Spain Driving Guide 2021

Spain is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

Updated Apr 9, 2021·9min read
Driving Guide

Overview

If you are looking for ways to make the best trip out of your international vacation, you probably would want to stop by Spain. Spain is surely the best European country to visit with a myriad of cultural influences and diverse historical background.

To ease your way into some of Spain’s famous tourist destinations, you must have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Although it is still up to your preferences how you would want to shape your Spanish journey, driving through the countryside has numerous advantages. By getting an international driving permit in Spain, you’ll be able to make the best experience out of your trip.

How Can This Guide Help You?

This driving guide will help you through some of the factual information applied on your trip to Spain. The following sections will also help you through some of the do’s and don’ts in driving and the restrictions. If you have already booked a flight on your way to Spain, read along and know more about how you can make your trip a memorable one.

Introduction

Spain has been known for its quaint stone castles and captivating sceneries that hold significant historical value. If you plan to visit this country, you might want to consider traversing its numerous tourist destinations by land. Doing so would require you to abide by the driving rules carefully and to procure an International Driver's Permit.

Border Status and Updates

As of the moment, Spain is partially open for foreigners and tourism. However, as per crossing rules, passengers are not permitted to enter or transit via the country.

Nevertheless, the following passengers are exempt to this rule:

  • Nationals or residents of the European Union
  • Schengen Area member states (Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, United Kingdom, or the Vatican)
  • Passengers holding a long-term visa issued by a Schengen Area member state
  • Residents of Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand, Uruguay/ China, Hong Kong, and Macau
  • Healthcare professionals, including health researchers and elderly caregivers
  • Staff of diplomatic, consular, military missions, civil protection, humanitarian organisations or international organisations traveling to Spain for their duties
  • Essential personnel such as crew members, humanitarian workers, those working in freight transport
  • Passengers travelling for documented reasons
  • Highly skilled workers and participants of high-leveled sports tournaments
  • Students studying in a Schengen Area member state with a residence permit or visa​

Requirements to Enter Spain

The documents to enter Spain all depend on the country you are coming from. Before you book that plane flight to Spain, you need to know about the following countries which are only allowed to enter:

  • European Union countries
  • Schengen Area countries
  • Australia
  • China
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Uruguay

All passengers coming from third countries are mandated to fill out the Health Control Form (FCS) and the QR Code at the Border Health Control at the airport upon arrival in Spain. You get your QR code by filling up the form on this website: https://spth.gob.es/. With regards to the documents needed to enter Spain, you only need a passport valid for three (3) months beyond for those with a short-term stay.

As for foreign nationals visiting the country in need of a Schengen visa, they would need a valid passport, visa, sufficient funds, and a return flight ticket.

Safety Protocols in Spain

Spain has already lifted the “Estado Alarma” or “State of Emergency” in the country. This means businesses have already opened up but they will adhere to the reduced capacity and operation hours. With the state of Emergency lifted, inbound flights coming in from European Union countries and other third countries have now been arriving at the airports within the country.

More importantly, there are no quarantine measures imposed in Spain unlike the other countries.

General Knowledge About Spain

Where Is it Located Geographically?

Spain is geographically located in the most Southwestern part of Europe and proximally situated near the south of France and in the adjacent areas bordering the east of Portugal. Invariably, it also shares territorial rights in some parts of Morocco and some significant islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Consolidating all of the land areas and the geographical locations within the scope of Spain’s geopolitical range, the country is said to be the second-largest European state behind France.

What Are the Languages They Speak?

Spain’s official language is Castellano (also commonly referred to as Spanish) and is ubiquitously spoken in almost all parts of the country. Spain has also been collectively known to encompass various linguistic deviations from the official spoken language with a rich cultural and historical heritage.

Subsequently, the Spanish language has veered into numerous dialects like the following:

  • Catalan
  • Basque
  • Galician
  • Llanito

These dialects made each region distinctly unique in terms of its linguistic diversity, tone inflection and overall intonation.

What Is Their Land Area?

Spain has a total land area of 504,782 sq km (194,897 sq mi). The country’s mainland reaches 1,085 km (674 mi) EW and 950 km (590 mi). Alongside this figure, Spain also has a total land boundary of 918 km (1,192 mi) and 4,964 km (3,084 mi).

Significantly, Spain’s sovereignty on some adjacent borders underwent considerable discussion and negotiation between the United Kingdom, divided contemporary territorial claims according to the country’s political arrangements. Also, Madrid (which is Spain’s capital city) is strategically located at the center of the country, making it even more convenient for wandering tourists.

What Is Their History?

Spain’s historical background shares some insightful information regarding its rich ethical diversification. By the monarchical powers’ efforts to reach far-flung areas and to explore inhabited locations, a voyage has been sent to inspect the vastness of the uncharted regions across the Pacific and in some regions in Asia. Subsequently, the establishment of Spain’s constitutional monarchy has led to an upsurge of socioeconomic stability.

What Type of Government Does Spain Have and What About Their Population?

