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This is the cost of renting a car at your vacation destination

Prices have risen a spectacular 129% over the past five years 

Do you leave the car at home or take it on vacation? A bit more insight into the costs of small rental vehicles at your holiday destination. 

When booking your holiday or trip abroad, it is obvious to look into the prices of a rental car, especially if you don't go on holiday for too long.

In this FerryGoGo study, we specifically looked at popular European destinations and ports often visited by car and ferry. To get a more concrete picture of the costs of a small rental car on location, we dived into data that we obtained via EasyTerra.

The following conclusions can be drawn from the data:

  • Renting a small car still cost an average of €48 in the cities studied in 2018; in 2022, this has more than doubled to €109 per day;
  • Prices for renting small rental cars for a day have increased on average by 129% over the past five years;
  • It can certainly pay off to rent a car for a day and leave your car ashore at the port of departure. If you go on holiday for a week, it quickly becomes less interesting with the current prices;
  • The costs of taking your car aboard a ferry can also cost as much as €509 (e.g. Portsmouth – Bilbao in high season)
  • Last summer you paid about €108 for a small rental car in the cities studied in France, €116 in Norway, €102 in Spain and €104 in England
  • You pay relatively much for renting a car in Dublin (Ireland) and Belfast (Northern Ireland) (€173 on average) and the least €68 in Hamburg. In Dublin, car rental prices have risen a staggering 271% in just five years.
  • In the other countries and locations viewed, the average prices are often between €80 and €120 for a small rental car per day in high season.
  • Hamburg is the only location where rental car prices fell over the past 5 years (-7.5%).
  • If you rent a car for several days, this will reduce the price.

The cities that have been included in the study are often popular holiday destinations, islands, and/or port cities, which in many cases are also visited by ferry crossings.

The study looked at the average price per day of a (small) rental car in the high season (June, July, and August over the past 5 years) for 30 European cities.

The average cost of car rental – small car per day

In England, during the high season, you pay an average of €104 for renting a small car for a day.

In France, you paid an average of €108 for renting a small car in the cities compared, Bastia (Corsica) was the cheapest city.

In Norway, you paid around € 116.52 in 2022 for renting a car for a day in the high season.

The costs for car rental in Spain in 2022 amounted to around € 102 per day.

Prices of rental cars in Europe

The prices for renting cars have risen sharply in recent years due to, among other things, the corona pandemic, chip shortages, and an additional lack of new cars.

With the help of the data, consumers can decide for themselves whether they want to take their car along, or for example, rent a bicycle or car as transport on the spot or rely entirely on public transport.

Prices of rental cars in Spain

Prices of rental cars in England

Prices of rental cars in Ireland & Northern Ireland - Dublin & Belfast

Do you take the car along or leave it at home and rent a car?

If you book a ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao in peak season 2023 with a car you'll pay €865, the exact same trip without a car is €256,- a total difference of about €509 for just bringing the car, it could make sense to go for a rental in this case.

If you now book a ferry to Hook of Holland (Rotterdam) for peak season (for example July 1 - July 8, 2023) this costs +/- € 102 as a foot passenger for a return ticket. Are you taking the car? Then it will cost you around €339 for a return. (a surplus of 240 euros). If you only need a car for a day then it would be interesting to rent a car.

For Amsterdam / IJmuiden you pay € 252 as a foot passenger (including cabin) if you take the car with you, it will probably cost you around € 725. That is € 450,- extra. Then it quickly pays to opt for a rental car on-site at the location.

Causes of the dramatic rise in rental car prices

The rise in car rental prices has several causes. During the corona crisis, many car rental companies said goodbye to a large part of their fleet. When it was necessary to replenish the rental car fleet after the corona crisis, there was a chip shortage[1]Why It's Impossible to Rent a Car Right Now,, which meant the demand for the supply of new rental cars could not be met. 

Also last year there was already a major shortage in the supply[2]A 'perfect storm' is causing massive rental-car shortages,, and the fact that many people wanted to 'catch up' on holiday naturally also played a role.

Tips for booking a rental car next summer?

Before you book a flight, ferry, or train to your destination, it certainly pays to compare the prices of a rental car in advance. The rental car is nowadays a cost item to consider on holiday. What can you look out for for a reasonable price?

  • Make sure you book a rental car on time, this can make a big difference in your costs
  • Also, take a look at and compare car rental comparators, which are different from a car rental company.
  • See if you get a discount via your credit card, for example. For example, American Express has a partnership with eg Hertz.
  • Reserve the rental car from the moment you need it.

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JW van Tilburg
JW van Tilburg

Jan Willem, one of the co-founders at, harbors a profound passion for exploring the world through its rich tapestry of cultures and gastronomy.In his role at FerryGoGo, Jan Willem diligently immerses himself in the intricacies of topographical and geographical data for various cities and countries, unearthing fascinating tidbits along the way. This endeavor not only aligns seamlessly with his interests but also kindles his enthusiasm for contributing to the ongoing success of FerryGoGo.

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