Categories
Portugal

Porto

Europe > Portugal > Porto

See: Why hire a car in Porto ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Apart from the obvious connections with port production in the region, the most resounding mental image of Porto is out of the huge Luis I double deck bridge which spans the river Duoro.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Porto car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

The city of Porto has recently invested heavily in its transport network, and this includes a massively upgraded tram network with a tunnel under the city centre, as well as a new airport terminal. Local trains are certainly good enough heading along the coast, and Portugal also has modern high-speed trains heading south to Lisbon and then on to Faro, although they are still using old conventional tracks, so don’t be fooled into thinking you will get anything like the same speed as on the new fast lines in neighbouring Spain.

Yet a hire car is still going to be useful for heading inland, and if you’d rather tour around lots of different locations along the coast instead of just visiting a few major ones by train, then a hire car will still be useful to.

 

Driving Roads

There’s no doubt that Portugal has some great driving roads, and that a road trip started in Porto could quite nicely continue down to the capital Lisbon or even onto the Algarve – just check carefully about one-way rental charges. In particular, it might well be cheaper to hire in Faro and then work your way up from there, as Faro car hire prices tend to be more competitive than elsewhere in Portugal, but this isn’t always the case.

 

However we also think that Porto is enough of a city to enjoy in its own right, and if you are going to combine it with a short break featuring Lisbon at the same time, then this really can all be done perfectly well using intercity trains and local public transport.

It’s also well worth researching the different prices for Porto airport car hire for the whole duration of your stay and comparing this with just picking up a car in the city centre for a day or two’s usage beyond. As with elsewhere in Portugal, the prices for car hire in Porto can vary considerably, from ridiculously cheap longer term airport rates for economy hatchbacks, going up to much more expensive peak season rates. During these popular holiday periods we tend to find that the (proportional) difference between city and airport car hire rates is not so substantial.

Remember to check the fuel policy before confirming any Porto car hire deals.

 

Needless to say, if you are coming here for the love of the production and consumption of port, then there’s more than enough to see, quite literally by sticking around the city of port.
Plenty of tours of vineyards around Porto are available by bus from major hotels in the city.

cool Why? Visiting Porto using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Porto ?


  • Generally useful for exploring well outside the city.
  • The Duoro valley is still very rural once outside Porto (other than the single rail line) – a car is far more flexible.
  • Trains generally only serve the city of Porto, north-south routes near the coast,

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Porto without a car

Why don't you need a car in Porto ?


  • Porto has a truly outstanding range of public transport – from streetcars to funiculars to a modern light rail metro system.
  • The most iconic bridge – the Luis I bridge, can only be fully appreciated on foot – but you can also cross the top deck by tram.
  • Porto is often overlooked in the rush to the sunny Algarve – step back, put on a good pair of walking shoes, and enjoy it!

yell Ratings: How does Porto compare?

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

 


Should you hire a car in Porto? Probably not!

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
?

Categories
Poland

Poznan

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See: Why hire a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Poznan car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

I briefly visited Poznan when travelling by train and ferry between Berlin and Copenhagen in 2008. As with any other large European city that was previously situated behind the Iron Curtain, Poznan has a perfectly adequate tram and bus network.

cool Why? Visiting Poznan using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Poznan ?



Poznan also has a very traditional urban core and some fantastic historic buildings. Visitors will probably also want to get out a bit beyond the city and start exploring further afield. For this, we think that a hire car generally makes a lot of sense.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Poznan without a car

Why don't you need a car in Poznan ?


  • No need for a car within the city.
  • Poznan is a vibrant, historic city. There’s plenty to see and do here, so you may not want to travel much further, especially if you are here on a short city break.
  • Rail network is substantial, if a little old!
  • Buses provide links to most nearby towns and villages.

yell Ratings: How does Poznan compare?

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

 



Is it worth hiring a car in Poznan? A rental car here is far from essential, and there certainly no need for one within the city centre, but it will probably come in handy for travelling further beyond.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
?

Categories
United Kingdom

Cambridge

Europe > United Kingdom > Cambridge

See: Why hire a car in Cambridge ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Cambridge car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Cambridge is the UK’s cycling capital – at least in numerical terms. The city itself is compact and driving is a nightmare. So why would you want to hire a car there?

cool Why? Visiting Cambridge using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Cambridge ?


  • Explore Cambridgeshire villages.
  • Visit The Fens and the East Anglia coast line.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Cambridge without a car

Why don't you need a car in Cambridge ?


