Car Rental Hamburg
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Why rent a car in Hamburg?
Hamburg is a great place to explore with a car. Its historic center is very impressive, but Germany’s second-largest city is large and sprawling with interesting landmarks also located in its many neighborhoods and suburbs. Once you’ve seen the city itself, Hamburg can serve as a great base from which to travel around the rest of North Germany.
Top ways to enter Hamburg
- Hamburg Airport: Among the busiest in Germany, Hamburg Airport handles more than 17 million travelers every year. The airport has flights to and from more than 120 European destinations as well as some destinations in the Middle East and Asia. The airport is located just 8.5km (5.3 miles) north of the city center.
- Bremen Airport: With more than 2.5 million travelers every year, Bremen Airport is served by 16 different airlines including some low-cost carriers like Ryanair and Wizz Air, making it one of the cheapest airports to fly to in North Germany. Bremen Airport is located about 120km (75 miles) southwest of Hamburg.
- Hannover Airport: Serving the capital city of Lower Saxony, Hannover Airport has flights by more than 30 different airlines. Located 140km (87 miles) south of Hamburg, the distance between the two can be traveled in about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
- Berlin Tegel Airport: Also known as Otto Lilienthal Airport after the German aviation pioneer, Tegel Airport is the fourth-busiest in Germany. Divided into four terminals, the airport hosts flights to and from most European countries as well as destinations in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and North America. Tegel Airport is located about 275km (170 miles) southwest of Hamburg.
- By rail: If arriving in Hamburg by train, you can conveniently pick up your rental car at Hamburg Hauptbahnhof or Hamburg-Altona stations.
Useful city facts
- Thanks to its proximity to the North Sea, Hamburg has a temperate maritime climate. The average temperature is 17°C (63°F) in July and August, the warmest months, and 1°C (34°F) in January. Precipitation is rather even throughout the year, with August being the rainiest month and April the least rainy.
- Not only the second-largest city in Germany, Hamburg is also one of the 16 federal German states, retaining something of its old status (it was once a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire). Hamburg is bordered by Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, and some of its suburbs are located in those states. The city itself is divided into seven boroughs.
- Although a large port city, Hamburg is actually not on the coast. Instead, it lies on the Elbe which connects it to the nearby North Sea. By far the busiest container port in Germany, it is also the second-busiest in Europe (behind only Antwerp in Belgium) and among the 20 busiest on the planet.
Top destinations and activities
- St. Michael’s Church. Hauptkirche St. Michaelis is the only baroque church in Hamburg and therefore something of an outlier. It is, nonetheless, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The original church was built in the mid-17th century and later destroyed by lightning. The one that replaced it has been safely standing at its place for more than 200 years. Famous for the statue outside of it which shows Archangel Michael conquering the devil, the church also boasts an impressive tower, a city symbol so famous that many native Hamburgers have tattoos of it.
- Rathaus. It’s not often that the city hall is one of the most important or interesting places in town, but the one in Hamburg is surely an exception to that rule. Although not particularly old (it was built in 1897), the neo-Renaissance Rathaus is instantly recognizable as one of the most impressive buildings in Germany. Still serving its governmental purpose, the city hall’s impressive halls and tower are also open for tourists.
- St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel. Connecting both shores of the River Elbe, the impressive tunnel is 24m (78ft) underground and 427m (1,400ft) long. Though you can walk through it, it can be even more fun to go through it in a rental car which is possible for a small fee. The tunnel is decorated with interesting maritime and seafaring motifs paying homage to the main industry of Hamburg. Although going through the tunnel can feel slightly claustrophobic, it is one of the Hamburg experiences that every visitor of the city has to try at least once.
Traffic and parking tips
- Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limits it 50km/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 carefully follow the speed limit signs on each road that you’re driving on.
- Where the speed limits are enforced, the tolerance for speeding is low. Driving just 3km/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 110km/h (68 mph) for the left lane and 90km/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.
- Proof of insurance and the car’s documentation need to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- When driving, 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. 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.
Find out more about the toll roads in Germany on the European toll road website.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Lübeck. Although nowadays Lübeck is a relaxed and quiet coastal city, it was once one of the most powerful and wealthy centers of the Hanseatic League. This proud heritage still survives in the city’s architecture which is best observed in the well-preserved Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located near the Baltic Sea only 67km (41 miles) northeast of Hamburg, Lübeck can be reached in about one hour, making it a perfect day trip destination.
- Bremen. Another German city with the status of a separate state, Bremen is an impressively historical destination. Some famous landmarks include the Statue of Roland, the 1,200-year-old Cathedral of St Peter located on the city’s main square, and Böttcherstraße, one of the most impressive Art Nouveau (or Jugendstil) streets in Europe where some of the city’s finest museums and buildings are located. Bremen is about 125km (77 miles) southeast of Hamburg and can be reached in about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park. A protected wetland area bordering Hamburg, this national park incorporates much of the Wadden Sea, an intertidal zone of the much larger North Sea. The area is home to an impressive variety of wildlife including marine mammals like porpoises and seals and birds like Eurasian oystercatchers and barnacle geese. Located just northwest of Hamburg, the national park can be reached in less than an hour and offers many hiking and other touristic opportunities.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car in Hamburg is the Fiat Panda, although many travelers also go for the Skoda Fabia and the Volkswagen Up. The most popular rental car types are mini, economy, and compact.
