Best Car Hire Deals in Barcelona

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Barcelona is a city of fun, football, art and especially Catalan pride. Stopping at Barcelona ( Barcelona Airport has a great low budget connection with the rest of Europe) for whatever reason - business or leisure will pay off in all possible ways. Regardless if you visit this city of 1.6 million people because of its famous sites and architectural masterpieces, Catalan cuisine and vegan fast food popularity, the vibrancy of city centre or endless business opportunities, Barcelona will never disappoint you and a car hire in Barcelona is, without a trace of doubt, the right thing to do.

Barcelona is not only a popular tourist destination but also a perfect starting point of your road trip. Luckily, at Barcelona Airport, you can find several best-rated car hire companies from which you can choose. Alamo, OK Rent a Car, Europcar, Sixt, Keddy, Autoclick and others have their fleets available—at both Terminals of the airport or nearby—accessible by shuttle bus. Many of our customer opt in for a car rental in Barcelona at least for a few days—to explore the nearby cities.

Having a car will enable you to explore Barcelona from one end to another. Yes, using the public transportation in the city centre is the smartest choice—from Taxy (Easytaxi or Hailo have similar concepts) to rent-a-bike, but you won't be able to see everything like that. No matter how low-cost Uber is, this can’t beat the Spanish car hire prices. From La Sagrada Familia (famous basilica, designed by Antoni Gaudi) to Barceloneta beach is a 20-minute drive, using public transport will take you 40. Car hire in Barcelona is a smart idea to say the least.

But first, let's focus on Barcelona as a whole—a city in which Alice in Wonderland would gladly take Mad Hatter for a cup of tea and discuss all the wonder this place has to offer. It is an enchanting and romantic city. Both proud and humble. Contemporary but deeply tied to its centuries of history. Dazzling modern, but still classical. Designed by Ildefons Cerdà i Sunyer and jazzed up by the eccentric architect Antoni Gaudi this Spain's second city has many faces and every single one will leave you intrigued and longing for more. If you're considering to hire a car in Barcelona and exploring the nearby cities, you won't have any problems.

This utopian landscape mesmerised artists such as Dalí, Miró, Picasso who immortalised it in their artwork. Catalonia is also famous for its wine and cava, commonly known as sparkling wine, production. In fact, more than 90% of cava is made in the region between Barcelona and Tarragona. If you’d like to know more, head on a wine-tasting – after all – with a car hire in Barcelona , your hands are not tied to the city limits.

There has been great debate over the founding of Barcelona. There are two legends regarding its founding; one says that it was founded by Hamilcar Barca, the father of Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general, and the other claims Hercules, the Roman name for the Greek hero was the founder. Since the origins will forever remain in shadow, the city has a touch of mystery, making it even more alluring.

Basic info and car hire in Barcelona

  • Location: Community of Catalonia, Northern Spain
  • Population: 1,604,555 (2015)
  • Official language: Catalan Spanish is the official language. Castilian Spanish is also widely spoken. However, as an English-speaking tourist, you won't have any problems since Barcelona is a very tourist-friendly city—everybody knows at least a little bit of English.
  • Currency : Euro (€)
  • Weather: Barcelona has a typical Mediterranean climate. Summers are warm and dry with an average temperature of about 80°F / 27°C and winters are mild and humid with an average temperature of around 55°F / 13°C. You'll get the most sun if you visit Barcelona in the Summer months—from June till the end of August. If possible, avoid Barcelona in April, May and October since those are the wettest months of the year. July is the best month to go there if you don't like the chance of rain and risking your trip being spoiled because of bad weather. If you’re planning to car hire in Barcelona and start your road trip there, have no worry. The roads are dry majority of the year. The wettest month of the year is October.
  • Holidays in Barcelona: For public holidays in Spain click here »
  • Internet coverage: Hotels, bars, restaurants and cafés are mostly equipped with Wi-Fi. There is also Barcelona Wi-Fi, which is a free internet access network. If you'd rather be safe than sorry and are travelling to Barcelona for business purposes, you can also buy a prepaid sim card or 4G USB dongle. All the major telecom providers will give you plenty of options. Most dominant are Vodafone, Movistar and Orange. It will bring you comfort to hire a car in Barcelona , as you’ll be free to search the web once on the road.
  • Road conditions: Throughout Spain roads are in an excellent condition, motorway system there is one of the best in Europe, and many roads are still toll-free. (However, regardless the frictionless drive, don't drive too fast because you'll pay the consequences. Majority of highways is under the surveillance and ignoring the speed limits may result in a lot of bills that will be sent to your home address.) With a car hire in Barcelona you won’t have any issue on the road.
  • Parking in Barcelona: Even though Barcelona has numerous parking options, we suggest you book a hotel with a free parking option to avoid unnecessary expenses. On your road trip when exploring Spain beyond Barcelona, it will be much easier to find parking—even in Madrid, Valencia, Toledo, Seville and so on. However, parking at the Barcelona Bus terminal Estación de Nord is one of the best parking options if all the car parks are full. If you're looking for a free parking option in Barcelona—and feel extremely lucky—, you can try to find a parking spot on the streets near Olympic Stadium. But still, keep in mind—leaving your car in a garage (possibly one with a 24/7 surveillance) is a better and smarter option. You don't want anything happens to the car—your own or rental.
  • Car hire in Barcelona: Prices for hiring a car in Barcelona are as low as 8£ / day (9€ / day) in the summer and autumn. If you want to visit Barcelona in the winter, the prices are roughly around 9£ / day (10€ / day). Spring prices for renting a car in Barcelona are around 20£ / day (22€ / day). Keep in mind that prices fluctuate frequently. To ensure you have the lowest car hire price, make a car booking from 3 to 8 weeks before your vehicle collection. Alternatively, it's possible to get a great last-minute car hire deal also. Most people pick up their rental at El Prat Airport; some opt for locations, such as Sabadell, Sants train station and Granollers. One way or the other, a hired car in Barcelona will definitely pay off.

