For many travellers, Europe is a firm favourite among bucket list destinations. Maybe it’s the fact that there’s so much fascinating history on display, or that the patchwork quilt of nations makes it easy for visitors to experience a vast variety of languages, cultures and iconic landmarks in a short space of time. Whatever the key to Europe’s appeal, there’s no denying that this is a breathtaking destination.
For those flying in to Europe, a car hire is pretty much essential. With your own set of wheels at your disposal, the freedom to experience Europe on your own terms will be well within reach. There’s no need to travel the well worn tourist routes if you don’t want to - a European road trip allows you to seek out the hidden gems and lesser known attractions that appeal uniquely to you.
Europe car rental with Airport Rentals
There are all sorts of places to start your trip across Europe:
● A UK car rental could have you exploring the isle of Britain before popping across the Chunnel to continue your adventures in France and beyond.
● Alternatively you can skip the channel crossing altogether and opt for a France car rental, giving you quick access to the historic sites of Paris, the beaches of the French Riviera, the wine-country of Bordeaux and much more.
● If beer’s more your thing, a Germany car rental might be the way to go. Bavaria is the traditional place to start for most visitors, but northern Germany has plenty to offer too, with Berlin’s culture and Düsseldorf’s nightlife just scratching the surface of what you could enjoy.
● An Italy car rental could have you exploring some of the most famous historic sights on Earth, or diving into the wonders of up-to-the-second cities like Milan.
● With a Spain car rental, you can delve into the country’s storied history or simply hop along the Mediterranean enjoying the many amazing “sun and sea” destinations.
● If you’re keen to try a European road trip that’s a little out of the ordinary, picking up a Norway car rental is a great way to start. Heading north for the Arctic Circle or exploring the country’s ultra-modern cities are both enticing options.
● Those who book a Sweden car rental have similar options, but it’s even easier to head south to continue your journey via Denmark and Germany once you’ve explored Sweden to your heart’s content.
● Starting your trip with a Switzerland car rental puts you right in the centre of Europe. Not only can you discover the picturesque lakes, mountains and villages of Switzerland, but it’s easy to branch out from here in virtually any direction.
● On the other hand, an Ireland car rental will dedicate you to journeying around just one island, but Ireland is so beautiful and full of incredible people and locales that you’ll wish you had even longer to spend here.
Booking the ideal Europe car hire for your trip can be quick and easy (not to mention cheap) when you use AirportRentals.com. Instead of laboriously trawling through endless car rental websites trying to compare options, AirportRentals.com brings all the best deals from many different suppliers into one place. All you have to do is enter a few details about your trip into the search box and you’ll have all kinds of deals you can scroll through and filter down to discover the very best deal for you.
Europe car rental brands
When it comes to which rental brand you end up going with, there are all kinds of options available to you on AirportRentals.com. Your options will vary a little depending on where exactly you plan to pick up your Europe car hire from but in most places you could choose the security of going with a big famous brand like Sixt, Europcar, Hertz or Avis, or hunt out great deals with lesser known suppliers such as Green Motion, FairCar, or Interrent.
Driving in Europe
If you’re visiting from outside Europe, don’t forget that you’ll need an International Driver’s Permit alongside a valid driver’s licence from your country of residence to be eligible to hit European roads. One important thing to note about driving in Europe is that in the vast majority of places you visit (all of mainland Europe in fact) people drive on the right hand side of the road. Notable exceptions to this rule are the UK and Ireland, which stick to the left. When it comes to road rules, you’ll want to check up on the specific laws that apply to the countries that you’ll be driving through.
European road trips
This is a continent replete with road trip opportunities, so choosing one will essentially come down to figuring out what kind of journey excites you. Are you hunting for adventure, seeking relaxation, keen to delve into history or excited to graze your way across Europe’s finest food and wine regions? No matter what kind of holiday you’re after, with a car hire in Europe you can make your dream vacation a reality.
● Dublin round trip: Although it’s not the most famous or popular of Europe’s countries, there’s no doubt that if you let it, Ireland will steal your heart. In fact, it’s worth making a circuit of the island just to fully appreciate the low key glory of a place like this. It’s worth noting that Northern Ireland is part of another country (the UK), although this shouldn’t affect your road trip plans.
● London to Edinburgh: The actual distance between these two British cities isn’t as far as you might think, but in spite of that there’s a surprising amount of variety to be found in the the cities and countryside in between (not to mention Edinburgh and London themselves).
● The Rhône valley: There are all kinds amazing places you could visit in France, but those with a taste for the finer things in life (literally) should begin in Lyon, arguably the fine dining capital of Europe, and follow the Rhône river to discover one of the world’s most famous wine regions. It doesn’t get much more decadent for dedicated gourmands than this.
