Visit Vienna: rental car

Car Rental Vienna: How To Rent a Car in Austria

Car Rental Vienna. When I take my family back to my Viennese hometown, we sometimes rent a car. Over the past years, our experience with car rental in Austria has grown. Find tips for getting the best deal, a car rental checklist, and  driving and parking tips. Do also check the alternative option: renting a car with driver.

The Car Rental Site I Use

Car Rental Vienna. You can rent a car at one of the many car rental firms at Vienna International Airport, and at several locations throughout the city. If you want to get everything done before you travel, rent your car online. I like to compare offers by several car rental firms in particular categories. Actually, since this car rental site for Austria and beyond lets you compare prices from dozens of great firms you save time on internet search.

Essentially, the four pick up and drop off locations in Vienna are:

Car rental Vienna: Austrian AlpsVienna International Airport: great for heading off basically anywhere, particularly Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and rest of Austria; (get ideas and practical information from my Austria Travel Guide); NOTE: you can check with each offered car on the car rental site whether an airport surcharge is included in the price.

Downtown Vienna: good spot for a trip from your central hotel to hard to reach spots in Vienna and surroundings, for example amazing Schloss Hof, Empress Sissi’s  Hermesvilla, and Seegrotte in Hinterbruhl, Europe’s largest underground lake;

Car rental Vienna: Lake FuschlVienna Central Railway Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof): actually as good as Downtown Vienna; best spot to head for the Vienna Woods, Graz, Burgenland and Lake Neusiedl, and other parts of Southern Austria.

Vienna Western Railway Station (Wien Westbahnhof): use it to head off westwards, for example Salzburg, the Lake District (Salzkammergut), Wachau Valley, Innsbruck and the Alps;

Compare Car Rental Deals Across Austria

To compare different deals,  use the search box below. If you’d like a different pick up location click on the city and pick up location fields and choose your preferences. Then choose your preferred rental dates.

Car Rental Vienna: Things To Know

  • You have to be 19 years old at a minimum and must have held your driver’s licence for at least one year.
  • If you are under 25, check the surcharge policy of your car rental firm, as some charge a little more for young drivers.
  • If you are a non EU resident you will need an International Driver’s Licence.
  • If you have air miles and want to use them, car hire firms run individual policies. Enquire about these before you rent.
  • The restrictions on alcohol consumption for drivers are at 0.5 promille, like in most other European countries, and for young drivers at 0.1 promille. As a general guideline – most people reach 0.4 promille after having had one bottle of beer, though these levels can vary widely between individuals.
  • Speed limits:
  • Vienna and other towns and cities: 50km/h / 31mph
  • Open roads: 100 km/h / 62 mph
  • Highways: 130 km/h / 81 mph

Car Rental Vienna Checklist

It is worth getting add ons included in your quote which usually carry separate charges. Vienna as a rental location is no different. Here are a few tips that I put together from our previous car rentals there. The screenshot below shows you a sample of a good car deal that includes most of the add ons in their price.

Navigation Systems: Most rental firms now provide navigation systems which are useful both within Vienna and outside.

Insurance: Like all European countries, Austria requires drivers to have a third party insurance by law. The minimum insured sum for both personal injury and physical damage required by Austrian law is six million Euros per accident. This is three times higher than the insured sum for rental cars recommended by the Austrian Association of Motorists (OEAMTC).

However, the third-party insurance will only cover costs for damage to third parties, not your own rented vehicle, whether the damage was your fault or the other party’s. If you want to be insured for damages to your rented car as well, enquire about a Loss Damage Waiver and find out which areas of the car it covers.

Many car hire firms in Vienna include a LDW in their prices (like ‘my’ car rental site does). In addition, feel free to check with your credit card insurer, as some of them may cover your car rental insurance for free, as part of their service package for you. 

Highway Tax: If you plan to drive outside Vienna make sure a toll sticker (Vignette) is included in your car rental. Vienna itself does not require one but all highways.

Additional Driver: Usually car rental firms charge a mark up for an additional driver. In the left navigation bar of ‘my’ car rental site, select ‘Additional Driver for free’ to show you available offers.

