Car Hire in Barcelona
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Barcelona is located on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second-most populous municipality in Spain.
The city of Barcelona is so diverse that everyone can find something for themselves here. The place is friendly and just big enough. After a few days of walking the small streets, you will feel that the city has accepted you as its own and you will feel at home in it. There is something new lurking around every corner. Hidden corners, squares, and parks are so numerous that you will never run out of them while exploring the city. Divided into districts, it stretches from the sea to Tibidabo Hill. Each district is unique, with its own peculiarities and rhythm of life.
As soon as you arrive in this city, you will be taken in by the architecture, which is an essential part of the city's charm. Barcelona is a unique combination of old and new. Gaudi, Picasso, and Miró had a huge impact on the city and made their artistic creations a part of the city's heritage.
One of the interesting things is that the city is incredibly easy to recognize from a bird's eye view. It has a unique layout unlike any other city in the world. Due to its location by the sea, it has been one of the most popular European resorts for centuries
Basic info and car hire in Barcelona
- Location: northeastern Spain
- Population: 1,620,343
- Official language: Catalan and Spanish
- Currency: Euro
- Weather: hot-summer Mediterranean climate
- Holidays in Barcelona: For public holidays in Barcelona click here
- Internet coverage: Hotels, bars, restaurants, and cafés offer Wi-Fi.
- Road conditions: Most roads in Barcelona are in good condition.
- Car hire in Barcelona: The most common pick-up point for vehicles in Barcelona airport and Barcelona Railway Station. Please note that prices vary frequently. It is best to book a car 3 to 8 weeks in advance of your desired pick-up date - this will ensure you get the cheapest rental rate. Alternatively, it is also possible to find cheap last-minute car hire. Find the best deal on car hire in Barcelona!
Driving in Barcelona
If you have decided to explore more of Catalonia and discover other beautiful places, beaches, towns, and villages outside Barcelona, then a rental car is definitely the best solution for you. A car is also very useful to explore the city of Barcelona if you do not like the crowded public transport. In 2020, the city of Barcelona adopted new regulations to ensure a better environment for its citizens. Zona de Baixes Emissions (ZBE) - Barcelona Low Emission ZoneThe ZBE - the Barcelona Low Emission Zone - covers the urban area of Barcelona (excluding the industrial areas of Zona Franca, Vallvidrera, Tibidabo and Les Planes), Sant Adrià del Besòs, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Esplugues de Llobregat and Cornellà de Llobregat.
Access is only permitted with an environmental badge. The entry restrictions for the ZBE apply from Monday to Friday from 07:00 to 20:00.
Cars with petrol engines must meet at least the Euro 3 standard, and diesel at least the Euro 4 standard. Motorcycles and mopeds Euro 2. Older vehicles are not allowed to enter permanently. There are exceptions for special vehicles, e.g. cars of people with disabilities or emergency vehicles.
- Age limits: The minimum age to drive a car in Spain is 18 years. However, most car rental companies require you to be at least 21 to rent a car and at least 25 years to avoid paying an additional young driver fee.
- International Driving Permit: Yes, if you are a non-EU license holder.
- Additional papers: Identification(passport), a valid driving license, and valid proof of insurance. (It is advisable to buy insurance at the car hire agency in case your policy doesn't cover you while driving in Spain)
- Additional requirements: Glasses (in case you need glasses, it is imperative that you always have a spare pair in the car), light bulbs (are usually already in the car and are provided by the car rental company), warning triangle (2 are required for all vehicles registered in Spain and 1 if coming from abroad), high visibility vest (recently made compulsory)- First aid kit (not actually compulsory, but we strongly recommend you have it with you, just in case).
- Children in the car: Children up to the age of 10 may only be taken in the back seat and a suitable child seat must be available up to a height of 1.50 meters.
- Driving side of the road: Right
- Lights: Check that all lights are working, clean, and correctly aimed.
- General speed limits: The speed limit is 50 km/h in cities, 90 km/h on rural roads, and 120 km/h on the motorway.
- Parking suggestions: Parking is available in numerous public parking garages and lots. Parking spaces directly at the sights are rare and often overcrowded. In addition, your vehicle will be towed even for minor parking violations. The largest parking operator is the municipal B: SM (Barcelona de Serveis Municipals). The main online parking reservation provider is Parclick with 220 car parks in Barcelona. At Parclick you can easily book your parking space in the car parks online, sometimes even cheaper than buying it in the car park. If you want to park on the street, remember that parking in many areas of the city is regulated by the Area system. Special parking rules and rates apply to zones where this applies. Under this system, there are different types of parking spaces: Blue parking spaces are designed for continuous vehicle traffic and are usually located near shopping centers, hospitals, schools, etc. The payment receipt issued by the parking meter must be left in the vehicle. Green spaces give priority parking to residents of the area.
