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Explore Spain by Road: Obtain Your International Driver's Permit

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IDP is essential when driving abroad

driving abroad with idp

International Driving Permit (IDP), regulated by the United Nations, certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver's license in your country of origin.

documents needed for international driving permit

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world.

How to get your IDP

01

Fill in the forms

Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy

02

Verify your ID

Upload pictures of your driver's license

03

Get approved

Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!

Apply now
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Explore the beauty of Sunny Spain through a car journey, where you can discover stunning architecture, breathtaking beaches, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

An International Driving Permit opens up the opportunity to venture beyond Madrid, allowing you to independently explore the vibrant and diverse regions from Catalonia to Andalusia at your leisure!

International Driving Permit FAQs

Do I Need an International Driving Permit for Spain?

Obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP) is advisable when traveling from an English-speaking country to Spain. While many locals speak English and numerous tourists visit annually, law enforcement officers are not guaranteed to speak and understand English fluently.

An IDP is recommended to bridge any potential language gaps to ensure smooth interactions, particularly at border checkpoints and for car rentals, as most agencies require.

How Do I Get an International Driving Permit?

You can apply for your IDP online via the International Drivers Association. Visit the IDP application webpage, select a package that fits your needs, and provide your driver's details and shipping information. You'll receive a confirmation email after paying the fee and verifying your identity. Once approved, the digital version of your IDP will be available within a few hours.

An IDP benefits business travelers, offering the convenience of a personal car, which can be more efficient than public transport.

Can I Use my American Driver's License in Spain?

If you're from the USA, driving with a U.S. driver’s license is permitted as long you have an IDP.

Do I Need to Take the Written Test for an International Driver's License?

There is no need to obtain a Spanish driving license or take any Spanish driving tests, including written tests, to get an IDP.

Most Important Driving Rules in Spain

When you're driving in Spain, it's important to get acquainted with Spain driving rules. You must pay attention to road signs and follow the driving regulations diligently. As a tourist, you might face various aspects that could seem unusual and confusing, as they may be different from your home country's driving norms.

  • Driving Posture and Gestures: Using one hand to drive or extending an arm outside the vehicle can lead to a €100 fine. Article 18 of the General Traffic Law mandates maintaining a safe posture to prevent distractions.
  • Appropriate Attire: Driving shirtless or barefoot can lead to a €200 fine. Proper clothing and footwear are required to ensure safe vehicle control.
  • IDP for Tourists: Tourists must have an IDP to avoid warnings or fines.
  • Parking Regulations: Avoid parking in environmentally protected areas, as fines can reach €6,000.
  • Red Light Rules: Holding objects in your hand while stationary at a red light can result in a €200 fine and a two-point license demerit.
  • Noise Control: Loud music while driving can result in fines of €80–€100. Additional penalties up to €2,400 may apply if complaints are filed by nearby residents.
  • Horn Usage: Inappropriate or non-emergency honking can lead to an €80 fine.
  • Lane Discipline: Unnecessarily occupying the left or middle lane can result in a €200 fine.
  • Speed Limits: Generally, open roads have a 90 km/h limit. Penalties for exceeding 110 km/h can reach €600.
  • Distracting Behavior: Distractions like arguments can result in an €80 fine.
  • Respect for Other Road Users: Always be considerate of other motorists and traffic participants.

Driving Without a License

Carry a valid driver's license and, for tourists, an IDP. These documents are essential for legal compliance and car rentals.

Speed Limit Specifics

Speed limits vary: 90 km/h on single carriage roads, 100 km/h on multi-lane roads and dual carriageways, and 120 km/h on highways.

Driving Under Influence (DUI)

DUI penalties include possible imprisonment (6-12 months), license point deductions (up to 6 points), and fines (€500-€1000) depending on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels.

Parking Restrictions

Look for signs with a large ‘E’ and diagonal line, and yellow, white, or red road markings indicating parking bans. Be aware of strict enforcement in urban areas.

Understanding road signs and toll systems is essential for navigating Spanish roads effectively.

Discover Spain's Top Destinations

Spain's cultural and natural splendors have profoundly influenced the globe. Known for its pristine heritage sites and natural landmarks, it's unsurprising that Spain is a top destination in Europe and the world.

Tenerife Sea

Tenerife, renowned for its stunning landscapes and volcanic peaks, offers a range of tourist activities. Major draws are the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival, second only to Rio's, and the World Heritage-listed Mount Teide National Park. Spring and Fall, especially March and October, are ideal for visiting Tenerife, with car travel highly recommended.

Barcelona

Barcelona, famed for its Mediterranean charm and Gaudian architecture, is a must-visit. Highlights include Mount Tibidabo and stunning sea views. Land travel is recommended, especially during sunny weather, to fully appreciate its beauty and avoid the challenges of its uneven terrain.

Granada

Granada beckons with its historical richness and vibrant landscapes. Its windy streets and colorful houses reflect diverse cultural influences. The murals by El Niño de las Pinturas are a special treat. Summer is the best time to visit Granada by car to experience its charm fully.

Seville

Seville offers a unique experience with its bullfighting events and the Royal Alcázar Palace. Its art exhibits reflect complex social influences. Land travel is ideal for exploring Seville, particularly in summer, to enjoy the Las Setas sunset.

Madrid

Madrid, Spain's capital, is known for its majestic appearance and rich cultural heritage, exemplified by the Sabatini Gardens. The best time to visit Madrid for a car trip is during the day or summer.

Aragonese Pyrenees

Near the French border, the Pyrenees are famous for lush valleys and charming villages. Ideal for trekking, the best time to visit is in summer, with a 2-3 hour drive from Huesca.

Ibiza

Ibiza, a celebrity hotspot, is renowned for its vibrant party scene, beautiful beaches, and art. Nearby Formentera is easily accessible. Summer is the perfect time to experience Ibiza's beaches, like Las Salinas in Playa d’en Bossa.

Get an IDP to Explore Spain

Experience the enchanting beauty of Spain's coastlines, towering mountains, and idyllic villages. Secure your International Driving Permit for an enriching journey through Spain's diverse landscapes, enhancing your travel experience with the freedom and affordability of a car journey!

Ready to check if an IDP is accepted in your destination?

Use the form and find out in seconds whether you need an international permit. Documents vary, based on the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic.

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