Spain (Kingdom of Spain)

Languages: Spanish

Currencies: EUR · Euro (€)

Capitol: Madrid

Continents: Europe

Borders: France, Morocco, Gibraltar, Portugal, Andorra

More useful information

Area: 505,992km2

Population: 47,351,567

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +34

Timezones: UTC, UTC+01:00

Last updated on June 19, 2024
Most beautiful hidden beaches and spots in Mallorca.

Traveling to Spain is always an exciting and adventurous experience. Each region is like a different country when it comes to traditions and landscapes. Spain has very efficient public transport system (subway, trams, speed and slow trains, buses, bike rentals, making it easy to travel around. However if you’re looking to explore beyond the typical tourist spots and make the most of the journey – car hire in Spain is so far the best way to discover. I drove almost every region in Spain, taking long coastal trips, exploring the states, hiking Pyrenees. visiting Mallorca and all Canary Islands. 

Renting a car in Spain and hitting the open road to discover the beauty of the Spanish countryside, magnificent mountain road trips and coastline is a delicious experience. But before you rev up the engine it’s good to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of car hire in Spain.

Car hire in Spain.

Car hire in Spain is different in each region, from my experience the service and car quality was generally very decent. Cheapest car rental you’ll find in most Canary Islands and a bit more expensive across the mainland. In general – don’t be anxious about your car hire, there are several key points to consider  and a decent car rental company ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience.

First of all – make sure you have a travel insurance. SafetyWing is for me the best option when it coms to medical coverage abroad. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to review the terms and conditions of the rental agreement: such as insurance coverage (amount of personal excess in case of any damage), fuel policies (full-to-full?) and any potential fees or surcharges (extra fees may apply when crossing the border with Portugal or France). Some rental companies may require a security deposit, so be prepared for this and ensure you have the necessary funds available on your credit card.

All you need to know about car hire in Spain - Galicia Playa de las Catedrales

Chose best car hire in Spain.

Where to start? I always start with this is absolutely my favourite and trusted platform, where you get best deals from all top car rental companies with free cancellation and no hidden fees. It is important if you can find thousands of reviews and ratings on specific rental company left by people who have hired a car in Spain, compare prices and rental details. 

Two factors impacting my decission are: score rate and price. Score ensures the company is trustworthy and price needs to be reasonable. However I’m making at least 10-12 car rentals a year across the whole world with and I can generally say car quality was almost always great and I had zero problems with my car rentals (surprisingly my best experience recently was with Europcar – brand new Toyota hybrid along with excellent service desk!). 

Check prices for Barcelona Airport car rental.

Barcelona airport car rental is a very popular starting point for your Spanish road trip. Some rental companies are located outside of the El Prat Airport – but no worries most would have a shuttle bus to take you directly to their offices to collect the car.

Places you must see in Barcelona:

What do you need to rent a car in Spain?

  1. Obviously you need a valid driving licence.
  2. In general you need to be 21, although some car hire companies have higher minimum ages for hiring a luxury car.
  3. Credit card for deposit and potential fines! Most rental companies require a security deposit, so be prepared for this and ensure you have the necessary funds available on your credit card.
  4. Passport/or ID. 
  5. Obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before your trip.
All you need to know about car hire in Spain - Sevilla

Insurance for car rental in Spain.

Usually only Theft protection and Collision Damage Waiver is inlcuded in the price, but there is always an excess. I highly recommend purchasing a full insurance which reduces your excess in case of damage to zero.

You can purchase a full insurance during online booking or onsite when collecting your car – however this option is usually slightly more expensive.

If you purchase full insurance while booking, it is usually through a third party insurer. Which means in case of any damages you need to cover the expences and claim the amount to your insurer for reimbursement.

If you purchase a full insurance onsite directly with a rental company they will take care of everything in case of any damage and you do not participate in any cost coverage.

All you need to know about car hire in Spain - Lanzarote Canary Islands

Read about my road trip and volcano hikes across Lanzarote: Top things to discover in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and 8 Magnificent volcano hikes in Lanzarote.

Car hire in Lanzarote will lead you to best volcano hikes and amazing Timanfaya desert landscape – there is nothing better than driving at sunset time through Timanfaya National Park.

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Car rental pick up in Spain.

Always check your car for damages that should be marked on your documents. Most companies have a ‘small scratch policy tolerance’ – which means anything up to 1 cm (or even 5cm) is not considered as damange. 

So before hitting the road, take the time to inspect the rental car thoroughly for any existing damages and ensure that any pre-existing issues are documented by the rental company. This can save you from potential disputes regarding damages upon returning the vehicle.

Here are top picks for Barcelona hotels:

Make sure you have 24/7 assistance number in case of any questions or assistance. This will keep you safe and calm.

Turn on the engine, make sure it works fine and there are no warning lights displayed.

Check fuel policy and car cleaning policy (it’s unusual you have to return a washed car but recently with Panek Car Rental I had to wash the car before drop off). 

Make sure you know the fuel type 😉 It is usually marked inside the fuel tank flap.

If you have any doubts you can go back to the car rental and ask the agent who usually explains in details any questions you may have.

Roads and speed limits in Spain.

Remember road regulations in Spain may differ from those in your home country. The speed limits, road signs, and driving customs can vary, so it’s advisable to pay attention especially to speed limit signs. 

In Spain speed limits are typically 120 km/h on highways, 90 km/h on conventional roads, and 50 km/h or 30km/h in urban areas. Although these limits may vary in certain circumstances, so most importantly pay attention to road signs.

Best road trips in Aragon in Spain


Parking in Spain can also present its own set of challenges, especially in densely populated cities. It was a nightmare in few major Spanish cities, I remember paying 20 Euro for 24h parking in Barcelona or Granada. Even staying in a 4 star hotel in Huesca (Aragon state) I had to pay 15 Euro for car parking per night. 

It will be wise to research parking options in advance or ask your host if there is a free parking zone near your accommodation (you may also ask for any applicable parking fees or restrictions). Opting for accommodations with complimentary parking is a very smart choice and you will avoid the hassle of finding a suitable parking spot.

Car rental Tenerife Airport.

I always had very good experience with car hire in Spain, but best one was in Tenerife airport. With the Spanish easygoing approach, car pick-up and drop-off was completely hussle free and most documentation was managed by email. 

You will not be able to explore the best of Tenerife without a car, which is Teide Volcano. Read: Mount Teide Hike – Complete step by step guide, which I managed to hike both ways on foot. 😉

Car rental Palma de Mallorca airport.

From my experience car hire in Spanish islands like Mallorca or Canary Islands was usually cheaper than in the mainland. Renting a car in Mallorca is a great way to explore the island at your own pace and convenience but mostly because it allows you to unveil pure treasures of the island like hidden beaches, curvy mountain roads and amazing viewing spots. 

READ: Most beautiful hidden beaches and spots in Mallorca.

There are many car rental companies in Mallorca, both at the airport and in popular tourist areas in Palma de Mallorca. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure the type of vehicle you prefer and best deals of course. 

All you need to know about car hire in Spain - mallorca

Car free cities.

There are few places in Spain with restrictions on driving in certain city centers or eco-zones – like in Pontevedra. Some cities have implemented low-emission zones where only vehicles meeting specific environmental standards are permitted to enter.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which are at absolutely no cost to you – I can earn a small commission on sales generated through this website and thanks to that I can share travel guides and inspirations that may help you reach your dream destinations and discover our unique world. I only recommend sites I actually use and have traveled to. Thank you for your support!

Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!