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Why carry an IDP while driving in Spain?

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 – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Spain highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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How to get your IDP

We’ve streamlined the application process down by creating a platform that guides you so you know exactly what you’ll need to successfully complete your application

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1. Apply Online

Start your application for International Driver's License Get the IDP.​​

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2. Upload Photos

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Top Destinations in Spain

Spain has been widely regarded to have gravely influenced the majority of the countries across the globe, not just in terms of its culture, but also through its enchanting beauty. With its pristine cultural heritage sites and stunning natural landmarks, it is no wonder why Spain has been included as one of the most visited places in Europe and the world.

Up to this day, Spain still continuously excites wandering tourists and gains more recognition for its overall elegance. The alluring beaches, the ravishing mountain ranges, and the aesthetically pleasing architectural designs of its villages have all made a significant contribution to the rise of its tourism.

But if you ever have the chance to plan and think of an ideal vacation holiday, you would surely need to include Spain in the list. Besides being the home to some of the best tourist destinations in Europe, a land trip is also considerably less expensive and more enjoyable. That is why most tourists would opt to drive through the different regions by renting a car. If you know exactly where you are heading, then you also need to have an IDP to help you through with your tour.

But first, you need to ask yourself, whether you need an international driver’s license in Spain?

You don't have to get yourself a Spanish driving license nor undergo a Spanish driving test. But, you need to acquire an IDP, especially when you’re coming in from an English-speaking country. Although many tourists have visited the country and many Spanish citizens already know the language, it’s not a given that law officers know it. To avoid any trouble, get yourself the Spanish license, so there is no language barrier between you and the law officials at border checkpoints.

However, how does one get an International Driving Permit in Spain?

You may acquire an International Driving Permit for Spain at any authorized office. However, this takes days to get processed, and it would be bad if your itinerary only permits you a few days in the country. Although you don't need to get a Spanish driving license, it's wise to get an International Drivers Permit for Spain in advance from the International Driver’s Association. Getting the Spanish license from this website online is easy. The printed copy can be shipped to you in 24 hours in the US and within 30 days internationally. If you want your digital copy, it can arrive in 2 hours or even 20 minutes!

So, if you have finally decided where to go and have also secured the Spanish license, then you should consider going to these famous locations:

Which Top Destination Should You Go in Spain?

Tenerife Sea Photo by Bastian Pudill

Tenerife Sea

Popular for its captivating landscapes and volcanic peaks, this scenic location offers a variety of activities for tourists to enjoy. It has been famous for its unique geological gems and has also been visited for its Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival. It is considered the second largest carnival in the world after Rio. Visitors and tourists from around the world cross its path to take a scenic view of its mountain ranges. One of the most remarkable of these is Mount Teide National Park, which is also recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites.

The best time to go to Tenerife is during the Spring and Fall season. March and October are also preferred since this is the time where the weather gets really hot and beach activities would be an ideal getaway plan. Additionally, traveling by car is the most recommended way to see the island because it would only take about 3-4 hours to be able to get there.

If you're from the United States, driving in Spain with a US license is permitted as long you have an IDP. Simply follow the road rules—it's relatively easy to cross in Spain with an International Driving Permit!

Driving Directions

  • From madrid, Take the A-5 to N-502 route
  • Head on to N-430 to A-66
  • Enter A-22
Barcelona Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric


Barcelona is Spain’s second city, most visited for its Mediterranean location and unique ambiance. Its buildings' infrastructural designs emphasize the rich Gaudian Architecture and encourage the visitors to take a peek at its most defined features. It is also famous for Mount Tibidabo, which gives the tourist a chance to look at the captivating view of the seas.

It's recommended to visit this place by a land trip and to only visit during sunny days. It's best to avoid going there when harsh weather conditions are expected because of its uneven terrain. But, before you head on to Barcelona, always remember to get an International Driving Permit!

Driving Directions

  • From madrid, Take the A-2 to AP-2 route
  • Head on to C-51 to C-32
Grenada Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos


Granada is a haven for wandering travelers. With its rich historical background and fascinating landscapes, the place is something tourists would surely want to visit. It is also famous for its windy cobbled streets and vibrantly painted houses that display its diverse cultural influences.

The place is also packed with impressive murals vividly created by the famous Grenadian muralist, El Niño de las Pinturas. If you are planning to visit this place, it's recommended to go there during the hot summer season to make the best out of the trip.

If you want to appreciate the beauty of Granda, you should visit the place via car.

