Car hire in Austria

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Renting a car in Austria is not only a necessity, a convenient way of getting around, but one of the great pleasures of a holiday. When we say that driving is a real pleasure, we are not referring so much to the excellent road conditions, but to the breathtaking beauty of the landscape before your eyes.

Austria’s Alpine scenic roads are an experience to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. The most spectacular is certainly the Grossglockner road, but the Villach Alpine road, the Turrach road and the Zillertaler Höhenstraße are also very impressive.

Some Alpine roads are closed in winter or depending on weather conditions, but there is no shortage of good alternatives to drive along, for example the Wachau valley, a beautiful wine region bathed by the Danube, or the spa resorts around Salzburg. With a rental car, you decide where to go, without having to follow the predetermined – and often disappointing – itineraries of travel agencies!

Renting a car in Austria is recommended both for tourists who want to take a holiday in Austria with a multi-stage itinerary and for those who prefer to stay in the same city for their entire holiday and make day trips from there.

Why rent a car in Austria?

If your holiday consists of a weekend in one of Austria’s major cities, such as Vienna or Salzburg, a car is not necessary. In all other cases, renting a car in Austria is a great idea because it is the only way to be able to explore this fascinating country in total freedom, even to the most remote and picturesque mountain villages.

In particular, Austria is one of the countries where renting a car is most strongly recommended for one simple reason: one of the country’s main tourist attractions are its extraordinary scenic roads, from which you can enjoy breathtaking views and glimpses! You won’t want to miss them, will you?

There are also other advantages to hiring a car in Austria. First of all, you have to consider that trains are not exactly cheap in Austria, so renting a car in some cases is cheaper. This is certainly true for families and couples of friends, but depending on the itinerary, the car might be cheaper than public transport even if only two people are travelling.

Finally, the big advantage of travelling with a hire car is the freedom to leave and stop whenever you want, without having to follow the rigid schedule of organised tours.

Pick-up and drop-off locations

With a hire car you can discover the hidden corners of Austria

At which locations in Austria can you rent a car? You will find rental car offices in all airports and major Austrian cities, including some mountain resorts.

If you arrive in Austria on a flight to Vienna, the most convenient way is to rent a car at the airport and return it there once your holiday is over. This is the preferred option for most tourists as it avoids wasting time on shuttles or taxis to/from the airport and stressing out looking for a car rental office in the various districts of the city. Also, while airport staff are always multilingual, this is not necessarily the case in city offices.

On the other hand, we advise against renting a car directly at the airport if you want to stay in the arrival city for a few days and only then move on to other locations. In this case it makes more sense to book the car at a car rental office directly in the city to avoid having to go to the airport again and losing time.

Vienna Airport

To easily find the cheapest car rental we recommend using the following search form which compares the rates of all companies at theVienna Airport.

Compare car rental rates at Vienna Airport
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The following are the most reliable car rental companies listed in Vienna Airport. If you have preferences on a single company you can click on the respective logo to read the comments and reviews of other travelers who have rented a car at this airport

Local car rental agencies

Tips for renting a car in Austria

The lowest price is not always the cheapest price: when choosing your rental car, besides the price you have to consider other factors that affect the rental cost. Our short guide to car rental in Austria will explain step by step all the items that can affect the total cost, helping you to choose the solution that best suits your needs.

Car hire companies

In Austria there are well-known international companies such as Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Sixt as well as national and local companies such as Buchbinder.

International companies are generally preferred because they offer a wider range of cars and accessories, more efficient customer service and, especially in airport offices and large cities, extended opening hours.

Car category and model

One factor that can greatly vary the cost of car rental is, as one might easily expect, the category: all car rental companies’ cars are divided into small, medium, large and SUVs, each with a different price. Small cars are the cheapest, but also the least spacious and comfortable: the choice is yours!

It is important to remember that the reservation is made by car category and not by model, so the picture you see online is indicative: when you pick up the car, you may be handed a similar car, or perhaps the same car in a different colour.

If there are no cars in your chosen category available at the time of pick-up, you may be given a car in a higher category without any increase in price, but the car hire company can never give you a car in a lower category than the one booked.

Payment with or without credit card

One of the most frequently asked questions about car rental in Austria is: do you need a credit card to rent a car in Austria? In 99% of cases YES, which is why we encourage you to pay special attention to the conditions of each company before booking.

Don’t confuse the credit card you need to show when collecting the car with the credit card to guarantee the booking: almost all online booking sites accept prepaid credit cards such as Postepay, but car rental companies require a credit card linked to a bank account when collecting the car.

Why the difference? Well, the car rental agency wants to be sure that you are able to pay in case of damage!

Some companies not only ask for a credit card, but also freeze an amount equivalent to the deductible on your card, which will only be released after the car has been delivered and only if no damage is found to the car.

A final, very important, clarification: the credit card must be in the name of the driver or drivers who signed the rental agreement, so cards from relatives or friends are not valid, even if they have given you permission to use it! Nor is a written proxy valid.

Some companies allow you to rent a car without a credit card by asking you to leave a large cash deposit and purchase comprehensive Kasko insurance, which also covers the excess and is usually optional. As these cases are very rare, do not rely on luck but inquire before booking if this is possible.

