Do you need to hire a car in Spain?
Many tourists choose to hire a car in Spain as it is the simplest way to get about and see all the sights, glorious scenery and fantastic beaches. Spain is one of the most popular destinations in the world where travellers hire a car, so we strongly recommend that you book your rental as far in advance as possible. This means you have a greater availability of vehicles to choose from and also the price is usually cheaper.
Where to pick up car hire in Spain:
- Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (59m passengers)
- Barcelona-El Prat Airport (50m passengers)
- Mallorca Palma De Mallorca Airport (29m passengers)
- Malaga Costa Del Sol Airport (19m passengers)
- Alicante Elche Airport (14m passengers)
- Gran Canaria Airport (14m passengers)
- Tenerife South Airport (11m passengers)
- Ibiza Airport (8m passengers)
- Valencia Airport (8m passengers)
- Lanzarote Airport (7m passengers)
- Sevilla Airport (6m passengers)
*Passenger numbers based on 2018 passenger data to nearest 1 million
Popular airport car hire locations in Spain
Most popular car rental agents in Spain:
Car Rental Agent in Spain
+34 966 36 03 60
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)
Car hire in Spain by region
Delicious wines and fertile vineyards make Alava a good place to go wine tasting and the reds here are gutsy and delicious. Enjoy a gorgeous landscape which is punctuated the Ebro River and the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains.
Almeria is a relatively barren place which contains the only desert in Europe. It is one of two provinces in which you can have access to the Sierra Nevada national park. This is one of the hottest provinces in Spain.
Alicante is also known as Alacant and is one of the largest metropolitan areas in Spain. Alicante is part of the autonomous Valencian community and has some of Spain's finest beaches including San Juan and Postiguet beaches.
Andalucia has everything a tourist could want - fantastic beaches, beautiful world heritage sites and the most southerly ski resort in Europe. With a vehicle you can explore the Costa del Sol and the Costa de la Luz as well as cities such as Granada.
Located in the central north east of Spain, Aragon is a gateway to the stunning Pyrenees Mountains. From Aragon you can drive to the National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido where the highest peak in the Pyrenees can be found.
Asturias has it own language as an autonomous community of Spain and culturally it is unique. There are also areas of great natural beauty worth seeing like the Picos de Europa national park. Oviedo has a lively and diverse nightlife too.
Off the east coast of Spain lies an archipelago of heavenly islands. The most famous of them, Ibiza is one of the world's biggest party destinations. Mallorca, or Majorca, is also popular with celebrities and is the home of tennis star Rafael Nadal.
Spain's second largest city Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonia region and in terms of culture this is one of the world's great cities. You can also see secluded beaches and marvellous coastlines across the Costa Brava.
Most of the residents of the Basque country live in and around Bilbao and the city stretches towards the Bay of Biscay. With snow in winter and beaches and vineyards which are at their best in the summer, this is a rewarding place to visit.
Cantabria is an autonomous region in the north of Spain which is bordered by the Cantabrian Sea. Buffeted by the winds of the Atlantic Ocean, this is a fresh and blustery region to visit which has lots of greenery.
Castile and Leon
One of Spain's 17 autonomous regions, Castile and Leon is full of beautiful cities with amazing landmarks including the Douro in Zamora and the Tormes in Salamanca. Valladolid is the capital and the region is roughly in the north west of Spain.
Castile la Mancha
Castile la Mancha is an autonomous community which contains the province of Albacete. It is famous for being the area where legendary Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes wrote his novel about Don Quixote. This is an area of windmills of olive groves.
Cadiz is the most southerly part of the continent of Western Europe. More than half a million people live in the Bay of Cadiz area. The most exciting way to see Cadiz is to arrive in spring when a huge carnival takes place.
Encompasses the Badajoz province and Badajoz city. It is located in the west of Spain near the border with Portugal. The River Guadiana runs through the region and Badajoz was built along its banks. There are numerous wildlife reserves in Extremadura.
Located in the north west of Spain, Galicia is an autonomous community which has been given the status of a historic nationality. Bordered by the Atlantic to the west, Galicia also has a border with Portugal to the south.
The province of Granada contains this famous city of the same name which is home to the spectacular Alhambra Moorish palace. Granada is surrounded by mountains including the tallest one in mainland Spain, Mulhacen, and it has easy access to the Mediterranean Sea.
Malaga is perhaps the most popular province of Spain with tourists. It has so much to see and do, from visiting the birthplace and museum of artist Pablo Picasso to playing golf on one of the many courses. There are marinas galore for sailors and plenty of bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Home to the capital of Spain and located slap-bang in the centre of the country, Madrid is a rich and powerful province. Nevertheless the autonomous community of Madrid is small compared to some of the other autonomous communities. It has a continental Mediterranean climate.
Murcia is an autonomous region and community of Southern Spain. Its capital is the city of Murcia which was founded by the Moors centuries before Christ. The city is known for its Holy Week processions and fabulous local cuisine.
