Taking a car to another European country in the Schengen area (EU) via Cruise Ferry 2024

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Cruise Ferry at Night

When looking to travel between countries in the EU, consider taking a ferry. The customs process is very similar to driving or walking across the border between countries, but while onboard you can walk around, eat, drink - except the driver, and enjoy other entertainment. It’s much better than sitting behind the wheel of a car for hours at a time. The considerations below are actually the same for driving, but you’ll find the experience much more enjoyable. And lucky for you, you can book many ferry trips with FerryScan.

Personal Car

If you are moving to another EU country short term, know that you can take your car without registering it again as long as you don’t stay more than 6 months or change your residence to that country. However, if you stay more than 6 months you have a lot of additional tasks to do, which you can read about on the EU website. Regardless of how long you plan to travel, taking a ferry with your car should be a fairly painless process. Bring your passport, ticket, proof of registration, and proof of insurance (luckily the insurance from your home country should be valid in any EU country - read more here. Also, don’t forget to bring money in the appropriate currency for any tolls, petrol/gasoline/diesel, and parking during your trip! It’s best to be safe in case they don’t take credit cards or your bank card doesn’t work unexpectedly for some time.

Rental Car

Taking a rental car (car hire) to another country should be fairly straightforward if you follow this advice:

  1. Ask your car rental company about the countries (and sometimes specific regions of some countries you plan to take the car such as islands, etc.). There can be cross border fees and extra fees in the terms and conditions that you’ll want to know about beforehand.
  2. Ask about the car’s insurance coverage in the countries you will visit, so you don’t need to worry during your journey in case something unexpected happens.
  3. If you plan to end your rental in another country, they may charge you a one way fee.
  4. Check with the ferry company you will be traveling with to ensure they will let you take a rental car with them (you shouldn’t have problems)
  5. Bring your passport, ticket, and rental agreement
  6. Bring the right currency for your trip! Tolls or congestion pricing, petrol/gasoline/diesel expenses, and parking will require planning ahead so things go smoothly


To avoid problems when crossing a border, you’ll want to become familiar with the rules around what you can bring and pay customs duties if the items you are taking a of higher value than the minimums or you plan to sell them in the country you are going to.

Personal Items

Generally, items brought from one EU country to another do not need to be declared as long as you are bringing them for personal use. Limits however exist for the following items. You will need to pay customs duty on amounts in excess of the following limits. If you have an excess amount in your car and don’t declare them, you could get fined.

Key terms:

Imports - items you are taking into the country
Exports - items you are taking out of the country


Generally large amounts of alcohol need to be declared (16 or more liters of beer (although 110 liters for most EU countries), 4 or more bottles of wine, etc.)


Large amounts of tobacco need to be declared (200 or more cigarettes (800 cigarettes for most), 50 cigars, etc.)


It can be pretty complicated to bring a pet as the rules vary widely by country and based on where you took the pet from. You will need to make sure you do your research so you have the right documentation to successfully bring all the members of your family, pets included. Also note that for many ferries in the Baltic Sea, you will need to book a cabin that can accommodate pets.


No limit between EU countries generally

  • Denmark 10 000 Euro equivalent limit
  • Portugal - exporting (taking out) more than 4 500 Euros should be declared so you don’t run into problems
  • Romania - cannot take Romania’s currency (New Romanian Leu) outside Romania


500g limit when entering/leaving France

Goods for Sale

If you are bringing goods that you plan to sell in another EU country, there is additional documentation you must fill out. You should plan ahead and make sure you have the proper paperwork so your trip across the border by ferry goes smoothly.


Now that you know more about how simple it is to take your car to another country and how much more pleasant the journey is via cruise ferry, search FerryScan for a trip! If you don’t see what you’re looking for, please reach out and we’ll be happy to help however we can!

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