Driving Directions

  • From madrid, Take the M-50 to A-42 route
  • Head on to CM-42
  • Then take the N-432 roadway
Seville Photo by Harrison Fitts


If you are looking for a different adventure and you would want to experience something new, then you should visit Seville. Famous for its bullfighting events and elegantly designed courtyards in Royal Alcázar Palace, this place offers a variety of fun-filled activities that can be explored by foreigners in their free time. Correspondingly, the capital also offers a fascinating exhibit of different art forms that have originated from complex social influences.

If you are planning to visit this place, then you should do it via a land trip so as to give you a picturesque view of its entirety. Cruising through the narrow alleys and the towering building will give you a euphoric feeling. Ultimately, it is also best advised to visit this place during the summer months, so that the captivating sunset of the Las Setas can be appreciated.

Driving Directions

  • From madrid, Take the M-40 to M-50 route
  • Head on to N-420
  • Then take the A-4 roadway
Madrid Photo by Florian Wehde


The Capital of Madrid has been the center of Spain’s attraction over the years. With its seemingly majestic exterior, the location has been frequented by arriving tourists from around the world. On top of this, its internal design has also been teeming with beautifully crafted frescoes that inherently expresses Spain’s admiration of aesthetics. One of the highlights of this place is Sabatini Gardens, which has witnessed hundreds of years of cultural heritage. If you are planning to visit this place via a car trip, then the best time to do it is during daytime or any time during summer where the place is in its most supreme condition.

Driving Directions

  • Take the A-1 to M-11 route
  • Head on to M-12
Aragonese Pyrenees Photo by Álvaro Arcelus

Aragonese Pyrenees

The Pyrenees is located near the border of France and has been widely recognized for its verdant valleys and a surfeit of attractive villages. It is filled with old stone houses that are strategically surrounded by jagged mountain peaks. If you would like to trek some of the most uneven terrains and would like to take a moment to walk through the overlooking pathways, then you should visit this place.

It takes approximately 2-3 hours from Huesca to the Pyrenees. It is recommended to visit the place during the summer months to be able to appreciate the foothills and meadows.

Driving Directions

  • From madrid, Take the E-90 to A-2 route
  • Head on to AP-2
  • Then take the C-13 roadway
Ibiza Photo by Michael Tomlinson


Ibiza is mostly visited by foreigners and celebrities due to its spectacular partying ways. People from across the globe visit the place once a year to party and to experience its incredible beaches and thriving art scene. If you also intend to visit the Caribbean Island of the Mediterranean Sea, also commonly known as the Formentera, then you can visit the place which is only 9 kilometers away from Ibiza.

The sandy beaches that complement the beautiful crystalline waters along the shoreline of Las Salinas in Playa d’en Bossa is also one of the best highlights in Ibiza.

If you have finally decided to include this in your trip, then it is ideal to visit this place during the summer, where the sun reflects its heat to the clear waters of Ibiza.

Driving Directions

From Madrid, the route to Ibiza is a 7 hour drive

  • Take the R-3 to A-3 roadway
  • Follow the route from A-40 to N-420
  • Enter the N-330 to V-30

Most Important Driving Rules

Driving in Spain requires you to be more familiar and attentive to the traffic road signs and rules. As a tourist, there are a lot of things that are different from your home country that you may find odd and confusing. But the most unabating question most commonly asked is “Do you really need an international driving permit in Spain?”. The answer is "yes." An international Driver’s License in Spain means that you get to enjoy your travels with less worry!

An international driver’s license will not only save you from any potential hassle but it will also give you access to an unlimited driving experience! Plus, it will give you better awareness of your driving responsibilities as a tourist!

Bring your driving license and IDP with you always

An International Driving Permit in Spain is required for you to drive within its borders. Driving without it is considered a serious offense in Spain. Most importantly, what you need to know while driving in Spain is that they are more particular with an International Driver’s License.

Tourists who are caught driving without a driving license or an international driver’s permit can be penalized with a €100 up to €1000 fine. That's why it's very important to know the international driver’s license requirements, especially if you are intending to visit Spain, to avoid these types of problems. To help you, here is the list of the requirements need for an IDP application:

  • Valid Government Issued Driver’s License
  • Passport Size Image of Yourself
  • Passport Copy (needed)

For foreigners, an international driving license is an important document you need to carry around. Getting an International Driving Permit in Spain can be done by visiting the International Driver’s Association. An International Driving Permit can be secured online, so you don’t need to take a computer test to apply for an international driving license! All you need is to fill up the application form and upload your photos. Applying for an IDP is hassle-free and straightforward in the International Driver’s Association.

