Car Hire in Spain: Freedom to Discover
Spain, a country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, is marked by a diverse landscape that includes beaches, mountains, and rolling plains, as well as a rich mosaic of cultures. From the cosmopolitan streets of Madrid to the historic realms of Andalusia, Spain beckons travelers with its vibrant festivals, delicious cuisine, and picturesque vistas.
Renting a car in Spain opens up a world of possibilities for the traveler seeking independence and the ability to explore at their own pace. With a vast network of well-maintained roads connecting cities, towns, and the countryside, you can uncover hidden gems beyond the reach of standard tour routes.
Driving Across Spain: What to Expect
- Road Conditions: Spain has an excellent network of roads, including the extensive Autovía (expressways) and Autopista (toll highways) that connect major cities and regions.
- Driving Laws: Spain drives on the right-hand side. Drivers must adhere to strict speed limits and are advised to be aware of unique local driving customs.
- Tolls: Many of Spain’s Autopistas are toll roads. Tolls can be paid in cash or card, and some even offer electronic payment systems for quicker passage.
- Parking: In cities like Madrid and Barcelona, parking can be scarce and is often regulated by blue and green zones with a pay-and-display system. Look out for parking garages ("parking subterráneo") in town centers.
- Helpful Info: Drive Smart Spain
Must-Visit Attractions by Hire Car
- Madrid: The capital city is a good starting point, with attractions such as the Prado Museum and Royal Palace. Approximately 13 kilometers to Madrid-Barajas Airport.
- Barcelona: Drive about 1.5 hours northeast of Barcelona to reach the Salvador Dalí Museum in Figueres. Barcelona-El Prat Airport is situated around 12 kilometers from the city center.
- Granada: The Alhambra Palace is a jewel of Andalusian history and about a 20-minute drive from Granada’s city center. Granada Airport is approximately 17 kilometers west of the city.
- Seville: The heart of Andalusian culture and home to the Seville Cathedral, about a 20-minute drive from Seville Airport.
- Valencia: Known for its City of Arts and Sciences, and just a 15-minute drive from Valencia Airport.
Car Rental Policies in Spain: Essential Information
When hiring a car, keep the following in mind:
- Excess and Insurance Coverage: Check the level of excess and insurance cover. You may opt for additional insurance like Premium Insurance for peace of mind.
- Vehicle Options: A range of cars is available to match your preferences, from compact cars for city driving to spacious estates for family trips.
- Deposit and Payment: Rentals require a deposit, typically held on a credit card in the driver’s name. Debit cards are sometimes accepted but come with more restrictions.
- Breakdown Assistance: Included with car rentals in Spain, providing you with support in case of any mechanical issues.
One-Way Rentals: Journey with Ease
Many car hire companies in Spain offer the convenience of one-way rentals. This service allows you to collect your car in one city and return it in another, ideal for those planning an extensive tour across the country or even into neighboring countries, such as Portugal or France.
Distances from Airports to Main Resorts: Distances can vary significantly depending on your destination. For instance:
- From Barcelona Airport to Barcelona city center: Approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles).
- From Madrid Airport to Madrid city center: Approximately 15 kilometers (9 miles).
- From Malaga Airport to Marbella: Approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles).
- From Alicante Airport to Benidorm: Approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles).
Overall, driving in Spain can be a convenient way to experience the country's rich culture and diverse landscapes. Familiarize yourself with local traffic rules, plan your routes in advance, and enjoy your journey through this beautiful country.
Minimum age requirements to hire a car in Spain
The minimum age to rent a car in Spain varies by car hire agent, however most suppliers have a minimum age requirement of 21. The minimum age to drive, generally in Spain is 18. Drivers under the age of 25 will normally be subject to a young driver charge. The amount can vary significantly between car hire companies. Minimum age requirements and young driver supplements can be found in the table below;
Car Hire Agent
Young Driver Fee (per day)
*average daily rates based on 7 day rental, search for today's best prices.