What to see in Barcelona
The most famous street of Barcelona is certainly the Carrier de la Rambla. It stretches from the monument Christopher Columbus at the sea via Piazza Catalunya to the interior of the city. Plaza Catalunya is a suitable starting point for further explorations of the city. On the left side of the street is the old town called El Raval, which is considered the poorest and not so clean part of the city. But maybe that's why it's more authentic and not so crowded with tourists.
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is a cathedral designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. Although unfinished, the cathedral is under UNESCO protection. Today it is the most visited building in all of Spain and has held this record for years.
Construction of the cathedral began in 1882, and the following year Gaudi took over the project. He changed it and put his distinctive stamp on it, combining the Gothic style and Art Nouveau with curved shapes. The entire cathedral is built of stone. It is scheduled for completion in 2026, the centenary of Gaudí's death.
Parc Guell is a public park with a complete system of gardens and unique architectural features. It is located at Mount Carmel in the La Salut area, near the Gracia district of Barcelona. The long-standing friendship between Count Eusebi Guell and Antonio Gaudi led to this unique park. What inspired Gaudí were the natural forms, which is more than obvious. So there are no rectilinear shapes. In the park itself, there is also the house where Gaudi lived, which today has been converted into a museum with very interesting furniture designed by Gaudi himself.
This house, also known as La Pedrera, located at Passeig de Gracia 92, is another of a series of works by Antonio Gaudi. Characteristic are the walls and floors, which are not built at right angles. The façade is authentic and is made of stone. In 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site and placed under the protection of UNESCO.
This famous building is located in the centre of Barcelona. The local name for this house is Casa dels ossos, which means house of bones. The roof is designed like the back of a dragon or dinosaur, which is very striking. A large part of the facade is decorated with ceramic tiles whose colors range from dark gold to green.
Here is the largest aquarium in Europe and the most important in the entire Mediterranean. In 80 m glass, there are tunnels leading through the ocean, which in turn houses 4000 species of fish, including the main attraction - sharks.
In summer, the long beach is crowded with locals and tourists, who sunbathe under colourful umbrellas. The swimming season lasts from April and even until the end of December when the sun's rays are still strong enough for slightly braver swimmers. In autumn, which of course starts later in Barcelona than here, Barceloneta turns into a surf spot.
Plaça Espanya is home to some of the city's most famous tourist attractions - for example, the famous magic fountains, which offer an unforgettable water dance experience with music and colours every night. Thousands of tourists flock to this place every night to enjoy the show of magical fountains after sunset.
Here you will find the famous Arena - the former venue of bullfights, now converted into a large shopping mall with many restaurants, as bullfights have long been banned in Barcelona and all of Catalonia.
For fans of FC Barcelona, but also for all football and sports fans in general, a visit to the stadium Camp Nou in Barcelona - with 100,000 seats the largest stadium in Europe - is a must. Inside the stadium, you can also find the FC Barcelona Museum, with all the numerous trophies that Barça has won.
Drive your rental car beyond Barcelona
So you have already spent an afternoon or two strolling through Barcelona's old town, admiring the Roman ruins, Gothic churches, and palm-studded squares. You have seen Gaudi's many magnificent modernista buildings, visited the Olympic Stadium and the many museums on Montjuic mountain, and relaxed in the hazy atmosphere of the city's magnificent parks. And now you want to experience Catalan life beyond the metropolis - or just want a change of pace - you have your choice of mountains, beaches, and pretty little towns, all just a short drive away.
Mount Montserrat is home to Catalonia's holiest site, the monastery of the same name. The views are spectacular - take hiking boots - and if the season permits, you might catch a choir performance in the basilica.
The old town of Girona is a dense tangle of old arcaded houses, great churches, and sloping cobblestone streets, over which towers the great cathedral. Until the de facto expulsion of the Jews in 1492, Girona was home to a large Jewish community, and the Museu d'Història dels Julius tells their story.
Figueres has some fine modernist buildings, a rambling 18th-century castle (Castell de Sant Ferran), and a charming little toy museum, the Museu del Joguet, but the town is best known for the Teatre-Museu Dalí. The former theatre was transformed into a surrealist palace by Dalí himself, protected by high red walls dotted with giant eggs, Oscar-like statues, and plaster squirrels. Inside you'll find paintings, a collection of jewellery designed by Dalí, and some entertaining trompe l'oeil installations.
Vilanova I la Geltrú
Vilanova i la Geltrú is a little further down the coast behind Sitges. If you want to spend the day on the beach, this is a good place to do it. There are a couple of decent wide beaches and an interesting railway museum, the Museu del Ferrocarril.
Penedes Wine region
South of Barcelona lies the scenic Penedes region of Catalonia, which is one of Spain's most important wine-growing areas along with Rioja and Priorat. The most famous wine is Cava, the Catalan version of French Champagne, but in addition to sparkling wine, there are also many wineries producing red and white wines of great renown. A day trip to one of the many wineries in Penedes is a worthwhile destination for wine tasting. Many companies offer tours that include a tour of the vineyards and wineries, wine tasting, food, and maybe even a little culture, or you can take the train and visit some wineries on your own.