  • There are very few reasons to visit Cambridge with a car – as outlined above!
  • Cycling city – Cambridge is the UK’s cycling city, with more journeys made by bike (per capita) than any other. Around 30% of all journeys in Cambridge are made by bike, putting it on a par with the Dutch average.
  • Easy cycle hire – starting at “Station Cycles“, which does exactly what the name suggests – hiring various different types of cycle directly outside the Cambridge station building.
  • Pedestrian friendly – Cambridge is also an easy city to walk around, with all the major attractions within a short distance of each other.
  • Take a punt – why not mess around on a boat on the Cam River?
  • Take a train to Ely.

yell Ratings: How does Cambridge compare?

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

 


Conclusion – Cambridge is an obvious place where a hire car really isn’t worth considering.

Verdict – no

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Cambridge ?

Categories
Switzerland

Basel

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Basel car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

One city, 3 countries….

Naturally for the city of Basel itself, it goes without saying that as with any other Swiss city, public transport is excellent. However, unlike Geneva or Zürich, there is no direct rail link from Basel airport to the Central Station. The city of Freiburg has a long-standing reputation as being one of Germany’s greenest cities, and again the public transport is excellent. Public transport is also perfectly reasonable in the French city of Mulhouse, although it is less good for exploring the areas around it.

Once outside the cities, what are your best options?

cool Why? Visiting Basel using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Basel ?


Reasons why you might need to hire a car in Basel

  • Variable public transport — Basel is a very important hub on the Swiss rail network, and there are three routes going into south-west Germany. However, only one of the German routes is a mainline, and there is only one line going into France, although this is the line to Mulhouse, which is served by the French TGV, albeit at a slower pace than when it is on a dedicated high speed line.
  • Cost — unless booked in advance (but you can only do this up to 15 days before the date of travel), Swiss trains can be ridiculously expensive, so booking a seemingly cheap flight to Basel instead of Zürich, and then taking the train into eastern Switzerland might be a false economy. Although car hire in Switzerland isn’t that cheap either, for a group of three or four, picking up a rental car at Basel airport might well be far cheaper than taking the train.
  • Cheaper to drive? It is easy to justify the high cost of train travel in Switzerland when the views are so superb, but apart from the route to Neuchâtel mentioned below, the train routes around Basel are nothing like as special as they are heading south from Zürich or Bern. If it is cheaper to drive, then you might as well do so.
  • Vosges – go for a drive in the Ballons des Vosges Natural Park, just beyond Mulhouse.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Basel without a car

Why don't you need a car in Basel ?


Saving money by visiting Basel without a car?

  • Cost — even if you have a choice of arriving in two countries, neither France nor Switzerland, nor Basel in particular are good value for car hire.
  • Swiss rail passes — a number of different rail passes are available in Switzerland, usually giving unlimited travel on a set number of days. If you take advantage of this option, it doesn’t matter that Basel is further away from some alpine destinations than Zürich.
  • Swiss transfer ticket — another option for long-distance train travel within Switzerland is to take advantage of the Swiss transfer ticket, which gives halfprice travel to anywhere in Switzerland on the same day that your flight arrives (or departs on the way out). Basel is a good airport to use for the Bernese Oberland, or for continuing through the Lotchberg Base Tunnel and on to the world-famous resort of Zermatt, which sits under the iconic Matterhorn.
  • Swiss trains — Swiss trains are famous for good reason, and this needs no introduction — see our Zürich and Bern pages for more information.

Where to visit?

  • Neuchâtel — the lake and city of Neuchâtel are one of the most underrated places to visit in the Swiss Lowlands. The view from the city across the lake with the Alps behind is superb. Take the train from Basel to Moutier, then to the bilingual city of Biel / Bienne via Sonceboz, and then towards Geneva via Neuchâtel, and you can enjoy outstanding scenery for virtually the whole journey.
  • Vitra — whether you are appreciative of good design or great architecture, the Vitra design Museum, designed by the late deconstructivist architect Zaha Hadid, is in nearby Weil-am-Rhein (Germany).

yell Ratings: How does Basel compare?

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

 


If you started with the natural assumption that there would be no point in hiring a car in Basel, then there are plenty of reasons to think again. Whereas it might be clearer that a hire car in either Zürich or Bern is a bad idea, it is much less clear-cut in Basel. Therefore, relative to Swiss expectations, a hire car is certainly worth looking at.