● Tuscany: This Italian region has an almost mythic reputation. It’s not just the vineyards and gently rolling hills that make this an incredible destination - the city of Florence is the beating heart of the region, and lovers of art and history could not ask for a better place to lose themselves in.
● Bavaria: Winter brings flocks of snow bunnies to the magnificent ski slopes of southern Germany, but there are plenty of attractions available in Bavaria year round too. This is where you’ll find the fairytale castles that Walt Disney based their iconic logo on, as well as a world leading brewing scene. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here.
● Iceland’s Ring Road: If you’re really wanting to think outside the box for your European road trip, why not check out this strikingly beautiful island of the north? Hot springs, volcanic tunnels, ice caves - not to mention the glory of the northern lights and some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls: it’s all waiting for you in Iceland.
A quick guide to Europe
To take your Europe trip from middle of the road to amazing, it’s worth finding out if you can work any local events into your itinerary. No matter which part of the continent you’re planning to visit, there’s bound to be plenty things to get involved with. Here’s just a small handful of Europe’s most well known and well loved events:
● Glastonbury Music Festival: Bring your wellies (also known as gumboots or rainboots) if you’re planning to attend this fest, and book well ahead of time. Although it can be extremely muddy and always sells out quickly, for lovers of live music it doesn’t get much better than Glastonbury. Pulling many of the biggest names in music each year, this is the ultimate music festival experience in Europe.
● Oktoberfest: Outside of Germany, this 16-18 day Bavarian folk festival is primarily known for its beer, but traditional German food is also a large part of the event, along with fairground attractions. There’s nothing quite like Oktoberfest, making it a worthy bucket list item for anyone who loves hearty food and good drink.
● Carnival of Venice: This event transforms an already exotically beautiful city into an even more visually spectacular place. The Carnival has its roots in traditions that stretch back almost a thousand years, but it’s still as lively and colourful as it ever was. It also serves as an excellent starting point for a tour of northern Italy.
● La Tomatina: Leave your good clothes at home - whatever you’re wearing will never be the same after getting caught up in the world’s most famous food fight. Hundreds of thousands of kilograms of tomatoes are thrown during the festival, which is held in the town of Buñol. This is a great time to get caught up in the simple joys of life.
● St Patrick’s Day: Sure, you may have celebrated St Patrick’s Day in your home town, but there’s nothing like experiencing this day of revelry in Ireland, surrounded by thousands of partying Dubliners. If you’re fond of a brew or two and feel like making some new friends before starting out on an Irish odyssey, St Paddy’s is the event for you.
Europe’s attractions are myriad, and as diverse as the continent’s many nations and cultures. Any list of attractions will merely scratch the surface of what you could discover during your time in Europe, but here are a few of the most iconic:
● Neuschwanstein Castle: Bavaria, one of Germany’s most southerly regions, is known worldwide for its excellent beer but is also famed for its fairytale castles, the most iconic of which is Neuschwanstein Castle. Not only does it look like something out of a ‘happily ever after’ story, it also has a fascinating history, so a tour of this picture perfect castle is an absolute must for anyone driving through Germany.
● The Louvre: Whether or not you’re into museums is irrelevant - the Louvre is in a class all of its own, hosting everything from world-famous artworks like the Mona Lisa to prehistoric artifacts. The sheer scale of this place is almost as astounding as the array of rare historic artworks, relics and other oddities on display. It’s easy to get lost amongst all ancient wonders, so make sure you set aside plenty of time to explore.
● Grand Bazaar: Set right on the eastern edge of Europe, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest covered markets on earth, and attracts more than 90 million visitors every year. It’s worth heading here for the atmosphere alone, but you’re sure to come away with something you didn’t expect to find at this medieval marketplace.
● St. Peter’s Basilica: Just visiting the Vatican City is an amazing experience in itself, but St. Peter’s is arguably the most visually impressive part of this historic place. Not only is the art and architecture breathtaking (with much of it created or designed by masters like Michelangelo and Raphael) but this was also the centre of European power for hundreds of years, and is still the geographic heart of the Catholic Church.
● Guinness Storehouse: If you’re partial to a pint of the black stuff, or simply want to engage with a piece of Irish history, a visit to the home of Guinness is a must. This was once the place where all the world’s Guinness was brewed, but it’s now been converted into a huge multistory visitor centre. In addition to learning the history of the brew, you’ll also get an insight into how the city of Dublin has evolved over time.
Naturally the climate varies widely across the continent, but there are a few things to be aware of no matter where in Europe you’re planning to visit. A winter holiday can let you experience a traditional white Christmas, but it also means that driving conditions may be more hazardous, especially in northerly countries. Summer is generally peak tourist season - you’re far more likely to encounter good weather, but if you want to avoid crowds and long lines, you’d be better off travelling during spring or autumn.
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