Categories
Austria

Innsbruck

Europe > Austria > Innsbruck

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

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Innsbruck car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Innsbruck is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Innsbruck? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Innsbruck between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:8/10

Balance: 1

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

The network of rail routes around Innsbruck doesn’t initially look especially comprehensive, but Innsbruck is still an important junction on the Austrian rail network.

Why? Visiting Innsbruck using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Innsbruck ?


In & around the city

Why should you rent a car in Innsbruck?

  • If your plan is to tour around the Alps in the summer months and perhaps do some hiking, then a hire car in Innsbruck certainly might be useful, but it’s by no means essential, as there are still plenty of rail and bus routes for getting to and from popular hiking trails.

Beyond Innsbruck

  • For a sheer driving experience, motorists may want to hire a car in Innsbruck and head towards the legendary Stelvio Pass, and enjoy the many other less celebrated Alpine roads which are nearby.
  • Innsbruck is the closest major airport to Stelvio, but if driving is your aim, we’d also suggest looking at getting there through the Dolomites from Venice, or via Lake Como from Milan.
  • Austria also has a number of famous privately operated mountain roads, the most famous of which is the Grossglockner High Alpine road. This is slightly closer to Salzburg, although still within an easy day’s driving loop from Innsbruck. Allow around 3 hours to get to the start of the route.
  • The highest paved Alpine road in Europe is the Ötztal Glacier Road, which runs south from Soelden and across into Italy, heading towards Bolzano.

Driving in into Germany?

  • You can also pick up a hire car from Innsbruck and drive directly to the famous fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle, which is actually a shorter drive from Innsbruck than it is from Munich Airport (Memmingen Airport, served by a handful of low cost services is closer still).
  • Note that the suggestions above might entail driving from Austria into neighbouring Germany, Italy or Switzerland, so it is important to check the terms of your rental contract to include that international driving is included. It usually is, although some agents will charge a daily fee for doing this.

In & around Innsbruck

Innsbruck also offers some amazing alpine experiences which are very easy to access right from the city itself, using nothing other than local cable cars or funiculars:

  • Swarovski Crystal world – situated a short bus or train ride (with ample parking too) from Innsbruck is the impressive Swarovski crystal garden.
  • The Nordkette Cable Car and funicular stands out as a particularly stunning attraction, not just because of the stunning views it offers right over Innsbruck, but also because of the design of the system itself, one of the last works of the late architect Zaha Hadid.
  • Bike friendly – Innsbruck is a very cycle friendly city, with a range of trails both within the urban area and nearby. In the summer, Innsbruck is an ideal destination for both road and mountain bikers.
  • Restaurant Sky – another design-led experience is the restaurant at the top of the ski jump in the south of the city, also designed by Zaha Hadid.

Why not? Visiting Innsbruck without a car

Why don't you need a car in Innsbruck ?


Beyond Innsbruck without a car

  • The swish resort area of Soelden is surpassed only by Vienna and Salzburg in terms of tourist numbers. Although it isn’t served by rail, it is an easy coach or train + bus connection from either the city of Innsbruck or from the airport. The Ice Q restaurant, and many of the areas around Soelden were featured in the James Bond movie Spectre.
  • Grossglockner by bus – you can arrange a bus tour of the Grossglockner road by taking the train to Zell Am See, although some tours are easier to arrange from Salzburg. These Alpine roads also make for a great cycling experience, but you may still need a support vehicle to get to and from the start of the journey.

Ratings: How does Innsbruck compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Innsbruck? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Innsbruck, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Innsbruck? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Innsbruck (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Innsbruck? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Innsbruck airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Innsbruck car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 2

2019 - 3

2021 - 1

Average score - 2

Notes:

 

Should you rent a car in Innsbruck? Given that there are a number of great driving roads which can be explored from Innsbruck, it might seem surprising that we are still rating it as a “non car” destination. This is partly because Innsbruck is also still a good place to start an Alpine experience without needing to use a hire car, as local trains and buses still provide plenty of connections to the slopes.

Innsbruck really does offer an amazing range of options whether you hire a car or not – but on balance, it’s well worth looking at non-car options first.

Summary

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

Categories
Austria

Salzburg

Europe > Austria > Salzburg

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

Salzburg is one of those really rich destinations that offers a huge range of cultural activities within the city itself, but that is also then a great gateway to so many scenic mountainous areas around it.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Salzburg car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Salzburg is in car rental price band: 6/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Salzburg? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly more expensive than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Salzburg between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:8/10

Balance: 2

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Needless to say, a hire car would be utterly pointless within the city of Salzburg itself – the airport is very close to the city centre, there are plenty of buses operating between the airport and the city, and there are also various rail services operating nearby.

Why? Visiting Salzburg using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Salzburg ?


  • Hire a car in Salzburg to drive any of the amazing high alpine roads.
  • The rail network is decent around Salzburg, but is less good further south.

Why not? Visiting Salzburg without a car

Why don't you need a car in Salzburg ?


For visitors who are just here for the skiing, then there are also plenty of resort transfers provided from Salzburg airport, and even outside the ski season there are regular train services heading into the mountains and these are supplemented by a good network of local buses. Of course, as with anywhere else, getting a hire car in Salzburg is still going to be useful for accessing mountainous areas at your own pace, and the Grossglockner Road is widely rated as one of Europe’s great driving experiences.

