Car Hire in Cologne
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Cologne is a city in Germany, more precisely in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is the capital of the state and the fourth largest city in Germany. The first evidence of settlement in this area dates back to 38 B.C. The city of Cologne was founded by the Romans on the banks of the Rhine river. The first name of the city was the Roman Colonia Agrippina. This was a very important city at the time of the Romans. After this glorious period, the name changed. Actually, only the word Agrippina was omitted. Later, this city is called Cologne in modern German.
The city has always been important in many ways. This was mainly due to its excellent location on the important medieval trade route. This helped the city to grow in importance and strength year after year. Due to the fact that it was an important, economically strong and well-developed city, it was often attacked and there were always fights for the leading role in Cologne. Thus, the city experienced several ups and downs in the past, but after each setback, Cologne managed to rise again and become an important and strong city.
The last major destruction Cologne experienced was during World War II when the city was almost completely devastated. It took years for Cologne to be rebuilt and renovated after the war.
Today, Cologne is a very important city and the most important cultural centre of the Rhineland. There are also many important educational institutions here, for example, one of the oldest universities in Europe. The city is also a very attractive destination for tourists and travellers from all over the world. There are really many different historical, cultural and religious sights worth visiting here. The city is well connected to other parts of the country and the roads are in good condition, making this an ideal place for a stopover on your road trip through Germany. Buckle up and drive safely!
Basic info and car hire in Cologne
- Location: State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
- Population: 1,083,498
- Official language: German
- Currency: Euro
- Weather: Cologne has a temperate–oceanic climate
- Internet coverage: Hotels, bars, restaurants, and cafés offer Wi-Fi.
- Road conditions: Most roads in Cologne are in good condition.
- Car hire in Cologne: The most common pick-up point for vehicles in Cologne is at Cologne Bonn Airport. Please note that prices vary frequently. It is best to book a car 3 to 8 weeks in advance of your desired pick-up date - this will ensure you get the cheapest rental rate. Alternatively, it is also possible to find cheap last-minute car hire. Find the best deal on car hire in Cologne!
Driving in Cologne
If you want to explore the city and its surroundings properly, it is best to rent a car and explore the city according to your own preferences and at your own pace. There really are a lot of different things to see and do here, so make sure you do your research before coming to Cologne. A good plan is the best way to see as many things as possible.
Cologne is a big city, so there can be traffic jams, especially during rush hour. It is not that hard to find your way around Cologne, as the signalling is clear and the roads are in good condition. However, if you want to explore the city centre, it is best to park your car in one of the many parking lots in the city or even at the city entrance and then explore the city centre on foot or combine walking with using public transportation.
Cologne is well connected to other parts of the country. So, if you are planning a road trip through Germany, you should put Cologne on the list of cities where you will stop and spend a few days. It's up to you what plans you have, but one thing is for sure: you will enjoy driving on the roads of Germany. A network of highway axes from all directions leads to a ring of highways that encircle the city - A 1, A 3, A 4, A 57, A 59, A 555, and A 559. Cologne is also connected to several major federal highways.
Since Cologne, and actually the whole region, has a strong industry, the so-called environmental zones were introduced to maintain a healthy environment for the people who live here. An environmental zone in Germany is a zone where motorised vehicles are only allowed to enter with an environmental badge. In German, these zones are called Umweltzone, which translates as an environmental zone. As of 2021, there are 58 environmental zones in Germany, covering more than 70 cities. The obligation to possess the environmental badge applies to both German and foreign cars (M1), motor homes (M1), heavy caravans (M1), minibuses (M2), buses (M3), vans (N1), transporters (N2), trucks (N2) and heavy commercial vehicles (N3).
Vehicle registration and city government sell stickers. Local garages and vehicle inspection centres such as TUeV and DEKRA are also authorised to sell stickers. If you buy them directly from municipal offices, they cost €5. Online, they can cost more. And if they need to be shipped abroad, that can sometimes be a bit more expensive. The city of Berlin sells stickers online (in English or German) for 6 €. TUeV-SUeD offers stickers for 15 € in German, Česky, Français, English, Italiano, Polski, Tuerkçe. TUeV-NORD sells stickers for 9,90 € if the vehicle is registered in Germany, for 17,50 € if the vehicle is not registered in Germany.
