Car rental Munich
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Why rent a car in Munich?
Munich is a fascinating place to explore. Large and diverse, it offers everything from grand architecture to interesting history and impressive mountain scenery. Renting a car is your best bet to see as much of the Bavarian capital as you can, as well as to travel to nearby natural areas.
Top ways to enter Munich
- Munich Airport. The second-busiest airport in Germany and one of the largest in Europe, Munich Airport serves nearly 50 million travelers every year. A hub for Lufthansa as well as Air Dolomiti, the airport is about 28 km (17 mi) north of Munich.
- Memmingen Airport. Located in southwest Bavaria about 110 km (68 mi) from Munich, Memmingen Airport has plenty of flights by both Wizz Air and Ryanair, two low-cost airlines, and can therefore sometimes be a cheaper alternative for traveling to Munich.
- Stuttgart Airport. Serving the capital city of the neighboring Baden-Württemberg region, Stuttgart Airport hosts flights from more than 40 different airlines. The airport is slightly over a two hour drive from Munich.
- Frankfurt Airport. The busiest airport in Germany, the fourth-busiest in Europe, and the 13th busiest in the world, Frankfurt Airport is huge and can almost feel like an independent city. Hosting countless flights to all parts of the world, the airport is just a four hours drive northwest of Munich.
- By rail. If you’re arriving in Munich by train, you can also conveniently pick up your rental car at either the Munich Central Train Station or the Munich East Railway Station.
Useful city facts
The summers in Munich are hot, but the winters can be quite cold. The average temperature is about 19.5 °C (67 °F) in July, although frequently much higher, and 0 °C (32 °F) in January. Munich has a number of snowy days every year. The most humid month is June.
Munich has a population of about 1,450,000, but more than five million people live in the larger Munich Metropolitan Area. Despite its large population, Munich is close to a number of natural and mountainous areas.
Top destinations and activities
- National Theater. One of the most famous opera houses in the world, the National Theater of Munich opened in early 19th century and recently celebrated its 200th birthday. In its early years it was frequented by many world-famous composers like Wagner and Strauss. Today it is the home of the prestigious Bavarian State Opera and is one of the most well-known landmarks of the city.
- Hellabrunn Zoo. A unique zoo, Hellabrunn has very few cages (instead, it uses moats). Marvel at gorillas, silvery gibbons, and giraffes, visit Dracula’s villa where bats fly right above your head, or head to the aquarium to feed the piranhas. Hellabrunn is a geo-zoo which means that animals of the same geographic region are kept in the same area. So visiting each quarter of it can feel like traveling to a different part of the world.
- BMW museum. Located near the Olympic Park in the Oberwiesenfeld district, the BMW Museum is a must-visit for every car lover. The biggest attraction is, of course, the cars themselves, from classy old school models to the fastest sports cars and futuristic vehicles that haven’t even been produced yet. There are also a number of rotating exhibits dedicated to carbuilding and technology in general.
Traffic and parking tips
- Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limits it 50 km/h (31 mph) in populated or built-up areas. There is no national speed limit on autobahns (highways) and many of them don’t have a set speed limit. However, contrary to what is sometimes stated, about 50% of the autobahns do have their own individual speed limits, so do carefully follow the speed limit signs on each road that you’re driving on.
- Munich streets can get especially crowded during rush hour due to many people driving to and from work. If possible, plan your itinerary to avoid driving at those hours.
- When it comes to parking, different areas are indicated with different colors. Blue lines indicate a paid parking spot where you can park for up to two hours for an hourly rate of €2.50. Dotted blue lines indicate parking areas for disabled drivers. Yellow lines indicate parking areas for taxis. Orange lines indicate parking areas for commercial delivery cars. Red line means that parking is forbidden - breaking this rule can lead to large fines and your car even being towed.
- Where the speed limits are enforced, the tolerance for speeding is low. Driving just 3 km/h (2 mph) above the speed limit can, and often will, lead to fines. Many roads that do have speed limits have radars in place.
- Some autobahns have a minimum speed limit that applies to specific lanes, for example, a minimum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph) for the left lane and 90 km/h (56 mph) for the center lane.
- Because of the very high speed used by some on the German autobahns, be extra careful before switching lanes.
- It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. This is strictly enforced and the fines are substantial.
- Children under the age of 12 have to use a child safety seat.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.00% for novice drivers. Exceeding these limits can lead to high fines and a licence ban.
- The insurance and car documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The general emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112.
Although Germany has a large number of high-speed motorways, only vehicles that weigh more than 7,5 tons need to pay a toll fee. This excludes practically all types of rental cars.
There are two tolled tunnels in Germany, the Herren Tunnel in Schleswig-Holstein and the Warnow Tunnel in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Neither of them is near Munich.
Find out more about the toll roads in Germany on the European toll road website.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Schliersee. A mountain lake and a small resort just 45 minutes drive south of Munich, Schliersee is a place for a relaxing day away from the city. In the summer you can swim, dive, and try your hand at various water sports. It’s also a tranquil and beautiful place to visit in wintertime, especially if you also visit one of the nearby ski resorts.
- Füssen. A picturesque town on the border with Austria, Füssen is most famous for its two nearby castles, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. If you’re not a German speaker, pronouncing their names might be a challenge, but you’ll recognize them immediately as both have inspired many fantasy films and Disney cartoons. Even if stunning castles are not your thing, Füssen and the nearby Forggensee Lake are truly picturesque places to visit. It takes less than two hours to drive to them from Munich.
- Regensburg. A medieval Bavarian city on the Danube, Regensburg is most well-known for its architecture, but travelers also visit for its interesting museums, a public observatory, large parks, and a unique reptile zoo. The city is just a 90 minute drive from Munich.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car type in Munich is compact, followed by economy and intermediate. The most popular rental cars in Munich are the VW Polo, the Renault Clio, and the Ford Focus.
- Salzburg. Mozart’s hometown’s baroque historic center is a World Heritage site, but more than anything, it captivates its many visitors with its stunning Alpine scenery that reveals itself from many points in the city. Get in your rental car and go on a longer adventure in the nearby mountains or simply marvel at them from afar. Just 140 km (90 mi) east of Munich, Salzburg can be reached in about 90 minutes, although you will have to cross a national border so first make sure your rental car provider permits it.
- Stuttgart. Although sometimes overshadowed by Munich itself, Stuttgart is another beautiful Southern German city. Many of its neighborhoods are full of history, with the Palace Square being especially impressive. Just as interesting are its more modern areas where you’ll find truly unique architecture. From Munich, Stuttgart can be reached in just two hours.
- Liechtenstein. A microstate that is home to some massive and stunning mountains, Liechtenstein is rarely visited, but those who travel there simply love it. A country that is home to just 38,000 people and with a territory that’s twice as small as Munich, this principality nonetheless boasts stunning architecture as well as the possibility of seeing somebody from its royal family in person. Before traveling there, ask your rental car provider if they permit it. Also, keep in mind that, unlike Germany, Liechtenstein is not a member of the EU, but it is a member of the Schengen Area.
How can I save money on my rental car?
There are different things you can do to get a good rental car in Munich, such as:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Munich is the cheapest in April, when renting a car is about 26% cheaper. Come visit Bavaria in springtime!
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