Car hire in Germany
There's no better way to see Germany than by carExplore Germany by road: take a turn around Berlin, one of the most exciting cities anywhere, with nearby Hamburg and Leipzig – and southern Munich – hot on its heels. Where would you like to meet us to begin your journey?
Plan your trip in GermanyGermany is blessed with spectacular scenery, the towering Alps in Bavaria, rolling hills, the Black Forest, flower-filled meadows and mighty rivers. It’s also a fusion of old and new, from fairy tale castles and picturesque villages, to high-tech industry, modern and efficient cities with world-class museums and cultural venues.
Tour Germany to experience the contrasts and cultural differences of its regions. From the bohemian and progressive streets of Berlin - to the historic Baroque and Rococo buildings of Munich. Then you have Hamburg, an economic powerhouse and the second busiest port in Europe. Frankfurt is the financial centre of Germany and home to the European Central Bank.
But it’s not all industry and commerce. Germany is one of the most culturally influential European nations. As the birthplace of famous composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Handel and Wagner, it has strong classical music traditions. Plan a trip to one of the many opera houses and theatres throughout the country.
Its cities are famous for amazing nightlife experiences – Berlin in particular is known as a party town. From basement clubs to huge nightclubs, beer gardens to fancy cocktail bars, cabarets to theatre, there really is something for every budget and taste.
Then of course, there is the word-famous Oktoberfest in Munich - Europe's most visited festival and absolutely not to be missed.
Road trips in GermanyGermany is home to the sixth largest freeway/motorway network in the world, and a fabulous country for drivers to explore.
This almost 400 km-long scenic route is one of Germany’s most popular drives, filled with churches, castles and half-timbered houses. It’s a drive that takes you through mountains, pristine farmland and bustling cities. Cutting across Southern Germany, from the Munich to Frankfurt, it even takes in the Allgaü Alps. You'll also traverse the vineyards of Würzburg, Franconia and Baden-Württemberg, and the historic castles and picturesque villages of Bavaria.
Munich and the Black Forest
After experiencing the attractions of Munich, head off towards Baden-Baden, around 350 km away. This spa town is located in the northern foothills of the Black Forest, and offers many options for sports enthusiasts. In the spring and summer, try hiking and mountain climbing. In the winter Baden-Baden is a skiing destination. Alternatively, relax in the town's thermal springs - the water at the Roman baths come from artesian wells 1,800 metres deep.
Berlin and Hamburg
The 370 km drive between Berlin and Hamburg takes about four-and-a-half hours, but it’s worth taking your time and exploring the charming towns in between to get a flavour of the north of Germany. On a historical note, most of the calling points are in former East Germany.
Head out of Berlin to Potsdam, just 45-minutes away. It's home to Frederick the Great’s 18th century Sanssouci Palace and the city’s Glienicke Bridge, which was used to exchange captured Cold War spies. Then it’s a 2-hour drive on the autobahn to Ludwigslust for baroque architecture and its grand palace. Next, head on towards the lakes of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the town of Schwerin. Finally, cross into former West Germany to the port city of Hamburg - 112 km away, it is Germany’s second-largest city. The maritime spirit infuses Hamburg; from its architecture and cuisine to its vibrant, multicultural neighbourhoods.
Driving rules in GermanyWhich side of the road?
In Germany, please drive on the right side of the road.
Country driving laws
- Mobile phones may only be used with a headset or hands-free device
- At crossroads or junctions in urban areas, you have the right of way if there is a road sign with a yellow diamond at the intersection. A white triangle with a red border indicates you must wait for the oncoming traffic to clear
- Be aware that on unrestricted motorways (autobahns) you can still get a speeding ticket for driving too fast for the prevailing traffic or weather conditions
- A number of German cities have low emission zones that require you to have a special permit to drive through them
- In cities, if you see a blue sign with white car, children and bike symbols on it, you must drive at walking speed
- If you're caught committing a driving offence, the police can issue an on-the-spot fine
All speed signs will be in km/h.
For a standard Avis rental vehicle with no trailers:
- Urban areas: 50km/h (30 mph)
- Rural areas: 100km/h (62 mph)
- Motorways (autobahns): None unless shown. 130km/h (80 mph) is the suggested maximum
Child safety / Seatbelt laws
- It is compulsory for the driver and all passengers to wear a seatbelt
- Children aged under 12 and less than 150cm tall must be seated in an appropriate child restraint for their size
This road rules information is for provided for general guidance only. We endeavour to keep the information up to date and accurate, but any reliance you place on this information is at your own risk.