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Car Rental in Spain

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Renting a Car in Spain: What You Need to Know

When visiting Spain, renting a car can be a convenient and efficient way to explore the country’s beautiful cities and countryside. However, it’s important to understand the local driving laws and requirements before hitting the road.

Understanding Local Driving Laws

Before renting a car in Spain, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local driving laws. In Spain, driving is done on the right-hand side of the road, and the use of seat belts is mandatory for all passengers. Additionally, the legal blood alcohol limit is lower than in many other countries, so it’s crucial to avoid drinking and driving.

Driver’s License and Age Requirements

To rent a car in Spain, you must be at least 21 years old and have held a valid driver’s license for a minimum of one year. If you are under 25, you may be required to pay a young driver surcharge. Additionally, if your driver’s license is not issued in the European Union, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended.

Insurance and Additional Fees

When renting a car in Spain, it’s important to understand the insurance options available. Basic insurance is typically included in the rental price, but additional coverage for theft, damage, and personal injury may be recommended. Be sure to inquire about any additional fees, such as airport surcharges or one-way rental fees, before finalizing your reservation.

Choosing the Right Vehicle

When renting a car in Spain, consider the type of vehicle that best suits your needs. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Barcelona or the scenic countryside of Andalusia, choosing a compact car for city driving or a larger vehicle for long distances can enhance your travel experience.

Renting a car in Spain can provide the freedom and flexibility to explore this vibrant and diverse country at your own pace. By understanding the local driving laws and requirements, as well as choosing the right vehicle and insurance options, you can have a smooth and enjoyable driving experience during your time in Spain.

Rental Requirements

Age Limits

To rent a car in Spain, you must be at least 21 years old and have held a valid driver’s license for a minimum of one year. Some car rental companies may have higher age requirements, so it’s best to check with the specific company before booking.

Driving License Requirements

If you are a visitor to Spain, you can use your valid driver’s license from your home country for up to six months. However, if your license is not in Spanish, you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). It’s important to check with the car rental company to confirm their specific requirements.


When renting a car in Spain, you will need to present a valid passport, a credit card in the driver’s name for the security deposit, and your driver’s license. Some rental companies may also require additional documentation, so it’s best to confirm with them in advance.

Insurance Information

When renting a car in Spain, it’s important to understand the different insurance options available to ensure a safe and worry-free trip.

– Basic Insurance: When you rent a car in Spain, basic insurance is typically included in the rental price. This usually includes Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection, which provide coverage in the event of an accident or theft.

– Additional Insurance: In addition to basic insurance, you may have the option to purchase additional coverage such as Personal Accident Insurance and Supplemental Liability Insurance. Personal Accident Insurance provides coverage for medical expenses and accidental death benefits for the driver and passengers, while Supplemental Liability Insurance offers protection against third-party claims.

– Insurance Tips: Before renting a car in Spain, it’s important to check if your existing travel insurance policy includes coverage for rental cars. Some credit cards also offer rental car insurance as a benefit, so it’s worth checking with your credit card company before purchasing additional coverage.

By understanding the insurance options available when renting a car in Spain, you can make informed decisions to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

Local Driving Laws and Regulations in Spain

General Traffic Rules

Driving Side: In Spain, driving is on the right side of the road.
Speed Limits: The speed limit in urban areas is typically 50 km/h, 90 km/h on rural roads, and 120 km/h on highways.
Other Useful Info: Be aware of pedestrian crossings and roundabouts, and always yield to pedestrians at designated crossings.

Overtaking and Lane Usage

Overtaking Rules: Overtaking is allowed on the left, and it’s prohibited in areas with solid white lines.
Lane Discipline: In multi-lane roads, the ‘keep right except to overtake’ rule applies.
Other Useful Info: Take extra caution when overtaking large vehicles, such as trucks and buses.

