It can take forever scrolling through the internet to find the best deal for rental cars in a location that isn’t going to break the bank once you’re there.
With this in mind, we’ve decided to settle it once and for all by giving you our list of the top 20 best value car hire destinations in Europe.
Our team of experts hand-selected the locations which made the cut by calculating the average price of hiring a small or medium vehicle in the area, plus the cost of filling its tank with fuel.
We then factored in the average cost of a three-course meal for two at a local restaurant and a night’s stay in a four-star hotel, as we wanted to get a feel for the true value in the area.
So, which European locations are the best for cheap car hire? The results may surprise you! Despite their reputation as the pricier European cities, seven capital cities made the list and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the country which featured the most was Spain. Here’s our top 20:
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20. Geneva: £254.82
Switzerland’s French-speaking ‘city of peace’ made it to the tail end of our list thanks to lower fuel prices compared with other major cities. A rental car in this compact city built on the stunning Rhone river costs less than £40 per day, with trips to some of Europe’s most beautiful countryside in store for the driver.
19. London: £211.11
The price of renting a car in London is a quarter of the price of that in Geneva, although total costs jumped up a bit when we considered the English capital’s not-so-cheap accommodation prices.
18. Paris: £208.30
This was another surprising addition to our list. While car rental hovers around the £20 per day mark in Paris, you can enjoy its famous cuisine for less than many of the other destinations we’ve looked at.
17. Nice: £201.58
It’s no secret that the coastal roads of the French Riviera offer drivers some of the most scenic views in the world. Perhaps a better kept secret is that it costs as little as £13.94 to rent four wheels for the day. Pack a jambon et fromage sandwich for the road, and you’ll have yourself an affordable trip in one of France’s most popular cities.
16. Milan: £201.26
Fashion barons, Da Vinci and the gothic masters have all left their mark on Italy’s financial centre. At £11.10, daily car rental in this city is excellently priced, considering the popularity and beauty of the location.
15. Dublin: £200.83
Renting a car in Dublin is cheap. We found the average price was identical to Milan (just £11.10 per day) which is actually cheaper than destinations much higher on this list. Dublin makes it into the top 15 when adding the different cost factors up. The city has recently attracted some big multinational firms, such as Google and Microsoft, bringing business travellers and pushing up hotel prices.
14. Edinburgh: £196.02
Head just north of Edinburgh and you’ll quickly stumble upon miles of breathtaking craggy coastline, gorgeous fishing towns and crisp sea air. You’ll also find dinner and a place to stay in Scotland’s capital to be affordable and well worth the cost.
13. Faro: £190.42
The average three-course meal for two is less than £30 in Faro, while you can get a car for around half that price. Bring on those bargains.
12. Ibiza: £190.34
Get a car and escape the buzz of the most famous Balearic island for the day, heading into the quieter central countryside or the laid-back beaches in the north with a reasonably-priced hire car at £18.76.
11. Mallorca: £178.80
A quarter of a tank for just £14.13 is going to keep you going for a while on this sun-kissed Mediterranean island. As well as sun, you can expect to find affordable fuel, reasonable accommodation (£111) and dinner for two that won’t break the bank (£37.15).
10. Rome: £178.09
Car rental is even cheaper in Rome, where a full day’s driving can take you to the Colosseum, Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel. You’ll only have to cough up around £10.21 for the car and £17 for a quarter tank of petrol.
9. Barcelona: £176.26
It’s hard to argue with car rental when it costs less than £11 per day in one of Europe’s finest cities.
8. Pisa: £165.18
With the average price of a four-star hotel costing £80 and a car rental for the day at £10.32, the historical city of Pisa was always going to make the list.
7. Madrid: £157.16
The cheapest European capital for car rental, Madrid can be enjoyed from the seat of a small or medium rental car for just £9.14 per day.
6. Lisbon: £150.58
Few cities boast the colour and vibrancy of Lisbon’s streets, with even fewer offering up dinner for less than £27 and a plush room for £92.
5. Manchester: £148.12
Arguably the home of England’s most prestigious football teams, as well as a musical history any city would be proud of, Manchester also offers great value when it comes to car rentals. You can drive around for just £7.87 per day, filling up the tank for £57.
4. Malaga: £131.96
At £5.02, the average price of renting a car is cheaper in Malaga than any other destination on our list. Petrol is priced at just £1.09 a litre, making this Andalucian town unbelievably good value.
3. Birmingham: £130.39
As well as having more canals than Venice, Birmingham also has great value car rental at just £9.01 per day. There are four-star hotels here for around half the price of Paris, while a meal for two is £15 cheaper than it is in London.
2. Tenerife: £129.29
The average price of a litre of petrol stands at just £0.88 in Tenerife, meaning you can fill up your tank for just £44. Additionally, there are some great hairpin bends to navigate if you feel like heading into the mountains.
1. Alicante: £110.93
Located on Spain’s south-east coast, Alicante topped our poll by some way. The Costa Blanca port town has the most affordable meals (£26.85), excellent fuel prices (£0.98 per litre) and extremely cheap car rental at just £7.83 per day. Top that off with stunning views, a vibrant old town and plentiful beaches and you can see why Alicante is the best budget European holiday destination money can buy!