Verdict — yes

Categories
France

Avignon

Avignon

Categories
Belgium

Antwerp

Antwerp

Categories
Ghana Spain

Alicante

Europe > Spain > Alicante

See: Why hire a car in Alicante ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Generally, we would say that a hire car is a good idea if you are flying into Alicante and then heading for one of the various coastal resorts in the area. Additionally, we would say that it’s more the case here than it is in any other destination in mainland Spain.
Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Alicante car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

cool Why? Visiting Alicante using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Alicante ?


Do you need a car in Alicante? Here are a few reasons why:
  • We would advise getting a rental car in Alicante for all of the obvious reasons you would expect here. Alicante car hire is cheap, the roads are of a good standard, and with a rental car, you will have a huge amount more flexibility.
  • In terms of specific places to visit when you hire a car in Alicante, this is mainly a matter of exploring coastal scenery and beaches in either direction from the city. Also,  a car can also be useful for exploring inland, and particularly for heading to attractive local towns like Teruel. (See also Valencia – you can do some of this by train).
  • There have been some improvements in the tram network around the city of Alicante in recent years, but there’s still nothing stretching out as far as the airport. Most of the more recent holiday resort development has been very much based around serving tourists who either have their own hire cars, or who are more likely to use and taxis and resort shuttles.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Alicante without a car

Why don't you need a car in Alicante ?


The one place where you really will find that public transport is more than adequate is in the city of Alicante itself.

Alicante city & resorts without a car

  • With the tram work network having expanded massively in recent years, you should have no problem getting around using either this system or the local buses. However, there is a sharp decline in service standards the moment you get outside the city.
  • Historic Alicante is also easy enough to walk around.
  • Various bike hire options are ideal for gentle cycling along the beach.
  • Since you will often be walking in narrower medieval streets, there’s always plenty of shade – but be warned that much of the old town is hilly.
  • Alicante is popular with road cyclists, but there aren’t so many off road trails, and designated cycle paths are limited to a few areas around the waterfront.
  • There are a few urban cycling routes in Alicante.
  • Most of the central area in Alicante is also either pedestrianised, or on streets which are closed off for through traffic.
  • Within major resorts like Benidorm, you will find adequate local bus services, including tourist buses.
  • Most major resorts have a huge range of activities within easy walking distances of the main hotels.
  • Local buses and suburban trains are also more than adequate for reaching some of the nearby coastal towns.

Beyond Alicante without a car

  • To reach Benidorm from the airport, you can take an hourly coach service, bookable online from ALSA – https://www.alsa.com/en/web/bus/home.
  • The same company also offer direct buses from Alicante to Murcia via the airport. In both cases, the airport transfer will take about an hour.
  • The local trains might not take you to anywhere particularly useful. However, you can certainly fly into Alicante and then continue on by express train to other parts of Spain.
  • If you are looking for a fast link to Madrid or Barcelona, or if you want to take a day trip to Valencia (see those pages for further details).
  • Alternatively, you can also travel onwards from Alicante to any of the Balearic Islands by ferry.

Integration

A key factor to consider when trying to get around Alicante without a car is whether or not public transport services are well integrated with each other. Generally, in Alicante, this really isn’t the case, although with a bit of research, you’ll find your way around easily enough.
  • The centre of transport in Alicante is the main station, which will be labelled “Terminal” or “Estacion Intermodal”. This station has been expanded to cater for new fast AVE services to Madrid, taking around 2 1/2 hours.
  • Local mainline train services will all use the Terminal station.
  • However, the train to Benidorm (change there for Denia) is operated as part of the tram system. By all means take it to enjoy the ride, but the bus is much quicker!
  • Trams currently terminate in an underground station at Luceros, which is around 300m walk from the main station. There is a plan to extend this to the main station, but this project is currently on hold due to budget constraints.
  • There’s a bus station at Avenue Loring. Again, this isn’t quite at the railway station, so allow time for a short walk.
  • The old railway station next to the bus station is now an impressive arts space and tourist centre. However, you won’t find any trains here, so don’t fall into this  trap!
  • You’ll see the Alicante-Murcia mainline just behind the car rental lots at the airport. The nearest station is at Torrelano, about 2.5km / 30 minutes walk away. Generally, buses will be quicker for getting from the airport to Murcia, but if you want to take the train, budget for a short taxi ride.

