Since ancient times, the city of Leipzig has been known as the central city of fairs and markets in Germany. It is located at the junction between the Wissa Ulster and the Place rivers in the Saxon region, and due to its unique and central location, which served as a transit station for merchants and sellers, it gained a lot of commercial power, which gave it a high status in the Middle Ages. Leipzig is the cultural center of the Saxon region, with a special emphasis on learning and academia. It hosts the largest and most important book fair in Germany (and some would say the world), it has many libraries, including the Central Library of Germany, and some of the largest printing and distribution houses in Germany are located in the city. It is a particularly cultural city, also regarding classical music, with a legacy of artists such as Bach and Mendelssohn, and it even hosted Martin Luther King in the past, for one of his fiery speeches.
Leipzig is gaining momentum as a particularly interesting tourist city, and certainly the most popular in East Germany, since beyond its heritage, it has many high-class restaurants, interesting monuments and diverse attractions. It is consistently voted one of the most pleasant cities to live in Europe, and is very tourist friendly, with a variety of things to experience in the “Old Town” area. Although its main attractions are relatively close to each other, don’t think that you can close the corner in one day, because there is too much to see, from concerts, museums, churches and even cafes that have a national name in Germany, which are spread in various places in the city. Therefore, to experience the city to the fullest, you should consider renting a car in the city.
The price of car rental in Leipzig is slightly higher than the average for cities of the same size in Germany. All the major car companies work in Leipzig, and offer a private car for a couple and two suitcases at a price of around 28 euros per day, not including fuel. In other cities you can find privates at prices around 20 euros. Regarding the second extreme point – a spacious station wagon, you can find prices that exceed 50 euros per day, and even reach 60. The price is significantly more expensive than other places in Germany, where the stations reach around 45 euros per day. Most of the vehicles for rent range between 30 and 40 euros per day, while here, too, there is a price increase of a few percent above the usual standard in Germany. Of course, there are many parameters that affect the price, such as the type of vehicle, its size, and such and other extras that are mainly suitable for long trips. In addition, a longer order will most likely result in some kind of discount, and this of course regardless of the time of the order, since during the tourist seasons the prices go up.
Leipzig hosts many festivals and fairs throughout the year, with the International Book Fair, held in mid-March, being of course the most prominent event. Unlike most cities in Europe, the hot period in Leipzig is actually in the spring, so the prices for booking vehicles rise gradually until March and April, remain at the same level in May and June, and begin to decrease at the end of summer. The smart thing about booking a car is to book it as early as possible before arrival. Not all rental companies keep all the vehicles in their possession at a given time, therefore, it is worth reserving your vehicle, to be sure if it is not a standard vehicle and one that includes extras, a month or even two months in advance. Some people increase and even book the car immediately after booking the flight and hotels, even if it is a few months before the rental date. It is possible and desirable to talk to the representatives of the car rental companies before you arrive, to make sure that the car you ordered is indeed waiting for you and maybe even ask for a discount.
The book fair is known as an event that causes traffic jams in the city, as is the Bach Festival in mid-June. An event like the “Van Gogh Experience” held at the beginning of 2020 also blocked the entire city in a relatively unusual way. The Gothic Festival held every year in May also blocks the old city, as does the Festival of Lights in October. And as in any city, the Christmas and New Year’s markets are very popular, causing traffic jams in the city. Leipzig also has a popular soccer team, which in 2020 reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. The games in the stadium also cause traffic congestion, certainly if it is games within the Champions League or local games against big teams. Leipzig is not a congested city at all, it is very driver friendly, and even during rush hour, you will not encounter a situation where you are standing on the road for a long time. However, on Thursdays, it’s best to avoid traveling in the early afternoon and wait until after 5:00 PM.
Leipzig is an advanced transport city. It is, as mentioned, very driver-friendly, with wide roads, correct road signs, clear signage and almost zero traffic jams on normal days. Most people will want to take a private and skip between the attractions too easily. Most of the attractions are quite close to each other and far from the populated areas, but still when you want to experience the whole city, and go to all the attractions, a car can be an excellent and convenient solution. The privates will suffice, but people who want to pass through the city on their way to Dresden or other places in the Saxon region, can take larger vehicles and even a station wagon, to travel in maximum comfort and have all the space they need for their luggage and equipment. It is important to think carefully about the needs of the trip and your expectations from the trips, in order to choose the right vehicle, which will provide you with the ideal solution.
A valid international driver’s license is a necessity for people who want to rent cars in Leipzig, and in fact, anywhere else in Germany. The rental companies will not give the keys to people who do not show the license, so don’t forget your documents at home.
Leipzig is one of the more driver-friendly cities in Germany, with high-level infrastructure, comfortable roads, and a developed driving culture. The Germans are admittedly a little aggressive, but certainly not more so than the Israelis, who usually have no trouble fitting in. However, the culture is different from other places in Europe, so it is important to make the adjustments. Access to the autobahns from Leipzig is easy, and you can easily find your way to Dresden and Berlin. The attractions in the city are quite close to each other, and the old city area is also very convenient and accessible. However, it is important to use the navigation apps that know how to direct you where you need to go, at any given time and taking into account the traffic at that time. Sometimes, it is better to park the car, enjoy regional attractions, and then continue to other areas. You won’t be able to cover the whole city in one day, so focus on a certain area each day and drive there.
Driving in Leipzig requires a special permit that you get with the car rental. There is a central park-and-ride option, with several designated parking lots throughout the city. If you want to park around the city, you will need a dedicated sticker that can be bought at several destinations around the city. As in all of Germany, the EASYGO app will help you find the parking lots, pay in them and even see their availability. It is relatively easy to find parking in many areas of Leipzig, although when you get to the Old Town area or busy areas like the market, the priority is to enter a parking lot, as the parking lots charge legitimate and not too expensive amounts – about 2.5 to 3 euros per hour.