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The Spanish drive on the right-hand side of the road and the driver sits on the left-hand side of the vehicle, the opposite of how you drive in Australia. Take some time to get used to driving on a different side of the road and familiarise yourself with the vehicle and controls before driving off.
The minimum driving age in Spain is 18, however, most car rental companies impose a minimum driver age of 21. Driving must hold a full Australian driver’s licence and most rental suppliers charge an additional fee for driver’s under 25 years of age to cover higher insurance premiums. A very popular option for drivers under 21 is to lease a vehicle on our Peugeot Lease Program. The minimum age to drive a Peugeot is 18 years with NO young drivers surcharge to pay. Most suppliers have no upper age limit providing you hold a full drivers licence.
International Driving Permits are required in addition to a full, valid Australian driver’s licence. You must obtain the International Driving Permit before departure from Australia.
Travelling with children is a popular option for our Australian clients. Children need to be over the age of 12 years AND over 1.35m before they have travel without a car seat. Feel free to take your own or we are more than happy to arrange one to be available with your rental vehicle on arrival.
Speed limits vary in Spain depending upon the type of road you are travelling. Standard speed limits are as follows;
- The speed limit on Motorways is 120km/hr
- The speed limit on main intercity roads is 90km/hr
- The speed limit in other built-up areas is usually 50km/hr
- Some city centres have reduced speed zones of 20km/hr
Many of the roads in the Spanish motorway network are toll roads. There are two types of motorways, 'autopistas' and 'autovias'. Autovias are not toll roads. The autopistas can have quite high tolls compared to other European motorway networks. If desired, you can avoid most of the toll roads, as only about one-fifth of the motorways are tolled.
Roundabouts are common on Spanish roads and major junctions. In theory, internationally recognised rules apply, meaning drivers approaching the roundabout have to yield to drivers on the roundabout. You should indicate to leave the roundabout and only use or move into the outside lane to take the next exit. In practice, not all drivers follow these conventions. You may find cars moving lanes unexpectedly, or using whichever lane they happen to be driving in, regardless of the exit they intend to take. Some good advice is to always check your mirrors when changing lanes or exiting the roundabout, and beware of drivers in lanes which you might not normally find them.
Signposts in Spain are similar to what you will find in Australia, with most being designed to European recommendations. Signs inside a red circle are generally prohibitive, signs with a blue background are generally directive, and signs with a red triangle are usually warning signs.
Fuel types are generally the same as throughout Europe. The main types of fuel available are;
We recommend you choose a diesel vehicle where available. Diesel is cheaper to purchase and more economical to run. Fuel stations can be found in all cities and towns along the main highways as well as in supermarkets. You will often find that Supermarket brands are cheaper to purchase fuel from than fuel stations along the major roads.
Parking rules in Spanish towns and cities are decided by the municipal authorities, and the system can vary between towns, neighbourhood and street. Pay & display parking operates in most cities. Parking is usually charged from 9 am to 2 pm and again from 4 pm to 9 pm during the week. Sundays and Public Holidays are usually free for parking.
The closer to the city centre, you are likely to see signs stating Estacionamiento Prohibido, or an “E” with a diagonal line through it, which means parking in prohibited. In some streets, parking is permitted on one side of the road for the first half of the month (1st to 15th) and on the other side for the rest of the month.
Border Crossings are simple thanks to tourism VISA waiver programmes and the evolution of the EU. Internal borders are fading and it is now very straightforward to drive throughout all of Western Europe with very little complications. There are restrictions in place on crossings borders by some suppliers and on some vehicle types, such as luxury cars. Check at the time of booking if your itinerary is permitted with the supplier and car type you would like to rent. Additionally, if you are planning to drive your car to Eastern Europe there may be restrictions and/or additional costs, and you must say at the time of booking and picking up the car from the supplier. The costs are usually to cover increased insurance premiums.
Driving times and distances in Spain are important to know when planning your self-drive holiday. Our top driving tip when planning a self-drive holiday in south-west Europe is to take your time and do not attempt to do too much in one day. There is plenty to see, but there is no need to rush, so relax and enjoy!
The following driving times and distances should be useful;
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