Spain’s political structure is patterned on the 1978 Spanish Constitution, which was effectuated after the country transitioned into a democracy in the late 1970s. Generally, Spain is a parliamentary monarchy, which indicates that the incumbent monarch will serve as the official head of state. In contrast, the prime minister will serve as the ruling head of government operations. The Government of Spain currently rules over a population of 46,760,445 according to a recent survey.

What Are Facts About Its Tourism?

Considerably, the country’s tourism efforts have helped refashion its tourist spots’ global competitiveness, making it one of the world’s leading travel destinations as of September 11, 2020. Also, it is noteworthy to indicate that the number of tourist’s arrivals has increased up to 129.4 million as of 2017.

International Driver’s Permit in Spain

Visiting Spain wouldn’t be much of a thrill if you can’t go to different tourist destinations. Though you can indeed go through other places by using the local transport system, being able to drive at your own pace still has its perks. It gives you a sense of fulfillment and purpose while you can enjoy your way of seeing the peculiar attractions uniquely presented in each of the country’s regions.

But do you need to have an International Driving Permit to drive in Spain? Yes! If you intend to visit Spain via car, then you must secure yourself an IDP. The IDP will then serve as an official permit to help you reach different locations in the country. After all, it is an important requirement, so why not have one for yourself? If you are interested in this, read along and know more about the IDP application. You can also save yourself the time and visit the International Driver’s Association page to fill out the application form.

What Is an International Driving Permit?

An International Driving Permit in Spain means any document that proves that a foreign individual is permitted to drive a private motor vehicle across a country or region where the said document is recognized. It is a translated version of the local/domestic driver’s license duly issued by the International Driver’s Association and widely acknowledged by multiple international borders.

Before planning an international trip or a vacation in Spain, it is best to ensure that all necessary preparations are conducted, especially if the tour itself would involve multiple hours of driving across the country. One of the most essential preparations needed for this is to get an IDP in Spain, giving you ample time to prevent the potential hassles commonly associated with travels in foreign lands.

Getting an International Driving Permit in Spain would also mean that you get to enjoy all of the beautiful tourist attraction sites without needing to worry about the legal document. If you still don’t have an IDP, you can click here to start your application.

How Is An IDP Efficient When Driving in Spain?

Spain is relatively straightforward in its requirement of the International Driving Permit. Before you can drive across its borders, an IDP is first required. The IDP serves as a translation and authentication that a foreign driver has a basic knowledge of the country’ traffic and driving rules. Without the permit, you could face punishment from traffic enforcers and could face potential problems when stopped by law enforcement while driving.

Before you could start getting an International Driving Permit in Spain, you must have already secured your own driver’s license in your country. You must have held the document for a minimum of 6 months prior to your IDP application. Since the application process only involves translating the files already kept within the system, no written tests are further required.

It is also important for you to know that the legal driving age allowed in Spain is 18 years old. If you are not 18 years old or above, then you cannot drive within its borders even if you possess a domestic driver’s license in your home country.

Driving in Spain with a US license is permitted as long you have an IDP. If you still haven’t secured your IDP, you can visit the International Driver’s Association Page to grab your international license!

Is A Local Driver’s License Valid in Spain?

No. Using a non-EU driver’s license in Spain is valid only for a short period, after which you should be able to exchange it with a duly issued driver’s license from the provincial traffic headquarters. Consequently, if you are an EU/EEA citizen who has been a legal resident of Spain, you can drive for up to 6 months or until the license is no longer valid.

During this period, you must always carry with you an IDP if you have a foreign driver’s license that is not translated into Spanish. Considerably, requited agreements have been established between Spain and some countries, allowing the license holder to substitute their foreign licenses for a complimentary Spanish license. This gives any foreign driver’s opportunity to secure a valid national driver’s permit.

Does an IDP Replace a Native Driver’s License?

No, an IDP serves as an official translation of a domestic driver’s license. It is classified as a legal document representing the equivalent value of a foreign driver’s license. It does not serve as a legal document alone without your native driver's license.

Who Can Apply For An IDP?

An IDP can be issued on foreign drivers who wish to drive internationally. If you are driving in Spain as a tourist or an overseas worker who wants to work abroad, then applying for an IDP is a must. Anyone could apply for the said permit if he or she also has a domestic driver’s license.

When Can I Apply For an IDP?

You should apply for an IDP as soon as possible or months before your intended travel date. Although there is no specific time that compels you to apply for one, it is still recommended to apply ahead of time to avoid travel-related inconveniences.

An IDP application may be processed in minutes or weeks, depending on the authorities or the issuing office. If you still have a temporary driver’s license, then you should wait until you have already secured a valid permanent license before considering to travel. Preferably, applying for an IDP is recommended to avoid hassle and travel-related inconveniences.

If you still haven’t applied for one, you can get your International Driving Permit in Spain online by visiting the International Driver’s Association website!

Do I Need an IDP to Drive in Spain?

Yes. You will need to have an IDP issued (international driving permit) to be granted rights to drive in Spain. Generally, an IDP is not a stand-alone document that can replace the validity of a driver’s license.

