Should I rent (or hire) a car while on vacation in Spain?

The Pros and Cons of renting a car while in Spain

No doubt you have been throwing around the idea of renting a car while on your vacation.

There are situations in which renting a car while travelling around Spain is almost a necessity, and other situations when you would actually find it a burden.

I’ll help you break down the pros and cons.  

When NOT to rent a car in Spain

Depending on your plans in Spain, it may be easier to get around without a car

Depending on your plans in Spain, it may be easier to get around without a car

If you are planning on staying in the larger centres - Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville or almost any of the larger cities. Here is why you don’t want to have a car in these cities:

  • The public transportation within the cities is excellent. The maps for the trains and bus systems are easy to understand and easy to use.

  • In most cases, you will have to depend on your shoe leather to see the sights in the cities. Walking is the best way to explore any Spanish city.

  • Parking is prime and very expensive. You will find yourself driving in circles and managing one-way streets to find parking.

  • Even with GPS, it is easy to get lost if you try to drive around Madrid. (this is from my directionally challenged point of view-- but even my husband, who is a walking GPS, recommends walking or taking the public transportation when in Madrid or Barcelona)

  • Even if you are travelling between cities or to smaller towns close to Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia there are plenty of ways to get to where you want to go without driving.

For general tips on driving around Spain, you may want to check my article: How to survive driving in Spain.

Parking in Spain can be very tight, and that is when you find a spot.

Parking in Spain can be very tight, and that is when you find a spot.

When you will need to rent or hire a car in Spain:

  • If you want to spend most of your time exploring small towns and rural Spain then a car would be more practical.

  • If you are travelling long distances in Spain and want to stop and see out-of-the-way places on route.

  • Travelling to quaint villages or any off-the-beaten track type of places.

  • Anything off the regular tourist grid.

To sum up:  

In the big centres you will want to avoid driving, but if you are spending a lot of time in the countryside then you will want to have some wheels available.

What car company should you use?

There are a lot of car rentals out there. I would check around before you decide on one as there are almost as many price variations as there are car rental agencies.

Two car rentals places that I would recommend you take a look at as they seem to have very competitive prices are both  and . Both of these rental companies work with the big name car rental agencies and search for the best price across the board.

If you have a favourite car rental place, we would love to hear your comments about it.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.If you decide to buy something using one of these links, I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry that’s at no extra cost to you.