Car hire in Spain
Car rental in Spain is cheap, at least if you book your car the right way. Unfortunately, there are a lot of cheats in the car hire business in Spain, especially among the local car rental companies, so spend a few minutes reading our tips below to avoid being cheated.
On this page, we’ll explain the most important things to keep in mind when hiring a car in Spain and share useful tips for a successful holiday with a rental car.
- Car hire in Alicante
- Car hire in Barcelona
- Car hire in Canary Islands
- Car hire in Ibiza
- Car hire in Madrid
- Car hire in Malaga
- Car hire in Majorca
Having a good insurance is obviously important, and if you book through us, we include essential insurances. Some firms also offer rental cars with £0 in excess. Click “Terms & conditions” for each car in the search results to find out whether or not this is the case. All companies offer extra insurances upon arrival on site, and we strongly recommend not getting any of them!
If you do want insurance cover for unusual accidents, such as the rear-view mirror breaking, add it to your booking before taking off so that you don’t end up overpaying for it after you’ve arrived. Remember to bring a credit card to pay the deposit (if any), as debit cards generally aren’t accepted. Some firms may require that you buy an extra insurance if you do not have a credit card. There are also companies that use an expensive deposit to get customers to buy more insurance – don’t fall for that trick.
Goldcar and other local firms with special fuel policies
The cheapest rental cars listed often have a special fuel policy. In the search result, it says “Purchased at pick-up (Partial refund)” under “Fuel policy”. This means that you have to pay for fuel when you pick the car up. It’s important to know that these companies are charging for this “service”.
Goldcar, for example, charges €16-€42, depending on the size of the car. Other companies often charge around €25. This can be seen in the terms & conditions under “Fuel policy”. To avoid this cost, choose a rental car with a full-to-full fuel policy.
To find the cheapest rental car, you have to compare the cars as well as the fuel policies. If this feels like a hassle, just choose a car with a full-to full policy to avoid unwanted surprises!
We do not recommend booking with companies that don’t have a full-to-full fuel policy as there often will be hidden fees. However, if you do choose to book with one of these companies, it can end up being a little bit cheaper, but make sure to return the car with a full tank so that you get the maximum refund. The fuel they use themselves is not cheap. Another negative thing about these companies is that the waiting time at the pick up location can be very long. Always check the customer ratings and reviews in the search results!
- You must have held a driving licence for at least a year.
- There is usually an age limit of 21 for car hire in Spain. For young drivers between 21 and 25 years old, there is usually an extra charge of anywhere between €5 and €20.
- Bring a credit card to pay the deposit. Without a credit card, you might be forced to pay for an expensive (unnecessary) insurance, read more under “Insurance” above. For more expensive rental cars, two credit cards can sometimes be required. Note that a debit card (where the money is drawn from the account directly) does not count as a credit card.
- Some firms will require the driver’s passport when picking the car up.
Add-ons at booking
It’s usually best to add any extra equipment already when booking the car. If you wait until you’ve arrived, there is a risk of unavailability. Many car rental firms include an additional driver in the price. If you want more than two drivers, or if an additional driver is not included, you’ll have pay extra for it.
Other things that can be added to your booking are:
- GPS – especially useful in Spain as strange u-turns are sometimes required to get you in the right direction.
- Child booster seats (4-11 years), child car seats (1-3 years) or infant car seats (0-1 years). Most airlines (but not Ryanair) allow customers to bring prams and child car seats on the flight free of charge. Read more about child car seats here.
- Availability cannot be guaranteed if you rent from the car rental firms. It can therefore be good to take what you need with you instead of relying on availability.
Driving in Spain
There are a few things to keep in mind and consider when driving in Spain:
- Most importantly, the country has right-hand traffic. Read more about driving in right-hand traffic here.
- Some major roads with two lanes, such as the A7 along the southern coast, don’t have slip roads. Instead, cars merge and leave the road directly by the right lane. Because of this, it’s important to accelerate quickly when merging and also leave the road quickly. Also watch out for merging traffic. If possible, stay in the left lane on these types of roads.
- Larger motorways are tolled. If there is a toll, this will be signposted when entering the motorway.
- There are many roundabouts in Spain!
- During the day, most people drive with the lower beam swithed off. Don’t forget to switch the lights on when driving in the dark!