Buy the stickers only on the official websites of the city or the TueV. Other websites are often much more expensive, if you get a valid sticker there at all.
- Age limits: The minimum age to drive a car in Germany is 18 years old. The minimum age to rent a car in Germany is 21 years old, however, some suppliers allow young drivers from 18 years of age to rent a car from them. A young driver fee can apply for drivers that are under 25 years of age. This information is visible in the search engine Orbit Car Hire.
- International Driving Permit: You are required by law to carry your Drivers Licence when driving. An International Driving Permit is required in addition to a National Driving License if the National Driving License you or any of the Additional Drivers hold is not clearly identifiable as a Driving License, eg, it is in a non-Latin alphabet (eg Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese). It can also depend on the country or car rental company you are renting with. If you have found a car on our website, you can press the rental terms link from the supplier for more information about driving license requirements. You will need to provide a copy of your driver's license when applying for the license. If you are mailing your application in, a copy of both the front and the back of the license should be included. You also must present two passport photos to get an international driver's license in Germany. This is all that you need to obtain an international license for driving in Germany.
- Additional papers: A credit card in the name of the main driver needs to be presented. A security deposit may be required while renting a car so the credit card must have sufficient funds. You can find details about the security deposit listed while booking the vehicle as well as on your voucher. It is important to have a valid driving license with the name of the main driver as well as additional drivers when it applies.Identification(passport or ID), and valid proof of insurance. When you pick up your rental car you need to have your voucher with you. At Orbit Car Hire you can buy additional coverage so you can travel throughout Germany without worry.
- Additional requirements: It is a legal requirement that vehicles have certain safety gear, such as orange vests, caution triangles, and a first aid kit. Verify with your car rental where these are located in your car. You also need to check that you have additional light bulbs (are usually already in the car and are provided by the car rental company).Glasses (in case you need glasses, you must always have a spare pair in the car),
- Children in the car: Everyone in the vehicle is required to wear a seatbelt. If a passenger is found without one, then the driver is held responsible with a high fine. In Germany, it is illegal to travel in a car with a child under 3 years old not strapped into an approved child safety seat. Children under twelve (and under 150cm) must have a booster or restraint system and be seated in the back. Ask when booking for a suitable system to be included when you collect your hire car.
- Driving side of the road: Right Hand
- Lights: You must turn your lights on any time you can't see at least 1000 feet ahead. Use your low-beam headlights whenever it is raining.
- General speed limits: When driving in towns, the speed limit is automatically 50 km/h unless stated otherwise. When driving out of towns, the speed limit is automatically 100 km/h unless otherwise stated. NOTE: There will not always be a speed limit sign! Therefore, you need to know that as soon as you enter a village or “built-up” area that automatically means the speed limit is 50km/h! 65% of the highways in Germany (Autobahn) have no speed limit.
Car Hire in Cologne
Most popular car hire at Cologne
The most selected hire car in Cologne is the Fiat 500, Renault Clio or Opel Corsa. Renault Captur is also being a popular option. The most popular car types in Cologne are mini and economy.
Popular Driving Routes
Popular One-Way car hire from Cologne
Want to rent a car for a one-way trip? No worries! Orbit Car Hire offers a variety of one-way Car Hire options in many locations outside of Cologne. One-way car rental is ideal for cross-town or cross-country travel, saving time by not returning to your original location. Start your reservation with Orbit Car Hire and find great options on one-way car hire at locations across the Germany.
Cologne-Essen (71km with approximately 1 hour of drive)
Cologne-Duisburg (72km with approximately 1 hour of drive)
Cologne-Dortmund (94km with approximately 1 hour of drive)
Cologne-Hamm (123km with approximately 1,5 hours of drive)
Popular day trips from Cologne
Linz am Rhein, Ahr Valley, Brühl, Carolus Thermen in Aachen, Düsseldorf, Bonn, Schloss Drachenburg, Maastricht,...
What to see in Cologne
Cologne is a very attractive city and a very popular destination among Germans as well as tourists and travellers from all over the world. There is something to discover here for every kind of tourist. All you need to do is to be well informed and come here with a good plan because there are so many different cultural, historical and religious attractions worth visiting that you should be really well organised if you want to see and do as much as possible.
