renting a car in Bologna Italy

Renting a Car in Bologna: Your Essential Guide

Looking to rent a car in Bologna, Italy? Great choice! Born and raised in Italy and a seasoned traveler, I’m perfectly positioned to guide you through the ins and outs of renting a car in Bologna.

I’ve rented cars across numerous Italian cities (including my beloved Bologna), and I aim to simplify this often-overwhelming process for you.

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After reading this article, you’ll feel entirely at ease with the Italian car rental process. I’ll also provide you with a handy FAQ section and useful driving tips to enhance your driving confidence in Italy.

But let’s address the big question first – where’s the best place to rent a car in Bologna? Based on my personal experiences, I consistently recommend and always use Discover Cars. They search high and low, from international giants to local Italian companies, to find you the most value for your money. 

our Pick
renting a car in Italy

Best Bologna Italy Car Rental Company: Discover Cars

When booking your Bologna Italy car rental online, I recommend and use Discover Cars. They scour both global and local Italian companies to ensure you get the best value.


Starting Your Bologna Journey: Car Rental Pick-up Options

Essentially, there are three convenient places for picking up your rental car in Bologna: the airport, the central train station, or various locations within or close to the city center.

Car Rental at Bologna Airport

rental car pickup at the Bologna airport

If you’re flying into Bologna, renting a car at Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) is a breeze. You’ll find a host of rental cars desks just outside the airport arrivals.

Upon landing, locate your rental company’s desk, complete your paperwork, and you’ll be able to walk to the nearby parking structure to collect your vehicle. 

The city center of Bologna is roughly 4.5 miles (7.5 kilometers) away from Bologna Guglielmo Marconi International Airport (BLQ). Depending on traffic conditions, the travel time is typically no more than 25 minutes, irrespective of the chosen route.

Suggested Read: Major Airports in Italy: Key International & National Hubs

Car Rental at Bologna Centrale Train Station

Several car rental agencies are conveniently located within the central train station’s terminal. If you choose to reserve your vehicle through, you can easily arrange to pick up your car at the Bologna Centrale train station.

Reaching Bologna Centrale to collect your vehicle is straightforward. Given the city’s compact size, you can take a public bus to the main station – a budget-friendly and convenient option as most bus routes traverse this location. Even walking to the station from central city hotels is a feasible option.

City Center Car Rental Pickup in Bologna

rental car pickup in Bologna

Alternatively, you can arrange to collect your car from various points within the city of Bologna. In fact, I’ve previously collected a rental car from an office close to downtown Bologna.

If you plan to pick up from the city center, inquire about driving restrictions within the city’s heart to dodge any unexpected fines. Both the rental company and your hotel should be able to guide you on the restricted zones of your accommodation.

Returning Your Rental Car

Before returning your vehicle to the airport, ensure you fill-up the fuel tank, as you must do so to avoid excessive charges. Google Maps can help you locate the nearest gas station, depending on whether you’re approaching from the north or south.

Related Reading: Is Bologna Worth Visiting? A Traveler’s Guide

Finding the Best Car Hire in Bologna

As someone who has repeatedly used for car rentals in Bologna, I wholeheartedly recommend them. 

They consider your location and dates and the best deals for your car rental Bologna adventure across various rental companies, including renowned brands like Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Budget, Sixt, and more. 

You can conveniently collect your rental from various locations, such as the train station, the airport, the heart of the city, or elsewhere.

They impressively maintain a high 4.6/5 rating from over 114k reviews

Handy Tips for Navigating Italian Roads

navigating Italian roads tips

Getting firsthand driving tips from those who’ve acclimated to the Italian roads can be helpful. The experience might initially seem daunting for newcomers to Italy or recent expats.

Planning a trip to Italy? Discover the 21 safest cities in Italy for travelers and expats.

Rent an Automatic Car

Firstly, I recommend renting an automatic car if you’re unfamiliar with operating a manual transmission. While they might cost a bit more, the peace of mind and safety they provide are absolutely worth the extra pennies. 

You’ll notice manual and automatic transmission options when renting a car in Italy. Remember, if you don’t specify your preference, the rental company will default to a manual vehicle.

