in-person, phone us at 800-521-6722.

Environmental BadgeSpecial environmental emissions stickers are required to be displayed on the windshield/windscreen of automobiles driven in certain specified “Green Zones” of about 40 German cities. As time goes on, the number of cities requiring the stickers will increase. They are not required on any Autobahn, even those that go through cities with Green Zones, and are required only in the designated zones, not elsewhere in those cities. The fine for failure to display the sticker is €40.

Currently we are aware of Green Zones in Augsburg, Berlin, Bochum, Bonn, Bottrop, Bremen, Dortmund, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Freiburg, Gelsenkirchen, Hanover, Heidelberg, Herrenberg, Ilsfeld, Karlsruhe, Cologne, Leipzig, Leonberg, Ludwigsburg, Mannheim, Mühlacker, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Munich, Münster, Neu-Ulm, Neuss, Nürnberg, Oberhausen, Osnabrück, Pfinztal, Pforzheim, Pleidelsheim, Recklinghausen, Reutlingen, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Stuttgart, Tübingen, Ulm, and Wuppertal. For current list and a map go to

All cars rented in Germany are equipped with the stickers though cars rented in other countries are likely not. Green Zone emission stickers cost 5-12 euros and are available at many locations including car dealers, auto parts stores, emissions testing stations, and government vehicle licensing offices.

Signs indicating Green Zones are identified by the word “Umwelt” in the center of a red circle with the word “Zone” directly below the circle (see upper right). A smaller sign below displays the word “Frei” and the three different sticker colors; red, yellow, and green. Since rental cars are almost always current-year models, your German rental car is almost certain to display a green sticker, identifying the least polluting car group.

For more information, visit: Low emission zone / emissions-control sticker

Book your rental car in Europe with Gemütlichkeit's travel department and get the best rates, personalized, knowledgeable service and our unique at-the-rental-counter safety net that ensures our customers get what they are promised. We book with all the major companies in more than 35 countries. If you have questions about rentals in Europe, or simply prefer to deal in-person, phone us at 800-521-6722.

Europcar No Longer Requires International Driving Permit in Germany

Europcar in Germany has quietly dropped its requirement that renters from North America carry an International Driving Permit (IDP). However, as some European countries require it, rental companies continue to recommend the IDP.

Avis Germany has drastically reduced international one-way rentals. Though fees can be astronomical, one-way rentals between certain countries are still permitted by Europcar and Hertz. Avis also now charges 30 euros if a rental car is returned to a different location than called for on the rental contract. In other words, if you signed a contract in which you agree to return your rental to, say, the Frankfurt Rail Station, but during the rental decide it's more convenient to return it to the Frankfurt Airport, you'll be charged an extra 30 euros.

European rental car companies are beginning to charge fees on returned rental cars that require more than usual routine cleanup of trash removal and vacuuming. Bring back a rental car in Europe with an unusually dirty interior (dog hair on upholstery, for example) and you're now likely to be tapped for a cleaning fee. The charge, typically 50-60 euros, will appear on your credit card after you've returned from your trip.

Book your rental car in Europe with Gemütlichkeit's travel department and get the best rates, personalized, knowledgeable service and our unique at-the-rental-counter safety net that ensures our customers get what they are promised. We book with all the major companies in more than 35 countries. If you have questions about rentals in Europe, or simply prefer to deal in-person, phone us at 800-521-6722.