HEADING for a holiday in Europe? Planning a self-drive tour? Here’s a countdown of 10 cheapest car hire destinations in the continent, according to easyCar:
10 ROME, ITALY
Average daily car hire cost: £10.21 (RM56.60) Step into the past with a trip to Rome. You can drive to some of the most beautiful places on earth, including the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica and the Pantheon. But it’s often the little things that matter too — head down those cobbled backstreets and hidden alleyways to delve deep into hidden Rome, piazzas, coffee shops and boutiques.
Off the beaten path: the beautiful town of Tivoli is 30km out of Rome and easily reachable by hire car. Check out Villa Gregoriana, a stunning natural park, and the Tivoli’s famed thermal baths.
Car rental is cheap in Rome, where a full day’s driving can take you to the Colosseum, Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel.
You’ll only have to cough up £10.21 for the car and £17 for a quarter tank of petrol.
9 BARCELONA, SPAIN
Average daily car hire cost: £10.86 (RM60.40) Barcelona’s architecture has to be seen to be admired. You will happen upon the creative works of Antoni GaudÌ more or less everywhere you go, as his designs are to be found all over Barcelona. Take a trip to the Gothic quarter, Museo Picasso and enjoy excellent tapas at one of the city’s many bars and restaurants.
Off the beaten path: Drive to Figueres, the birthplace of surrealist painter Salvador Dali. It’s a two-hour drive from Barcelona, but well worth the trip.
It’s hard to argue with car rental when it costs less than £11 per day in one of Europe’s finest cities.
8 PISA, ITALY
Average daily car hire cost: £10.32 (RM57.40)
Well, we all know about the Leaning Tower, so where else? The University of Pisa, founded in the 14th century and one of the most prized places of study in Italy, is worth a visit. The student cohort also helps to make the centre of town a buzzing place to be during term time. And if it’s architecture you’re after, you’ve come to the right place: from Gothic towers to Renaissance squares, Pisa pretty much has it all.
Off the beaten path: Explore Tuscany in your hire car. There are a host of towns and villages within driving distance, including San Miniato, Pontedera and San Giuliano Terme.
With the average price of a four-star hotel costing £80 and a car rental for the day at £10.32, the historical city of Pisa is always going to make the list.
7 MADRID, SPAIN
Average daily car hire cost: £9.14 (RM50.80)
The Prado Museum houses masterpieces by Spanish, French and Italian artists including Vel·zquez, Rubens, Goya, El Bosco and El Greco. But if it’s Guernica you’re after, Picasso’s masterpiece, you’ll need to head to the Reina SofÌa Museum. Oh, and if football’s your thing, there’s a little stadium called the Bernabeu.
Off the beaten path: San Lorenzo de El Escorial is 40km out of Madrid, so perfect for a day trip. Home to a fantastic monastery which houses a phenomenal Royal Library, the townsits on the slopes of Mount Abantos, so expect some great views.
The cheapest European capital for car rental, Madrid can be enjoyed from the seat of a small or medium rental car for £9.14 per day.
6 LISBON, PORTUGAL
Average daily car hire cost: £15.28 (RM85.00)
As well as a host of beaches (many of which are easy to get to from the city), Lisbon offers an old-world Latin feel and really comes alive at night. Walk around the city and you’ll get a feel for the place — decades old wooden trams still ferry people around and there are still districts where old craftsmen offer their traditional wares. But there’s a healthy dose of modernity too, especially to be found in Lisbon’s buzzing bars and restaurants.
Off the beaten path: Sintra is half an hour’s drive away, so no excuse not to visit. This town, often described as being like something out of a fairy tale, is full of eccentric palaces and grandiose villas.
Few cities boast the colour and vibrancy of Lisbon’s streets, with even fewer offering up dinner for less than £27 and a plush room for £92.
5 MANCHESTER, UK
Average daily car hire cost: £7.87 (RM43.80)
If you like football, you have two major football stadiums to choose from: Old Trafford, home to Manchester United, and the Etihad, home to Manchester City. Both offer tours of their stadia. Manchester is also home to the National Football Museum, one of the best of its kind in the world, and entry to which is free. For something cultural, there’s Manchester Art Gallery, Whitworth Gallery and a host of others.
Off the beaten path: Three of some of the north of England’s great cities — York, Leeds and Sheffield - are all less than two hours’ drive from Manchester, and all offer something different.
You can drive around for just £7.87 per day, filling up the tank for £57.
4 MALAGA, SPAIN
Average daily car hire cost: £5.02 (RM27.90) Malaga has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years and is now considered as cultural a Spanish city as Madrid and Barcelona.
Malaga’s tourism chiefs have developed a so-called Mile of Art which features, among others, the Colecciun del Museo Ruso, Contemporary Arts Centre and Centre Pompidou Malaga.
Off the beaten path: Head to Nerja, a coastal town 50km east of Malaga city. This bustling fishing village is home to fantastic beaches, restaurants and the Nerja Caves paintings believed to be at least 20,000 years old.
At £5.02, the average price of renting a car is cheaper in Malaga than any other destination on this list. Petrol is priced at £1.09 a litre, making this Andalucian town unbelievably good value.
3 BIRMINGHAM, UK
Average daily car hire cost: £9.01 (RM50.10)
A potential host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, is now recognised as tourist destination in its own right. Fashion fans should head to the Bullring and the jewellery quarter. Architecture aficionados will like many of the city’s buildings and, if you like going out and having fun, the city has a great nightlife.
Off the beaten path: Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, is 40 minutes away. There’s also Warwick Castle and Kenilworth, and London isn’t too far either — 2 ½hours.
Birmingham has great value car rental at just £9.01 per day. There are four-star hotels here for around half the price of Paris, while a meal for two is £15 cheaper than it is in London.
2 TENERIFE, SPAIN
Average daily car hire cost: £13.10 (RM72.90)
This Canary Island is home to eight golf courses, so if sport is your thing you’ll be at home here. Elsewhere, the south-west coast of Tenerife is a good place to go for whale watching — more than 20 species are to be found off the coast, including baleen whales, killer whales, dolphins, pilot whales and blue whales. The island is also home to Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain.
Off the beaten path: As Tenerife s an island, do some ferry-hopping and explore the Canary archipelago — the main ones are Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, and they’re all worth a visit.
The average price of a litre of petrol stands at £0.88 in Tenerife, meaning you can fill up your tank for £44.
1 ALICANTE, SPAIN
Average daily car hire cost: £7.83 (RM43.60)
Alicante is the capital of Alicante Province and is a centuries-old port town on Spain’s Costa Blanca. From amazing beaches and fabulous landmarks to delicious Spanish cuisine, Alicante is perfect for a bit of rest and relaxation.
Off the beaten path: Torrevieja is a 50-minute drive from Alicante and is full of natural wonder: it has a protected Natural Park with two salt lakes, and 20 km of coastline containing six large beaches — La Mata, Cabo Cervera, Los Locos, El Cura, Los N·ufragos and Ferris.
The Costa Blanca port town has the most affordable meals (£26.85), excellent fuel prices (£0.98 per litre) and extremely cheap car rental at £7.83 per day.
For more info about car rental or to make your bookings, visit www.easycar.com.