Germany is one of the most culturally rich and diverse countries in Western Europe, and a perfect destination for the adventurous at heart - eager to explore a mix of must-see tourist hotspots and the less traveled hidden vistas. Rather than vacation within the confines of a tour bus on a set schedule, cruise through Germany, fueled by curiosity and wonder, as you navigate through city streets in Munich or lush forested mountains bordering Austria.
Discover Frankfurt and its distinct cultural complexities, delicious culinary offerings, and variety of attractions, while touring through Germany in your rental car. Spend your day ambling through the art-laden halls of the Städel Museum, or sampling the worlds finest beers as you float down the Rhine River on a dinner cruise. Let your car rental take you wherever your heart desires, as a vacation isn't the same without the many freedoms afforded by building your own itinerary with plenty room for unexpected detours.
Auto Europe's travel guide to Germany is designed to help you make the most of your trip in Germany. Below we will cover a variety of topics including, driving tips, traffic laws, and destination guides.
Like much of Europe, driving in Germany can feel like a daunting experience when traveling from the United States. Carefully planning the best time of year to visit Germany can help you avoid the increased traffic during tourist seasons. But regardless of when you decide to go, fear not, as our comprehensive travel guide will have you driving through Germany like you trained on the Nurbürgring in no time.
It's safe to assume that if you've heard of Germany, you've also heard of the famed Autobahn highway system that connects nearly every German destination. The majority of the Autobahn has only "advised" speed limits, a prospect which can be as terrifying as it is exciting. It is recommended that, when driving through the unrestricted speed zones of the Autobahn, you stay in the right lane, as the left lanes are used for passing - which you will notice, as €100,000 sports cars commonly fly by, at well over 200 km/h.
German drivers don't slouch when it comes to using turn-signals, and nor should you, especially when driving on speed limit-less expressways, where a turn signal can prevent a collision with other vehicles changing lanes. When changing lanes yourself, remember in Germany, like the rest of Europe, passing on the right is illegal and frowned upon. More information is available in our Germany Driving Laws section of this guide.
Due to more stringent driver's license testing standards in Germany, it is common for locals to drive much more aggressively than visitors from the United States are accustomed to. Because of this, the amount of space between cars can become uncomfortably slim when passing others or when being passed yourself. By knowing this before you start your trip you'll be able to keep your cool - this is normal when driving in Germany.
Driving in Germany can be tiring, especially on the Autobahn. Fortunately for you, a number of rest stops can be found every few miles when traveling on Germany's major expressways. Auto Europe suggests that you take advantage of these opportunities to get out of your car, stretch your legs, and give yourself a minute to regain mental acuity before hitting the road again.
Germany is famous for its beer, but stay responsible, and know that driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs is taken very seriously in Germany. Infractions commonly incur fines up to €3,000 EUR, loss of license, and potential jail time. The legal blood-alcohol limit is 0.05%, and that limit drops to 0.03% if you are involved in an accident.
Use of handheld cellular devices is strictly prohibited while driving in Germany, and if caught you may face steep fines. Hands-free devices are permitted, but it is still recommended to avoid the distractions of cellular devices unless completely necessary. If you have to dial, Auto Europe recommends that you find a turn out and pull over before engaging.
Seatbelts save lives, and that's a fact, so remember to buckle-up before hitting the road. Much like the rest of the western world, wearing a seatbelt while driving in Germany is mandatory, and violators will be fined a minimum of €30 EUR, per un-belted passenger.