Spain requires you to have an International Driving permit to be able to drive. It is just a translated document asserting your authorization to drive, given that you already have a valid driver’s license. Hence, an international driving permit is needed in Spain for you to drive, but you must also always carry your domestic driving license. An international driving permit in Spain means that you could even enjoy the wonderful scenery of the top tourist destinations without worrying too much about legalities and other paperwork.

Who Needs an IDP?

If you would like to go on an international trip or if you are planning to drive in a foreign region, you should get an international driving permit in Spain! This document will serve as a valid certification that you are legally permitted to traverse any border or international space where the aforementioned document is recognized. It also makes driving easier and it eliminates the inconvenience commonly encountered by driving tourists.

Can I get an International Driving Permit in Spain online?

Yes. Of course! You can visit the International Driver’s Association webpage to get your IDP online and you can select the package that suits your needs! You can start your application within minutes and you can also pick an IDP bundle of your preference!

It is also essential to consider the purpose of your travels. If you are up for a business venture, securing an IDP would be crucial, especially considering that having a personal car can save you through the hassles commonly experienced when riding a public vehicle. If you are just in for a personal trip or a family vacation, then an IDP would also serve a great purpose of helping you get through your desired destination.

If you’re ready to apply for an IDP, visit the International Drivers Association’s application page and choose an IDP package. Here are the international driver's license requirements in Spain that you will surely need for your application:

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

When will I use IDP?

You should use the IDP if you are visiting a foreign country or planning to drive on an international border. This will save you from the burden of any inconveniences that can arise from not having a complete list of travel documents or authorization to drive a motor vehicle. Essentially, an IDP must be carried and presented at all times if you are driving on an international border.

How long is an IDP valid?

Specifically, the International Driving Permit issued on the 1949 convention is only valid for a maximum of 1 year from the date issued. Since then, newer IDP permits (just as those based on the 1968 model) are valid for a maximum of 3 years. The validity of the IDP cannot exceed your domestic license’s validity. So, if your domestic license only indicates validity up until 2 years, your IDP cannot be valid for more than the said time frame.

An IDP can be issued in the same country where the domestic license is issued. For instance, if you have procured your local driver’s license in Belgium, then you can also choose to apply for an IDP in the same country. It is still up to your preference how you would want to process your IDP permit.

If you wish to have an easier process, you can also apply for an international driver’s license in Spain online. You can check on their application requirements at the International Driver’s Association website and click on the form to start your application!

Renting A Car in Spain

If you want to make the best out of your trip to Spain, then driving through the outskirts would be the fondest way of doing it. But before you go through the specifics of your planned activities, do you have a car already? If not, then this section will help you through how car rentals in Spain are processed.

Where to Rent A Car?

Car rentals have offered unparalleled advantages and convenience for foreign travelers, especially in Spain. Thus, several car rental companies can be found online (like AutoEurope, Alamo Cars, etc.). You can also book a reservation by contacting their main page online. To make it easier for you, here are some car rental companies:

  • Centauro Car Hire
  • Libra Budget (Rent A Car)
  • All in Car Hire
  • Fetajo Rent a Car
  • Carrental Choice
  • Terry’s Car Hire

What Documents Are Needed?

To rent a car in Spain, you will need to have a valid issued EU driver’s license with at least 12 months of validity. The license permit must be written in Western Alphabet and must also come together with an identification document such as a passport or a tax identification number.

A credit or debit card is also needed to cover the expenses allocated explicitly for the rental and insurance. Most of the time, the price ranges of the full coverage of the fees may vary depending on the company. That is why it is also essential to read the car rental company’s policy to avoid any discrepancies with the transactions.

What vehicle types can you rent?

Considering the type of vehicle that you would like to drive in Spain is important. Choosing the car that would suit your needs and preferences is also a significant factor that should be recognized. Subsequently, determining the appropriate car size is a priority, especially if you plan to have a trip with your friends and family. That is why car rental companies in Spain have offered a wide range of selections to accommodate the different needs that come along with long trips and vacations.

Most car rentals, like AutoEurope, have a miniature and economy-sized vehicle that may allow you to drive through the narrow spaces and alleys in Madrid. They also have spacious SUVs and sprinter vans that can accommodate 6-7 people, making it an ideal vehicle for family trips.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent A Car in Spain?

The cost of car rental in Spain would vary according to the days of use. On average, car rental in Spain costs $204 per week ($29 per day). Comparing the costs of public transportation, renting a car is far more preferable for those tourists who would want to have long drives across the country. In Spain, most of the seat reservations from public transport vehicles cost around $10–20 or $35. It is far more advantageous to opt for car rentals since they are cheaper and more convenient for wandering tourists. By traveling via car, you don't have to wait in a long line and you also get to decide where you want to go!

What Are the Age Requirements?

Spain’s age restrictions when it comes to car rental inquiries stipulates that an individual must be at least 21 years old. Although this is the standard, several “car rental” companies have adjusted their minimum age requirement to 23 years old. No maximum age restrictions are imposed as long as you are fit to drive and have all of the necessary paper works proving that you have a license like a local driver’s license or an IDP (If you still don’t have one, you can click here to start your application). Any driver under 25 will incur extra young driver surcharges of around €20 per day.

