Travelling to Germany by car

On this page you will find recommendations for a lovely and carefree holiday in Germany. It describes the rules that must be taken into account when driving in Germany. The topics that will be addressed are refuelling, paying toll charges and vignettes and other requirements that are applicable during a trip in Germany.

Mandatory to have in the car 

There are a number of items you must have in the car when driving through Germany. These include:

  1. A valid driving license
  2. Valid insurance
  3. A valid license plate
  4. A first aid kit and safety vest
  5. A toolkit
  6. A valid vignette for the motorways (for certain vehicles)
  7. An environmental sticker for certain cities and areas.

It is also recommended to have a first aid kit, a GPS system and a mobile phone with you.

Please note: Remember that the fines for not following these requirements can be high in Germany.

Toll roads and vignettes

Toll charges must be paid in Germany (called “Maut” in German) to use certain motorways and bridges. These toll charges are often collected via an electronic system, e.g. a toll sticker or an on-board unit (OBU) in the car. The system varies depending on the region and the road you are driving on. Certain exemptions and discounts are also available for certain vehicles or users.

In addition, many German cities have an environmental zone. To enter this zone your vehicle must have the right environmental sticker for Germany.

Traffic rules in Germany

Germany has many traffic rules that are applicable to cars. Below you will find a number of important rules:

  • The speed limit on motorways is usually 130 km/h, sometimes reduced to 100 km/h in certain areas or during bad weather.
  • On other roads, the speed limit is usually 100 km/h, except in built-up areas where the speed limit is 50 km/h.
  • Drinking alcohol behind the wheel is strictly prohibited. The blood alcohol content must not exceed 0.5 mg/ml.
  • Seat belts are mandatory for everyone in the vehicle.
  • Children under 12 years old or less than 1.5 meters tall must be transported in a child seat.
  • Lighting should be used during bad weather, twilight or at night.
  • It is prohibited to use mobile phones while driving, except with hands-free systems.
  • Winter tires are mandatory during winter weather conditions.
  • In the event of an accident, all involved must leave their vehicles in the correct place and notify the police.
  • Violation of the traffic rules can result in a fine or even a prison sentence, depending on the severity of the violation.

Please note that traffic regulations may vary depending on the region, so it is wise to check the traffic rules before travelling.

Speeding fines in Germany

The speeding fines in Germany are comparable to those in the Netherlands. You can expect the following fines.

Within built-up areas:

  • Up to 10 km/h: € 30
  • 11 – 15 km/h: € 50
  • 16 – 20 km/h: € 70
  • 21 – 25 km/h: € 115
  • 26 – 30 km/h: € 180
  • 31 – 40 km/h: € 260
  • 41 – 50 km/h: € 400
  • 51 – 60 km/h: € 560
  • 61 – 70 km/h: € 700
  • More than 70 km/h: € 800

Outside built-up areas

  • Up to 10 km/h: € 20
  • 11 – 15 km/h: € 40
  • 16 – 20 km/h: € 60
  • 21 – 25 km/h: € 100
  • 26 – 30 km/h: € 150
  • 31 – 40 km/h: € 200
  • 41 – 50 km/h: € 320
  • 51 – 60 km/h: € 480
  • 61 – 70 km/h: € 600
  • More than 70 km/h: € 700

Other traffic fines

OffenceFine amount
Driving through a red light90-360
Not wearing a seat belt 30-60
Driving a car with a phone in hand100-250
Failing to give way to driver from right15-120
Parking Violation10-35
Use of speed camera signaling and/or radar detection75 + seizure equipment
Driving in an environmental zone without a valid sticker80
Driving without winter tires in winter weather60

Charging points for electric cars in Germany

Germany has a lot of charging points for electrical cars, where you can charge your car during your trip. These charging points can be found at petrol stations, parking garages, shopping centres and hotels. There are also many public charging points in German cities and municipalities.

There are various types of charging points, including:

  • Slow chargers: these chargers give a low power (usually between 2 and 22 kW) and are suitable for charging the batteries of electric cars
  • Fast chargers: These chargers give a higher power (usually between 22 and 50 kW) and are suitable for quickly charging the batteries of electric cars.
  • Superchargers: these chargers provide even higher power (usually between 50 and 150 kW) and are suitable for ultra-fast charging of the batteries of electric cars. 

There are also a number of charging point networks in Germany, such as Plugsurfing, Chargemap, e.GO Mobile, Fastned, Ionity, which offer charging points in various locations, and where you can often download an app or sign up for a subscription.

Please note that the availability and cost of charging points can vary, so it is wise to check the availability and cost of charging points before travelling.

Refuelling in Germany

Petrol prices in Germany can vary depending on location and time of day. On average, petrol prices in Germany are higher than in other European countries, but lower than in countries such as the United States.

There are different types of petrol, such as Super 95, Super 98, Super Plus and Diesel, the prices of which can vary. The Super 95 is the cheapest petrol, followed by the Super 98 and Super Plus, which are more expensive respectively.

Fuel prices in Germany

  • Euro 95 (E10)  > 1.756
  • Diesel  (B7) > 1.877

These prices were last updated on 06-01-2023.

Common traffic jams in Germany

Common traffic jams in Germany occur on the motorways leading to the main cities and holiday destinations. Here are a few examples:

  • The highways around Berlin and Hamburg are often obstructed by traffic congestion.
  • The motorways between Frankfurt and Stuttgart (A5, A6, A7) are often busy, especially during rush hours and on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The motorways between Cologne and Frankfurt (A3, A5) and between Munich and Stuttgart (A8) are also often busy.
  • On the motorways to the popular holiday destinations in the south, such as the Alps and the Black Forest, there are often traffic jams in the summer months.
  • The motorways leading to the popular holiday destinations in the North such as Lake Constance and the North Sea are also often busy.

Best route from to Germany

You can select various routes to Germany, depending on your destination and preference. Below you will find a few examples of popular routes.

  • The A12 motorway via Utrecht, Arnhem and Emmerich is a good route to the west of Germany, such as Düsseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt.
  • The A1 motorway via Zwolle, Hanover and Hamburg is a good route to the north of Germany, such as Hamburg, Bremen and Kiel.
  • The A2 motorway via Den Bosch, Venlo and Duisburg is a good route to eastern Germany, such as Essen, Dortmund and Berlin.
  • The A3 motorway via Eindhoven, Oberhausen and Frankfurt is a good route to the south of Germany, such as Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich.

Please note: Remember that the traffic situation in Germany may vary depending on the time of day and the season. There are sometimes traffic jams and road works, so it is wise to check the traffic situation before you leave via a traffic information app or website.

Latest news

View the latest news for Germany below, or view all news.

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