- You’ll need your driving license, passport and a credit card to pay a deposit. If you license is from outside the EU then you’ll also need an international driving permit
- There is a minimum age to hire a car of 22, for some cars it’s 25, and a maximum age limit of 65.
- Most rental cars in Barcelona (and Spain on the whole) are manual, if you require an automatic make sure say this upfront.
- The speed limits in Spain are slightly different to the UK, motorways and dual carriageways are 75mph, conventional roads 62mph, other roads are 56mph and its usually 31mph in built up areas unless otherwise stated.
- Speeding fines in Spain are on a sliding scale of €100 to €600 depending on the seriousness of the offence so make sure you’re aware of the limits as it could be a costly mistake.
- Most car rental places don’t allow you to cross borders with their rental cars, except for Andorra and Portugal. Going to France, for example, is not allowed and and your insurance won’t cover you.
- Barcelona does have a number of toll roads around it costing approximately €1 for every 8km that you travel. Spains road network on the whole is good so it's easy to avoid the toll roads if you wanted to.
- When you arrive at the airport in Barcelona some car hire companies will offer you a shuttle service to their off airport centres. Whilst the deals they offer are competitive if you are on a tight schedule it might be worth sticking with one of the car hire companies at the airport.
Guide to Barcelona
Boasting a reputation as one of the most attractive and cosmopolitan cities in Europe, Barcelona celebrates its role as the capital of Catalonia. The city’s international vibe means that it finds its way onto most people's travel itineraries at some point. With a population of 1.6 million people within its city limits and then around another 4.8 living in the Province of Barcelona it makes it the 6th most populated urban area in the EU.
Catalan language & rich culture
The official language in Barcelona is Catalan and whilst it does share a lot of similarities with Spanish you might be confused with some of the differences. Don’t worry though most people will speak Spanish or English and the restaurants in the city centre usually carry menus in several languages.
Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Things To Do in Barcelona
If you manage to get bored in Barcelona then you are doing something seriously wrong, with its unique architecture, beautiful beaches and a plethora of bars and restaurants there really is something for everyone here.
The Castell de Montjuïc is an imposing castle that dominates the southeastern heights of Montjuïc. Its dark history is explained in the exhibition space laid out in several of the rooms. The exhibition dedicated to the trials, imprisonments and executions here is disturbingly fascinating. The tombstones dating back to the 11th century in the one time Jewish cemetery are definitely worth a visit too. But what really makes this trip worthwhile are the views from the castle and the surrounding area looking over the sea, port and city below.
Museums, football & beaches
Barcelona has so many museums it can be difficult to know where to begin. The most popular is the Picasso Museum which focuses on his earlier works and houses one of the most extensive collections of his work. Next up is the Barcelona History Museum which houses some incredible Roman ruins. If you’d like to keeps costs down the Maritime Museum is free to visit and is home to some beautiful historic ships.
What trip to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to the home of the legendary Barcelona F.C, Camp Nou. For an unforgettable experience why not watch a match from the packed stands, the season runs from August to May. Alternatively if you’d rather get a taste of the excitement without the crowds why not book one of their interactive tours?
Barcelona is home to some truly incredible beaches, the most popular of which is the Platja Barcelona at Vila Olimpica which staged the 1992 Summer Olympics. Up until the early 90’s the beaches were overrun by industry and pollution but having been cleaned up for the Olympics Barcelona is now considered to have the best urban beaches in the world.
Barcelona is a great place to explore on foot and there are so many free walking tours on offer to show you all that the city has to offer. Sandemans Europe and Runner Beans Tours have great tour guides, however for the ultimate experience a paid tour with Barcelona Walks is the best way to see the city.
What trip to Spain would be complete without a Flamenco show? Tablao de Cordobés offer you an amazing evening of dance combined with delicious traditional spanish food and drinks.
The number one tourist attraction in Barcelona is of course the Sagrada Família. A Giant Basilica designed by master architect Antonio Gaudí. This building has been under construction since 1882 and they've still got another 30 to 80 years to go until its completed. This huge building divides opinions, some people love it and others hate it. One thing that you can fail to acknowledge though is that its sheer size and uniqueness really does take your breath away.
Where to Eat In Barcelona
Spain is famous for its tapas. Tapas are basically mini portions of single dishes that can be combined to make a meal out. They can range from simple to extravagant, but they’re typically affordable. Seafood tapas is particularly popular in Barcelona due to the fact that they are on the coast, with so many choices it can feel a little like Russian Roulette picking a good restaurant but here are some of our favourites.
Con Garcia is known for their great wine pairings as well as incredible food so if wine is your thing then this is definitely the place for you. They also have an exquisite attention to detail which just adds to the feeling of luxury you’ll find here.
Kaiku has two major advantages, its right on the beach and if offers unlimited wine. You might be thinking where’s the catch? There really isn’t one, the food is delicious as is its location. Try the Paella you won't be disappointed!
One of the best pizzerias you’ll find in Barcelona is Pizzaria Da Nanni, it's also very reasonably priced so great for those planning a visit on a budget.
For the ultimate seafood experience head to Colum, they pride themselves on their exceptional service and cozy atmosphere. It’s worth noting though that they don't accept card so make sure you have enough cash with you.
The nightlife in Barcelona is legendary, restaurants don’t tend to get busy until after 9pm and the clubs will be going strong until after the sun comes up. So get your dancing shoes on, it's going to be a long night!
If you're a fan of a cocktail then start your night in Boadas Cocktails, this unassuming little cocktail bar is actually the oldest one in Spain having been open since 1933. The bar staff add a touch of old world charm and class mixing old fashioned Tom COllins and Bloody Marys whilst wearing tuxedos and bow ties.
Flaherty's Irish bar is definitely not somewhere you’d expect to find in the labyrinth of alleyways in the Gothic Quarter but its a melting pot for tourists from across the globe. Grab a guinness ang get involved with their beer pong tournaments on Thursday evenings if you’re looking for some more relaxed fun.
For Barcelona clubbing at its finest you have to head to La Terrrazza. Set up high on Montjuic La Terrrazza occupies the open-air courtyard of a beautiful Balearic mansion and during summer is one of the city’s most celebrated nightclubs.
If you’re in a group where you all like something different then Sala Razzmatazz is the club for you. With five rooms all under one roof serving up everything from serious dance beats to cheesy pop anthems there is a room here to get everyone up and dancing.
FAQs for Car Hire In Barcelona
How much does it cost to hire a car in Barcelona?
Car hire prices in Spain are amongst the cheapest in Europe due to the fierce competition with prices starting around £1 a day (low-season) for a small hatchback.
Which agencies are available at the airport?
Which car should I get for Barcelona driving?
The roads in Barcelona are great so to keeps costs down opt for something compact. If you’re planning on going off-piste and exploring some of the mountain villages then opt for a 1.6 engine or above.
What are the car seat laws in Barcelona?
Unlike in the UK all children under 12 must be in a car seat, you can either take these with you or your rental company will offer as an extra.
How far is it from Barcelona Airport to the city?
It’s approximately a 15km or 25 minute drive, the C-31 takes you directly from the airport to the city.