Driving in Spain

Category: Articles

Spain is the third most visited country on the planet. It’s no wonder considering the culture, tradition, historical sites, art, and beaches.

People coming to Spain to visit need to travel around the entire country to get a glimpse of all Spain has to offer, from the beaches of Malaga to the history of Madrid to the sites of Barcelona.

If you plan on driving around some of the major cities, be sure to get a compact car as finding car parking in Spain can be difficult!

Driving and car rental in Spain can be a little scary especially if you are accustomed to driving in the US. Sometimes lanes are nothing more than lines on a road, virtually ignored by many drivers in the city. Many intersections are administered through ‘rotondas’, which are circular intersections without stoplights. Some are very large and very chaotic so be sure to keep an eye out when circulating. Spaniards generally drive about 20 km over the speed limit.

Tourist can drive and hire car rentals in Spain with a foreign license for a period of 3 months.

If you are coming from a country outside of the European Union, keep in mind that some aspects of the driving code will be different from those in your country. Likewise, you could experience driving situations that are new to you.

For instance:

  • There is an overabundance of traffic signs, many you have never seeing before. The icon within the sign will give you an idea what it means, but the shape and color of the sign are extremely important.
    • A triangular sign with a horizontal base indicates danger; it tell you to be cautious.
    • A circular sign with a red edge indicates a prohibition. It tells you what you are not allowed to do.
    • A round blue sign is a compulsory sign; it tells you what you must do.
    • A square blue sign is informative; it gives you information regarding various aspects of the road.
  • You must drive on the right side of the road and on the right lane unless you are passing another car or you are within the city limits.
  • If there is no light or sign indicating otherwise, in an intersection the traffic coming from your right has the right of way except in a roundabout where you must yield to the traffic coming from your left.
  • If there is a crosswalk the pedestrian has the right of way, unless there is a traffic light indicating that you have the right of way.

As in any other country drinking and driving don’t mix well, so be careful not to drink—yes not even wine—If you are going to be driving. Remember the use of cell phones is forbidden while you drive unless you have hands free device.

Good luck driving in Spain!