Rent a Car in Madrid: The Complete Guide

Renting a car in Madrid can be a great way to get around and explore the city and surrounding areas during your visit. With some planning and research, renting a car in Madrid can be easy and affordable. Here is a complete guide to renting a car in Madrid:

Finding a Car Rental Company

The first step is finding a reputable car rental company in Madrid. Here are some options to consider:

Major International Companies

Major car rental brands like Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, and Budget operate locations throughout Madrid. These companies tend to offer a wide selection of vehicles and convenience. Look for rental locations at the airport, train stations, and in the city center.

Local Spanish Companies

Consider local Spanish companies like Centauro, Sol Mar, and Spain Car. These local brands can sometimes offer lower rates than the major names. Be sure to research reviews and policies.

Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing

Sites like Turo allow locals to rent out their personal vehicles. This can be a more affordable option, but verify insurance policies and rental conditions.

Comparison Sites

Use aggregation sites like and Kayak to comparison shop and find the best deals across multiple rental companies. Don’t forget to factor in any additional insurance or fees.

Choosing a Car

The rental car company will offer different vehicle sizes and models. Consider these factors when choosing:

Type of Rental

Are you renting for a few hours or multiple days? For the city only or road trips? This will impact the type of car needed.

Number of Passengers/Luggage

Choose a car size that comfortably fits all passengers and luggage. Compact cars may be too tight.

Driving Location

Smaller cars are better for driving within Madrid, where streets are narrow. Larger cars work better for road trips out of the city.

Fuel Efficiency

Go for more fuel-efficient vehicles if you’ll be driving longer distances.


Look for features like automatic transmission, navigation systems, car seats, etc. if needed.


Balance size and features with rental costs to find a reasonable rate. Avoid upgrades that are unnecessary.

Insurance Considerations

Car rental insurance can be confusing. Be sure to ask these questions:

  • Is basic insurance included or extra? Know what’s covered.
  • Should you purchase supplemental liability insurance for extra protection?
  • Does your credit card provide rental car insurance? If so, know the coverage.
  • Are there exclusions like damage to windows, tires, roof?

Read the fine print so you understand your potential financial responsibility in case of damages or theft. Having the right insurance coverage is crucial when driving in a foreign country.

Pick Up and Drop Off

When booking, choose rental locations that are convenient for both pick up and drop off based on your itinerary. Here are some options in Madrid:


Renting at Madrid-Barajas Airport lets you pick up your car upon arrival. Be sure to allow extra time for the shuttle ride from the terminal to the rental facility.

City Locations

Major rental companies have offices throughout central Madrid. This allows pick up and drop off right in the city.

Train Stations

Some rental locations are situated at main train stations like Atocha and Chamartín if arriving by rail.

Flexible Return

Some companies may allow returning the car to a different location for a small fee. This provides flexibility if your plans change.

At Pick Up

When you go to pick up your rental car, be prepared:

  • Have your booking confirmation ready to show. Print or use the mobile app.
  • Have your driver’s license, passport, and credit card used for booking ready.
  • Carefully inspect the car interior and exterior for any prior damage. Note everything before driving away.
  • Make sure you know how to adjust mirrors, lights, wipers, etc. before leaving the lot. Don’t hesitate to ask for a tutorial.
  • Consider having the rental agent mark sightseeing spots on a map if needed.

Driving in Madrid

Driving in a new city can be challenging. Here are some tips for getting around Madrid by rental car:

  • Use GPS or offline maps to navigate unfamiliar areas. Data connectivity can be spotty.
  • Watch out for scooters, motorcycles, and bikes weaving through traffic. Yield to pedestrians.
  • Parking is limited and expensive. Reserve ahead if possible or use public transport in congested areas.
  • Follow speed limits and traffic signs closely. Fines for cameras catching speeding are steep.
  • Be alert for narrow one way streets, cars double parked, and intersections without traffic lights.


Most rentals come with a full tank of gas but you will need to refill before returning it.

  • Review the fuel policy – some make you return the tank full.
  • Try to refuel close to your drop off location before returning.
  • Keep receipts as proof if the rental company requires you to return with a full tank.
  • Gas stations are self-serve. Use cash or credit cards.

Drop Off

When returning your rental car, allow extra time for potential delays:

  • Return during office hours or you may incur additional after-hours fees.
  • Inspect the car with the agent and note any new damage before turning it in.
  • Keep your rental agreement in case of disputes about damages or additional charges later on.
  • Have your receipt handy in case you need to dispute any additional fuel charges.
  • Confirm the agent provides you with an invoice showing $0 balance due at drop off.

By following this guide, renting a car in Madrid can be easy and enjoyable. The freedom of having your own wheels lets you explore at your own pace. With the right preparation, you can sit back and enjoy the drive!


Renting a car in Madrid can provide freedom and flexibility to explore the city and surrounding areas. First, find a reputable company like Hertz or a local provider and compare rates. Carefully consider the type of car, size, and features needed for your specific rental duration and passengers.

Sort out insurance coverage beforehand so you understand your potential liability for damages. Pick convenient locations for pickup and dropoff based on your itinerary, like the airport, downtown, or train stations. At pickup, inspect the car thoroughly, have documents ready, and get directions if needed.

Driving in Madrid can be challenging with narrow streets and limited parking, so use GPS and be alert. Refuel before dropping off the car and keep receipts. Inspect for new damages, return during office hours, and get a $0 balance invoice. With proper planning, renting a car in Madrid can allow easy access to navigate the city’s sights.

Here are some potential FAQs about renting a car in Madrid:

Q: What documents do I need to rent a car in Madrid?

A: You’ll typically need a valid driver’s license, passport, and credit card in your name. Some companies may require an International Driving Permit.

Q: What is the minimum rental age in Madrid?

A: Most rental car companies require renters to be at least 21-25 years old, depending on the company and car type. There may be extra fees for young drivers.

Q: Can I rent a car with manual transmission in Madrid?

A: Yes, manual transmission cars are common in Spain and are available for rental if you are comfortable driving stick shift.

Q: Are child car seats provided with car rentals in Madrid?

A: Usually not, but you can request them for an added fee. Be sure to book child seats early as supply is limited.

Q: Can I take my rental car from Madrid to other parts of Spain?

A: Yes, but notify the rental company beforehand. Your insurance may be limited if driving outside of Spain.


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