Driving in Barcelona

  • The roads are well maintained; however, hefty traffic can be an issue—try to avoid driving during rush hours (from 8 to 9:30 a.m., 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., 3:30 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.) The quietest period is usually between 3 and 5 p.m. "Peajes" or toll roads are usually quite expensive. You can avoid driving on toll roads by looking for roads that are not marked with letter P. Road A-23, for example, is toll-free and AP-33 is not. Read below to find all the information you need if you decide for a car hire in Barcelona .
  • Age limits: 21 (minimum age may vary according to car hire companies. A Young Driver fee will apply to drivers under 25 years of age. In order to hire a car, it is required that a driver has held a driving licence for a minimum of one year).
  • International Driving Permit: Yes, if you are a non-EU licence holder.
  • Additional papers: Identification (passport), a valid driver's license and a valid proof of insurance. (It is advisable to buy insurance at the car hire company in case your policy doesn't cover you while driving in Barcelona).
  • Additional requirements: Warning triangles, reflective vests and hands-free equipment with hearing aids are required while driving and talking on the phone. The majority of this should be taken care of by your agency of a car hire in Barcelona .
  • Children in the car: All car occupants must wear a seatbelt. Children under the age of twelve or shorter than 4ft 5in (1.35 metres) can only travel in the front passenger seat if they are in a special rear-facing children’s seat.
  • Driving side of the road: Right.
  • Lights: Headlights are not turned on unless you are in a tunnel or during conditions of poor visibility.
  • Drinking and driving: The maximum BAC level is 0.05% for drivers of private vehicles. There is a Zero Tolerance Law for novice drivers who have held a driving licence less than two years and for young drivers under the age of 21. We recommend that you do not drink and drive, not with a car hire in Barcelona , nor anywhere.
  • General speed limits: 75 mph (120 kph) on motorways, 60 mph (100 kph) on highways, 60 to 50 mph (100 to 80 kph) outside cities and 30 mph (50 kph) in residential areas. If you decide for a car hire in Barcelona , respect the driving limits.
  • Parking suggestions: There are many underground parking garages in the city, and there are metered parking spots identified with blue lines where you can usually park your rent a car for up to two hours. Parking in spaces with yellow stripes is prohibited. It is recommended not to leave any valuables in the car. Read more »
  • What our customers love most about car hire in Barcelona

"Easy to book a car. Young drivers allowed. Bluetooth and A.C. included. No fuss or hassle at the airport. Really nice car. Friendly staff."

Supplier: SIXT, Barcelona Airport

"Friendly Staff, easy and quick pick up and drop off, shuttle service to the Airport, car in good condition."

Supplier: AutoClick, Barcelona Airport

"I have booked with many car rental companies over the years, however Autoclick was by far the best. The bus took us to their desk near the airport. Here, there were toilet and coffee making facilities and our car was waiting outside the door for us. Everything was very easy and hassle-free. I deducted a point for the fact that the car was poorly washed and it was difficult to see out the windscreen and for the lack of signage at the bus pick-up bay. A stand to notify that we were, in fact, waiting in the right place would have put our minds at ease."