Would Your Car Insurance Apply When Renting a Car?

Car rentals in Spain are based on the calculated cost imposed by the car rental company. Before deciding to go on a driving trip around the country, make sure that you will contact the car insurance company and the credit card agency to look for the coverages’ extent. A car rental transaction in Spain is ideally covering the minimum insurance needed. It is then up to the driver or the renter if he or she wants to upscale additional insurance. The preference of the user is still given the utmost consideration. It is recommended that before you rent a car, you must know your liabilities in uneventful circumstances involving car accidents etc.

Most car rental companies in Spain allow their client to drive anywhere in Western Europe. However, if you plan to drive across borders, you should contact the car rental company first to make sure that you acknowledge the limitations of the contract. Also, it is important to consider the drop-off time as you may be charged with an extra for every day or minute the car is late for drop-off.

How does car insurance work in Spain?

Basic auto policy insurance stipulates that different coverage types should be included, which also consists of Injury liability, personal injury protection, property damage liability, collision, comprehensive and uninsured/underinsured motorist. Learn more information about how car insurance works in Spain by taking note of the following points listed below..

  • You must always carry with you all of the documents. This includes the driver’s license, IDP, Ficha Tecnica (log book), passport, certificate of roadworthiness (MOT or ITV), and car registration details
  • In Spain, tar insurance coverage is limited only to the car per se and is not inclusive of the driver. The majority of the car insurance company in Spain only covers the driver if the age requirement is met. This is usually only limited for drivers who are 25 – 30 years old
  • You cannot drive another vehicle and claim it as part of your insurance coverage. You will need to be covered by their vehicular policies
  • Full comprehensive insurance coverage encompasses material damage, injuries, and accidents to the insured and third parties. It is essential to know the individual car insurance policies to assess what type of coverage you are in

The Road Rules in Spain

Visiting any country would require you to conform to the spds of driving and standards abide by the road rules and regulations. Conclusively, being familiar with these regulations helps you through your trip and will also save you the trouble of having to go through some fines and punishments.

Driving in Spain requires you to know about the different warning signs, traffic rules, and regulations. Here are some of the most important things that you should remember while driving in Spain to help you through your journey.

What Are the Most Important Driving Rules in Spain

Driving in Spain requires extensive knowledge of its driving rules. Most importantly, numerous driving restrictions are strictly imposed to maintain road safety and order. As per the law’s implemented provisions people under 18 years of age are not allowed to drive.

Also, tourists who do not possess the requirements like Identification card, IDP, and a nativedriver’s license are prohibited from driving. In conjunction with this, the following conditions are prohibited when driving in Spain.

Here are some of the driving in Spain tips that you should always consider when you are in Spain:

Driving While Distracted

Speaking on the phone while driving is under this law. Any actions that may cause a distraction to the driver is generally prohibited and would often lead to a fine of €200 and 3 points of your driver’s license. The fine may also increase up to €1000 if the case goes to the higher courts.Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, the legal blood alcohol level limit is 0.5mg Blood Alcohol Content, and driving without proper clothing could also lead to a fine of €100.

What you need to know while driving in Spain is that cell phone use is prohibited while driving, and a reflective jacket must always be available. This can be worn in case you need to exit a vehicle on any side of the road so that other motorists could see you. Additionally, you need to keep in mind some of the other rules when driving in Spain.

  • Driving one hand or with an arm outside the car can be fined €100
  • Extremely reverberating music while near a quiet area, like a hospital, could lead to a fine of €100. Respectively, you can also be charged €2,400 if you have disturbed homeowners. Always remember to park your car away from residential spaces to avoid causing a disturbance
  • Only use horns if you are in an emergent situation or if you are avoiding an accident; such as alerting other motorists when you are planning to overtake a lane
  • Filling up your car with petrol while the radio is on could lead to a fine of €91

What are the General Standards of Driving?

In Spain, driving on the right side of the road is very common, just like any other European country. This might be confusing for some arriving tourists who have been accustomed to driving on the left side of the road. Fortunately, if you are driving in Spain, a lot of road signs can be seen in different parts of the country which guides the tourists to their destinations.

Spaniards are also generally known to drive manual vehicles. It is very rare that automatic cars are used, but you can still book one through a car rental company. Reservations can also be done to ensure that you can use your preferred vehicle.

Important reminders before driving:

  • Check the condition of the car
  • Monitor if there are spare tires, spare bulbs, warning triangle, reflective jacket, spare wheel, and tools
  • Watch out for fluid leaks or any other things that might affect the engine’s transmission

What Are Essential Items to Carry When Driving Around Spain?

Driving in Spain is one of the best ways to see what the country has to offer. But before you head out on long-weekend drives, here is a checklist of the things that you should never forget when you are driving:

  • Passport as Proof of ID
  • V5C Certificate
  • Warning Triangle
  • GB Sticker or Euro Plates
  • Headlamp Adjustment
  • High-Visibility Jacket
  • Native Driver’s License
  • International Driving Permit (IDP)

For EU Citizens, carrying these items is a must. However, if you are new to the policies, then you should always remember these things. More importantly, whenever you are driving in Spain as a tourist, it is crucial to secure an IDP to be permitted to drive.

