Car Hire in Barcelona
This information is correct as of April 2015
Hiring a car in Barcelona adds plenty of flexibility to your trip. Whether you want to explore the beautiful beaches of the Costa Brava, the cava vineyards of the Penedes, or simply prefer getting around town on four wheels instead of two legs, you can find the perfect vehicles for your trip with Skyscanner. Our handy guide to car rental in Barcelona will make it even easier to make the right decision.
Where to hire a car in Barcelona
Like all major cities, Barcelona offers a huge array of car hire options. You can collect your car as soon as you arrive, whether you’re landing at Barcelona – El Prat Airport (7.5 miles south of the city) or at Girona – Costa Brava Airport (57 miles to the north). Pick up locations can also be found in the city centre, with plenty of agencies based near the ferry terminal and around the main train station (Barcelona Sants). This gives you plenty of great options during your trip, as many of the larger companies will allow you to pick up your car in one location and drop it in another.
Driving in Barcelona
In Spain traffic drives on the right hand side of the road. If you’re hiring a car in Barcelona it’s likely to be a left hand drive. If this is your first time in an LHD vehicle, It’s worth taking a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the controls before driving off.
Driving in Barcelona is not for the faint hearted. The traffic in the city centre can be quite chaotic, with scooters and motorbikes dashing in and out of congested traffic. Don’t expect other vehicles to make room for you or let you in: the Spanish are renowned for their aggressive driving style. The answer is to drive defensively, keep your speed down, and leave plenty of space between yourself and other road users.
There are four daily rush hours in Barcelona: 8am-9:30am, 12:30pm-2:30pm, 3:30p,-5pm, and 6:30pm-8:30pm. Blame the siesta. There’s also a weekend rush hour as holidaymakers head out of and into the city: usually around 12pm on Saturday and 6-7pm on Sunday evenings.
Parking in Barcelona
Metered parking spaces do exist, but finding an empty one is a rare occurrence. The city centre (Ciudad Vella and Eixample) and coast are all Blue Zones, where parking bays are in operation from Monday-Saturday 9am-2pm and 4pm-8pm. You can stay in these spaces for up to two hours. The local traffic police are very much on the ball, and will tow your car if you violate parking rules. It costs €2.50 (about £1.80) to park for an hour in the Blue Zone. The same restrictions apply in Green Zones, although the price is lower at €2.25 (around £1.60) an hour.
There are some good multi-storey and underground car parks throughout the city, where you can leave your vehicle for the day and head out for a bit of on-foot exploring. B:SM (the municipal government) operate more than 40 car parks in central Barcelona. One of the best is at Placa de les Glories, where you can park for up to 6 hours for €6.10 (about £4.40) or up to 24 hours of €18.40 (around £13.25). You can buy prepaid parking passes in advance, which gives you discounted parking for 25, 50, or 100 hours.
Prices subject to change
Great day trips from Barcelona
The mountain top monastery of Montserrat is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Catalonia. The monastery is home to the Black Madonna and offers some fantastic views across the countryside. Overnight hikes are popular: you reach the top of the mountain just in time to watch the sunrise. The monastery is 30 miles from Barcelona, an easy drive taking little more than an hour. Sant Sadurni d’Anoia Fans of bubbly will love a trip to this little mountain town, which is the capital of cava. Top cava houses like Freixenet, Recaredo and Codornui all offer tours from the town. Obviously you shouldn’t do any sampling if you’re behind the driver’s seat: but you can pick up a few bottles to enjoy in your hotel room later.
Sant Pol de Mar
If you’re a sun worshipper you’ll fall head over heels for the gorgeous beaches on the Catalonian coast. There are 114 Blue Flag beaches to choose from, but one of the best is Sant Pol de Mar: just a 45 minute drive from the city. As well as a beautiful beach, Sant Pol de Mar also boasts a historic town with 6th Century architecture and a two Michelin Star restaurant.