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Before you rent: the must-read car rental guide for the Nordics

An all-encompassing guide to car rentals in the Nordics

Renting a car in the Nordics might seem a bit intimidating if you’re not familiar with the area, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! This guide is tailored to make navigating the rental process as smooth as possible. While requirements and conditions can vary widely depending on which Nordic country you’re in, we’re here to sort it all out for you. With this comprehensive guide, your Nordic automotive adventure is set to be a breeze!

What are the main requirements for renting a car in the Nordics?

Age restrictions

In the Nordic countries, the minimum age to rent a car typically starts at 18 years. However, many rental companies may require you to be at least 20 or 21 years old. In some cases, there are additional charges or restrictions for drivers under 25 years old​.

Driving license requirements

Visitors planning to rent a car must hold a valid driving license. If your license is not in a Roman script (like English), an International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended, and in some cases, it may be mandatory. The IDP should accompany your national driving license at all times during your rental period​.

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Insider Guides car rental guide for the Nordics

What types of vehicles are available for rent, and which are best suited for Nordic travel?

When considering the types of vehicles available for rent in the Nordics and which are best suited for Nordic travel, a variety of options cater to the diverse terrains and weather conditions of the region.

The vehicle selection typically includes compact cars, sedans, SUVs and sometimes more specialised vehicles like campervans or vehicles equipped with 4WD. These options ensure that whether you’re driving through urban centres or exploring rugged landscapes, there’s a vehicle suited to your needs.

Types of vehicles

For most of the Nordic countries, especially during winter or when exploring rural areas, an SUV or a 4WD vehicle is highly recommended. These vehicles offer better control and stability on icy roads and snowy conditions. They are also ideal for mountainous terrains or areas with unpaved roads, which are common in places like Norway and Iceland.

For city travel, especially in well-connected areas like Copenhagen, Stockholm or Helsinki, compact cars are sufficient and more economical. These cars are easier to navigate through narrow streets and make parking in busy areas simpler.

If you’re planning a road trip or a nature-focused tour, campervans are an excellent choice. They offer flexibility and a cost-effective way to see the region, providing both transportation and accommodation, particularly appealing for destinations like Iceland, Finland and Norway where you might want to chase the Northern Lights or enjoy natural landscapes at your own pace.

Seasonal considerations

For summer, smaller cars are typically adequate for most travel needs, including city tours and coastal drives.

For winter, opt for 4WD or vehicles equipped with winter tires to handle icy conditions safely, particularly if you plan to drive in remote areas or regions known for heavy snowfall like Finnish Lapland or the Norwegian fjords.

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How do you find the best car rental deals in the Nordics?

Major international rental agencies like Enterprise, Hertz and Avis are well-regarded for their reliability and are known for their extensive availability across the Nordics. These companies offer diverse vehicle options and competitive pricing, often enhanced by loyalty programs tailored for frequent travellers​​.

When planning a trip to the Nordics, Discover Cars stands out as an optimal car rental choice. This platform lists all major rental agencies, providing a comprehensive comparison to ensure you secure the best deal. We consistently use Discover Cars for our travels and have yet to find a rental car cheaper elsewhere. One of the key benefits of using Discover Cars is the transparency in pricing – the quote you see includes all mandatory fees, taxes and additional costs, ensuring there are no unpleasant surprises at the rental desk.

Additionally, Discover Cars offers free cancellation and 24/7 multilingual customer support, enhancing the flexibility and convenience for travellers. This makes them a reliable and transparent choice for anyone looking to rent a car in the Nordics.

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What times of year are rates most favourable?

When considering the best times of year for favourable car rental rates in the Nordics, various factors influence pricing, including the season, local events and overall demand for rentals.

Seasonal variations

The cost of renting a car in the Nordics varies significantly throughout the year. For instance, in Finland, rental prices are typically lowest in April, when you can find rates significantly below the annual average. Conversely, December tends to be the most expensive time to rent a car due to high demand around the holiday season​​.

Booking timing

It’s generally more cost-effective to book a rental car closer to your travel date rather than far in advance, especially during less busy periods. Last-minute bookings can lead to savings, although this might be risky during peak travel times when availability could be limited. This flexibility is another reason why we love using Discover Cars. We often book a car far in advance and monitor the pricing as we get closer to our travel dates. Thanks to their free cancellation policy, we can cancel and rebook at a better rate if a more favourable price appears, ensuring we always get the best deal available.