One way car rental

Do we have to take the car back to where it was picked up? No, if you have chosen one way car rental, the formula that allows you to pick up the car in one city or airport and drop it off at a different location.

The one way formula saves time because you do not have to return to the starting point and is recommended for those who want to make linear journeys of several kilometres. It is more expensive than a traditional rental where the car is returned to where it was picked up, but could still be cheaper than having to return.

Austria is not a huge country but not a very small one either, so this formula may or may not be a good idea depending on the route you want to take.

If you opt for a straightforward itinerary, remember that one-way hire is a service only offered by the larger companies and not the smaller local companies.

Timetables and costs

The total duration of your rental is not only a matter of dates, but also of time: many companies calculate it on the basis of the exact pick-up and drop-off time, starting 24 hours after pick-up. Be very careful to respect the pick-up and drop-off times because this is a detail that can significantly increase the cost of your car rental.

How? Let’s look at it with an example. You have picked up your car in Innsbruck at 10:00 a.m. and you return it at the same time, at the same location the next day: in this case, you will have to pay a one-day rental fee. However, if you return it later, even by just one hour, you may be charged for an extra day’s rental. They are not always so strict, but to avoid nasty surprises, it is better not to arrive late than the agreed drop-off time.

What happens if you have booked a car and your plane is late? Rest assured: car rental offices at airports take into account possible flight delays.

Fuel conditions

When renting a car in Austria do you have to return it with a full tank? Sometimes yes, sometimes no! Car hire companies in Austria are also divided between those that impose full-full and full-empty conditions.
What does full-full mean? The car is delivered to you with a full tank and you have to return it to the car hire company with a full tank, with the obligation to refuel within 10 km of the drop-off location.

In the second case, you have to pay for the first full tank and then you can return the car with an empty tank. This sounds convenient but it is not because in order not to risk running out of fuel, no one returns the car without refuelling shortly beforehand. This means you have paid for the first full tank plus the fuel left in the car.

Additional services

Are you travelling with a child or do you not have a car seat with you? Do you want a car equipped with a navigator so you don’t have to stress about figuring out which route to take?

Austrian car rental companies give you the option of renting accessories that increase the comfort of your car or that you need, but the cost of these accessories is usually very high.

If you are travelling on a tight budget try to do without them, perhaps bringing them from home or buying them locally.

Low-cost car rental

In summary, it is possible to save money on car hire in Austria by taking small steps to avoid unnecessary expenses and surcharges. We would like to remind you in particular

Car categories available in Austria

The following models are some examples of the cars that you can rent in Austria.

Car hire Mini in Austria
  • 2-4
  • 1
  • 0
  • Examples: Fiat Panda, Fiat 500, Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto
Car hire Budget in Austria
  • 4
  • 1
  • 1
  • Examples: Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa, Seat Ibiza, Citroen C3
Car hire Standard in Austria
  • 5
  • 2
  • 1
  • Examples: Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Audi A3
Station Wagon
Car hire Station Wagon in Austria
  • 5
  • 3
  • 0
  • Examples: Opel Astra SW, Ford Focus SW, Golf SW
Car hire MPV in Austria
  • 5-9
  • 3
  • 1
  • Examples: Volkswagen Touran, Opel Zafira, Ford Galaxy
Car hire SUV in Austria
  • 5
  • 3
  • 0
  • Examples: Toyota RAV 4, Ford Escape, Jeep Renegade
Car hire Luxury in Austria
  • 5
  • 2
  • 1
  • Examples: Mercedes Classe C, Mercedes Classe E, Audi A5
Car hire Convertible in Austria
  • 4
  • 2
  • 0
  • Examples: Ford Mustang, Audi A3 cabrio, BMW serie 2

Frequently asked questions about car rental in Austria

Here are some quick answers to the most common doubts about car rental in Austria.

More and more people are choosing to rent a car to reduce contacts and increase social distancing, avoiding the often crowded public transport.

Car rental companies are committed to higher hygiene standards to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus.

All the safety measures we are accustomed to are taken at the rental desks and the cars are disinfected after each rental, especially the areas most at risk, such as seats, gearboxes, handles and steering wheel.

Undoubtedly yes. During the pandemic, almost all car rental companies in Austria were forced to reduce their car fleet to reduce operating costs.

When tourism in Austria has restarted, due to the crisis in raw materials and electronic components, they have not managed to buy back enough cars.

The consequence is that today every company has far fewer cars than in 2019 and cannot cope with the high demand. This leads to higher prices and less availability, especially during the high season.

The advice we give you is therefore to book the car well in advance, both to get the best prices but above all to be sure of having a rental car.

To reserve a car in Austria a credit card or debit card is sufficient. However, when you go to collect the car, you will need:

  • a credit card in the name of the driver. Debit and ATM cards are not accepted;
  • copy of the reservation;
  • a driving license valid for at least 12 months;
  • an identity document.

The car rental companies in Austria allow to rent a car to all those who are between 21 and 70 years old. However, there is an additional cost for under 25 and for those over 70.

A car rental in Austria always includes:

  • theft insurance;
  • limitation of liability for damage to the vehicle;
  • local, road and airport taxes.

Any extras or additional insurance coverage are separate.

Compare rates of all the companies


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