If you still don’t have an IDP with you, check on the International Drivers Association’s application page and fill out the form and package that best suits your needs.

What Are the Speed Limits in Spain?

Speed limits in Spain vary according to the type of road. It is recommended that you strictly follow these limitations to avoid the propensity of accidents. Additionally, it is important to know that the Guardia Civil, Spain’s National Police, regularly performs speed traps to check if drivers abide by the country’s general standards of driving practices. Generally, if you are driving in Spain, then you should know about these speed limits:

  • Open road – 90km/h (56 miles per hour)
  • Motorway – 120km/h (75 miles per hour)
  • Town – 50km/h (31 miles per hour)

What Are the Seatbelt Laws?

Driving in Spain requires you to abide by the laws pertaining to the use of seatbelts. It is a mandatory provision that all drivers in Spain must wear a seatbelt while driving to avoid accidents and possible injuries.

Failure to comply with these regulations is considered a serious offense as indicated in article 65.4 of the Spanish Law on Traffic and a fine of 200 euros could be issued. Moreover, special consideration has also been imposed when driving with children. The following are important information to remember.

  • Children equal to or less than 135 centimeters must use child restraint systems
  • Children aged 6 to 9 months of age with a maximum weight of 10kg must be seated at the backseat facing backward
  • Children aged 6 to 9 months up to 12-15 months with a maximum weight of 13 kg must be seated at the backseat facing backwards.
  • Children aged 1 to 9 months up to 4 years with a maximum weight between 9 & 18Kg. must be seated in the back­seat fa­cing forward.
  • Children aged 2 to 6 years with a maximum weight between 15 and 25kg must be seated in the back­seat fa­cing forward.
  • 3: 6 – 11years – weight between 22 and 36kg. The child must be in the back­seat fa­cing forward.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Car in Spain?

The cost of car rental in Spain would vary according to the days of use. On average, car rental in Spain costs $204 per week ($29 per day). Majority of the tourists who visit Spain prefer to rent a car since it is less expensive and more convenient.

What Are the Traffic Road Signs?

Driving in Spain requires you to know more about the different traffic road signs and warnings to ensure that you will make the most out of your trip to the country. Familiarizing the different signs can also give you a sense of direction to where you are heading and helps you avoid traffic. Essentially, Spain’s traffic road signs are further divided into 5 categories namely:

  • Warning Signs
  • Priority Signs
  • Mandatory Signs
  • Prohibitory Signs
  • Information signs

Knowing the traffic road signs in Spain does not only increase your awareness, but it also gives you more security and safety. It is essential that when you travel on an international border, you must be equipped with the knowledge on how to read specific road signages so that you can also save yourself from accidents and violations.

What is the Right of Way in Spain?

Driving in Spain is irrefutably complex. You must have extensive awareness of the rules and regulations that are implemented across its borders. Considerably, what you need to know while driving in Spain is that you should strictly observe its speed limits to avoid fines, and you must also have two red warning triangles in the vehicle in the event of a car break or car accident.

What is the Legal Driving Age?

The legal driving age in Spain is 18 years old. Any individual who is 18 years old and above can procure a driver’s license given that he or she has passed all of the written and practical examinations.

Is there a Law About Overtaking?

If you are planning to drive in Spain, then you must be warned that there are certain driving obligations that you need to remember. Generally, these warnings are indicated to promote road safety and shed awareness on other motorists that you planto overtake a lane or do a particular maneuver. As a tourist, you should bear in mind the following practices when overtaking. :

  • Always warn others when you are about to change or to rejoin a lane either by using signal indicators on the side you are planning to maneuver into or by using the arm signals
  • Speed down when taking a lateral maneuver
  • In case that an indicator does not properly function, the use of hand signals can be substituted

Intuitively, you can also use the car’s horns to signal other drivers that you are intending to change lanes. Doing so will help them understand what you are trying to do and that they will be obliged to stick on the far right or left side of the road – making it safer to pass through.

What Side of the Road Will You Drive in Spain?

If you are driving in Spain, the side of the road that you should always stay on is the right-hand side of the road. The cars in Spain are designed for right-hand driving. It is also important to know that most of the cars in Spain have their steering wheel situated on the left side of the car. This configuration may be quite challenging for those drivers who were accustomed to driving on the left side with the steering wheel on the right side.

The Driving Etiquette in Spain

Wherever you are in the world, Driving is generally accepted as a form of social privilege that urges an individual to conform to the practices unequivocally presented by the law. All motorists are encouraged to observe strict adherence to the driving rules to avoid road-related accidents. Conclusively, it is also important to know that good driving etiquette always leads to good outcomes.

Driving in Spain is far stricter and more compliant than in other countries. Thus, if you plan to drive within its borders, you surely need to know its rules and regulations. To make things easier for you, the following are some of the important tips that you should always need to follow if you are driving in Spain.

What If A Car Breaks Down?

If your car breaks down while driving in Spain, pull over to the side of the road. Park your car in a safe spot where you’re not obstructing the path. It is crucial to know that the first action is to safely get everyone out of the vehicle and tall for the emergency assistance hotline: 112.