Travel and weather considerations

The Nordic countries offer distinct experiences across different seasons. Summer (June to August) is peak tourist season, characterised by higher rental prices but also by long days and milder weather, making it ideal for exploring. If you’re looking for milder weather and potentially lower prices, the shoulder months like May and September could be more favourable. During these months, the weather is still pleasant, and rental rates can be more competitive as tourist traffic lessens​​.

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What are the driving laws that might affect renters in the Nordics?

When renting and driving a car in the Nordic countries, it’s important to understand both common and country-specific driving laws that significantly influence your experience. Speed limits generally range from 30 km/h in urban areas to 120 km/h on certain motorways. Urban speeds typically hover around 50 km/h, whereas rural roads may allow 70-90 km/h depending on local regulations.

The Nordic countries enforce strict alcohol limits for drivers, with some areas maintaining limits as low as 0.2‰ blood alcohol concentration (BAC), exemplifying a near-zero tolerance policy. More commonly, a limit of 0.5‰ BAC is enforced to discourage any drinking and driving.

Driving laws also mandate the use of headlights at all times, day or night, and the adherence to specific tyre requirements during winter months, such as the mandatory use of winter or studded tyres. Each country may have particular rules at intersections and roundabouts, often requiring drivers to give way to traffic from the right or to vehicles already circulating the roundabout.

Additionally, drivers must be cautious of extensive bicycle lanes, especially in countries like Denmark, where cyclists are prevalent and have the right of way. Environmental tolls and restrictions can also affect drivers, particularly in cities that restrict older diesel vehicles to combat pollution.

Next, we’ll get into the specifics for each Nordic country.

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What are some specific tips for renting and driving a car in Denmark?

By familiarising yourself with these guidelines and ensuring your rental vehicle is properly equipped, you can enjoy a safe and pleasant driving experience in Denmark.
Renting a car
To rent a car in Denmark, the minimum age requirement is typically 21, although this can vary by rental company. Drivers under 25 often face a young driver surcharge. A valid driving license held for at least a year is required. For drivers from outside the EU, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended, especially if the driver’s license is not in a Roman script. When collecting your vehicle, a passport and a credit card in the driver’s name are usually necessary for identification and deposit purposes​.
Understanding the road rules
In Denmark, vehicles must be driven on the right-hand side of the road. It’s mandatory for all occupants to wear seat belts, and children under 135 cm must use an appropriate child seat. Use of handheld mobile phones while driving is prohibited. Danish law requires the use of dipped headlights at all times, day and night. Additionally, you must always give way to traffic from the right unless otherwise signposted​​.
Speed limits and safety regulations
Speed limits in Denmark are 50 km/h in urban areas, 80-90 km/h on rural roads, and 110-130 km/h on motorways, unless signs indicate otherwise. These limits are strictly enforced, and speed cameras are widely used throughout the country. The drink-driving limit is very strict at 0.05‰ BAC, with Denmark employing random breath tests to enforce this law.
Preparing for different seasons
Denmark’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to prepare for various conditions. During winter, it is advisable to have winter tyres fitted to your rental car. All vehicles must carry a warning triangle for emergencies. Although not mandatory, it’s also recommended to carry a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and reflective jackets for safety in case of a breakdown or accident.
Navigating Danish cities
Driving in Danish cities like Copenhagen can be challenging due to the extensive use of bicycles. Drivers must be cautious and always yield to cyclists, who have the right of way. Parking in city centres can be scarce and is often regulated by a disc parking system where you must display a parking disc indicating your arrival time.

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What are some specific tips for renting and driving a car in Finland?