Winter Tyres: In Austria, vehicle owners are required to equip their vehicles with tyres suitable for winter between 1st November and 15th April. This law also applies to car rentals. Vienna usually maintains its streets well during all seasons, though. Make sure that your car rental firm has your chosen car equipped with suitable tyres during this season. This is in most cases a chargeable extra. If you cause an accident while driving a car without winter tyres in the respective time period, your CDW insurance may not cover the cost for the damage.

Child Seats And Booster Seats: If you are travelling with children under 12 years of age, they will need to be provided with baby seats (0 to 13 kg), child seats (9 to 18 kg), and booster seats (from around 19 kg, depending on the child’s height).

Premium Location: Some car rental firms charge extra for rentals at airports, train stations or other locations in the city centre.

Crossing The Border: For insurance reasons, most firms will not allow their customers to drive to certain Eastern European countries like for example Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria or Serbia, especially when they drive luxury brand cars. In some cases, the car rental firm can grant permission against a surcharge. There may also be restrictions for luxury brand cars to enter Italy.

Contract Fee: All (car rental) firms in Austria are required by law to charge a contract fee of 1 per cent if the contract exceeds a value of EUR 150.

What Does A Good Car Deal Look Like?

Car rental Vienna. In the screenshot below I am showing you the ideal offer you should look for. It ticks most of the criteria mentioned above. Whatever category of car you pick, try to get as many of these boxes ticked as possible.

You will usually receive quotes in your local currency.

car rental Vienna: sample offer

Hire Car And Driver

A few of my readers actually prefer to hire a car and driver for day trips and transfers to other cities. You can go as near as from the airport to your local hotel, and as far as Venice. Here are a few ready made transfer offers with car and driver to consider.

Car Sharing in Vienna

Car Rental Vienna: car sharingAn alternative car rental option is car sharing. You will be able to rent a car for as long as you need, starting at one minute and up to three days. For example, you can find DriveNow cars out in the streets of Vienna and start renting them. You don’t need to go to a car rental agency, since it is all done over an app.

DriveNow also offers free floating car sharing so you will be able to start your rental and end your rental in different locations in Vienna. Car sharing can be a perfect alternative to car rental in Vienna. Learn more about how to join DriveNow car sharing in Vienna.

Driving in Vienna

Once you have managed the car rental Vienna gets moving. Driving in Vienna is less stressful than in many big cities. The city is quite well structured through the Ringstrasse Vienna and the outer ring road, called the Guertel. Click for a map of Vienna for further reference. Some of the street signing and the one-way maze of Vienna’s old town may best be managed by using a navigation system, though.

While they are reasonably careful, the Viennese do not have a reputation for being polite drivers. Best to manage your expectations and not to take certain reactions from local drivers to heart!

Parking In Vienna

My Car Rental Vienna page includes a few tips on parking in Vienna as renting a car is just the first step to enjoying my home town smoothly on four wheels. Some of these tips I have had to learn the hard way when I still owned a car there.

Vienna’s city centre (first district) and most of the adjacent districts (2 to 9, and 20) are short parking zones from Monday to Friday between 9am and 10pm. You can park there with a valid parking ticket for a maximum two hours that require prepaid parking tickets. These short parking areas are only indicated at the entrances, so you will not see further signs within the zones.

However, there may be signs indicating different regulations alongside high street shopping areas. You can buy those tickets on working week days and Saturdays (until 6pm) at the local newspaper shops (Trafiken) What to do out of hours?

I will tell you a secret (it IS mostly a secret as I have tested it with local waiters and even my local family): You can buy parking tickets at most local underground stations. Use the touch screens there. The Main Menu shows the option of Parking Tickets (Parkscheine) at the bottom right.

Alternatively, you can buy parking tickets by SMS using your mobile phone, following registration. (This is also possible using foreign mobile phones.)
SMS number: +43 664 660 09 90 or 0828/20 200 (for national phones)
Info hotline: +43 664 (0)820 660 09 90

The two available ticket types are for one hour, and for 30 minutes. You can put tickets for a maximum of two hours behind the screen of your car, though you can replace them with new valid tickets afterwards.

Alternatively, you can use the many parking garages in town. They are usually pretty safe, and many of them include special parking lots for ladies. Prices range from EUR 1,90 to around EUR 5,00 per hour.

By the way: Not displaying a valid parking ticket can add to your cost of car rental: Vienna traffic wardens can charge around EUR 20 of fine.

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