Seat Belt and Child Safety

Seat Belt Laws: Wearing seat belts is mandatory for all passengers in the car.
Child Safety: Children under 12 years old or shorter than 135 cm must use an approved child restraint system.
Other Useful Info: It’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all passengers are safely restrained.

Use of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Restrictions: The use of mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited, unless using hands-free devices.
Other Useful Info: It’s advisable to pull over in a safe location if you need to use your phone.

Alcohol and Driving

Legal Blood Alcohol Limits: The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.5 grams per liter for experienced drivers and 0.3 grams per liter for new drivers and professional drivers.
Zero Tolerance Policies: New drivers and commercial drivers have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol.
Other Useful Info: It’s best to designate a sober driver or use public transportation if you plan to drink.

Tolls and Charges

Toll Roads: Spain has numerous toll roads, and payment can be made in cash, by card, or using electronic toll tags.
Congestion Charges: Some cities may have congestion charges in place, so it’s important to check before driving into urban areas.
Other Useful Info: Tolls are often indicated well in advance, allowing drivers to prepare for payment.

Roundabouts and Intersections

Navigating Roundabouts: Roundabouts are common in Spain, and the general rule is to yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
Intersection Rules: Vehicles approaching from the right have the right of way at intersections unless otherwise indicated.
Other Useful Info: Use turn signals to indicate your exit on roundabouts.

Headlight and Windshield Wiper Laws

Headlight Usage: Headlights must be used at night and during times of reduced visibility, such as rain or fog.
Windshield Wiper Rule: When using windshield wipers, it’s mandatory to have headlights on.
Other Useful Info: It’s important to ensure that all lights on the vehicle are in working order.

Emergency Vehicles

Right of Way for Emergency Vehicles: When emergency vehicles approach with lights and sirens, pull over to the right and stop.
Other Useful Info: Be mindful of emergency vehicle access points on the road.

Driving Tips for Spain

Road Conditions

In Spain, the road conditions can vary from well-maintained highways to narrow and winding mountain roads. It’s important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially in rural areas where the roads may be less developed.

Urban vs. Rural Driving

Driving in urban areas in Spain can be hectic, with heavy traffic and narrow streets. In contrast, rural driving may involve more scenic routes but can also have rougher road conditions. It’s important to be prepared for the differences in driving styles and road quality between urban and rural areas.

Navigational Tips

When driving in Spain, it’s recommended to use GPS or a map to navigate, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. This can help you avoid getting lost and ensure you reach your destination safely. Additionally, familiarize yourself with road signs and traffic regulations to ensure a smooth driving experience.

Other Useful Tips

– Keep an eye out for speed limits and be aware of local driving customs.
– Be mindful of parking regulations, as parking in certain areas may require a permit or payment.
– Familiarize yourself with the rules of the road, including right of way and roundabout etiquette.

By keeping these driving tips in mind, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience when renting a car in Spain.

Roadside Assistance and Emergency Procedures

When renting a car in Spain, it’s important to be prepared for any roadside emergencies that may arise. Here are some tips and resources to help you navigate through any unexpected situations.

Breakdown Procedures

If your rental car breaks down, the first step is to pull over to a safe location, away from traffic. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers, and then contact the rental company’s roadside assistance hotline. They will provide you with instructions on how to proceed and may send a tow truck if needed.

Emergency Services

In case of a more serious emergency, it’s important to have access to the necessary services. In Spain, the emergency phone number for police, ambulance, and fire services is 112. Save this number in your phone in case you need it during your travels.

Rental Company Policies

Before you embark on your journey, familiarize yourself with the support offered by your rental company. Many companies provide 24/7 roadside assistance and towing services as part of their rental agreements. Be sure to have this information readily available in case you need it.

By being aware of these roadside assistance and emergency procedures, you can have peace of mind while exploring the beautiful country of Spain in your rental car.

Where can you Rent a Car in Spain?

You can browse all the city locations below, sorted alphabetically. Use Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) to quickly find the one you want to explore.