By familiarising yourself with these guidelines and ensuring your rental vehicle is properly equipped, you can enjoy a safe and pleasant driving experience in Finland.
Renting a car
To rent a car in Finland, you typically need to be at least 20 years old, although some rental companies may require you to be 21. Drivers under 25 may face a young driver surcharge. A valid driving license held for at least a year is essential, and an International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended for licenses not in English or Finnish. It’s wise to book your car rental in advance, especially during peak seasons like summer or the winter holidays in Lapland, to secure better rates and ensure vehicle availability.
Understanding the road rules
In Finland, vehicles must be driven on the right-hand side of the road. Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers, and all vehicles must use dipped headlights at all times to enhance visibility. Finnish law requires drivers to carry a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration while driving. Additionally, it is mandatory to have a warning triangle in the car​​.
Speed limits and safety regulations
Speed limits in Finland are strictly enforced, with limits typically set at 50 km/h in urban areas, 80-100 km/h on rural roads, and 120 km/h on highways. Fines for speeding are calculated based on income, making violations potentially very expensive. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration is 0.5‰, and Finland has rigorous checks to enforce this​.
Preparing for different seasons
Driving during the Finnish winter requires particular preparations: from December to February, winter tires are mandatory. It’s advisable to also carry an emergency kit that includes warm clothing, blankets, and food. Reflective jackets and additional safety equipment like first aid kits and fire extinguishers are recommended for safety in case of an emergency or breakdown​.
Navigating Finnish roads
Finnish roads are well-maintained, but it’s important to be cautious of wildlife, such as reindeer and elk, which can frequently be encountered, especially in rural areas and during dawn and dusk. Always adjust your speed according to road conditions, especially during winter when roads can be icy​.

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What are some specific tips for renting and driving a car in Iceland?

By familiarising yourself with these guidelines and preparing accordingly, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Iceland.

Renting a car

To rent a car in Iceland, drivers typically need to be at least 20 years old, although this age requirement can vary depending on the vehicle type and the rental company. It’s important to have a valid driving license, and while an International Driving Permit is not required for licenses issued in English, it’s recommended for those in other languages. Most rental companies require a credit card for a security deposit.

Understanding the road rules

Driving in Iceland requires headlights to be on at all times, day and night. Speed limits are generally 90 km/h on paved roads and 80 km/h on gravel roads, with urban areas often having lower limits. Seatbelt use is mandatory for all passengers, and children need appropriate car seats​.

Vehicle type and road conditions

For regular tourist routes like the Golden Circle and Ring Road, a standard 2WD car suffices. However, if your travel plans include driving on F-roads or exploring the Highlands, a 4WD vehicle is essential. These roads are only accessible during the summer and require robust vehicles capable of handling rough terrain, including river crossings​.

Additional tips

Consider additional insurance such as gravel, sand and ash protection due to Iceland’s volcanic landscape. Keep an eye on fuel levels as gas stations are rare in remote areas. Always plan your route with potential refuelling points in mind and consider carrying a spare fuel canister​.

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Atlanterhavsvegen Møre og Romsdal Norway scenic route roadtrip

What are some specific tips for renting and driving a car in Norway?

By ensuring compliance with these guidelines and preparing your vehicle accordingly, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Norway’s stunning landscapes.
Renting a car
To rent a car in Norway, you typically need to be at least 19 years old, though most rental companies prefer drivers to be 21 and require that they have held their driving license for at least one year. It’s usual for a credit card to be necessary for the security deposit when renting a vehicle. For the best rates and guaranteed availability, especially during the busy summer tourist season or winter holidays, it’s advisable to book your car rental well in advance. Familiarising yourself with the terms of the rental agreement is crucial, especially regarding fuel and mileage policies, which can differ significantly between rental companies.
Understanding the road rules
Driving in Norway requires adherence to several important rules: headlights must be kept on at all times, seat belts must be worn by all passengers and the blood alcohol concentration limit is very low at 0.2‰. Speed limits are enforced rigorously, typically set at 50 km/h in urban areas, 80-90 km/h on rural roads, and up to 110 km/h on highways. Drivers are also required to carry a warning triangle and a hi-vis vest to avoid on-the-spot fines.
Vehicle type and road conditions
While a standard car suffices for most of Norway’s well-maintained roads, those planning to explore mountainous areas or drive in winter conditions should consider a 4×4 vehicle. Winter tyres are mandatory during the colder months. Given the country’s strict speed regulations and the severe penalties for violations, complying with speed limits is crucial. Norway’s numerous tunnels require drivers to keep their headlights on and maintain safe following distances to ensure safety.
Additional tips
Drivers should be cautious of wildlife, particularly in rural areas where encounters with animals like deer and moose are common. Familiarity with the AutoPASS system is important for managing tolls, as many Norwegian roads, tunnels and bridges are tolled. In winter, be prepared for snowy and icy conditions by equipping your vehicle appropriately and carrying necessary emergency supplies.

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What are some specific tips for renting and driving a car in Sweden?

