Full guide on traveling to Spain by car (2024)

spain by car rental

Are you traveling to Spain by car? Taking a road trip is actually a great way to explore the country.

Book your rental car online now.

Check this complete guide on how to book your rental car.

Spain is surely one of the top self drive holidays in Europe. Having your own transport opens up a lot of opportunities to visit smaller towns and squeeze more than you usually would into each day.

This means that you can go to some great and very popular destinations in Spain (e.g. Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Barcelona or Madrid) and add to the itinerary a bunch of bonus (e.g. the coast where you can spend a few days at some gorgeous beaches…).

All in all, it’s a great to get a good overview of the country in a short period of time.

In this guide, I’m going to explain everything you need to know about a Spain border crossing by car.

Getting to Spain by car: access towns

You can get to Spain by driving a rental car (or your own car of course!), either coming from Portugal or France.

If you’re coming from France, the entry points are:

  • Irún, on your way to San Sebastián and Bilbao.
  • Canfranc and Formigal, on your way to Zaragoza.
  • Vielha, Andorra, Puigcerdà, and La Jonquera, on your way to Barcelona.

If you’re coming from Portugal, the entry points are:

  • Tui, on your way to Santiago de Compostela.
  • Guarda, on your way to Salamanca.
  • Elvas, on your way to Badajoz, Mérida and Salamanca.
  • Ayamonte, on your way to Huelva and Seville.

Traveling to Spain by car: crossing borders

You might decide to visit Spain and Portugal or France on the same trip. Why not? Just make sure the car rental company allows for that.

Since all 3 countries (Spain, France and Portugal) are Schengen countries, you won’t face a hard border crossing. In other words, there are no border crossing points and you don’t have to show documents when crossing the border.

However, here’s the list of documents you need to travel to Spain by car:

  • National ID (if you’re a EU national) or passport of all the people entering the country.
  • Valid home country driving license and, depending on your citizenship, a valid International Driving Permit.
  • Vehicle ownership documents.
  • Proof of insurance.

Driving in Spain: things you need to know

If you’re taking a trip that involves driving in Spain, it’s always a good idea to know some of the rules and regulations before you go.

Many of the regulations are similar to other European countries, but speed limits and other information can be quite different than the US, Canada or Australia for example.

Don’t worry, though, you’ll be ready to hit the road after reading my 6 tips for driving in Spain!

Extra tips and advice to arrive to Spain by car

Here are some final things to consider regarding if you plan to arrive to Spain by car.

Check the fuel costs

There can be drastic changes in fuel prices across borders.

Always plan around this and if you’re leaving an expensive country (which is the case for France and Portugal as well) make sure you fill up the tank with fuel after crossing the border:

  • Fuel prices in both France and Spain aren’t the cheapest that you’ll find in Europe, however if you’re looking forward to a holiday across both of these beautiful countries, you’ll find the cheaper fuel prices in Spain rather than France.
  • Similarly to the border crossing between France and Spain, you’ll notice fuel prices are a lot cheaper in Spain than they are in Portugal, so make sure you fill up on the Spanish side of the border to make the most of your holiday budget.

Gas stations are fully aware of that, so you’ll find one on the Spanish side as soon as you cross the border, no matter the route you’re taking!

Be ware of speed limit changes

When you cross over the border into Spain there’s almost always a large sign which outlines the speed limits on each type of road.

But if you skip it for any reason, I suggest you download an app called Waze. It’s an excellent tool for driving around Europe because it has a built-in function that tells you if you’re speeding.

One last piece of advice, though.

There are now plenty of speed traps, or radars, on main roads in Spain, and police can and do issue on-the-spot fines. Advance warning of speed traps tends to be given, and the speed cameras are sometimes painted in fluorescent yellow, with the speed limit painted on them… But this is not always the case so be careful with speed limits.

Be careful with the new road signs

Take your time when entering Spain from France or Portugal to familiarize yourself with the new road signs.

This article is part of a complete tutorial about car rental in Spain where you can read all the information you need to organize your road trip around the country.

Here is a complete summary of all the guide:

1. Best way to travel across Spain: road trip or train?
2. Full guide on traveling to Spain by car
3. 10 epic Spain road trips to do on your own
4. How to book your rental car online
5. How to find cheap car rental rates?
6. 8 essential rental car tips to get the best deal
7. Drive in Spain with an international driver’s licence
8. Guide for getting around Spain: rental car
9. 6 essential tips for driving in Spain
10. Guide to car parking in Spain: tips, costs, and regulations

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