One of the most popular attractions in Cologne is undoubtedly the cathedral. This cathedral is famous for the fact that it houses the reliquary of the Three Kings. This amazing church was built in the 12th century and is still one of the most visited attractions in Germany. It is the second tallest building in the city and is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The cathedral has been renovated several times throughout its history and remains one of the most breathtaking attractions in Cologne and beyond.
Another attraction that you should definitely visit in Cologne is the Museum Ludwig. This amazing modern building is really something special. In this museum, you can admire artworks from the 20th century and some of the most famous paintings in the world are displayed here. So, if you are interested in art, you should definitely visit the Ludwig Museum.
Another museum that is worth visiting is the Roman-Germanic Museum. In this museum, you will learn a lot about the history of Cologne and also about the history of the Romans and other civilizations and cultures that lived here in the past. There are really many unique and very important artefacts exhibited here, and one of the most valuable and precious is undoubtedly the "Cologne Cage Cup" from the 4th century, on which is written in Greek script: "Drink, farewell forever".
The Wallraf-Richartz Museum is another place for all art lovers that you should definitely visit. Here you can admire Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionist art. In this museum, you can see the works of some of the most famous and valuable painters, such as Albrecht Duerer, Hieronymous Bosch, Rubens, van Dyck, Rembrandt, Degas, Monet...
Other places to visit and things to do in Cologne: Cologne's Old Town, Groß St. Martin, St. Maria im Kapitol, Botanical Garden, KölnTriangle,, Hohenzollern Bridge, Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln, Kolumba Museum, St Gereon's Basilica, NS Documentation Center, Schnütgen Museum, Belgian Quarter, Rheinauhafen District, Fragrance Museum, Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum, Cologne Zoo, FC Köln, Boat Trip on the Rhine, Gamescom, Christmas Markets, Kölsch and Halve Hahn...
Drive your rental car beyond Cologne
Germany, or the Federal Republic of Germany as the country's official name, is located in Central Europe and is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia. Germany borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, and France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the west. The country's capital and largest city is Berlin, and Germany's financial centre is Frankfurt. In many ways, Germany is undoubtedly one of the strongest and most developed countries in the world. It is the country with the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest economy in the world. It is a world leader in several industrial, scientific and technological fields and is both the third largest exporter and the third largest importer of goods.
But of course, Germany is not just an industrial and financial giant. It is a country with many opportunities in many different fields. From arts, education, tourism, sports, etc. Germany has a long and turbulent past with all kinds of events and among these events, there are some that Germans are not very proud of, such as the World War. There are many monuments, museums and places that commemorate these events and send a warning to the world that this kind of event should never happen again.
Germany consists of 16 states (Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Bremen, Brandenburg, Berlin, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Thuringia, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria), and each of them has something different to offer and is really worth visiting. The country lies between the Baltic and North Seas in the north and the Alps in the south. So there really is a lot to see and do here, from the south to the north. One of the great advantages of this country is the fact that the road infrastructure here is really well developed and among the best in Europe. It is an ideal country for a road trip. You should probably do more than one road trip through Germany if you want to explore it properly, but you can be sure that you will have a great time no matter which part of the country you want to explore. You can either opt for the bigger cities in Germany, as there are a large number of cities in this country and there are really countless interesting things to see and do in most of the cities. Also, there are many festivals that take place throughout the year. So you just need to research well and make a good plan before coming here, because you really need to be well organized if you want to see and do as many things as possible.
In Germany, there are also many great options for those who prefer a more active type of vacation. For those who love the mountains, there are many great mountain trails and routes that you can explore either on your own or with a guided group. In the Alps you can also do many other activities, from climbing to mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, skating on the many great lakes, etc.
If you are not interested in the mountains, you can always visit the lakes and rivers or even try rafting or kayaking. The countryside in Germany is also beautiful and worth experiencing. You can also drive around and visit many romantic little villages where you can learn more about the German culture and traditions, meet the locals and try some local specialities. If you decide to explore the German countryside, you can also be prepared to see some amazing castles. Some of them are abandoned and only ruins remind us that the castle was here in the past, but some castles are still alive and are being renovated to house museums, galleries, etc. and are spectacular tourist attractions. An interesting fact about Germany is that it is the country with the third largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Besides castles, there are fascinating churches and other majestic architecture all over the country that will simply take your breath away.
