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Driving in Spain

It's always worthwhile checking up on the rules and regulations of a country before you take to the roads, so we've knocked out a handy little guide so you know where you stand!

Driving license requirements in Spain:

As with many countries in Europe, you are permitted to drive with your normal licence at hand, provided it is written in the Roman Alphabet. Holders of licenses written in another alphabet are obliged show an International Driving Permit in English (widely available through motoring organisations such as AA, AAA, RAC, etc.)

Remember, you'll need your drivers license with you at all times, and if your driver’s licence has no photo you'll need another valid form of ID with a picture of you (your passport for example). Finally, remember to have your vehicle registration document (V5) a and certificate of motor insurance at hand.


Speed Limits on Spanish roads:

Motorway 120 km/h
Open road 90-100 km/h
In town and villages 50 km/h


Age requirements for driving in Spain:

Some Spanish car companies emlpoy age restrictions, and you may be charged extra for being below the minimum age or above the maximum age. Remember, we'll include this in your quote so you won't be hit for charges on arrival - just check your quotation for a break down.

Tips for driving your hire car in Spain:

  • Stick to the right, and don't obstruct fast lanes by any means. On some motorways and open roads you may be allowed to overtake slow moving traffic on the left.
  • Stay alert and aware as you would in your own country, and try to get a grasp of local conditions.
  • Always ask rental staff about local driving regulations - this way you'll avoid any ambiguity or confusion.
  • If you wear glasses always have a spa.
  • The Spanish require the driver and front seat and back seat passengers to wear seat belts that are fitted.
  • Children must wear seat belts even in the back seats. Children under the age of 12 cannot travel in the front passenger seat unless they use a special child restraint.
  • Maximum speed limit in Spain is 120 Km/h (75mph)
  • Speed limits are implemented, as are radar controls, so keep an eye on the speedometer and stick to the limits. Radar detectors are illegal.
  • Most Spanish drivers are polite and courteous - so be respectful and it'll work both ways.
  • Don't argue with police. Be polite and reasonable and use ‘Senor' or 'Senorita'.
  • Two warning triangles should be carried at all times
  • Drinking and driving incurs heavy fines or even prison sentences. The Spanish allow 0.25 milligrams of alcohol per liter of blood. Drivers that have only recently obtained their full drivers license are treated more strictly, so lose the booze if your on the road.

Fuel types available in Spain:

  • Unleaded Petroleum (gasoline and all grades)
  • Diesel
  • LPG
  • Always check carefully before filling whether your rental car uses petrol or diesel. If you make a mistake don't start the vehicle because you'll be liable for the resultant damage. Simply tell one of theservice station staff who'll arrange for the tank to be drained and refilled with the correct fuel.
  • Gas stations are often open 24 hours a day and many are self-service, but times can vary hugely in rural areas, closing during lunch (noon till 3pm). Be sure to keep your tank topped up just in case.
  • Most major credit cards are accepted for fuel payment.

Parking in Spain: It is best to use designated ‘off street’ car parks as strict laws apply for street parking, and they will be enforced. If you are parking on the street:

  • Always respect no parking signs, or else you'll end up being clamped hit with an on-the-spot fines, especially in cities and built up areas.
  • Severe penalties may be incurred for dangerous parking, be vigilant about where and how you park.
  • In town during office hours there is a 90 minute parking limit, ignore it at your peril.
  • It's common sense but easy to forget - avoid littering, you can be fined on the spot and you won't endear yourself to the Spanish by throwing rubbish around.

The Language Of The Road

If you're headed for Spain then you may well be familiar with the language, but just in case we've prepared a guide to the language of the road to help you get by. Check out our Spanish Road Language blog for a few handy words and phrases to make your journey easier. Enjoy Espana!

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