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Practical tips – driving in Europe
Image owned by Kyle Taylor
Image owned by Kyle Taylor


Planning on heading to the continent?” Why not hire a car and explore on your own schedule with Europcar? Read on for all the info you’ll need to go your own way on your stress-free European adventure.


Know the car hire requirements in advance

Image owned by Ed Seymour
Image owned by Ed Seymour


  • To hire a car in most countries, you must be at least 21 years of age and have held a valid driving licence for at least one year. Depending on the country, you may also be able to drive into a neighbouring country or even drop off your car hire in a different town.



Arrange your airport transportation

  • Holidays are supposed to be fun and relaxing, and we think that should start from the moment you leave your front door. Make your trip to the airport smooth and stress-free by utilising our Airport Connect service. Airport Connect one-way car hire allows you to pick up your car in town and drop it off at the airport, avoiding all those nasty parking fees or late night lifts from family members.


  • Travelling in a group? We also have a range of van and minibus hire options, so no matter your numbers, you can get there with ease. For a small cost, we’ll even deliver your van to your door if you live within five miles of a Europcar station.


Where can you drive?


Image owned by Rock Cohen
Image owned by Rock Cohen


  • You can use your UK licence for driving in other countries in the European Community (EC) or European Economic Area (EEA), however, the minimum age for driving a car may differ from the UK.


  • The member states of the EC are as follows:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden.


When you arrive at your Europcar hire location

Image owned by János Balázs
Image owned by János Balázs


  • When you arrive at your car hire station, you’ll need to present a driving licence in your name, issued by your country of residence. The driving licence must be valid in the country of hire (see above) and have been held for a minimum period of time depending on local legislation or conditions. You will also need to present the valid credit card that you paid for the car with and the cardholder needs to be present. An identification document, such as a passport, may also be required.


  • Europcar accepts most major credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, EuroCard, MasterCard, Visa) however there can be exceptions in some countries. Please see our general hire information for more detail.


  • Check that the car conditions written on the car statement are correct and if you notice an apparent defect not listed when examining the car, please notify a Europcar employee.


  • Before you hit the road, make sure you have all your luggage, any maps you may require and that you don’t feel tired. Make sure you’ve adjusted the seat and mirrors correctly and find out whether the car takes petrol/gasoline or diesel.


Driving Abroad

We know that when driving abroad you can encounter many differences from back home. Plan the route you will take, particularly if leaving a busy airport or city centre. If you are driving in a country where cars are on the opposite side of the road from the UK, or you require some additional information on the car, please contact our staff.


Rules of the road

Image owned by Colin Kinner via Wikimedia Commons
Image owned by Colin Kinner via Wikimedia Commons


  • Observe local speed limits

If you get caught speeding, it’s likely you’ll have your driver’s licence confiscated immediately. Fines are often high and they must be paid. That’s why it’s important to carefully observe all speed limits on the road. And remember, most countries post speed limits in kilometres, not miles…

  • Think – Don’t drink!

As you’d expect, every European country has laws against driving under the influence of alcohol and the permissible blood alcohol level is often extremely low. Drinking just one beer could put you in violation of the law in many countries. And in several places, any blood alcohol reading above zero is considered a punishable offence.

  • Buckle up

Legislation in most countries now requires both drivers and passengers to wear correctly fitted safety belts. Furthermore, most European countries do not permit children under certain ages to be in the front passenger seat of a moving car.

  • Park only where it’s permitted.

In major cities, parking areas designated as “blue zones” for short-term parking (1 to 1.5 hours), “green zones” for longer periods and “red zones” where parking is prohibited. Some cities also use parking meters, so be sure to feed the meter if there is one.


Remember: when you hire a car with Europcar, our friendly staff are on hand to help get your holiday off to a flying start. So if in doubt – ask!


Where will you be heading this half term?




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