Thinking about renting a car for a holiday on mainland Europe this winter? According to recent research by you could be in for some surprise additional costs.

The survey found that in six of the seven destinations analysed across Europe, charges were at least £40 – on top of basic rental fees.

The term "winterisation" has been coined to describe the process of fitting winter tyres and snow chains to hire cars. The survey looked at the hire fees of five car rental firms in Geneva, Grenoble, Innsbruck, Barcelona, Turin, Sophia and Inverness– for rent between December 27 and January 3, 2015.

The research found that winterisation costs for renting a car from Avis in Geneva could be up to £114 – on top of hire costs of £409.43.

The survey found that in Inverness winterisation costs were zero, the only location of the seven not to charge extra.

Taking Your Own Car

Given these high costs, the notion of taking your own car on a winter holiday this year could be a more attractive prospect. Snow chains can be bought for under £40 and can of course be used for subsequent winter road trips.

Winter tyres are recommended but not compulsory in France, Switzerland, Andorra and Italy. In Sweden, Finland, Austria and Germany they must be fitted for certain periods of the year.

Find out more about winter tyre and snow chain requirements across Europe here.

If you're heading to the continent this winter, don’t forget to take out European breakdown cover before you go. Find out about's affordable policies today.