Supplier: AutoClick, Barcelona Airport

"Quality car at a great price."

Supplier: Centauro, Barcelona Airprot

Friendly tip: Car hire at Barcelona Airport with shuttle bus is usually the cheapest option. To compare car hire prices at the terminal to the alternatives, use filter on the left side of website.

What to see in Barcelona

Some places in Barcelona you’ll manage to see on  foot, for others you’ll need your car hire in Barcelona. A great start is Ciutat Vella , which is the old city and is comprised of the most beautiful neighbourhoods this metropolis has to offer; El Born , the Gothic Quarter and the Raval , are neighbourhoods rich in sights, cafes and restaurants. If you’re not a Barcelona newcomer or if you want to experience the true essence of this city, take a stroll through the Poble Sec , Poblenou and Gracia neighbourhoods as well. These parts of town are perhaps best seen by foot, not by car, especially if you love taking photos, drinking coffee and getting lost in lovely areas. If this screams your name, leave your rental at your hotel and explore away! to hire a car in Barcelona will, at the end of the day, turn out to be very handy for other day-trips.

Our favourite spots

Hotels in Barcelona

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Drive your rental car around Barcelona

If you have time on your hands and if you're a wanderlust, let the road take you beyond Barcelona, which is a great starting point for the Catalonia road trip. In this case, you might want to seriously consider hiring a car in Barcelona , because it's the easiest and fastest way to reach all the beautiful places near and around Barcelona. Also, Spain is one of the cheapest car hire countries.

If you prefer to stay near Barcelona and don’t head South, you can explore northern Spain—the north-eastern side of Barcelona. About 80 mi (130 km) up the road, situated on a hill, lies a charming medieval village Pals with cobbled streets, boutiques, cafés and a golden beach just a 10-minute drive away called Platja de Pals . A car hire in Barcelona makes the distances go away.

About six mi (10 km) away from the village you can discover the coastal region of Costa Brava . It consists of picturesque villages , amazing beaches , premium resorts and alluring nature. Needless to say, this area is popular among visitors. However, if you wish to discover a more traditional side, you can get behind your wheels and head over to the artsy Cadaqués , which is close to the French border and sheltered by the magnificent Pyrenees. Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Pablo Picasso and others were frequent visitors to this village.

If you want more or you already know Barcelona is your starting point before your road trip to Valencia, Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, or Seville, continue reading. We’ll start slow and then drive full speed.

Day One

For the first trip after you hire your car in Barcelona , begin by driving about 38 mi (60 km) southwest from Barcelona to the unique and craggy peaked Montserrat mountain . It would be an amazing view by itself, however, at the foot of its peaks sits the dramatic 11th-century Monastery of Montserrat.

This construction has a great importance among religious locals from Barcelona. They say that everybody should hike to this mountain and reach the monastery before the dawn at least once in their lifetime. But regardless of your relationship to God—the Nature, the architectural masterpiece, and the cultural significance of this place should be enough to visit Monastery of Montserrat at least once. Oh, and bring your camera with you. Really. Regarding the parking—you can take your car right next to the monastery, or you can leave it half way and make a sports day out of the visit. That’s how flexible you are with a car hire in Barcelona .

Few things you should consider when at Montserrat:

Visit the Montserrat Monastery at midday. Every day at about 1 pm, in Basilica, you can listen to a boy choir. Ethereal.

Take a walk along the cathedral and breath in the view.

Visit the Montserrat Museum that holds a great value in artistic works. Not only you'll learn the history of Montserrat, the museum holds quite a collection of Catalan art.

Should you take lunch there? Yes. But if you're a true foodie, don't settle for the main restaurant at the monastery. It's ok for a quick fix (especially if you take a combo with the museum ticket), but there are a lot of better restaurants nearby. If you'll take the car hire in Barcelona , you can easily drive 1.5 miles from the site to La Rectoria for a nice Catalan meal with a modern twist.

Day Two

Ready for more? For a well-rounded day trip drive to the Penedes area nearby to indulge in a glass of cava or any other wine. It's well worth the effort.

If you’ll want another trip after that or better yet, you’ll start your Spanish road trip in Barcelona, one of the potential stops is the small coastal town nested around the hills of Garraf National Park, the charming and stylish Sitges . While there, go for a swim! There’s plenty of sandy beaches in Sitges. You can take a dip right before the historic part of the city where the quin of the city's beauty is the Church of Sant Bartomeu. Right at sea, this subtle pink(ish) church is guarded by the mermaid stat ue by Catalan artist Pere Jou.