Call for the emergency breakdown vehicle and ask for a dispatch in your location. While waiting for the assistance, the most important step to be done is to put a warning triangle sign behind your vehicle to warn other drivers about the situation. Lastly, you should never try to attempt fixing your car while you are in the middle of traffic, as it may cause further congestion. It is important to stay calm and wait for assistance to arrive.

What If the Police Stop You?

Being stopped by the police in Spain may cause unwarranted tension and anxiety for most foreign drivers.The best thing to do if you are stopped by the police is to comply with their requests which usually just involve showing your identification card, native driver’s license, passport, and other important documents related to car rental and car ownership.

There are tell-tale signs that would signify if a car is owned by a patrolling police officer. You can dial 062 and ask the operator to cross-reference the vehicle’s registration number to see if it is an authentic police vehicle. Until then, it is important to check if the person asking for you to stop uniform police personnel to avoid any potential problems.

What If You Ask For Driving Directions?

If you are driving in Spain and you want to ask for directions, the best thing that you could do is to ask locals. Alternatively, you can also plan ahead of time to set up your itinerary so that you can map out all of the landmarks proximal to your destination. It is also advisable that you download a map or application to guide you through your travel.

What If There Are Checkpoints?

If it happens that you passed by a checkpoint while driving in Spain, the best thing you could do is adhere to the police’s instructions. Usually, checkpoints would just involve looking into the driver’s permit and other related travel documents that will prove that you have a license to drive, and that you do not carry any contraband items prohibited by the law.

Spanish police are respectful and they would only function according to the scope of their work. You should not worry as long as you have presented the necessary documents proving that you are qualified to drive. For foreign drivers, an IDP is really important to avoid these types of disruptions.

The Driving Road Conditions in Spain

The road conditions in Spain significantly differ from the US and other neighboring countries. The traffic and the road conditions in Spain are generally fast-paced compared to the US. That is why tourists need to know the road signs and the Spanish traffic map.

What is the Spanish Traffic Map?

The traffic map offers a comprehensive view of the potential traffic congestion that may ensue on a particular road. If you are driving in Spain, it is critical that you also learn what the traffic maps imply. To elaborate on this, the following are some of the important things to remember:

Traffic flow lines:

  • Red lines indicate heavy traffic flow and congestion in an area
  • Yellow/Orange lines indicate medium flow
  • Green signifies normal traffic
  • Black lines or No traffic flow lines could point out that a particular road is closed. Also, it may either indicate that there is not enough vehicle flow to register the road activity

How Frequent Are Vehicular Accidents in Spain?

As per the data collected on statistical analysis in 2018, Spain had 102,299 accidents tallied. Moreover, passenger cars are the most common vehicle type involved in road accidents from data in 2017. This numerical representation has shown that there is a correlational significance of giving importance to the “right of way” while driving. Thus, great emphasis has been given to encourage drivers and motorists to follow road etiquette and observe strict adherence to the traffic rules and regulations.

What Are the Common Vehicles Used in Spain?

The most commonly used vehicles in Spain are following:

  • Seat León (which was used by almost 21,204 times in 2018),
  • Seat Ibiza (which was voted by 19,519),
  • Volkswagen Polo (voted for effectiveness and quality),
  • Dacia Sandero (voted 16,728 times by people as the most cost-effective choice)
  • Volkswagen Golf (known for its excellent transmission efficiency),
  • Citroen C4 (known for its quality safety features and exceptional steering ability)
  • Nissan Qashqai (quality SUV type),
  • Fiat 500 (one of the most purchased cars in Spain)
  • Renault Clio (one of the top-rated cars in Spain).

Are they using KpH or MpH?

In Spain, the speed is measured using the unit of Kilometers per hour (Km/hr). Most European countries have also adapted to the same metric in measuring road speeds. Conclusively, Spain is one of the countries to have implemented this unit of measure.

Which roads have tolls?

Roads designated with the letter “AP,” followed by a number, are generally classified as the “Autopistas.” These roads are further referred to as “tollways which would require motorists to pay to pass through. You could pay for the toll fee using a ticket that must be presented upon entry. Moreover, you could also pay via cash by simply paying the amount charged when leaving the booth or pay via credit card by inserting it into a specific machine.

Driving in Spain with us is relatively easy! If you still haven’t secured your IDP, you can visit the International Driver’s Association Page to grab your international driver’s permit.

How Much Do Toll Roads in Spain Cost?

The toll fees would vary depending on the toll charges set by the national government and the exact location where you would like to drive in Spain. Generally, the tickets’ price is based on the length of the road and is invariably charged per term kilometers. Some of the routes have the following costs.

Sample routes and their costs:

  • The AP-7 from Ferrol to Vigo: 180 km; €19.50. Journey time approximately 1 hour 45 minutes
  • The AP-9 from La Jonquera to Vera: 696 km; €79.40. Journey time approximately six and a half hours
  • On the AP-68 from Bilbao to Zaragoza: 302 km; €29.00. Journey time approximately two- and three-quarter hours

If you want to avoid these charges, you must plan ahead of time and look for alternative routes. Numerous national highways are free but would take an additional hour of driving.