By familiarising yourself with these guidelines and preparing accordingly, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Sweden.
Renting a car
To rent a car in Sweden, you generally need to be at least 18 years old, although many rental companies require drivers to be 20 and have held their license for at least two years to rent a vehicle. It’s important to ensure your driver’s license is in the Latin alphabet and includes a photo; if not, an International Driving Permit (IDP) alongside your national license is required. When picking up your vehicle, having your passport for identification is typically necessary​.
Understanding the road rules
In Sweden, driving is on the right-hand side of the road, and it’s mandatory for all passengers to wear seat belts. Headlights must be on at all times, whether it’s day or night. This requirement helps increase visibility given Sweden’s often dim and foggy weather conditions. The speed limits vary but generally are 30-50 km/hr in urban areas and up to 120 km/hr on motorways. Be vigilant for varying speed limits especially when driving in rural areas or where conditions might dictate slower speeds​.
Speed limits and safety regulations
Speed limits in Sweden are strictly enforced, with a range from 30 km/hr in residential areas to 120 km/hr on some motorways. Speed cameras are common, and fines for speeding can be hefty. Sweden’s drink-drive limit is one of the lowest in Europe at only 0.2‰ blood alcohol concentration, reflecting the country’s strict stance on driving under the influence​​.
Preparing for different seasons
Sweden’s weather can be highly variable. In winter, it is compulsory to use winter tires from December to March. Always carry a warning triangle, and it’s advisable to have other emergency supplies such as a first-aid kit, reflective jackets, and a fire extinguisher. These items can be crucial in case of a breakdown or emergency​​.
Wildlife and rural driving
When driving in rural Sweden, be particularly cautious of wildlife such as moose and deer, especially during dawn and dusk when animals are most active. Collisions with wildlife can cause significant damage and pose safety risks.
Navigating Swedish cities
In cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg, expect heavy traffic and somewhat complex road systems. Parking can be challenging in city centres, so using park-and-ride facilities can be a more convenient option when exploring urban areas. Be aware of tolls in cities like Stockholm, where congestion taxes apply​.

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What are some driving tips for handling Nordic weather conditions?

Driving in the Nordic regions requires special preparations due to the diverse and often challenging weather conditions. Here’s a comprehensive guide to navigating these conditions safely across different seasons.

Winter in the Nordic countries can be particularly harsh, with frequent snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures. To ensure safe driving during winter, it’s essential to equip your car with winter tyres. These tyres have deeper treads and a rubber compound that remains flexible at low temperatures, providing crucial traction on snowy and icy roads. Additionally, filling your car’s radiator with antifreeze is vital to prevent the engine’s cooling system from freezing.

The battery’s efficiency can drop significantly in cold weather, so ensuring that it is fully charged and in good condition is key to avoiding startup issues on cold mornings. Visibility is another major concern during Nordic winters. Always ensure that all car lights are working correctly to provide optimal visibility during snowfalls and blizzards. Windscreen wipers should be in good working order and able to clear snow and ice effectively.

Aside from mechanical and equipment checks, keeping certain essentials in the car during winter can be a lifesaver. Always carry a de-icing spray to quickly clear ice from windows and locks. It’s also wise to have a sturdy snow brush and an ice scraper for removing accumulated snow and ice from your car. For emergency situations, keeping a warm blanket, some snacks, and a hot drink in a thermos can make unexpected delays more bearable.

In contrast, summer driving in the Nordic countries poses different challenges, such as sudden rain showers and brighter, longer days that can lead to glare. During summer, it’s important to maintain good visibility by ensuring your windscreen is clean and free of streaks and that your car’s wiper fluid reservoir is full to cope with dust and pollen. Sunglasses can help manage the glare from the long hours of sunlight, particularly in places like Norway and Sweden where the sun barely sets during the peak of summer.

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What insurance coverage is needed?

When renting a car in the Nordics, several types of insurance coverage are generally necessary to ensure full protection for yourself and the rental vehicle.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)

These waivers are crucial as they relieve you of financial responsibility if the rental car is damaged or stolen, although conditions apply. They may not cover other costs like towing or diminished value unless specifically stated.

Liability insurance

This is often included in the rental by default in many countries and covers damages to other vehicles and injuries to other people if you’re at fault in an accident.

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)

This covers medical costs for the driver and passengers in the event of an accident. It’s an optional extra but can provide peace of mind, especially if your personal health insurance doesn’t cover accidents abroad.

Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI)

While basic liability coverage is included, SLI provides additional coverage against claims made by third parties for bodily injury and property damage caused by an accident.

Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)

This optional insurance protects against theft of personal items from the rental car.

Roadside assistance

Optional coverage that provides help for roadside issues such as flat tires or mechanical breakdowns.

When we travel in the Nordics, opting for extra protection like Discover Cars’ Full Coverage is always part of our planning. This added insurance, while an additional cost, is worth it for the peace of mind it brings. It works simply: if the rental car sustains any damage, the rental company will initially charge us for these damages. However, we can then file a claim with Discover Cars to get reimbursed. It’s the reassurance that any mishaps are financially manageable, letting us focus on enjoying the journey.

Before you rent a car, it’s also beneficial to check the coverage details of your personal car insurance or credit card benefits, as they might already provide some level of coverage for rentals. This can help you avoid paying for redundant coverage and save money.

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What are typical rental costs and what additional fees should you expect?

When renting a car in the Nordics, the typical costs and additional fees can vary, but there are common trends and charges to be aware of.

Average daily rental rates

The cost of renting a car can depend heavily on the location, type of vehicle, and time of year. On average, rental rates can range widely, with economy class cars generally starting from around €50 per day. Premium locations such as airports tend to have higher rates due to additional fees imposed by the rental facilities​.

Additional fees

Extra drivers: adding an extra driver often incurs a daily fee. While some rental companies might offer a waiver for the spouse or partner of the primary renter, generally, fees can range from €5 to €25 per day per additional driver​​.

GPS and child seats: renting accessories like GPS devices or child seats typically adds to the cost. Fees can vary but expect to pay approximately €5 to €15 per day for each​.

Young driver surcharge: renters under the age of 25 may face a significant surcharge, which can be as high as €25 or more per day​.

Hidden fees

Early return and late return fees: returning a car earlier than scheduled can lead to fees, as can late returns. Rental companies use a 24-hour clock to calculate daily rates, so returning a car even slightly outside the agreed time can result in extra charges​​.

Fuel charges: if you do not return the car with a full tank of gas, you’ll likely face refueling fees. These can be notably higher than local fuel rates, sometimes incorporating service charges​​.

Mileage caps: some rental agreements include mileage limits. Exceeding these limits can result in additional fees. It’s essential to understand the terms of your rental agreement to avoid unexpected charges​​.

Insurance: while basic insurance is often included, additional coverage such as Collision Damage Waivers (CDW) can cost anywhere from €10 to €30 per day. However, some credit cards provide rental insurance, which could be a cheaper alternative if it covers your needs​​.

Airport and location specific fees: renting at airports or certain city locations can include additional fees like airport concession fees or city taxes, which can significantly increase the overall cost​.

Cross-border fees: travelling between countries in the Nordics is generally permitted without extra charges, but it’s crucial to inform the rental company if you plan to cross borders to ensure all insurance coverages are valid and no additional fees apply​.

One-way rentals: If you plan to pick up a rental car in one location and drop it off in another, one-way fees can apply. These fees vary significantly depending on the rental company and the distance between locations. It’s advisable to check this fee in advance as it can sometimes be substantial​​

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Are there toll roads and how are fees typically paid?

Toll roads and city congestion charges are integral parts of managing traffic and funding infrastructure across the Nordic countries. Each country has its unique approach to tolls, reflecting its geographical and urban planning needs.

Toll roads

Known for its extensive use of toll roads to fund infrastructure, Norway employs the AutoPASS system, which uses electronic tags to collect tolls automatically as vehicles pass through toll stations. This system is prevalent across the country, including both urban areas and remote locations​​.

Sweden also utilises tolls but focuses significantly on congestion taxes in major cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg. These taxes are aimed at reducing traffic congestion and environmental impact, with variable charges based on the time of day. The country also has bridge tolls, such as those on the bridges across Sundsvallsfjärden and Motalaviken​​.

In Denmark, the major toll bridges are the Øresund Bridge, connecting Denmark and Sweden and the Great Belt Bridge, linking Zealand with Funen. These bridges charge tolls that contribute to their maintenance and are essential transit routes in the region​​.

Finland does not have widespread toll roads, but charges are applied for certain heavy vehicles and in specific areas to manage traffic and maintain road quality. The focus is more on vehicle taxes and fees based on emissions rather than direct tolls​.

