Parking areas along the highway, they come in all sorts and sizes. Small, big, with or without facilities and unfortunately there is also a big difference in hygiene. Clean or dirty. Not to mention security facilities such as CCTV, floodlight or a fence.
Many parking areas along the German highway are indicated by the sign "Rastätte", “Rastpark” or "Autohof". So when you are near your legally binding rest-time these signs guide you to a well-deserved break. There are a number of differences between Rastättes and Autohöfe to keep in mind.
There is a good chance that you drive as long as possible without checking what kind of parking area you are driving to. Yet it is worthwhile sometimes to stop a little earlier. This is our way to help you make a solid decision, it might be what you need to take one exit earlier.
What is a Rastätte?
A Rastätte is a parking area directly near the highway. In addition to parking there is often a restaurant, toilet facilities and a fuel station. Parking at a Rastätte is free of charge. The toilets on Rastättes are managed by Sanifair, which are known for being clean and costing 50 cents. When it comes to security, there are hardly any facilities that keep driver and cargo safe. Besides floodlights and an occasional camera, security is limited.
What is an Autohof?
If you see a sign "Autohof", you often have to drive a little further – a few hundred meters – to actually get to the Autohof. Autohöfe are never directly on the motorway. Signs will guide you from the motorway to the Autohof.
An Autohof is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has at least fifty to one hundred parking areas for trucks with trailers. Food is always offered between 11 in the morning and 10 in the evening. Many locations offer an option for breakfast. An Autohof without a food corner or restaurant would be a rather unique location. Many Autohöfe work with a voucher, the so called Gutschein. You will receive a part of the parking costs back if you buy a meal in the restaurant at the Autohof. Sometimes you even get the entire parking costs back!
Many Autohöfe offer a fuel station. Due to the location of the Autohof not being directly near the motorway, the fuel is often a little cheaper than at a Rastätte. Some Autohöfe are called Rastpark.
Autohöfe are ideal for truck drivers. Along the motorway in Germany there is a large shortage of parking spaces and therefore an Autohof can be a perfect alternative at a relatively short distance from the motorway. In comparison to Rastättes, Autohöfe are not free and charge a fee for an overnight stay or longer rest period. Autohöfe are increasingly focusing on safe parking There are also Premium Autohöfe. These areas are better secured and have better comfort for truck drivers and their cargo.
Autohof or Rastätte?
Depending on your specific wishes, you can choose the parking area that suits you. Do you want to quickly stretch your legs and go to the toilet? If there is a free place, on a Rastätte you are probably the quickest to continue your journey again. Do you want to refuel and have dinner and a rest? Then it is worthwhile to travel a little further to an Autohof. You may be on the road a little longer, but the Autohöfe are less crowded.
|+ Designated truck parking||+ Right near the motorway|
|+ Cheaper refueling||+ Sanifair, clean toilet facilities|
|+ Restaurant||+ Restaurant|
|+ Truck driver focus||- Crowded|
|+ A better focus on safety||- Less focused on truck drivers|
|- It is a little further from the highway||- refueling is expensive|
|- You often have to pay parking costs|
Plan your stop at an Autohof or Rastätte
Would you like to take a break at an Autohof? The Truck Parking Europe driver app collects all Autohöfe, Rastätten and other alternative parking locations in Germany in one app.
“Driving mode” helps you comply with legal rest times and at the same time maximise your driving time and distance guiding you to a well-deserved break. Simply find your parking and the app calculates the best route. Download our driver app and plan your next trip through Germany!
A guaranteed truck parking spot in Germany
Rastättes are known for being crowded and Autohöfe are no longer unknown locations for truck drivers. Chances are high that locations are full from 16:00 onward, but don’t be alarmed. The Truck Parking Europe app and platform offers you a growing number of depot and truck parking locations in Germany where you can pre-book a guaranteed and secure parking spot. Check out all our German bookable locations here.