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Documents - Driving Licence or IDP

Spain is renowned for beautiful countryside and spectacular coastal views, all of which you can enjoy from the roadside. But before doing so, it is vital to keep yourself informed on how to go about driving in this country, and hence avoiding car horns beeping in your direction. Bearing in mind the following rules and tips closely will leave you with nothing but a wonderfully memorable experience.

Documents - Driving Licence or IDP

When driving in Spain it is mandatory to carry your driver’s license from your home country with a photograph, accompanied with your IDP if you are from outside of the EEA. You must also carry your passport, log book (V5), and proof of ownership/rental and insurance documents stating that you have the minimum third party cover that is required to be allowed to drive legally in this country. You will also be expected to provide receipt of payment.

Age Restrictions

The minimum age for driving a vehicle legally in Spain is 18, and 16 for motorcycles. Generally, you must be between 21 and 79 years old to rent a vehicle, which may vary a little depending on the company. Children up to 9 months old and up to 10kg should be placed in a carrycot on the backseat using approved safety belts. Children up to the age of 12 are not permitted to sit in the front seat.

Driving Rules, Laws and Regulations

  • Drive on the right hand side of the road
  • Overtake from left hand side of the road
  • Using indicators is a must
  • While driving, headphones or earphones are illegal to use
  • Drivers using glasses must carry spare glass or contact lenses
  • Always carry license while driving
  • Mobile phones should not be used, except a hands-free system
  • Should always carry spare light bulbs
  • Is prohibited to carry radar detectors
  • During winter, while driving in mountainous areas, snow chains must be used
  • While driving in tunnels, dipped headlights must be used
  • It is mandatory to wear a seatbelt by all passengers

Speed limits and fines

Different types of vehicles in Spain must adhere to different rules regarding speed limits. The general passenger travelling car must stick to the following speeds:

  • 120 km/hour (75mph) on expressways
  • 100km/hour (62mph) on divided highways
  • 50km/hour (30mph) in built-up areas

Not adhering to these speed limits will result in fines. These fines are on-the-spot and you will be expected to pay 50% of the fine upfront and if you don’t have the money you will be escorted to a cash point.

Warning: Failure to pay a fine will result in your vehicle being impounded.

Drunk Driving

This is considered a very serious offence in Spain and being discovered with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.05mg/100ml in your system will mean a 500 euro fine and points on your licence. If you are unable to get your car home, then you will have to wait with your vehicle until you have sobered to the legal limit.

If you are found to have over 0.60mg of alcohol in your system, you will be arrested, fined, have your licence revoked, your vehicle taken away and left with a criminal record and a trial to attend in Spain.

Warning: Drunk driving can lead to a prison sentence.


It is prohibited to park in streets with yellow cubs, NO parking signs, within 7 metres of a bus stop or in areas only designated to residents. Parking spaces with blue lines means that the parking is changeable therefore you must buy a ticket from the machine or an attendant. The hours of paid parking in Spain is usually Monday to Friday 09:00 — 14:00 and 16:00 to 21:00, Saturdays 09:00 — 14:00 and then free on a Sunday.

Warning: Parking in small towns or villages can be tricky so parking just outside and walking instead is advisable.

Barcelona Driving Guide

Masterful architect Antoni Gaudi has altered the landscape of Barcelona with his undulating architecture. Whether it is the colorful mosaics of Guell park or La Sagrada Familia, the unfinished cathedral that looks straight out of a bedtime story book.

Barcelona is for culture vultures, whether you love cathedrals, museums (Including the Museu Picasso) shopping at some of its thriving design quarters or spending hours sampling local foods in the endless markets and bazaars.

The night life is active and not for sissies. Expect to begin your night at midnight and only return home when the sun comes up.

While Barcelona will enchant you with its shock of bright colours, as colourful as the locals you’ll meet while there, there are plenty of things to do just beyond the city.

Barcelona to Sitges:

45 min to Sitges (40.1 km)

Is it the beaches that have attracted you to Barcelona? Head out to the town of Sitges for another day of sun and sand. The main beaches attract large crowds, but there are some smaller beaches along the periphery of the main beaches where you’ll have some more space to yourself. There is also a nudist beach if you’re not partial to tan lines. The sea is warm and there is a promenade, but Sitges is also known for its Modernisme architecture, museums and art galleries.

Sitges is around 45 minutes from Barcelona, the last 15 minutes to Sitges will have you driving along the coast with the blue ocean preparing you for a lovely day at the beach. The price of fuel to get you there is the same as buying a ticket for the local cinema.

Barcelona to Montblanc:

1 hour 23 to Montblanc (118 km)

While you can easily reach the traditionally walled Medieval town Montblanc by train it is far better to go by car as it will allow you to visit the ‘Cistercian Route’ more thoroughly and at your own pace. The route consists of three incredible monasteries, Poblet, Vallbona de les Monges and Santes Creues. They are all as large as they are impactful, and incredibly preserved. Be sure to set off from Barcelona in the morning if you would like to spend time exploring all three, which is well worth it. The entrance fee to Poblet is 5 Euros, the same price as a coffee for two, and it includes a guided tour.

Barcelona to Tarragona:

1 hour 19 to Tarragona (98.7 km)

Don’t forget that Spain has a past that leads back to the Roman Empire, the remains of which can be found in Tarragona. The main Roman sites are found in the Museu d’Historis de Tarragona, which tends to get busy from midday, so best to explore the Ampitheatra Roma or the grand cathedral during that time and head back to the Museu d’Historis de Tarragona after a late lunch at one of the many seafood restaurants.

If you feel like staying more than a day outside Barcelona, then check out our website Cheaper Than Hotels, where you’ll find a range of accommodation in the area to suit your budget.

While the railway infrastructure is extensive around Barcelona, renting one of our rental cars allows you to choose how you spend your time according to your own schedule. Our ethos is to assist you in getting the most bang for your buck while travelling to a distant location. We supply reasonably priced vehicles, allowing you to spend the cash you save on entertainment and activities and generally just enjoying your vacation. We want you to spend less so that you can do more during your visit to Barcelona.

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