Still with us? Right! Get in your rental and head down the coast beyond Sitges and you will soon reach the larger fishing town called Vilanova i la Geltrú . Both Sitges and Vilanova i la Geltrú offer a relaxing day or night out.

Day Three

After you'll rest and fill your belly with yummy breakfast, drive to Tarragona—a city from Roman times, which can't be hidden. In Tarragona, you can admire Tarragona Cathedral and The Amfiteatre Romà, which was built in the 2 nd century. Most roman fans visit the Les Ferreres aqueduct as well. But if you’re in a hurry and prefer to continue, don’t worry, with a car hire in Barcelona , you still have plenty of chances to meet with historic monuments.

If you visit this city in the Summer, you can drive to the most photographed bay in the Costa Dorada—the name of this part of the coast. Look for the Tamariu Castle—a well-preserved castle, located just above this beautiful sandy beach. Tere are a few nice restaurants in Tarragona. Arcs will spoil you with minimalistic Spanish cuisine if fine dining is your cup of tea, and La Capital will strengthen you with excellent burgers, tapas and soul food deserts if you want to head South before the Sun goes down.

Day Four

From Tarragona, you can drive to the old town of Miravet situated by the Ebro River and pointing its castle towards the sky. Miravet is not only a charming photo-stop but an interesting little city with the spirit of long lost stories trapped inside it. You can visit the castle—that dates back to the time of the Knights Templar—and historical centre. There are several hotels in Miravet—suitable for those that are searching for low-priced accommodations and for those that prefer hotels on a pricier end. Villa Retiro offers a great value for your money. And they have free parking. Such a relief for those engaged in a car hire in Barcelona .

Now you can take your road trip into a higher gear and proceed to Valencia. There you can decide if you’ll proceed South and visit Toledo (a charming old city, with a lot of cultural heritage and amazingly sweet marzipan), Cartagena, Malaga, Gibraltar and other—smaller—costal villages at the Alboran Sea.

The other option is that you turn right at Valencia and drive for three or four hours to Madrid. If this vibrant, multicultural and extremely tourist-friendly city is on your bucket list, book a hotel in advance—for a few days, because there is a lot to see. Oh, and choose a hotel with parking on site. Majority of hotels in the city centre has underground garage parking available. This will enable you to reach all the major cities on foot or by using the public transfer and have your car parked safely and ready for the future adventures.

Where to eat, drink and party in Barcelona

First of all—to all the foodies out there—Barcelona is pretty out of the box regarding the culinary offer. The array of dishes and tapas you can order in this coastal city—and a vegan dreamland some say—is much different from the rest of Spain and Catalonia as well. There are a lot more seafood and vegetable dishes, salads much lighter and tapas simpler ( Pan Con Tomate and Pimientos de Padrón are to die for) yet flavoursome. However, as a foodie heaven, in Barcelona, you will find whatever your heart desires—from fresh seafood to May Y Mantagna (Spanish Surf n Turf style of a dish), or meaty, hearty dishes (like Escudella or Botifarra ) with everything pork or exquisite lamb cuts.

If we can offer you only one advice, it would be to skip culinary offer of Rambla and seek coastal restaurants or smaller gastronomic places, and fast food stands—hidden in the little side streets of the city centre. You can get a great brunch like that or a snack to go. Also, Barcelona is home to people of many nationalities—from Italians, Pakistans, Chinese, Marrocans, Colombians, Filipinos, Germans and French, so obviously there you’ll find every cuisine of the planet. Seize that and explore restaurants other that Mediterranean and Spanish. You can find amazing Japanese, African and Italian restaurants in Barcelona as well. If you’d like to avoid the crowds, take the advantage of a car hire in Barcelona and drive to the outskirts of Barcelona.

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Major events and festivals in Barcelona

Probably the biggest Catalan party is the Sant Joan festival, when the Barcelonans put their tables on the street and prepare a dinner for their neighbourhood. If you’re into the Film industry, then you’ll probably be interested in the Film Festival and for those traveling off-season, try to pick your dates for the Carnival – a spectacle for the eyes! If you opt in for a car hire in Barcelona , then your options expand, and you can visit the bombastic event called Mascleta in Valencia , where gunpowder is used just for the fun of it!

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  • For more events and festivals click here »

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