A guide to driving in Spain

Driving abroad: Spain

Driving in Spain is a fantastic way to get to know the country.

Whether you're hoping to explore the mainland or one of the many islands, Spain has plenty to offer. Feeling confident on the roads is a big part of enjoying your trip, so we are here to help.

Take a look at our guide to driving in Spain, and get ready for your visit to one of the most popular countries to visit in the world.

Spain: quick driving tips

  • Snow chains

    These are required in mountainous areas during winter, so you may be subject to winterisation fees if this applies to you.

  • Child seats

    Under 12 are not allowed to sit in the front passenger seat of a vehicle. Children under 53 inches/135cm tall must also sit in an infant, child or booster seat.

  • Mobile phones

    As with most countries, mobile phones are illegal while driving. They can only be used when parked away from traffic – and this doesn't mean stopped on the shoulder of the road. You may only use a hands free device without headphones.

  • Red lights

    Turning right on a red is only allowed if there is a green arrow indicting it is okay to do so or a flashing amber light.

Driving age in Spain

Why do younger drivers pay more?

Being under 25 and wanting to hire a car can come with added costs and complications. Unfortunately, because younger drivers have less experience on the road, they tend to have a higher chance of getting in a car accident. This means that car rental companies take more of a risk when they rent a car to someone below a certain age. The consequence for a young renter being extra fees. The charts below give you some idea of the extra costs and age requirements for renting a car in Spain.

Age restrictions and fees

What is the minimum age to drive in Spain?You must be at least 18 years old to get a driving licence in Spain.
What is the minimum age to rent a car in Spain? Most companies require you you to be at least 21, but a select few will rent to 18 year olds. Restrictions may apply on which cars you can rent as a young driver.
Is there a young driver's fee in Spain? Yes, if you are aged 21-24 most car rental companies will charge a young driver's fee. This will vary from company to company, so it's worth comparing prices.

  • Sixt

    Sixt are a really useful company to go for if you are hoping to drive in Spain and are as young as 18. In Spain, if you book through easyCar, Sixt will charge an extra £15.75 per day in young driver's fees during your rental.

  • Nomadcar

    Nomadcar offer cars to drivers from age 18, and have depots at Malaga Airport and Barcelona Airport. They even offer a meet and greet service so that you don't have to worry about those dreaded queues. Their young driver fees start from £4.38 per day.

  • Ok Rent a Car

    To rent from Ok Rent a Car in Spain you must be at least 19 years old and have held your licence for at least two years. Their young driver fee is £21.01 per rental.

Spanish road signs

When driving in Spain, you may come across a range of road signs that you don't recognise as they aren't used in the country you usually drive in. Here are a few examples of Spanish road signs which are useful to understand.

Good to know:


Petrol type Average price
Regular unleaded 95 /
sin polo 95
Premium unleaded 98 /
sin plomo 98
Diesel /

It is easy to find petrol stations in busy regions, though it's best to fill up before heading into more rural areas. Petrol is generally cheaper in Spain than in the UK and other European countries.

Tip: It is mandatory to have your engine, lights and car radios off when re-fuelling. You could be fined up to 91 for filling up with the radio on.

Speed limits

Speed limits Type of road
Towns / built-up areas 30mph / 50km
Open roads / rural / single carriageways 55-60mph / 90km
Dual carriageway 68mph / 100km
Tolled and un-tolled motorways 75mph / 120km

In Spain, an autopista is the equivalent of a motorway, and an autovia is a dual carriageway. Cyclists are sometimes allowed to use autovias, so don't be surprised if you see them.

Tip: While autopistas cost money to use, they are most often light on traffic meaning that the journey can be a lot more pleasant.

Extra info

Required documents and items

Licence Full licence for one minimum of one year
International Driving Permit Yes, if you are from the USA
Passport and driving licence To always be carried while driving
Warning Triangle Yes, must have two in car
Reflective Vest Yes
Spare bulbs Yes
Headlamp beam deflectors Yes
Prescription glasses If you require glasses, you must carry an extra pair in the car

Driving basics

Driving basicsRule
Driving side Drive on the right and overtake on the left
Give way to... ...traffic from left. At an intersection , drivers must give way to vehicles coming from the right.
Traffic lights Traffic lights in Spain follow the standard Vienna Convention or red, amber, green.
Tolls “peaje” – toll road; often quicker; €2.20 to over €30 depending on your route. Cash and card accepted.

Types of road in Spain

SignRoad nameKey facts
Autovia A free motorway marked with an A alongside the road number.
Autopistas de peaje Toll motorway marked with an AP and the road number.
European road Dual carriageway marked with an E; traffic heavy during peak seasons (never tolled). Sometimes E roads can be part autovia.
National routeState owned roads; many of these have been upgraded to motorways.