Useful Tips For Renting A Car In Milan, Italy
Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, is known for its trendy boutiques, historical landmarks, and exquisite cuisine.
But did you know Milan is also a fantastic base for day trips to the stunning countryside, picturesque towns, and charming villages nearby?
Renting a car in Milan allows you to fully explore the region and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Northern Italy.
In this post, we’ll show you why Milan is the perfect starting point for your day trips, share our favorite destinations, and give you all you need to know about renting a car in Italy.
Do you need to rent a car in Milan?
If you plan to spend most of your time in the city center, Milan has good public transport.
But if you’re looking to explore Northern Italy, Milan is a fantastic starting point. The Piedmont wine region, the stunning Lake Como, and the colorful Cinque Terre are all popular day trips that are just a short drive from Milan.
And by having a car, you can travel freely and even visit lesser-known places that can be difficult to reach otherwise. You’ll make the most out of your time in Italy and discover treasures that few tourists get to see.
There are other reasons too:
- It’s much easier if you’re traveling with a group or have a lot of luggage.
- You could money compared to taking taxis or relying on public transport – this adds up quickly.
- You’ll have the freedom to explore at your own pace – no worrying about bus or train times.
When I visited Milan, I remember fondly the day trip we took to Lake Como, a stunning destination just a short drive away. With our own car, we were able to take stops along the way to photograph the breathtaking views.
And the great news is renting a car in Milan can cost very little. By using Discover Cars, we were able to get the lowest price available on a great little car.
What requirements are there for renting a car in Italy?
Renting a car in Italy is easy, just like in most Western European countries.
As usual, you’ll need a valid driving license from your home country. This needs to be at least a year old.
There’s no need for an International Driving Permit (IDP), but it’s cheap and fast to get one, so it might be a good idea.
When you’re ready to book your wheels, you can easily pay in advance using most of the common payment methods. However, you’ll need a credit card for the deposit payment when you arrive, and this credit card needs to be under the same name as your passport.
And lastly, generally, you need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Europe. Some companies may allow younger drivers for smaller cars, but you’ll have to shop around.
Here’s a checklist:
- A driving license from your home country – at least a year old.
- Your ID (passport).
- Credit card, debit card, or PayPal for payment when booking the car online.
- A credit card under your name (not a debit card) for paying the deposit on arrival.
What are some road trips from Milan?
Milan is a great base for traveling in Northern Italy. Here are five road trips from Milan into the beautiful surrounding countryside:
This charming town is famous for its Roman arena, Juliet’s balcony, and charming streets lined with cafes and boutiques. Take a stroll through the historic center, visit the famous Arena di Verona, and enjoy the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants. It takes just over two hours to get here.
This iconic Italian lake is just a short drive from Milan and offers some of the most picturesque and romantic views in the country. With a car, you can drive around the scenic shoreline and stop at charming towns like Bellagio and Varenna. The journey should take around two hours.
Lake Maggiore & the Borromean Islands
This stunning lake is known for its crystal-clear waters and three beautiful little islands, including the famous Isola Bella and Isola Madre. You can drive around the scenic lake and take in the stunning views, or take a ferry ride to the islands and explore the charming towns. It takes just over 1.5 hours to get here.
This medieval town is just a short drive from Milan and is known for its well-preserved historic center, charming streets, and stunning views. You can drive through the town’s narrow alleyways and visit the Cittadella and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore for a taste of the town’s rich history and culture. The trip should take an hour.
St Moritz, Switzerland
If you’re looking for a longer journey, this stunning alpine resort town is the perfect destination. Drive through the scenic mountain passes and take in the breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps. Once in St. Moritz, you can explore the town’s charming streets, indulge in world-class dining and shopping, and even take a cable car to the top of the mountain. It’ll take about three hours to get here.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Milan?
Typically, a small car will cost about €10-30 per day, while a larger or luxury vehicle could cost €30-70 or more.
If you want the best deal, you should shop around and compare prices. A great tool for this is Discover Cars. A pro tip – book ahead, and you’ll get a better rate.
And as usual, prices are higher during the summer months of June to mid-September. If you’re going to visit during this period, always book well in advance to get a good price.
Tip: If you book a car for a couple more days, the daily price will drop – a car for five days instead of just a couple might only cost a little bit extra.
Where should I rent a car in Milan?
You’ve got lots of choices when it comes to renting a car in Milan:
- Familiar large rental car companies like Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt are available at Porto Airport and around the city. This makes it easy to pick up and drop off your rental car at different locations.
- There are many local rental car companies that sometimes offer cheaper rates – though you should expect their range of cars to be more limited.
- Your hotel will be keen to assist you, but they’ll charge extra. They’ll arrange for the car to be dropped off at your hotel, which is handy.
- Car rental comparison websites are the most popular method as you can get the best deal. I like to use Discover Cars. It’s super easy – and your car will be ready to be picked up on arrival.
Which type of car is best to use in Milan?
A smaller car is probably the best choice if you’re sticking mostly to the city. This is because Milan city center has a congestion charge, and larger cars have to pay more. A smaller, lower-polluting vehicle will save you money. The charge ranges from €2-10 per day, depending on your car.
If you’re planning day trips to nearby attractions, you might like a larger car or even an SUV. You’ll be more comfortable on longer journeys and have all the power you need to tackle the mountainous countryside.
Tip: Most cars available will have manual transmissions – this is common in Europe. If you need to rent an automatic, book in advance.
Is driving in Milan difficult?
Like most cities, Milan can have heavy traffic during rush hour. That’s why you should try to avoid driving in the city center during these peak times. It’s a bit better in the evening, or during the weekend.
There are car parks outside the city center where you can stop and continue on foot. Navigation apps are great for finding car parks close to where you want to go.
For day trips outside the city, you’ll have no issues. Milan is well connected with many major highways leading outside. And don’t worry about Italian roads – they are generally well-kept and in great condition.
Is it a good idea to rent an electric car in Milan?
Milan has made lots of effort recently to build charging stations all around the city – So if you’re worried about your effect on the climate, hiring an electric car is a viable option.
With smaller driving stints, you won’t have to worry about running out of battery on the road. You’ll also enjoy the smooth and quiet ride that only electric vehicles can provide.
Longer distance trips away from the city may be more of a problem though, as the charging network outside of cities in Italy is still growing. Hook-up points might be few and far between in more remote locations, so you’ll have to plan longer trips more carefully.
Tip: Rental companies don’t usually have many electric cars – so book ahead to make sure you get one.