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Car Rental in Spain

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General Information

You have chosen to go on a vacation in Spain and you are debating whether to rent a car? Do you need a car to tour only in the city? And how to find the best offer for you?

The purpose of this page is to help you decide whether and how to rent a car in Spain, how to find the best price for it and the important information before you start driving.

Do You Need a Car in Spain?

The answer to this question varies from one tourist to another, and the main question you have to ask yourself is what is the nature of your vacation

If you plan to explore only the streets of Barcelona or Madrid – you absolutely do not need to rent a car!

Just imagine the Gothic Quarter or La Rambla – The streets are small and crowded, there is no parking and the main roads are jammed. In addition, there is an excellent and efficient public transportation within the city (for additional information – Public Transportation in Barcelona and Public Transportation in Madrid).

However, for the ones traveling to southern Spain, or to the north – Basque region, the Pyrenees or Andorra, renting a car is smart and even necessary.



How to Get the Best Price?

Renting a car in the last minute, after arriving to the city, is definitely something you should avoid – many hotels are charging high commissions for this service, and for a touristic city as Barcelona – there are plenty of options to book a car online and to compare between the different offers of the different companies.

Car rental services in the Internet world have become very competitive and now allow cheap orders from home with local suppliers in comfort and simplicity. Customers can (and should) take advantage of that.

After reviewing several price comparison platforms over the course of a year, we chose to cooperate with Rentalcars.com, which will allow anyone to find the best offer. This site belongs to Jackson Travel, from the global tourism giant Priceline (which operates the largest hotel reservation sites in the world, such as Booking.com and Agoda.com).

In order to find the best price for a rented car in Barcelona it is recommended to follow the next four steps:

  1. What is more important to you? there are various parameters that greatly influence the cost of the vehicle. Think about what you can give up in order to get a cheaper car and what are the things you are not willing to compromise on.
    • Manual gearbox? Manual gearbox greatly reduces the price, both of the vehicle and of the fuel. Excellent for traveling on the coast of the Costa Brava, but less recommended for those who prefer the mountainous Andorra.
    • Air conditioning? Unlike other European destinations, it is not advisable to give up air conditioning in Spain, ​​where the weather is mostly warm (for additional information – Weather in Spain).
    • Number of doors? This parameter depends mainly on the number of passengers and your luggage.
    • Location of the pick-up station – Sometimes a central pick-up location will be cheaper than pick-up at the airport. Returning the vehicle at a different drop-off point from the pick-up point will often cost an additional fee.
    • Insurance? it is not recommended to skip on the insurance, not in Spain or at any other destination. One of the reasons we chose Rentalcars.com is the fact that they offer in many situations a theft insurance and a full damage cover includes in the final price!
    • The type of the vehicle and the its magnificence.
  1. Understand the price range: Every tourist who searches for a vehicle has a question: What is the best bid for my needs? Car rental prices vary from season to season and by vehicle type. Enter your details in the search engine above and the Rentalcars.com system will search for you the best offers to rent a car from a variety of suppliers (Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Local suppliers etc.).
  1. Compare bids: Check the bids offered by the different companies. Compare the results and choose the one that works best for you.
  1. Now all you have left is to order! Place your order in the simplest way possible with a credit card, from home.

Useful Information

Age Requirements:

  • Usually there is a requirement for a minimum age of 21, and at least one year on the road.
  • Drivers over 25 years old has no limits on the license.
  • Drivers under 25 years old may need to add an extra fee for new drivers.

Important Traffic Laws in Spain:

  • Speed limit – 50 Kph on urban roads, 55-90 Kph on inter-urban highway and 74-120 Kph on Speedway.
  • In Spain you drive on the right side of the road and overtaking from the left.
  • In some cases tourists are obligated to pay fines immediately.
  • The use of high beam headlights is prohibited in residential areas. They are allowed only on urban roads and depending on the road conditions.
  • When driving in the tunnels, lights must be lit.
  • The amount of alcohol consumption allowed is 0.5 ml.
  • A seat belt is mandatory, front and back.
  • The minimum driving age in Spain is 18, young drivers may experience a problem renting a car and might be charged with additional payment.
  • Speed ​​cameras operate all over the country.
  • Road Signs in Spain.

The Road System in Spain:

  • Most of the roads systems in Spain have undergone major renovations and the travel on the main roads is convenient and easy (in the periphery there are still old and narrow roads).
  • The highways in Spain are referred to as autopista and are marked N. The toll roads are referred to as autopista de peajes and are marked AP. Toll road official website.
  • The entrance to the city centers in Spain does not involve taxes or fees. Most cities are marked “zonas azules” (blue areas) where parking is allowed and costs money during weekdays. On the other hand, there are cities where the blue mark means that parking is forbidden – It is advised to check before you park.
  • Note that the rate of accidents on the coastal roads is higher than in other roads in the country, therefore you should be very careful while driving these roads.

Fuel in Spain:

  • Gas stations are usually open from 08:00 am to 08:00 pm. The small stations in the periphery sometimes close at 04:00 pm.
  • The price of fuel is between 1.10 to 1.30 Euros per liter.

Winter Driving in Spain:

  • The winter season begins in November and ends in March.
  • For drivers intending to travel the Pyrenees or other snowy areas, it is recommended to pre-order snow chains and make sure that the chains fit the tires.

Parking in Spain:

  • Parking problems exist mainly at the entrance to the largest cities in Spain, and the cost of parking per hour varies from one city to the other.
  • It is highly recommended to book accommodation in advance, especially in large cities (Barcelona and Madrid) and even in smaller destinations where there is a parking problem like Figueres. It is recommended to check whether the hotel has parking (private or public) prior to booking (for additional information – Hotels with Parking in Barcelona and Hotels in Barcelona).
  • In most cities on Sundays and holidays, parking is free of charge.
  • Most large cities have “parking areas” or underground parking lots, where you can park your car and take advantage of public transport in the city.
  • Automatic parking meter are working between 09:00 am and 02:00 pm and from 04:00 pm to 09:00 pm, Monday to Friday and from 09:30 am to 02:00 pm on Saturdays. On Sundays and holidays the parking is free of charge.
  • It is forbidden to park alongside roads that are marked with a continuous white line. This is a crime that leads to towing.

Crossing the Border to Other Countries with a Rented Car:

  • You can travel with a rental vehicle from Spain to neighboring countries such as PortugalFrance or Gibraltar – you must make sure that you mention to the rental company prior you leave the pick-up station (Andorra is usually not a problem).
  • Most rental companies will not allow you to take your vehicle to the Canary and Belarusian islands or to Morocco.




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