If you’re daring enough to drive in Italy, renting a car is a great way to see a lot of smaller destinations on your own time schedule. Renting a car in Bologna is easy to do once you follow these travel tips. In this post, we share our insider tips on how to rent a car in Bologna, from both Bologna Airport and the Bologna Central Station.

Guide to renting a car in Bologna Italy
Guide To Renting a Car In Bologna Italy

Tips On Driving In Italy

Before sharing our tips on how to rent a car in Bologna, it helps to receive a few tips on driving in Italy from people who’ve become accustomed to it. For travelers to Italy or recent transplants, it can be a little intimidating.

First, if you are not used to driving a manual transmission car, I would definitely recommend renting an automatic car. They are often a little more expensive but are worth the peace of mind and safety. When booking a rental car you will see options for manual transmission or automatic transmission. If you do not make a specific request, the rental car company will provide a manual car.

Second, Italians are known for being aggressive, fast drivers. After all, Emilia Romagna is home to some of the fastest luxury cars in the world. But don’t let that prevent you from driving here. I’ve found Italian drivers to be a bit impatient, but they are conscientious and very skilled at driving. Take your time and when on the highway stick to the right-hand lanes.

Third, be prepared with a good GPS or map function on your phone. For residents of Europe will good mobile phone plans, this is not a problem as apps like Google Maps work well. If you are not a European resident, be sure to check with your mobile phone provider at home whether your phone’s data plan will work in Italy. As an alternative, most Italian rental car companies will offer a GPS as an upgrade. Some of the rental car companies in Bologna will also offer a WiFi device you can rent.

How To Rent A Car At Bologna Stazione Centrale Or City Center

For travelers living in Bologna, or arriving in Bologna by train there are a few options for picking up a car without having to go to the airport.

Car Rental at Bologna Centrale

The main train station has a couple of car rental agencies located inside the terminal.  When booking look for car rental for Bologna Centrale. The agency that I used, B-Rent, was located on the northern side of the train station whereas the main entrance is on the south side off the ring road. The cars are located down the street in a parking garage. Other international rental car companies also have locations at the Bologna central station or within a block away.

It’s easy to get to Bologna Centrale. Bologna is a quaint city, which is code for small. Taking a public bus to the main train station is very convenient as most buses pass by it on their route. Extra points for this also being a very economical choice. It’s also easy to walk to the central station from most hotels in the center of the city.

We recommend using RentalCars.com to look for car rentals in Bologna. They take your location and dates and then give you the best rates on a variety of rental car companies. These companies include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Budget, and more.

Bologna Car Rental – City Center or Hotel Pick Up

You can also pick up your car at many different points in the downtown city center. We picked up our rental car in the lobby of a hotel near the train station. The car was located down the street at a local parking garage. If arranging a pickup in the city center be sure to ask about restricted driving zones within the center of the city to avoid a ticket. The rental car company or your hotel should be able to show you on a map where these restricted zones are in comparison to your hotel.

Car Hire Bologna Italy

Car Rental At Bologna Airport

For travelers arriving at the airport, it’s also easy to rent a car at Bologna Airport, Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ). Just outside of Bologna airport arrivals there are plenty of car rental desks.

Once you arrive, find your rental company desk, fill out your paperwork, and you can easily walk to the parking structure from the terminal to get your car. We recommend booking your Bologna car hire before arriving, but some desks also offer last-minute rental options.

Car Rental Companies – Bologna Airport

Rental car companies at Bologna Airport include international companies like Budget Car Rental Bologna Airport, Avis Bologna Airport, Hertz Bologna Airport, and Enterprise Bologna Airport. The airport also includes European and Italian car rental companies like Sixt Bologna Airport, Sicily By Car Bologna Airport, Europcar Bologna Airport, Maggiore, and Leasys. Or, use RentalCars.com to get the best rate on all of these rental car companies, without having to search on each website direct.

Bologna Car Hire Pro Tip: Someone may not be at the desk when you arrive. The airport is not open 24 hours a day. Most agencies are closed from 11:00 p.m. / 12:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. Research opening hours before arriving. Also, don’t forget to pick up a ticket if they use a ticket system at the desk. Worst case, you can find a hotel near BLQ airport if your flight is delayed.

Returning Your Car to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport

Before returning your car to the airport, make sure that you fill up the car with fuel as the charges are astronomical if you don’t. Google Maps can direct you to the closest gas station depending on whether you are arriving from the north or south. Some of the gas stations close to the airport include petrol station companies like Q8, lp, and Beyfin. The Beyfin station is not open on weekends.

There are signs as you approach the airport directing you to the Bologna Airport Car Rental Return. I recommend typing in “Parking Lot C” as your destination if you’re using a GPS.

Once you enter the structure look for the signs for your car rental company. Park in any open spot, make a note of the number of the spot. Make sure to not leave any of your personal belongings and power cords in the car, take pictures to prove there was no damage done to your vehicle, and lock the car. There are smaller offices located in the parking structure for each of the car rental agencies. Drop off your key with one of the personnel there and you’re done!

Bologna Travel Pro Tip: Most rental car companies will do a brief inspection of the car when you return it to the airport. Be sure to allow a few extra minutes so you are not stressed about missing your flight.

More Car Rental Return Tips

If you are dropping off the car before 8:00 a.m., most of the agencies will be closed. Just find the desk where you picked up the car keys inside the terminal and leave the keys in their overnight box.

The walkway to the parking structure isn’t very well marked. Walk out the main exit and head left past the taxi stand. Then you continue past the small bus depot and at that point, you will be able to see the small one-story structure.

Note: The walkway is not covered, unlike the porticoed walkways of downtown Bologna. So if you are arriving during the rainy season, make sure to bring an umbrella or hooded jacket.

How To Find The Best Car Hire In Bologna

My recommendation when searching for a rental car is to book early and shop around. I ran into a problem with my credit card once when picking up a rental car and had to cancel my original booking and book a new one last minute at double the price! There are many different websites that you can use to search for a rental car.

In addition to bringing a debit or credit card to pay for the actual rental fee, you also need to give the agency a credit card as collateral. They will not give you the car if you don’t have a credit card in the name of the one who made the reservation. Be sure to also bring your driver’s license and your passport.

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