See also our suggestions for driving or non-car trips around Innsbruck, ad there is a lot of overlap between the two cities. Neuschwanstein Castle is also an easy day trip from Salzburg

Ratings: How does Salzburg compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Salzburg? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Salzburg, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Salzburg? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Salzburg (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Salzburg? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Salzburg airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Salzburg car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 4

2021 - 2

Average score - 3

Notes:

 

However, we think that the most visitors Salzburg car hire isn’t really that necessary, so our verdict is a no.

Should you rent a car in Salzburg? No

Summary

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

Categories
Austria

Vienna

Europe > Austria > Vienna

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

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Vienna car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Vienna is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Vienna? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Vienna between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 2/10

Non car score:9/10

Balance: 1

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

The Austrian capital remains one of Europe’s most impressive cities to visit, and even if you can’t easily find direct flights there, you can always travel to nearby Bratislava just across the border in Slovakia, and pop across to Vienna from there. Given that these two venues can easily make a combined dual city break, is there really any need to even consider getting a hire car?

Why? Visiting Vienna using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Vienna ?


Why should you hire a car in Vienna?

  • Flexibility — as with anywhere else, Vienna car hire will give you the flexibility to drive wherever you wish, but that goes without saying.
  • Scenic Alpine drives — of course, you can drive west towards the Alps, where the scenery is absolutely stunning, but if you want to do this, you would be much better off looking at flights to Salzburg or Innsbruck and picking up a hire car from there, especially as it is actually much easier to find flights to these cities that it is to find flights to Vienna anyway, or it is from the UK at least! However, Vienna is still the main gateway for long haul flights to Austria.
  • Drive south — if you are a fan of the architect Hundertwasser (see below) and you really want to do the complete tour, then you will need to drive south on the E autobahn towards Graz, and to include the Bad Fischau service station on the way. Considering how terribly drab most motorway service stations are, the idea that somebody can turn such a dull building type into a work of art is actually quite refreshing!
  • Hundertwasser tour – Is there any contrast more startling between the formality of Imperial Vienna’s imposing palaces and the apparent randomness of the architectural delights of Frederick? Hundertwasser? Whilst it is easy to go round a tour of his most notable buildings within Vienna, the true aficionado will also want to make an excursion to the fabulous spa at Bad Blumau.
  • Pedestrian paradise – the sheer scale and order of Vienna’s architecture make it perfect for a walking tour, which might end up taking several days to do the city justice. As ever, sturdy shoes recommended!

Why not? Visiting Vienna without a car

Why don't you need a car in Vienna ?


  • Excellent public transport – Vienna has a comprehensive network of buses, trams, underground and suburban rail. One thing I like about turning up at some of the metro stations I have used in Vienna is that the running information is displayed at the station entrance, rather than just on the platforms. This is the sort of nice little detail that always helps make a system more usable. However, it is worth familiarising yourself with a metro map of Vienna on arrival, because the lines don’t always intersect with each other in the way you might expect. Sometimes a bus or tram might be much quicker than trying to take the metro over a short distance and having to change twice.
  • Gasometer – this dramatic retail and leisure district has been built out of the interior of 2 former gasometer units. You might recognise it from the Bond excursion “the living daylights” as a place from which 007 escapes in a Harrier jump jet. As with the Hundertwasser tour, this iconic brick built structure with contrast in steel and glass adaptations makes a great contrast to the formality of the rest of the city.
  • Prater wheel – need we make any film references here?
  • Hundertwasser tour – some of the organic architect’s most impressive works are in Vienna, whilst the Bad Blumau resort mentioned above can also be reached by train.
  • Opera in the Quarry – for a truly spectacular “bucket list” experience, go to a performance of an opera in Europe’s largest outdoor stage. This is at St Margarethen, around 70km due south of Vienna, near the Austrian border. There’s no need to hire a car just to get there, as a return shuttle coach is available. Make sure you book the whole lot well in advance. Note that if you already have a hire car, you can park here for free.
  • Airport Express – Vienna International airport is easily accessible from most of the city, and like most major European airports, it has its own railway station on site. I don’t personally recommend taking the airport express, as this is a very expensive premium service that is unlikely to save you more than 5 to 10 minutes, especially as the local S-bahn services provide better connections anyway.

Ratings: How does Vienna compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Vienna? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Vienna, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Vienna? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Vienna (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Vienna? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Vienna airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Vienna car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 1

2019 - 1

2021 - 1

Average score - 1

Notes:

 

It would be easy to sum Vienna up by saying there’s just no need at all to get a hire car, but when I visited, I spent a day and a half in the city itself, and then picked up a hire car at Vienna airport and drove down to Bad Blumau. I was planning to exit via Graz anyway, and having a hire car made a lot of sense to travel between the two places.

Should I hire a car in Vienna? Naturally, a car will give you more options for excursions, but for the most scenic parts of the Austrian Alps, we would recommend taking flights to Salzburg or Innsbruck in the first place. We’ve covered a lot of Alps, including western Austria in our Zurich car hire guide.

Another option would be to pop across to Bratislava in neighbouring Slovakia, which has some of the worst driving standards in Europe. Much better to stick to trains and trams!

Although there are a few other options for excursions in a hire car from Vienna, there are plenty of options for getting out and about by rail too, made all the more easy by the new central station.

Summary

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