Does Spain have busy streets?

Gran Via in Madrid is said to have the busiest streets in the country. With many shops, restaurants, and hotels, driving may be quite challenging for some tourists. Although traffic flow may be constricted, the overlooking sceneries and the vibrant city colors still compensate for traffic time.

Are Spanish safe drivers?

Driving in Spain is relatively easy. Motorists could easily maneuver through tight corners and spaces with the systematic driving regulations and the assistance of road signages. Moreover, Spanish drivers are known to be law-abiding citizens and they are also known to be very respectful in giving way for others, especially during emergency situations.

It is also notable that the roadworks and main infrastructural designs of its highways have made it fairly easy to change lanes. The roads are well maintained, and traveling is not much of a problem for tourists. Although this is the case, you still have to pay for the tolls (which is not a problem considering that this is one of the ways that the roads are maintained).

Things to Do in Spain

There are tons of activities that can be done in Spain. Some of these include traversing through the distinctive locations of the Caminito del Rey in Málaga or engaging in the festivities and the non-stop partying action in Ibiza. Whatever it is that you preferred, the possibility to explore remains unhindered. However, if you also want to find a suitable job while traveling the different regions of Spain, then you can also apply for seasonal work or pitch in for some freelance projects.

Can I apply as a Seasonal Worker in Spain?

Yes. Most of these locations can be accessed by driving. To complement the overall experience, it is recommended to rent your own car as it may also limit the occurrences of delays and unwanted halts.

  • you have suitable accommodation,
  • your travel costs are covered, and
  • you will return to your home country after the seasonal contract ends.

Can I Drive As A Tourist in Spain?

A tourist in Spain who plans to drive across its borders should first have an IDP issued before he or she can be given access to drive. It is highly advisable to get an IDP if you are traveling to a country whose main language is not in English. Most authorities might not understand the language your native driver’s license is in. An IDP can do the job of translating the essential information found on your driver’s license.

Can I Apply For or Work As A Driver in Spain?

You can apply as a driver in Spain, given that you have a duly issued domestic driver’s license, an IDP, a passport, and a work visa that must be issued 6-8 months prior.. All of the necessary documents, including tax identification information, criminal records, and Identification cards, must also be presented.You can start your application to grab your IDP license with us by visiting the International Driver’s Association Website.

If you are an EU/EE citizen, then applying for a work permit in Spain wouldn’t be much of a hassle. However, suppose you are a non-EU citizen and you are planning to work as a driver in Spain. In that case, you must first apply for a Foreigner’s Identity Card/number (TIE/NIE) through the local Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or any police station within 30 days. As reiterated, the processing could take about eight months or more, so it is crucial to consider planning ahead of time. Also, the validity of the work permit is only good for 12 months and is renewable, given that you have successfully fulfilled the conditions.

Can We Work As A Travel Guide in Spain?

To work as a travel guide in Spain, you must first secure a work visa from the Spanish Embassy in your home country. In some cases, the application for a work visa can be initially completed by your employer. If you are a tourist and you are intending to work as a travel guide in Spain, then you must first have an employer who will fill out the initial work visa application on your behalf.

It is also essential to know that the work visa application process could take up to 8 months and are mostly only valid for one year from the date it is issued, so you must then plan ahead of time before working as a travel guide to fit through these requirements.

Moreover, being a travel guide would require you to immerse yourself in the wonderful tourist attractions and the country’s beautiful sceneries. To do that, you must first become familiar with places and become accustomed to the way of living. Doing so would urge you to visit the places first and live on the experience.

The Top Road Trip Destinations in Spain

Spain has remained to be one of the best-valued tourist destinations in Europe. It is home to one of the world’s greatest ancient sites and it has also been widely regarded for its unique cuisine. It is said that the best way to appreciate its cultural value and historical significance is to visit its different regions.

What Are the Top Spots in Spain?

Spain has been long recognized as a famous tourist destination due to its captivating Mediterranean beaches, sybaritic resorts, and stunning landmarks that have continuously accentuated its rich cultural and historical origin. If you plan to visit the country, you surely would not want to miss these top tourists’ spots.

Merida

Established in the early 25 AD, this tourist destination has some of the finest archeological ruins that highlight some of the most impressive infrastructural works of the Romans like the Moorish fortress, hippodrome, and a plethora of ancient churches. Up to this day, some of the most entertaining theatrical shows are still conducted in the old Roman theater. The city’s rich historical background is also showcased in some of the Museums that can be found in the community’s central part.

Driving Directions:

From Madrid, Merida is a 3 hour drive.

  • 1.Travel from Madrid to merida via car. Take Talavera Dela Reina to Oropesa De Toledo
  • 2.Follow Canaveral to Caceres

Salamanca

Salamanca is part of the UNESCO World Heritage city that has become an official landmark due to its distinct architectural designs and fascinating historical imprint. Some of the most important historical figures and theologians like Miguel de Cervantes, Christopher Columbus, Ignatius Loyola, and Hernán Cortés. have sauntered its most impressive corners. The interior offers a vibrant atmosphere that explicitly reflects the past influences of Spain’s rich cultural background.

