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I’m a big fan of the European train network and its speed and efficiency but with a husband who is more t,han happy to drive in Europe and our desire to visit out of the way places, I tend to find that the majority of our travels around Europe are by car. I’m often asked what added expenses should be allowed for when undertaking a self-drive holiday so on my most recent trip I recorded all the vital statistics related to our travels by car to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay.

Europe road trip costs

For the majority of our trip we had a Peugeot 208 diesel which we had leased through globalCARS under the tax-free vehicle leasing program (which I’ve written more about here). We collected the car in Perpignan, France and dropped it off in Strasbourg (France) 39 days later.

After catching a train from Strasbourg to Paris, where we spent a few days, we then collected a hire car, a VW Golf (petrol model) in Paris and drove to Normandy. We returned the car to the same depot five days later.

As well as driving from A to B, having a car was also handy for sightseeing trips to nearby (and sometimes not-so-near) places we wanted to visit. Following is our itinerary and what vehicle costs were involved.

Vehicle 1 - Peugeot 208 1.6L manual, diesel with GPS – 39 days

Perpignan to Olonzac in Languedoc region of France

7 nights

Day trips included Millau Viaduct and St. Guilhelm-le-Desert, Narbonne twice, Beziers

Olonzac to Avignon (France) via Sete and Pont du Gard

2 nights

Day trip to Gordes and Abbey de Senanque

Avignon to Annecy (France)

2 nights

Annecy to Varenna (Lake Como, Italy) via Mont Blanc tunnel

4 nights


Toll booth France
Varenna to Chur (Switzerland) via St. Moritz

1 night

Chur to Fussen (Germany)

3 nights

Day trips to Oberammergau/Linderhof Palace (twice)

Fussen to Zell am See (Austria)

5 nights

Day trip to Seisberger Gorge

Zell am See to Bled (Slovenia)

3 nights

Day trips to Ljubljana and Bohinj/Slap Savica Falls

Bled to Vienna (Austria)

3 nights


Costs of a self-drive holiday in Europe
Vienna to Niederranna (Austria) via Melk

3 nights

Day trips to Passau and Cesky Krumlov

Niederranna to Rothenburg (Germany)

1 night

Rothenburg to Riquewihr (France)

4 nights

Day trips to Colmar and other towns within 20 km

Riquewihr to Strasbourg (France) - dropped off car



French tolls accounted for 64% of the total, Italy 20% and Austria 16%.

Vehicle 2 - VW Golf, automatic, petrol - 5 days (we had booked a manual but at collection time were offered an automatic for no additional charge)

Paris to Honfleur via Giverny

Day trips to Bayeux, Mont St Michel and Deauville

Honfleur to Paris





If you are planning a self-driving holiday in Europe, I hope you have found this article useful.  Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below.


For more useful information about self-drive holidays in Europe, grab a copy of my eBook which includes seven self-drive Europe itineraries as well as driving tips and much more.


Self-drive Europe eBook


All prices above applied to our trip in June and July 2014.