Verdict

Do you need a car in Alicante?
  • Unless you are planning on spending most of your time in the city of Alicante itself, then everything in this region lends itself towards getting a hire car.
  • Because so much of the tourism here is centred on resorts like Benidorm, rather than on the city proper. If you want to do anything other than shuttle to and from the beach, then an Alicante hire car is going to make sense.

yell Ratings: How does Alicante compare?

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

 


Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Alicante ?

Categories
United Kingdom

Aberdeen

Europe > United Kingdom > Aberdeen

See: Why hire a car in Aberdeen ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

The Granite city sits in a geographically remote corner of the UK, but once you get there, can you get around easily using public transport? Or is a hire car all but essential? What are the main Aberdeen car hire options? There are many reasons to rent a car in Aberdeen, but the city and its surroundings can also still be explored using local public transport options, even if your journey choices will be a lot less flexible.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Aberdeen car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

cool Why? Visiting Aberdeen using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Aberdeen ?


Reasons why you should hire a car in Aberdeen

  • Remoteness — although you will have no problem getting around the city itself, public transport routes starts to thin out massively once beyond the central city area.
  • Limited train routes — Aberdeen is right at the end of the East Coast route from London via Edinburgh. There are also regular Scotrail trains from Edinburgh on this route, together with frequent service to Glasgow via Perth and Sterling. The only other train service is a limited frequency (one train every two hours) route to Inverness. Even Inverness by comparison is a rail hub, with routes fanning out on each of the major compass points.
  • Backed into a corner – the simple reality is that Aberdeen sits in a corner, and only has one railway line running through it. Of course, the roads are also constrained by this geography, but you can at least drive in your own time. This is a key reason why Aberdeen car hire is strongly advised as the better option.
  • Limited attractions — there are relatively few points of interest in Aberdeen itself, whereas the surrounding countryside offers plenty of places to visit.
  • Scottish castles – including the famous Balmoral Castle. Without a car, these places are difficult to get to.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Aberdeen without a car

Why don't you need a car in Aberdeen ?


Visiting Aberdeen without a car

There are very few reasons not to hire a car for a visit to Aberdeen, unless you’re making a very brief stay in the city itself, and aren’t planning on venturing very far beyond city limits.

  • Balmoral by bus: Hardy public transport users can go by bus to Balmoral Castle, which is just next to the village of Crathie on the A93. Allow around 3 hours, up to 8 buses each way per day. You will have to change at least twice outside the summer season.
  • Orkney and Shetland — Aberdeen offers both onward flights and ferry services to the Orkney and Shetland Islands. You can take a hire car onto the ferry services, but is much cheaper to go as a foot passenger.
  • Scenic coastal rail route — the train route from Edinburgh up to Aberdeen has a number of particularly scenic stretches, especially as it hugs the coast for much of the route. Flying into Aberdeen and out through Edinburgh would be one way to enjoy this route, although the availability of flights there is generally much better than it is to Aberdeen anyway. Another option is just to pick return flights to Edinburgh and take the train in both directions. If you are flying in and out of Aberdeen, then this train route is still worth exploring at least down to Stonehaven, where it goes inland.
  • Start at Dyce: A very quick shuttle bus (or taxi) is available from Aberdeen Airport to nearby Dyce station, from where most trains heading south start. Dyce is also the best place to board trains heading to Inverness. This avoids going into Aberdeen city centre and back out again. However, your journey options are still limited to the route heading west to Inverness, and the coastal route heading south beyond Aberdeen.

[james]

Largely due to it’s geographical location, Aberdeen has some of the worst access by public transport of any major UK city. I think there’s far more to see in and around Inverness anyway, so I’ve only ever passed through Aberdeen a few times. You can still manage using trains and buses, but your options are much more limited.

[jamesend]

yell Ratings: How does Aberdeen compare?

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

 


So should you hire a car in Aberdeen? As Scottish cities go, when it comes to train networks, Aberdeen is certainly the weakest link, so to get to other places you would almost certainly end up needing to go by bus. This is not our view of travel enjoyment — buses should be there to supplement train journeys, not as a preferred method of transport in their own right. There are also no truly “world class” scenic railway routes heading out of Aberdeen, whereas there are out of Inverness or Glasgow, and to a lesser extent, Edinburgh.

For this reason, Aberdeen gets our strongest verdict of all Scottish cities that a car is necessary to get the best out of your trip.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Aberdeen ?

[ScenR city=”Aberdeen”]

Is it worth renting a car in Aberdeen just for part of my stay?