It's also necessary to look for additional information on how a particular country would impose its driving laws. Skim through potential travel advisories to know what you could do to avoid any traffic-related inconveniences. Here are some of the most important driving in Spain tips and rules that must be remembered at all times:

  1. Using one hand in driving or waving the arm outside of the car can lead to a fine of €100. As indicated in the Article 18 of the General Traffic Law, any driver and passenger must maintain a sensible position inside the vehicle to avoid any movements that may cause difficulty or distraction.
  2. Driving without wearing appropriate attire (ex. not wearing a shirt or driving using the barefoot) may result in a fine of €200. As specified in the Law, driving without proper clothing or footwear could affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle, which also may result in accidents and injury.
  3. For tourists, driving without an international driving permit could lead to a warning or a fine.
  4. Be careful whenever you are parking your vehicle. Parking in areas under environmental protection could lead to a fine of up to €6,000.
  5. Being stationary at a red light and being caught red handed with any objects in your dominant hand could lead to a fine of €200 plus a demerit of two points off your license.
  6. Using loud music while driving is strictly prohibited and may result in a fine of €80–100. If you have happened to be near a residential lot, homeowners could sue you which could result in an additional of €2,400.
  7. Using the horn inappropriately or in the absence of emergency could lead to a fine of €80.What you need to know while driving in Spain is that inappropriate honking is seen as an infraction to the road rules.
  8. Driving in the left-hand lane or taking a significant portion of the middle lane even if the right-hand lane is free could lead to a fine of €200 as indicated in the articles 28 and 31 of the Spanish Driving Law.
  9. While driving in Spain, you should also be mindful of the speed limits. For most of the open roads, the speed limit is 90km/h (56 miles per hour).
  10. Any gestures which may be seen to cause distraction, such as not paying attention to the road or having an argument, will result in a fine of €80.

Driving Without a License

To be able to drive, you should always bring your driver’s license. This document signifies that you have passed the written and practical examination. This also serves as a supporting legal document in any case where you might be needed to present any other qualifications. If you are a tourist, an international driving permit is needed alongside your national driving license. These two documents are needed to be able to drive and rent a car. That's why getting an International Driving Permit in Spain is highly encouraged!

You can apply for an international driving permit in Spain via online process by visiting the International Driver’s Association Page. While driving in Spain, you should know that there are certain speed limits within specific areas. As a tourist, you must take note of the differences in the speed limits to avoid fines and unnecessary travel delays. The most serious offenses would generally amount to a fine of €600 for speed exceeding 110km/hr. It is crucial to know that the Speed limits while driving in Spain are 90kph on single carriage roads, 100kph on roads with more than one lane in each direction and dual carriageways, and 120kph on highway

Driving Under the Influence

While Driving in Spain as a tourist, you should be wary that If you are caught under the influence of drugs or are inebriated while driving, you could be imprisoned from six to twelve months and a succeeding loss of six points off your license. Similarly, if your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) exceeds 0.25mg/Liter, then you could have a deduction of 4 points of your license and a fine of €500. If the BAC is 0.5 mg/liter, then you are given €1,000 and a deduction of 6 points of your license.

Parking restrictions

Parking restrictions in Spain are usually indicated with an large ‘E’ with a diagonal line. Parking bans are also indicated by yellow, white and red road marking. Whenever you decide to drive in Spain and you see these signs, it is best to avoid parking your vehicle even for just a few minutes. Some of the major centers and cities of Spain are very strict when it comes to this law. While driving in Spain, you should also know more about the road signs and the tolls for each of the main ways that you are about to take.

Buying fuel

Diesel cars are the most popular in Spain.. It is important to know which fuel your car has before you decide to fill it. Most of the time, there is a sticker attached inside the petrol cap that will indicate if it is Diesel. Also, most cars will have an arrow pointed in the direction of the fuel gauge to indicate which side it is on.

If you are from the pacific and other Asian countries, you might find it unusual to see that Petrol Stations in Spain are self-service and can accept payment through credit card. Do take note that others may require you to pay first before you can add fuel. When your vehicle runs out of fuel or your car broke down while driving in Spain, you should be aware that you need to pull to the side of the road to avoid causing traffic congestion. You should also be wary.

Preparing for your trip would include knowing all of the above-mentioned points. As a tourist, it is your responsibility to abide by the rules and to know the driving laws of the land. Most importantly, you need to prepare the documents to avoid all of the inconveniences while traveling. It's important to remember not to miss an opportunity to secure an International Driving Permit in Spain!

An international driving permit is needed in Spain not just for your travels, but also for your convenience! For more details, you can check the International Driver’s Association page to inquire about the different packages that will suit your needs! Driving in Spain without much

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