Navigating Italian Driving Styles

It’s no secret that Italians are known for their fast and assertive driving style. However, don’t let this deter you from taking the wheel. 

Though perhaps a bit impatient, Italian drivers are nonetheless considerate and highly proficient. Take it easy, and while on the highways, maintain your course in the right-hand lanes.

Preparing for Road Navigation: GPS and Mobile Data in Italy

Ensure a map function is readily available on your mobile device. If you’re journeying to Italy from abroad, confirm with your home mobile service provider about the operability of your phone’s data plan in Italy. Inquire with your rental company about the availability of GPS in the vehicle you’re renting.

Suggested Reading: Explore the 12 top Italian car brands that will truly ignite your passion for driving.

Renting a Car in Bologna FAQ

renting a car in Bologna Italy FAQ

Let’s dive into some of the most frequently asked questions about renting a car in Bologna, Italy.

What do I need to rent a car in Bologna?

To rent a car in Bologna Italy, you must meet a few requirements:

  • The minimum age for car rental is 21 years.
  • Official authorities must have issued your driver’s license at least a year before the rental commencement date.
  • Driver’s licenses issued in the United Kingdom or any EU country are accepted. If you’re from a country outside of the UK or EU, you’ll need to provide an International Driver Permit (IDP).
  • When picking up the car, the renter and any additional drivers must present a valid driver’s license, a credit card in the main driver’s name, a passport or ID card, and a booking voucher.
  • A valid credit card is mandatory.

Is car insurance mandatory for rentals in Italy?

Basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) car rental insurance is a legal requirement when driving a rental car in Italy. The car rental company will only allow their vehicles to leave the premises if they’re sure you’re covered.

Do I need a car in Bologna?

While you may not need a car within the city, having one to explore Bologna’s beautiful surroundings and embark on day trips could be beneficial. As the capital of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, Bologna is a city teeming with historical sites and captivating places to visit.

Recommended Reading: Top 10 Bologna Attractions: what to see and do in Bologna Italy.

What type of car should I rent in Bologna?

Your choice of car rental in Bologna depends on your budget, the number of passengers, luggage size, and travel itinerary. 

For city trips, a compact car is ideal for navigating narrow streets and reducing fuel costs. 

Many visitors also choose electric cars, which are permitted in restricted ZTL areas and have dedicated parking and charging stations.

Are there Ubers in Bologna, Italy?

Absolutely! Uber can be a convenient way to travel to and from Bologna Airport. Instead of waiting for the BLQ shuttle or a taxi, you can request a ride directly through the Uber app.

Suggested Reading: Embark on an unforgettable wine journey with our curated selection of the best Bologna wine tours.

Is it easy to drive in Bologna, Italy?

While Bologna is well-connected to major highways making it relatively easy to reach, driving in the city center can be tricky

Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL), or Limited Traffic Access Zones, are areas you cannot enter without a special permit. Cameras monitor these zones, and the fines for violations can be hefty. 

Always check with your hotel for guidance on navigating these zones.

Is it easy to park in Bologna?

Parking in Bologna can be challenging. The city doesn’t offer free parking, meaning you’ll have to pay for any legal parking spot you find. 

Two main parking options exist: public parking, marked by blue lines (paid) or white lines (free but virtually non-existent in Bologna), and private garages. Yellow lines indicate reserved parking spots, so avoid those. You can ask your hotel for guidance on local garages.

How much does it cost to rent a car in Bologna Italy?

The cost of car rental in Bologna can fluctuate, but as a general guide, expect to pay around $35 USD per day for an economy car with manual transmission. 

If you prefer an economy car with automatic transmission, the daily price typically hovers around $48 USD.

Suggested Reading: 10 Best Italian Scooter Brands: Italy’s Favorites.

Can I travel to other countries while renting a car in Italy?

You can travel to a list of specified countries, including Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland. Countries not listed are off-limits.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, my friends – your comprehensive guide to car rental in beautiful Bologna

Remember, this journey starts with the planning but truly unfolds as you hit the road, exploring this Italian gem at your own pace. 

I’m here to help you through it all, using my experiences and insights from living and traveling in Italy. Trust me, the adventure that awaits is worth every turn. Happy driving!

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