Not really – Aberdeen makes a great base for exploring the Highlands, but there are only limited points of interest within the city itself. Unless your plan is to get around the Highlands entirely by bus and train (in which case, make your connection at Dyce and don’t go into the city centre), then you really should hire a car in Aberdeen for the whole duration of your stay.

Is it worth renting a car in Aberdeen even for backpackers, students and other travellers who are on an extremely tight budget?

Probably not – based on price alone, you will get better value travelling by train and coach, especially if you book well in advance. It’s also easy enough to arrange coach or minibus tours of the Highlands or of the Isle of Skye from Inverness, and even if none of these options will give you the same flexibility as renting a car, they will almost certainly still be better value.

Should I hire a car in Aberdeen if I am planning on staying in the city / downtown?

Yes – even if you are staying right in the centre of Aberdeen, you will want to go out of the city, and in particular you want to go and visit the Cairngorms National Park. You really should hire a car for this.

Bear in mind that reaching places like, for example, Aviemore is usually going to mean going through Inverness and making a change, so it will be quicker to drive. Hotels right in the city centre are unlikely to provide free parking, but Aberdeen is sufficiently compact that you should be able to find a hotel with free parking around the edge of the city centre that is within easy walking distance, or short bus ride from the centre.

For example, the Village Hotel group are one chain who are known to provide free parking on all of their sites, and they have a location on the western side of the city. In total, about half of all hotels in Aberdeen will have free parking for guests.

I usually try to avoid driving if I can – so should I hire a car in Aberdeen?

No – we would rate Aberdeen is the most car focused major travel destination in the UK, but you will still find far more options for onward travel by bus and train then you will in many other places in Europe. If you are visiting Aberdeen from North America, then you will probably find that the choice of public transport (or transit) in Aberdeen is actually quite good, and you will also find a much wider range of onward connections via Inverness.

I am a train enthusiast – do I still need to hire a car in Aberdeen?

Absolutely not – you may well have already taken the train up to Aberdeen via Edinburgh, a route which takes you across the world famous Forth Bridge as well as the rebuilt Tay Bridge. Further to the west, you have a choice of three of the most spectacular train rides anywhere in the world; the most impressive one being the Kyle line from Inverness. Heading south from Inverness, you also have the Highland mainline which can take you back towards Perth, whereas the West Highland mainline can be joined at Fort William by taking a coach connection from Inverness. However, if you only plan to take one or two train trips, then you should still hire a car in Aberdeen, and then just use park-and-ride at local stations. Other than in the centres of Aberdeen or Inverness, you should be able to park for free at most stations in the Highlands and 0Aberdeenshire[1].

I am mainly interested in history and architecture and urban/cultural attractions – should I hire a car in Aberdeen?

Probably – Aberdeen is a wealthy city, and this means that it has an impressive range of cultural attractions relative to its size, but the real star here is still the scenery, so as per the general advice above, you’re probably will still want to rent a car. If you’ve tried looking up the bus schedules to get to Balmoral Castle (you will have to change twice, eventually back on to the same bus, due to shift restrictions), then you will agree that you really do need to get a car in Aberdeen if you want to see any castles other than those in the city centres!

How many people would we need in the car before a rental becomes better value than using transit?

If there are two or more of you travelling together, you are probably going to find that it’s worth hiring a car in Aberdeen. The only real exception would be for much younger travellers who may have difficulty obtaining a rental car package without paying a substantial supplement. Generally, for solo travellers, it is going to make more sense to travel around by scheduled bus, tour bus or train, but renting a car might still be more convenient.

We are senior citizens, should we rent a car in Aberdeen?

There are no particular reasons why senior citizens shouldn’t hire a car in Aberdeen, at least up until the age limits imposed by the rental companies, usually around 70 to 75.

However, UK residents who have a Senior Railcard will be able to get one third off all train travel, and this will apply in Scotland as it does in England and Wales, even though English concessionary bus passes are not valid here. Travelling by train from Aberdeen is also usually quite stress free – the lines in this part of Scotland are nothing like as busy as they are in the central belt, and reliability is usually quite good, but service patterns are often very irregular, especially if you want to travel over to Inverness and then try and find a connection from there.

Do I need a rental car if I am flying into Aberdeen airport but staying in another destination outside Aberdeen?

Probably, yes. Even if you are staying in another town which has a good bus service, or which is on the main railway line, you will then still be quite restricted in terms of where else you can visit from there.

If I’m planning on touring around, is this best done in a rental car?