Some of the most stunning facades of the building are located within the central part of the City. In retrospect of the past pilgrims spearheaded by Camino de Santiago, the varying establishments’ forms and designs have been embedded with peculiar configurations of carved stone shells.

Driving Directions:

From Madrid, the route to Salamanca is a 2 hour drive

  • 1.Take Avila to Riocabado
  • 2.Follow the route from Fontiveros to Alba De Tormes
  • 3.Enter the roundabout

Cuenca

This City can be located in the Castilla La Mancha region in Spain. The overlooking advantage of its position offers tourists the chance to look across the river banks that are proximal to its location. Remarkably, the city itself has become a home to some of the most well-preserved centuries-old churches and castles. The majority of the buildings that can be found within its borders are also painted with the most vibrant colors. The city is mainly known for its architectural quality and impressive towers.

Driving Directions:

From madrid, the route to Cuence is approximately a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive

  • Head on to the AP-36 to A-40 route
  • Follow the Route to Cuenca Fernando Zobel

Sitges

Aside from towering castles, Spain is also known for its stunning beaches and resorts. If you want to wander in the white sandy beaches along the Mediterranean coast Sea, you should try to visit Sitges. This seaside resort encompasses a total of 17 beaches that appeals to the senses of most tourists. The accompanying quaint cottages and mini-houses by the shoreline also offer a unique experience that compels most tourists to stop by.

Driving Directions:

From Madrid, the route to Sitges is a 5 hour drive

  • 1.Take the AP-2 roadway
  • 2.Follow the route from AP-2 to AP-7
  • 3.Enter the C-32 roadway

Maspalomas

Maspalomas is popularly known for its dunes and visually captivating shoreline, making it an ideal getaway vacation for tourists. The beach is just a few walks from the city proper, and it would not take much of an effort to reach there. Ultimately, it is a perfect destination for those tourists who would like to relax and to feel the glorious rays of the sun.

Driving Directions:

From Madrid, the route to Maspalomas is a 41 hour drive

  • 1.Take the AP-41 to CM-41 roadway
  • 2.Follow the route from AP-5 to AP-40
  • 3.Enter the CM-4155

Ibiza

Ibiza has been pervasively known for its hedonistic appeal to some of the most celebrities. It has become one of the first stop getaway destinations for wandering tourists and has been the center of non-stop partying. Although Ibiza has some of the most fantastic beaches and first-class restaurants, there are still numerous ways to explore its beauty. Tourists can visit the hippy market in Es Canar, Sail through the magnificent island of Es Vedra, and spend the rest of the day at the Bora Bora Beach Club.

Driving Directions:

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

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

Ruta Enoturística del Priorat: Tarragona, Cataluña

Enthusiasts of the wine-making process love to take this route. Cataluña is a one-stop destination near the Mediterranean that offers a one-of-a-kind experience for tourists. Surrounded by small villages, the region is best known for producing top-quality wine. Tourists have come to visit the place to see how the intricate process of wine-making reflects the cultural influences from the makers themselves.

Driving Directions:

From Madrid, the route to Ruta is a 5 hour drive

  • 1.Take the A-2 to M-50 roadway
  • 2.Follow the route from R-2 to E-90
  • 3.Enter the A-2 to AP-2 then take the C-45

Ruta de los Molinos: Castilla-La Mancha

The windmills found in La Mancha are packed with literary significance as it was known to have been referred to in one of Miguel de Cervantes’ literary masterpieces, Don Quijote. This route has been visited a hundred times by tourists to gain more information about the vastness of the land.

Driving Directions:

From Madrid, the route to Castilla La Mancha is a 2 hour drive

  • 1.Take the R-4 to AP-36 roadway
  • 2.Enter the roundabout

Valencia

A lively city is famous for its La Tomatina Festival (held on the last Wednesday of August). Thousands of visitors visit this place every year to witness one of the biggest food fights in Spain. Notably, entertainment brought about by this pre-planned event has pushed the majority of the arriving tourists to come and experience how the event transpires.

Driving Directions:

From Madrid, the route to Valencia is a 3 hour drive

  • 1.Take the M-50 to R-4 roadway
  • 2.Follow the A-40 to N-320a
  • 3.CM-220 to A-3
  • 4. Turn to V-30 roadway

What can you do in each spot?

Tourists can visit the aforementioned locations to do a variety of fun-filled activities. Some of these could include sailing through different islands or just meandering through the corners of a city. The possibility to explore the hidden beauty of Spain is limitless.

What makes these spots famous?

The tourist’s spots listed above are famous for their cultural and historical importance. Some of these locations have century-old tales and stories that have constantly attracted tourists from around the globe. Most importantly, these tourist spots were irrefutably the best highlights of Spain as they were also long considered to be part of the country’s best landmarks.

Can you drive to these spots?

Yes. Most of these locations can be accessed by driving. To complement the overall experience, it is recommended to rent your own car as it may also limit the occurrences of delays and unwanted halts.

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