For technology freaks and lovers of the automotive industry, there are some of the most famous brands from this country whose factories and museums you can visit, e.g. BMW, Mercedez, Audi...
The country is also famous for its gastronomy and it is important to highlight two traditional German flagships in this field. The beer is undoubtedly one, with the Oktoberfest, one of the most famous festivals in the world, where record-breaking amounts of beer are sold every year, and then of course the sausage, as it is called. If you are in Germany, you should definitely try the sausage and the beer. This is German tradition and pride.
Where to eat, drink, and party in Cologne
If you are looking for unique and different German gastronomy, Cologne is undoubtedly the place to visit. There are numerous bars, restaurants, breweries, etc. where you can taste the endless flavours of German gastronomy. Cologne is famous for its "Koelsch" beer. There are also many restaurants where you can discover the different types of German cuisine. From traditional German cuisine to some fabulous local specialities, to many modern restaurants with modern German cuisine and also with menus from all over the world. So, if you are looking for a perfect culinary destination in Germany, you should definitely think about Cologne and go on a culinary discovery trip.
Best restaurant in Cologne
Japans Ramen Restaurant Takumi Cologne
ST. LOUIS Breakfast
Kamasutra Indian Restaurant
What you need to know about renting a car
What do I need to rent a car in Germany?
A credit card in the name of the main driver needs to be presented. A security deposit may be required while renting a car so the credit card must have sufficient funds. You can find details about the security deposit listed while booking the vehicle as well as on your voucher. It is important to have a valid driving license with the name of the main driver as well as additional drivers when it applies. An International Driving Permit is required in addition to a National Driving License if the National Driving License you or any of the Additional Drivers hold is not clearly identifiable as a Driving License, eg, it is in a non-Latin alphabet (eg Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese). It can also depend on the country or car rental company you are renting with. If you have found a car on our website, you can press the rental terms link from the supplier for more information about driving license requirements. You will need to have identification with you such as a passport and ID cards. When you pick up your rental car you need to have your voucher with you.
How old do I need to be to rent a car in Germany?
The minimum age to rent a car in Germany is 21 years old, however, some suppliers allow young drivers from 18 years of age to rent a car from them. A young driver fee can apply for drivers that are under 25 years of age. This information is visible in the search engine with Orbit Car Hire.
Do I need car insurance in Germany?
Insurances are very important when renting a car and can be different between countries. When renting a car in Germany with Orbit Car Hire the prices will include mandatory insurances in the country.
Do I need a credit card to rent a car in Germany?
In most cases, a credit card is required to be presented in the name of the main driver. A security deposit may be required when renting a car so it is important to have sufficient funds on the credit card. When searching for a car at Orbit you can see credit card requirements from all our suppliers.
Do I need an international driving license in Germany?
An International Driving Permit is required in addition to a National Driving License if the National Driving License you or any of the Additional Drivers hold is not clearly identifiable as a Driving License, eg, it is in a non-Latin alphabet (eg Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese). It can also depend on the country or car rental company you are renting with. If you have found a car on our website, you can press the rental terms link from the supplier for more information about driving license requirements.
How do I find the cheapest car in Germany?
You can find cheap car hire by comparing prices with all major car rentals at Orbit Car Hire. A good idea can be to book in advance as the prices can increase closer to the travel period.
What is the cheapest rental car in Germany?
You will find the mini car category or economy cars to be the cheapest car categories. Vehicles such as Toyota Aygo and Opel Corsa often provide the best prices.
What is the best car rental company in Germany?
You may find excellent service provided by companies such as Alamo, Enterprise, Europcar, Buchbinder, and Keddy.
What types and makes of rental cars deals can I find in Germany?
You will find car types such as mini, economy, compact, Full-Size, and luxury cars. Popular rental cars are Hyundai i20, Renault Clio, VW Golf, BMW 1 series.
Does my rental car have unlimited mileage when I book for Germany?
Most car rentals in Germany offer unlimited mileage in their offers.
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