There is nothing like freely exploring the cityscapes and countryside of the Czech Republic and the broader Central European region by car.
Starting with a car rent in Prague, your journey can take you just about anywhere. Just abide by some of our tips to make sure it’s the most pleasant one!
Consider Well the Car Rent Companies to Make the Most of Your Money
There are probably dozens, if not more rental companies offering you cars for hire in Prague. Don’t jump at the first or the cheapest opportunity and consider the following well before choosing one:
- What is included in the agreement?
- Whether the car is properly insured
- Whether the price also includes any road assistance in the case of breakdown or an accident
- Whether it’s offered with a full tank of gasoline
- Whether it has automatic or manual shift gears (most cars in Europe will have manual)
- What are the penalties in case you scratch it or spill coffee on the seat
What About Navigation?
A lot of the rented cars will come with GPS navigation, keep in mind, however, that sometimes this can incur additional fees. You might consider bringing a GPS unit of your own, or simply use your smartphone with a navigation software. Most of these will even notify you of traffic jams, accidents, repairs and other complications on the road.
Oftentimes, it’s best if you get the idea of the route you intend to drive beforehand. Even browsing it beforehand on Google Maps can help a lot!
Will a Foreign Driver’s License Apply in Prague and the Czech Republic?
If you’re an EU national, your driver’s license most definitely will. For others from outside the EU, we can only recommend getting the so-called International Drivers Permit together with your license. Especially if your license is not printed in the standard Latin alphabet. In these cases, having an official translation of the license into English could suffice also. Nevertheless, we recommend getting an IDP as the safest, most hassle-free option.
Does Renting a Car in Prague Always Mean You Have To Return it There?
Not at all. Depending on your agreement with the company, you might be able to drop off the car in a different destination and to be picked up there. Oftentimes, this service is EU-wide, so you may start your journey at the Prague airport and finish it, let’s say in Berlin or Paris.
Of course, keep in mind that this is not exactly the cheapest option. So if you don’t have different plans, returning the car to the company headquarters is always preferable.
While Driving in the Czech Republic, Remember that the Rules might Differ
- Headlights should always be on, even on the brightest of days.
- Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory
- While many EU countries may tolerate small amounts of alcohol behind the wheel, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania have a zero alcohol policy.
- In the Czech Republic (as well as in Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia), you will not encounter toll booths on the highways. (In Germany, the highway remains completely free for cars to this day!) The tolls are collected in form of the vignette, which should be visibly displayed in the right hand corner of the windshield. The car you intend to rent should always have this vignette!
- Remember the speed limits – max 50kph in cities, towns and villages, max 90 kph on open roads max 130 kph on highways.
- Children should have child seats and children below 12 years should not sit in front passenger seats.
This should cover the basics of renting a car in the Czech Republic. Though there is still so much to add, another article might be needed very soon. In the meantime, make sure to comment and share your own tips on this one!