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14% of this website's visitors are from America, so here's a guide designed for them - but relevant to anybody really - to plan a trip to the Ring, whether just a short day trip or a long weekend.
It is possible for one person to get to the Ring from a nearby airport for less than €100 including car hire. Driving the Ring for a couple of hours in a hired track car will increase this to about €500 excluding any crash damage. The cost of crashing is outlined here.
There are five steps you need to plan
1. Check the calendar to make sure the Ring is open when you want to go
2. Book a flight to Frankfurt, Cologne (AKA Cologne/Bonn or Köln/Bonn), or Düsseldorf airports. Frankfurt is the biggest of the three, and budget airlines like Easyjet fly to Cologne and Düsseldorf. Neither of these are on the map to the right, but they are about 100km northeast of the Nürburgring.
3. Hire a car at the airport. Frankfurt is about two hours drive from the Ring, Cologne and Düsseldorf are about an hour. Hertz, Europcar, Avis are the biggest hire companies in Europe and they will have pickup/dropoff points inside the terminal. I hired a tiny Kia Picanto in Spring 2014 from Europcar for €40 per day including insurance.
4. Drive to the Nurburgring. Check the directions page to get from the airport to the Ring, and the map to find the entrance to the Nurburging. You are looking for the Touristfahrten entrance, which is not the same as the Grand Prix track entrance.
5. Use the map to drive to the different viewing points around the track.
If you want to drive the Ring
6. Hire a car from a company on this page. Rentals will cost from about €200 per half day. I advise you not to drive a Hertz car on the Nürburgring. You will also need to buy lap tickets; prices are here.
If you want to stay more than one day
Find a hotel. Every hotel on that list is friendly, clean, and comfortable. Some hotels also have bars to entertain you in the weekend. Nightlife at the Ring though is virtually non-existent on weekdays, and a sausage-fest at the weekend, so don't expect too much. Weekdays you probably need to head to the Blau Ecke in Adenau to see anybody else.
Just do it
It's that easy. I really hope this page is useful, so please give me some feedback if it's helped you, or if it is missing crucial information. Feel free to ask a question in the Comments section below.