When trying to understand what traffic in Madrid is like although you’ve never been there, you’ll probably hear two different opinions – great, smooth and well-organized or super-fast, aggressive and bold. However, the truth is that it all depends on what kind of traffic you are used to and what kind of a driver you are.
The most demanding part of the Spanish traffic is that there are four rush hours in a day. If you decide to drive when Spaniards drive to work or back home (You are aware of siesta time, right?), this can be a task for a skilled driver. However, Madrid is not Rome. The traffic is fast and gigantic, but it is organised.
Another thing it’s crucial to emphasize regarding driving in Madrid: You don’t need a car for shorter distances. Take public transfer for that. However, you’ll need a car when you’ll want to explore magical yet remote parts of Madrid (which are the best ones) and for your daily trips. If you visit Madrid and skip Segovia or Toledo, you should be a shame of yourself.
Regarding the parking: Many of our customers in Madrid hire a car at Madrid Airport and choose hotel with a free parking. There’s a lot of them. Plus, even in the city centre of Madrid you’ll find great hotels with some parking spots in nearby garages.
- Age limit: 18, but remember that any driver under 25 pays an additional young driver car hire fee.
- International Driving Permit: Yes
- Additional papers: ID card or passport, last version of your car hire voucher, and a valid credit card with sufficient funds (to cover any excess).
- Additional requirements: spare wheel, 2 warning triangles, first aid kit
- Children in the car: Children taller than 135 cm must use seatbelt as a regular adult. However, smaller children should use a booster seat, those old from 9 months to 4 years should use appropriate baby seat facing forward, and toddlers younger than 9 months must use a special baby seat – facing the rear end of the car.
- Driving side of the road: Right.
- Lights: Mandatory only in the case of bad visibility and in tunnels.
- General speed limits: Urban road limit is 50 km/h or 31 mph, for the roads outside the cities the limit is 90 km/h (56 mph), and on the highway the limit is 120 km/h (74 mph).
Parking suggestion: It’s advised to use public transport in the city centre of Madrid since this will be faster and you won’t have to worry about finding a free parking space (good luck with that). If needed, probably the cheapest parking lots in the centre are in the Atocha and Chamartin station. Average daily price for underground car parks (there are hundreds of them) is about 32 EUR. Parking in suburban areas should not be such a problem, the same goes for nearby cities.