Rent a Car for Travel in Barcelona

Renting a car enables exploring Barcelona’s top sights and the surrounding region of Catalonia at your own pace. With proper planning for language needs, insurance, and local driving laws, navigating Barcelona by rental car can be easy and stress-free. Follow this guide for tips on renting a car for travel in Barcelona.

Finding a Barcelona Car Rental

Start by finding a rental provider:

International Companies

Major agencies like Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar and Budget operate locations across Barcelona including El Prat Airport.

Local Spanish Companies

Local brands like Centauro, Sol Mar, and Spain Car may offer cheaper rates than big names. Research policies and reputation.

Peer-to-Peer Rentals

Sites like SocialCar allow locals to rent out their personal cars. Compare costs but verify insurance policies.

Aggregator Sites

Use comparison sites like and Kayak to find deals across companies. Watch for hidden fees.

Barcelona Car Rental Companies

CompanyPickup Locations
HertzEl Prat Airport, Sants Train Station, City Center
EnterpriseEl Prat Airport, City Center
CentauroEl Prat Airport, Sants Station, City Center
AvisEl Prat Airport, City Center
Sol MarEl Prat Airport, City Center

Choosing a Rental Car in Barcelona

Consider the following when selecting a rental car in Barcelona:

  • Rental duration – Are you renting for a few days or longer?
  • Number of passengers/luggage – Choose a car size that fits all passengers comfortably.
  • Locations – Will you stay central or take road trips outside city?
  • Fuel efficiency – Opt for diesel, hybrid, or smaller petrol cars.
  • Transmission – Manual is far more common than automatic. Ensure you can drive stick.
  • Features – GPS, Bluetooth, child seats etc.
  • Cost – Balance size and features with rental fees.

Insurance Needs for Barcelona Car Rentals

Insurance for Barcelona rental cars is crucial. Ask:

  • Is basic insurance included or will you need to add CDW (collision damage waiver)? Understand the coverage.
  • Should you purchase supplemental liability insurance for extra protection?
  • Does your credit card provide rental coverage? Know the specific benefits.
  • Are there exclusions like damage to windows, tires, roof or undercarriage?

Purchase adequate insurance to avoid large out-of-pocket expenses for any damages or theft. The minimum liability may not be enough coverage.

Pick Up and Drop Off Locations

When booking, choose convenient rental locations and times. Options include:

  • El Prat Airport (BCN) – Best for arriving visitors.
  • Barcelona Sants Train Station – Pick up a car downtown.
  • Inner city rental offices – Major agencies have central branch locations.
  • Flexible return – Return to a different approved location for a small fee.

Review opening hours to avoid after-hours return fees. Also factor in transit connections to and from rental locations.

Driving Tips for Barcelona

Driving in Barcelona requires caution. Be prepared with these tips:

  • Use offline maps and GPS to navigate unfamiliar areas. Mobile data is inconsistent.
  • Watch for motorcycles, cyclists, pedestrians weaving through traffic.
  • Parking is limited. Reserve rental lots or garages ahead when possible.
  • Avoid pedestrian-only zones in the city center without credentials.
  • Follow speed limits and traffic signs closely. Fines from speed cameras are high.
  • Watch for narrow cobblestone one-way streets and spaces to reverse into.

Rules of the Road in Spain

Follow these rules when driving a rental car in Barcelona and Spain:

  • Drive on the right side of the road.
  • Seat belt use mandatory for all passengers.
  • Children under 135 cm must be in approved child safety seats.
  • Headlights required day and night when driving.
  • Yield to traffic from the right at uncontrolled intersections.
  • Strict legal limit of 0.05% blood alcohol content when driving.
  • Completely hands-free mobile phone use only.

Refueling Your Barcelona Rental Car

  • Review if you must return the car full or can pay for unfilled fuel.
  • Refill close to your drop off location before returning the car.
  • Keep fuel receipts as potential proof of fill level.
  • Most stations are self-service. Pay at the pump with chips or PIN.

Dropping Off Your Barcelona Rental Car

When it’s time to return your rental car in Barcelona:

  • Return during posted office hours to avoid after-hours drop off fees.
  • Inspect the car fully with agent and note any new damage before turning it in.
  • Keep rental agreement in case of disputes over later damages or charges.
  • Have fuel receipt ready to show fuel remaining.
  • Get $0 balance receipt from agent upon safe drop off.

Helpful Barcelona Car Rental Resources

Use these additional Barcelona rental car resources:

  • Barcelona Tourism – Official Barcelona travel guide
  • Catalunya Car Rentals – Local car rental company with driving tips
  • Auto Europe Guide – Booking info and driving overview
  • Barcelona Airport Guide – BCN airport transportation options

With proper preparation, renting a car enables easy travel around magnificent Barcelona and greater Catalonia. Use this guide to start planning your Barcelona road trip!

Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a Car in Barcelona

What documents do I need to rent a car in Barcelona?

You’ll need a valid driver’s license, passport, and credit card in your name. Some companies require an International Driving Permit (IDP).

What is the minimum rental age in Barcelona?

The minimum age is usually 21-25 depending on the company. There may be extra underage fees for younger drivers.

Can I take a rental car from Barcelona to other parts of Spain/Europe?

Yes, but notify the rental company ahead of time. Extra insurance fees or restrictions may apply outside Spain.

Is automatic or manual transmission more common for Barcelona rentals?

Manual transmission is far more common in Spain. Ensure you are able to competently drive a stick shift before renting.

How expensive is car rental insurance in Barcelona?

Basic insurance averages €10-20 per day. Supplemental liability can cost €20-40+ extra per day for added protection.


Renting a car allows you to visit Barcelona’s incredible sights and surroundings on your own flexible itinerary. With the right vehicle, insurance coverage, and knowledge of local driving, you can comfortably navigate this amazing city and region by rental car. Use this guide to start planning your Barcelona road trip!


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