WGT - Automobiles
You may wish to Drive to Leipzig especially if you live on the Continent or the UK, there are some pluses to driving including being able to take more stuff, however the downside is that you may need more time in Leipzig or along the way to break up your journey and ensure you are safe. The time it takes will be based on where you are driving from, how many drivers you have and what you want to do along the way.
If you live in the UK and for some reason you decide to drive to Leipzig you will need to be prepared for a car journey of 24+ hours (including the ferry/Chunnel train time), the route is quite good, however it is a very long journey and I advise having a couple of drivers. Personally I have never driven, although we have discussed the possibility of taking a people carrier to be able to take more clothes and bring back more shopping, maybe one day. If you decide to drive I would advise getting to Leipzig on the Wednesday, this will give you time to rest before the events and beer on Thursday. Also remember you need certain accessories in each of the countries that you may pass through (such as hi-vis, spare bulbs, warning triangles, breathalysers etc, you can google this to find out the extensive list for each country and be warned the French are very hot on stopping UK drivers to check this list and fine those without the right spares and equipment)
There are a number of routes from the UK to Europe, including Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newhaven to Calais, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Hull to Amsterdam or Rotterdam, in addition you have the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais which is probably the easiest method and will take you approx 8/9 hours (if you have an early ferry / train) and travel at a good speed on the Autobahns (100 mph). The cost of each route will be based on when you travel and what route you decide on, my advice is to book as early as possible and give yourself as much time as possible to get from your home to Leipzig.
Once on the continent you will have to deal with a few hotspots through Belgium and Holland (esp on the way back when you might hit rush hour) and then it should be easier.
Driving in Germany - Environmental Badges
If you are driving to Leipzig and through Germany you will need to be aware that from March 2007 there are vehicle restrictions in environmental green zones, typically in larger cities across Germany. The areas especially threatened by fine exhaust particulate matter are marked as "environmental green zones" with the sign 270.1. Vehicles that wish to enter these zones must carry a badge else the driver will face a fine. The sign 270.2 shows where the zones end Vehicles without the environmental badge may not pass through the green zone, otherwise the driver will face a penalty even if the vehicle has a low emission value. This is also valid for all vehicles registered in foreign countries. For this reason it is recommended that all drivers to understand where the zones are before driving in Germany and purchase it on time, if they wish to enter one of the increasing number of green zones.
Driving in Leipzig, do I need a badge?
If you are driving directly to the Agra without entering Leipzig City centre then you should not need a badge presuming that you do not drive into any town / city on the way, if you plan on driving into Leipzig then you will need to purchase and display a badge as it joined the scheme in Jan 2011. Maps below.
German cities, are acquiring environmental zones (Umweltzonen); areas into which you can't drive your car unless it bears a windshield sticker certifying that it has an acceptable emission level.
There are three different stickers: a green one certifying that the vehicle is environmentally acceptable; a yellow one for less acceptable vehicles and a red one for those that are still less acceptable. Yellow and red stickers will eventually be phased out, after which all vehicles permitted in the environmental zones will need a green sticker. The stickers are hard to counterfeit and would be destroyed in any effort to remove them from the windshield.
The clean air plan of the city of Leipzig includes a large number of measures designed to reduce air pollution in the city. The environmental zone set up on March 1, 2011 is a central measure. Within the environmental zone, only vehicles marked with a green sticker (pollutant group 4) are allowed to drive on public roads.
What documents do I need to get a badge?
The presentation of the vehicle registration document or a copy of the vehicle registration document is sufficient. It is not necessary to show the vehicle.
What applies to foreign vehicles?
Vehicles with foreign license plates also require a sticker. You will receive this after crossing the border upon presentation of the vehicle registration document or the registration certificate Part I, for example from authorized vehicle workshops, officially recognized monitoring organizations for vehicle traffic and the vehicle registration offices. Some hotels offer an ordering service for their foreign guests. You can find multilingual information on the environmental zone and sticker at www.umwelt-plakette.de/ .
Environmental badges issued in the Czech Republic are valid for entry into German environmental zones. The Czech sticker is the same color as the German environmental sticker. Likewise, the numbering of the pollutant group and the associated emission standard is equivalent. In contrast to the German plaque, the Czech plaque has an octagonal shape.
How are foreign vehicles assigned to the respective pollutant group?
The proof of the pollutant group for foreign vehicles and thus the assignment to a sticker is regulated in § 6 of the labeling regulation. If the vehicle documents show which European exhaust emission standard the vehicle was registered in other European countries, the classification can be made in accordance with Annex 2 of the labeling regulation. Otherwise, the assignment is based on the year the vehicle was first registered.
Where do you get a badge?
I recommend that you order one online before you go (there are numerous websites where you can get one), it removes the anxiety when you turn up at the German border, otherwise you will need to find a garage that sells them, the cost will depend on your vehicle, it is highly recommended that you check what badge you need esp if you drive an older vehicle that may have restrictions on entering certain zones.