- Berlin. As famous for its museums as it is for its many distinct neighborhoods and bohemian atmosphere, Berlin might be less glamorous than some other European capitals, but you’d be hard pressed to find a city that’s more fun. Located just 288km (179 miles) southeast of Hamburg, it can make a perfect next stop on your German vacation.
- Amsterdam. Equal parts historic and exciting, the capital of Netherlands really has it all from its many canals, bridges, and museums with world-famous paintings to an upbeat arts and culture scene and fun nightlife. Located just 465km (289 miles) west of Hamburg, Amsterdam can be reached in about 4 hours and 30 minutes. Keep in mind that to go from one city to the other, you’d have to cross an international border, so ask your car rental provider in advance if they permit it.
- Denmark. Boasting the impressive titles of the oldest kingdom and also the happiest nation in the world, Denmark is a slightly underrated, but up-and-coming travel destination. Its capital city Copenhagen is one of the most interesting cities in Europe, but there’s plenty more to explore, from Legoland in Billund to small islands with unique landscapes, fishing villages, and protected areas. Copenhagen is about 335km (208 miles) northeast of Hamburg (you’d have to take a ferry from Puttgarden to Rødby), with many other Danish destinations located much closer. Keep in mind that you’d have to cross the border between Germany and Denmark, so first ask your rental car provider if they permit it.
How can I save money on my rental car?
Try these tips to get a great rental car in Hamburg:
- Compare the 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 Hamburg is the cheapest in August when renting a car is about 52% cheaper than the yearly average. Come visit Northern Germany in early summer!
Top 20 Cities near Hamburg
Berlin Car Rentals from $70.87 per day257.1 km / 159.8 miles away
Munich Car Rentals from $54.00 per day620.3 km / 385.4 miles away
Frankfurt Car Rentals from $42.34 per day402.3 km / 249.9 miles away
Dusseldorf Car Rentals from $26.60 per day339.6 km / 211.0 miles away
Cologne Car Rentals from $32.47 per day362.9 km / 225.5 miles away
Stuttgart Car Rentals from $27.10 per day551.9 km / 343.0 miles away
Nurnberg Car Rentals from $36.71 per day465.8 km / 289.4 miles away
Weeze Car Rentals from $49.56 per day343.8 km / 213.6 miles away
Memmingen Car Rentals from $45.59 per day627.8 km / 390.1 miles away
Dortmund Car Rentals from $45.63 per day284.5 km / 176.8 miles away
Hannover Car Rentals from $30.80 per day131.6 km / 81.8 miles away
Bremen Car Rentals from $31.77 per day102.8 km / 63.9 miles away
Dresden Car Rentals from $32.81 per day377.9 km / 234.8 miles away
Mannheim Car Rentals from $52.69 per day473.4 km / 294.1 miles away
Leipzig Car Rentals from $42.34 per day288.0 km / 179.0 miles away
Friedrichshafen Car Rentals from $46.19 per day663.5 km / 412.3 miles away
Hahn/Lautzenhausen Car Rentals from $34.01 per day450.2 km / 279.7 miles away
Münster Car Rentals from $49.56 per day227.0 km / 141.1 miles away
Paderborn Car Rentals from $53.47 per day242.6 km / 150.7 miles away
Rosenheim Car Rentals from $46.19 per day659.9 km / 410.0 miles away
Top 19 Locations near Hamburg
Hamburg, Downtown Car Rentals from $27.36 per day
Hamburg Central Train Station Car Rentals from $50.07 per day
Hamburg Airport Car Rentals from $29.04 per day8.7 km / 5.4 miles away
Bremen Airport Car Rentals from $31.77 per day98.7 km / 61.3 miles away
Hannover Airport Car Rentals from $30.80 per day123.3 km / 76.6 miles away
Münster Osnabrück Airport Car Rentals from $49.56 per day221.8 km / 137.8 miles away
Paderborn Lippstadt Airport Car Rentals from $53.47 per day235.2 km / 146.1 miles away
Berlin Tegel Airport Car Rentals from $34.48 per day245.5 km / 152.5 miles away
Berlin Zoo Train Station Car Rentals from $63.54 per day250.9 km / 155.9 miles away
Berlin Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) Car Rentals from $70.87 per day252.2 km / 156.7 miles away
Berlin Schoenefeld Airport Car Rentals from $53.17 per day269.1 km / 167.2 miles away
Dortmund Airport Car Rentals from $45.63 per day278.2 km / 172.9 miles away
Leipzig/Halle Airport Car Rentals from $42.34 per day280.1 km / 174.1 miles away
Dusseldorf Airport Car Rentals from $26.60 per day334.0 km / 207.6 miles away
Dusseldorf Railway Station Car Rentals from $40.76 per day338.8 km / 210.5 miles away
Weeze/Niederrhein Airport Car Rentals from $49.56 per day339.4 km / 210.9 miles away
Cologne Train Station Car Rentals from $32.47 per day356.7 km / 221.6 miles away
Cologne Bonn Airport Car Rentals from $29.66 per day356.8 km / 221.7 miles away
Dresden Airport Car Rentals from $32.81 per day370.9 km / 230.5 miles away
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Hamburg?
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