Enjoy the culture in Barcelona
Where to eat, drink, and party in Barcelona
Barcelona is also known for its vibrant nightlife and numerous discos that are open almost every day of the week. If you are lucky enough to be in Barcelona on a Monday, we recommend a visit to Club Sala Apolo, which is known worldwide for its Nasty Mondays and always fills the room to capacity. The traditional Monday repertoire at the club, which looks like a kind of theatre with high antique ceilings and raised boxes, is an ideal mix of alternative rock, popular music, and old hits, traditionally mixed by the DJ duo Max & Soren. Razzmatazz, Catwalk, Macarena, Harlem Jazz Club, and others are also popular. You will always find a company in one of the well-kept skate parks.
Best restaurants in Barcelona:
La Patsa Lab
Don Kilo Gourmet
Babula Bar 1937
Billy Brunch & Garden
What you need to know about renting a car
What do I need to rent a car in Spain?
A credit card in the name of the main driver needs to be presented. A security deposit may be required while renting a car so the credit card must have sufficient funds. You can find details about the security deposit listed while booking the vehicle as well as on your voucher. It is important to have a valid driving license with the name of the main driver as well as additional drivers when it applies. An International Driving Permit is required in addition to a National Driving License if the National Driving License you or any of the Additional Drivers hold is not clearly identifiable as a Driving License, eg, it is in a non-Latin alphabet (eg Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese). It can also depend on the country or car rental company you are renting with. If you have found a car on our website, you can press the rental terms link from the supplier for more information about driving license requirements. You will need to have identification with you such as a passport and ID cards. When you pick up your rental car you need to have your voucher with you.
How old do I need to be to rent a car in Spain?
The minimum age to rent a car is 21 years old and with some suppliers for people over 75 years of age. Young driver surcharges may apply to many car rental companies for people under 25 years of age.
Do I need car insurance in Spain?
Insurances are very important when renting a car and can be different between countries. When renting a car in Spain with Orbit Car Hire the prices will include mandatory insurances in the country.
Do I need a credit card to rent a car in Spain?
In most cases, a credit card is required to be presented in the name of the main driver. A security deposit may be required when renting a car so it is important to have sufficient funds on the credit card. When searching for a car at Orbit you can see credit card requirements from all our suppliers.
Do I need an international driving license in Spain?
An International Driving Permit is required in addition to a National Driving License if the National Driving License you or any of the Additional Drivers hold is not clearly identifiable as a Driving License, eg, it is in a non-Latin alphabet (eg Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese). It can also depend on the country or car rental company you are renting with. If you have found a car on our website, you can press the rental terms link from the supplier for more information about driving license requirements.
How do I find the cheapest car hire in Spain?
You can find cheap car hire by comparing prices with all major car rentals at Orbit Car Hire. A good idea can be to book in advance as the prices can increase closer to the travel period.
What is the cheapest rental car in Spain?
You will find the mini car category or economy cars to be the cheapest car categories. Vehicles such as VW Up, Fiat 500, and Fiat Panda often provide the best prices.
What is the best car rental company in Spain?
You may find excellent service provided by companies such as Europcar, Enterprise rent a car, OK rent a car and Centauro.
What types and makes of rental car deals can I find in Spain?
You will find car types such as mini, economy, compact, Full-Size, and luxury cars. Popular rental cars are VW Up, Fiat Panda, VW Polo, Nissan Micra, Fiat 500.
Does my rental car have unlimited mileage when I book it for Spain?
Most car hires in Spain offer unlimited mileage in their offers
What is Premium Coverage and how does it work?
Premium Coverage is an optional service by Orbit Car Hire which, if accepted, covers your financial accountability for damage or theft to the hired vehicle. This is not insured with a car hire company that reduces the excess amount, but a cover that refunds you in case the car hire company charges you for damage or theft. With this option, you will be reimbursed up to 3000 EUR. For more information, you can read the Terms and Conditions or contact us.
Are there any hidden fees in my Spain car hire?
There are no hidden charges! All mandatory surcharges and fees are presented in the 3rd step of the booking process and our Terms and Conditions. Please note that additional charges may apply for some rentals in case of:
- Out of hours surcharge (when picking up the vehicle out of office hours),
- One way fee (when returning the vehicle at a different location),
- The service charge for fuel (prepaid fuel policy),
- Young/senior driver fee (this condition is set by the car hire company and is usually not in relation to the regulation of the specific country),
- Excess and deposit amount (before hiring you to need to make sure your credit card limit is high enough for the deposit amount to be blocked which usually equals the excess amount or higher).
We advise our clients to read the Terms and Conditions carefully before the rental to avoid any surprises. Our knowledgeable customer service agents will gladly help you with any questions via phone, email, or live chat during our opening hours.
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