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Why rent a car in Barcelona?
Barcelona is a great destination. A true world city, it has plenty to offer in terms of culture, history, and atmosphere. Having your own ride will let you explore its different neighborhoods, as well as the rest of Catalonia region.
Top ways to enter Barcelona
- Barcelona El Prat Airport: Barcelona’s main airport is one of the largest in Europe and offers flights to countless destinations not only in Europe, but also Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
- Girona-Costa Brava Airport: Serving Girona, Catalonia’s second city, Girona Airport is just 74 km (46 mi) north of Barcelona and is favored by low-cost airlines.
- Reus Airport: Small, cozy, and mostly busy during summers, Reus Airport is located in Tarragona Province and is about an hour and a half’s drive away from Barcelona city center.
Useful city facts
- The home language of Catalonia is Catalan, still the first tongue of many Barcelona natives. While Catalan is related to Spanish, the two languages are not mutually understandable, and retains a much stronger French influence. Spanish is also understood and spoken by practically everyone in the city. The general knowledge of English is high.
- Climate. Although Barcelona is further north than many other cities in Spain, its location on the Mediterranean ensures it enjoys warm and mild winters. The summers, on the other hand, can get very hot, and getting properly hydrated is important.
Top destinations and activities
- Gaudí Architecture: The unique ideas of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí can be observed throughout the city in buildings of which La Sagrada Familia is just the most famous one, but by far from the only example. Barcelona is a metropolis of arts, and works of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso can also be seen in the city galleries.
- La Rambla: Barcelona’s beating heart and main tourist attraction, walking La Rambla is the most Barcelona thing you can do. Proceed at a leisurely pace as you appreciate the food market, the street artist performances, and the general atmosphere.
- The rest of the Old City: Although La Rambla is also part of Ciutat Vella, there is so much more of it to explore, from the unique Barri Gotic neighborhood to the Naval Museum and the Contemporary Art museum of Barcelona.
Traffic and parking tips
- Speed limits - 50km/h (31mph) in built-up areas, 90km/h (56mph) on most standard roads, 100km/h (62mph) on standard roads that are either one-way roads, roads with more than two lanes for at least one direction of traffic and roads with shoulders more than 1.5m wide, and 120km/h (74mph) on motorways (called autovías in Spain).
- The car documentation and insurance always has to be inside a vehicle.
- The driver and all passengers are required to wear seatbelts.
- Children up to the age of 12 and measuring less than 135cm travelling on the front seat of a car must be seated in a child restraint system adapted to their size and weight.
- Unnecessary use of audible warning devices (horns) is prohibited
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.02% for novice drivers
- The emergency number is 112.
- There parking areas in Barcelona can be generally divided into three parking types: free parking, the Green Area and the Blue Area. Do note that some paid parking areas may become free during the weekends.
- The Green Area (Àrea Verda) can be recognized by green painted lines. The price will vary depending on the location. You cannot park in Green Area for more than 1 or 2 hours.
- The Blue Area (Àrea Blava) is a paid parking area for everyone, with time limit varying between 1 and 4 hours depending on the place. If you want to park here, you must purchase a ticket at the machines on the sidewalk and place it in a visible area of your car.
- There are also free parking opportunities in Barcelona. Although many are not in the city centre, you may find a lot of them convenient. Some examples are: the subterranean parking of supermarket La Maquinista (Calle Potosí, 2), the area next to Parc Ciutadella (Calle de Ramón Turro), Montjuic area close to Fundación Miro and area around Calle Icaria
- There are also many paid car parks in Barcelona, varying in price and proximity to city centre. Look up the on that might suit you the best on the official website.
Most of the roads inside the country are toll-free. Toll roads are called ‘carretera de peaje’. On maps and road signs, all toll roads have to include a letter P after the road type. The payment method may vary depending on the road, but most will accept cash. Regardless of the region, the average estimated price is €9.5 ($11.25) per 100km by car. See the official website for prices and more information.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Castelldefels: Located in the southern suburbs of Barcelona, the beaches of Castelldefels are popular with everyone from football stars to foreign travelers and natives of Barcelona
- Inland Catalonia: The rest of Catalonia and especially the inland parts are where you’ll find farms, vineyards, and small towns, giving you the opportunity to truly enjoy the Catalan culture.
- Costa-Brava: Similar in appearance to beaches of Barcelona, but more cozy and relaxed, Costa Brava, or the Wild Coast, is an amalgamation of beach restaurants, small coastal towns, and opportunities for water sports.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car in Spain is the Ford Fiesta, but travelers tend to also choose the Fiat 500 and the Ford Focus a lot. The most popular car types are economy, compact and mini.
- Provence and Southern France: If you’re still craving more beach, the iconic Provence is France’s most famous destination after Paris, from little villages next to the azure Mediterranean waters to large cities like Marseille and Nice.
- Valencian Community: Located next-door to Catalonia as you go south along the coast, the Valencian Community is home to unique culture, cuisine, and wine traditions, and boast the best paella in the whole of Spain.
- Madrid: Spain’s capital and Barcelona’s rival is different in atmosphere, but just as fascinating thanks to its busy cultural and music life, interesting history, and monumental architecture.
How can I save money on my rental car?
You can do a number of things to get a good car rental deal in Barcelona:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Barcelona is the cheapest in April when renting a car is about 28% cheaper than the yearly average and 51% cheaper than renting in July.
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