While Iceland does not have traditional toll roads, it does have toll tunnels, such as the Hvalfjörður Tunnel, which charges a fee to use. This is part of Iceland’s approach to manage infrastructure costs in areas where road options are limited by geography​.

Congestion and environmental charges

Cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden implement congestion taxes, charging vehicles that enter the city during peak hours to reduce traffic and promote environmental sustainability. Rates vary throughout the day, and the system is designed to be as seamless as possible with automatic vehicle registration and billing.

Payment methods

Across the Nordics, electronic toll collection systems like AutoPASS in Norway and similar setups in Sweden and Denmark facilitate the efficient collection of tolls. These systems allow for automatic registration of vehicles at toll points, and charges are subsequently billed to the vehicle owner. For travellers and those using rental vehicles, it’s crucial to ensure that the rental agreement covers the use of toll roads and includes either a pre-registered toll payment system or provisions for paying any incurred toll charges.

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Will I need a car in major Nordic cities, and what are some tips for finding and paying for parking?

In major Nordic cities like Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, and Reykjavik, having a car can often be more of a hassle than a benefit, especially if you’re planning to spend most of your time within the city. These cities are well-served by public transport systems that are generally efficient, comprehensive, and more practical for navigating the urban environment. Here are some considerations and tips for dealing with a car in these cities:

Main considerations

Public transport efficiency: each of these cities features an extensive public transportation network that includes buses, trams, metro, and in some cases, ferries. For example, Stockholm’s public transport is known for its reliability and extensive network covering even the outer suburbs.

Cost of parking: owning or renting a car in city centres can be expensive due to high parking fees. In cities like Copenhagen and Oslo, parking can also be scarce and primarily managed through expensive city-operated facilities or street meters.

Environmental concerns: many Nordic capitals have low emission zones or congestion charges (like in Stockholm and Gothenburg) to discourage driving in the city center, aimed at reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

Parking

Use apps: mobile apps are a convenient way to find and pay for parking. Apps like EasyPark or ParkMan are widely used across Nordic countries and allow you to find parking spots, pay for parking, and even extend your parking time remotely.

Look for P+R options: Park and Ride (P+R) facilities are available at many train stations on the outskirts of these cities. You can park your car for free or a nominal fee and use public transportation to get into the city centre, which can be more convenient and often faster than driving.

Understand the rules: in places like Helsinki, parking rules can be complex with different rules applying depending on the zone. It’s crucial to understand these before you park; otherwise, you risk getting fined.

Street parking: if you opt for street parking, be mindful of the signage. Parking regulations can change depending on the time of day and the day of the week. Additionally, many cities have regular street cleaning schedules that must be adhered to, failing which can result in hefty fines.

Hotel parking: if you’re staying at a hotel, inquire about parking options. Some hotels offer parking spaces, though these can be at an additional cost.

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What should you check in a rental car before driving off?

Before you set off in your rental car, it’s essential to conduct a thorough check to ensure that both the vehicle’s condition and the necessary documentation are in order. Here’s how you can meticulously inspect the rental car:

Checking the car’s condition

Start by visually inspecting the car’s exterior. Use your smartphone to take detailed photos and a video walkaround of the car. This approach helps document the exact state of the vehicle at the time of pickup. Capture all angles, highlighting any scratches, dents or other damages. This is crucial for protecting yourself from potential disputes when you return the vehicle. Additionally, inspect the interior for cleanliness and any damage to the seats, dashboard or other surfaces. Record a video as you conduct this walkaround to have a thorough record of the car’s condition.

Check that all lights and indicators are functioning correctly and inspect the tyres for adequate tread and any visible damages, including the spare tyre if it’s available. Ensure that the windscreen and all windows are intact and free from significant chips or cracks. Test the windscreen wipers to ensure they operate effectively. Confirm the fuel level is as agreed in your rental contract and check the oil level if possible.

This method of using a smartphone to document the car’s condition is something we always do. It provides a reliable and time-stamped record that can be very useful in case of any disputes with the rental agency about the car’s condition upon return.

Documentation to verify

Make sure the rental agreement is in the car. This document should outline all terms of your rental, including mileage and fuel policy. Verify that all necessary insurance documentation is present, detailing your coverage – this is crucial in the event of accidents or theft. Also, ensure there is emergency contact information, such as roadside assistance numbers, which can be invaluable in unexpected situations.

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