Barcelona is relatively easy to drive around but famously a nightmare to park in. A recent system means that parking on the street in the city centre is all but impossible for non-residents, which only leaves expensive municipal car parks. Unless you’re thinking of setting off outside the city, you’ll invariably be better off using public transport (see How to get around Barcelona for more information).
However, if you are thinking of exploring the Catalan countryside, a car is pretty much essential. The Costa Brava is particularly poorly served by public transport, as are a couple of gems in the region; Cadaqués and Figueres, both meccas for fans of Salvador Dalí and showcasing some of his best-loved works. The Pyrenees, too, are much easier to access by car; there is a train from Barcelona, but it’s painfully slow.
Various car rental companies – both major and minor – operate out of Barcelona, Girona and Reus airports. You’ll also find most companies operating within the city itself, particularly from Sants station. You’ll find the best rates through brokers or price comparison websites. See the Simonseeks booking tool above, powered by Kayak, and read the money-saving guide on .
Useful to know
- You are legally required to carry a reflective jacket (which must be visible to police looking into the car), spare bulbs for all lights and two red warning triangles.
- If you wear glasses, you’re also required to bring a spare pair.
- Theft from cars is a big problem in Spain, and hired cars are obvious targets. If you must leave anything of value in the car, leave it in the boot.