Formerly known as the kingdom of Navarre, Navarre is an autonomous community in Northern Spain. Pamplona is its capital and Ernest Hemmingway wrote about it in The Sun Also Rises. Although Spanish is spoken there the official language is Basque.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife encompasses the Canary Islands which are among Europe's most popular holiday destinations. Tenerife, Fuerteventura, La Palma and other islands make up this archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Water sports, a great nightlife and cheap shopping make for fun in the sun.
There are two hundred and sixty five municipalities in the province of Valencia on the east coast of Spain. Valencia City is the capital of the province and is a great place to visit sights, go to the beach and to eat.
Spain Mini Guide
Located on the Iberian Peninsula in south-west Europe, Spain is an European country which is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and to the north by Andorra and France, whilst in the West it is bordered by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean. Spain also contains the Balearic Islands on Mallorca
and the Canary Islands, both of which are a string of medium-size islands to be found in the Mediterranean Sea.
Spain is most usually of interest to visitors and tourists due to its excellent Mediterranean climate and stunning southern coastline. It was the original package tour destination in Europe, becoming extremely popular in the early to mid 1980s with residents of the rest of Europe, and most specifically the UK. During this early period of Spain's growing tourist industry many of the southern towns such as Alicante and Murcia developed unsavoury reputations, this was mostly due to the rapid development of badly constructed hotels, the inability of the Spanish government to maintain the beaches along the southern coast, and a massive influx of foreign nationals investing in tourist related businesses in these prime areas.
Over the last two decades Spain has done much to clean up this mess, and even cities such as Malaga, which in the 1980s was deemed to be one of the worst tourist cities in Europe, have significantly cleaned up their acts and Spain is now a well developed tourist location, dispelling its previous reputation and presenting itself as a world-class holiday location.
Moving inland and away from the coast, Spain features some of the most impressive cities in the world such as Barcelona and Madrid, each of these has a style and atmosphere all of its own mainly due to the huge range of influences to be found in their architecture and culture.
Madrid is the capital city of Spain, and is the third most highly populated city in Europe. Located almost dead centre of Spain on the banks of the River Manzanares, it is considered to be a major European financial centre, and is noted for its particularly high standard of living and healthy economic growth rate. The capital makes a great choice of location from which to explore Spain due to its central location, staying in a hotel or guesthouse here and hiring a car to explore the surrounding area is a great way to see inland Spain from the comfort of your own vehicle. Indeed, some of the best sites and places of interest can be found within day’s drive of the capital, we will discuss several below.
Arriving by air or rail?
Not everyone wants to fly when they travel around Europe. For a start, air travel can be expensive and you’ll waste a lot of your time waiting at airports after checking in two hours before departure. Instead, there are many alternative ways of making the journey. You can drive around Europe but that can get expensive with ferry, fuel and toll charges as well as being tiring on the driver.
The best alternative is to use the growing network of high speed rail networks. The journey time won’t be much longer than the plane taking into account the check in and baggage reclaim times and you’ll see a lot of the countryside without the fatigue of driving. When you get to your destination, you can pre-book a hire car for you to collect at the station and enjoy your time there before handing the hire car back and boarding the train for your next destination.
All this has now been made a lot simpler with the completion of the high speed rail link from Madrid to Southern France. The final stretch from Figueres to Barcelona has just been completed giving a total journey time along the 800km route of just over three and a half hours.
The finished route now offers many travel possibilities for tourists who take the train. The history and gastronomy of southern France is within easy reach whilst the stops at Barcelona Station and Girona open up easy access to the beaches and top class golf courses of the Costa Brava. Car hire is available at many of the stations en route making it easy and convenient to hop off the train and straight into your hire car.
You’re not just limited to this route in Spain either for the country now has the second longest high speed rail link in the world after China. Over 3,000kms of high speed lines link most parts of the country giving air travel a real run for the money. With more legroom on the trains, better facilities and comparable journey times, the train and hire car combination seems finally to be coming of age in this part of Iberia.
- Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and also the European Union, after France
- The king of Spain is Juan Carlos I and he has ruled since 1975
- Spain has the most extensive high-speed rail network in the whole of Europe, and the second most extensive in the world after China
- Spanish is the main language spoken however there are some other regional dialects that are recognised including Basque, Catalan and Galician
- Gazpacho is a popular dish in Spain and is a cold soup made from vegetables mainly tomatoes, garlic and stale bread
- If you're driving through Spain you can travel without stopping on Spanish motorways with an Emovis Tag
Cross Border Car Hire in Spain
Can I hire a car in Spain and drive to Portugal or France?
In the majority of cases you are allowed to take a hire car from Spain into Portugal and France. However car hire companies do wish to know this information at the time of booking and additional charges can apply. The additional charges are in relation to insurance fees and it is therefore very important to check your cover with the car hire company before travelling. In the instance that you may wish to leave the car in Portugal, a significant additional charge will usually be applied. It is always more cost effective to return the car to the original pick up point.