Generally, yes – the Scottish Highlands and Islands are naturally very popular with touring motorists, but getting a rental car isn’t the only way of moving around. Travelling by train and bus, you can still see places like the spectacular done robing Castle further up the east coast, you can continue deep into sky by bus, and combine this with a train trip on the Kyle line if you want, and there are usually buses integrating at both ends of the island ferry routes.

The roads in the Highlands tend to be very winding, with many smaller roads often using passing places, and some drivers will find this quite stressful. If you travel around the Scottish islands by car ferry, you get to benefit from the “Road equivalent pricing” fair capping (see above), but many car rental companies will still require you to take out daily ferry insurance, and this can be an unwelcome extra expense.

Should we try to visit Aberdeen without a car because that’s better for the environment?

It’s difficult to make the environmental case for train travel on very rural Scottish routes, which often have very low passenger occupancy rates, so fuel consumption per person would be much higher than on busier routes further south.

It’s not unreasonable to point out that none of these Highland lines would be built today if a so-called “business case” had to be made based on current usage, yet the trunk routes between Aberdeen and Inverness and the Central Belt still have an important role to play in terms of providing an alternative to the heavily congested main highways (A9/A90). There are no electrified lines north of Falkirk, so all of the mainline trains you take will be using diesel.

Should I hire car in Aberdeen to start a road trip?

Absolutely – we’ve included a suggestion for a sample Scottish Road trip which could start in either Edinburgh or Glasgow and then taking in the West Coast and the Isle of Skye. This route would certainly pass through Inverness, and it would be easy enough to include Aberdeen in this loop. You may also find a better combination of flight and car hire deals in Aberdeen if you are making a comparison with Inverness. If you are planning on taking a road trip which includes more places to the south, then generally speaking, the best Scottish car rental deals are in Edinburgh or Glasgow. This is also where you will find a much wider choice of inward flight, including direct long haul flights from the USA and Canada. However, by starting your road trip from Aberdeen, you do at least have direct access to the Cairngorms.

Should I rent a car in Aberdeen and return it somewhere else?

Advice on One Way Rentals from Aberdeen

Maybe, especially if you have a driving route in mind which starts in Aberdeen and then ends up in another major Scottish city, in particular in Edinburgh or Glasgow. However, I would usually expect this to be cheaper if you do it the other way round, since the one-way fee is often determined on a mileage basis, whereas the actual rental fee is going to be more competitive further south. On the other hand, depending on your flight or train options, it might be worth hiring a car in Aberdeen and then dropping it off in Inverness. Any one-way rental fee could be better value than having a long drive back to where you started (but that is still only going to be about 2 hours, so not really long by North American standards!).

Should I rent an RV / camper / caravan in Aberdeen, instead of a car?

Yes, touring with a camper is very popular in the Scottish Highlands, especially with the recent promotion of the NC500 coastal touring route. Many visitors with campervans simply bring their own vehicles over from the Continent, but there are also several places which will provide campervan rentals in Aberdeen.

Fuel prices?

Needless to say, if you are visiting from North America, then you will find that fuel prices in the UK are significantly higher here, and you should also be warned that prices tend to rise further still as you head north or west from Inverness. However the cost of fuel should be balanced against the cost of staying in hotels or bed and breakfasts – something that can be extremely difficult during the July and August peak season. Remember as well that even roads classified as “A” roads (i.e. trunk roads) can still be single-track in some places, including on some recommended scenic drives (like the NC500). Always observe local etiquette and signs which advise any slower vehicle to pull over and allow faster drivers to pass. In some cases, the roads will not be suitable for a large camper van.

Should I hire a car from Aberdeen Airport, or from the city centre?

Generally, in the UK, you will get a better deal from on-airport car hire. This is because airports tend to have much bigger parking lots, as land is cheaper than in the city centre. You should not expect to pay an extra airport facility fee like you do at some airports in the USA.

If you do rent a car in the centre of Aberdeen, you do at least have the advantage that the major hotels, railway station and the port are all close to each other, so there are a few car hire options within this area. However, some rental offices are further out, and some may be at the airport, so make sure you specifically request “Aberdeen STATION”.

I’m moving to Aberdeen – do I need a car to live here?

Commuting in Aberdeen is very different to being a tourist. The city is compact enough that you can get to most places using a combination of bus and walking. This is not a very cycle friendly city, and you will need a car in Aberdeen if you need to commute to any of the major office locations around the edge of the city – this is an oil town after all!

[1] Technically the City of Aberdeen is separate to Aberdeenshire.

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