Abstract Vehicular Ad hoc NETworks (VANETs) are considered as the most suitable technology to provide vehicles with communication capabilities as a mean to improve road safety. Additionally, VANETs also open the market to non-safety applications where Internet connectivity is the main focus. Internet access from VANETs can be provided with the support of gateways located at the side of the roads, such that vehicles change their point of attachment to the Internet maintaining ongoing communications while they move. In this paper we tackle the problem of providing Internet access from VANETs combining the Proxy Mobile IPv6 (PMIPv6) with the ETSI TC ITS GeoNetworking (GN) protocols. We study how to adapt PMIPv6 to the multi-hop ETSI TC ITS architecture. A key contribution of this work is the design and analysis of different mechanisms that can be applied to the solution to improve the overall performance. A detailed performance evaluation of the solution and the different mechanisms assessing their influence is conducted by means of simulation under real traffic traces of an important orbital highway of Madrid.