For those who want to rent a car in Europe, it may be good to know what the “national age to drive” is and how to generally plan for getting around a continent with many small countries and local governments.
Traveling Through Europe: the Schengen Agreement
Where driving through Europe used to be a maze of customs and border patrols, much of that has been recently eliminated by a late 20th-century international treaty called the Schengen agreement. According to this and other European Union legislation, drivers no longer need to stop at the borders of countries that are signatories. This includes many Eastern and Western European nations, but since some adjacent countries have not signed, drivers should know which ones are part of the Schengen agreement to plan for using a rental car cross-country.
Age Requirements for Different European Countries
Within the European Union, countries do have their own rules on age requirements for renting cars. Some are more lax. Recent reports show that countries like Austria and Italy may rent to persons as young as 19. In other countries, especially in the U.K. where public officials deal with some specific traffic problems, industry sources state that drivers are required to be 25 years of age. Extra insurance costs and “young driver fees” often apply in many countries. According to a driver’s age, it may make sense to plan on renting a car in a specific European Union country, even if it’s not the one a foreign visitor is landing in.
Driver’s License Requirements
Generally, persons arriving from beyond the E.U. can rent a car using the national driver’s license they hold in their home country. It’s important to note that a driver history and other factors may affect an individual’s ability to successfully rent a car anywhere they happen to be.