The famous sun, sea and sand of Spain have helped turn it into one of Europe’s most sought-after destinations. The Mediterranean ‘costas’ and the Spanish holiday islands are among the continent’s most popular seaside destinations but in recent years the great Spanish cities have also become major attractions too, offering world-class culture, food, and excitement.
We’ve got convenient car hire pick-up points all over Spain, so you’ll never be far from the opportunity to jump in a car and get exploring. You’ll find our rental offices at every major airport, railway station and, of course, all the main Spanish cities, like Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville. And our Spanish pick-up locations offer our renowned best-price guarantee – so if you find a cheaper Hertz rental car, we’ll be sure to refund the difference.
With fabulous beaches, colorful cities and stunning landscapes, there’s always something to see in Spain. It’s a vast country with large unspoiled rural and mountainous areas between the cities, so renting a car is a great way to get around.
Driving around the country is easy thanks to its effective road network. Madrid is placed pretty central on the country and is well connected to the rest of the land thanks to a large number of modern Autopista and auto via motorways helping link it to the other main cities. Spain does have some toll roads to look out for when driving, so be sure to check you have enough to pay the fare when driving along one of these roads.
A drive from Madrid to Barcelona will take around six hours along the E-90 and pass through the town of Zaragoza. Or, heading north along the E-5 will take you to Bilbao on the coast in just under five hours.
When it comes to driving, most of the road rules are very close to the rest of Europe. Spanish traffic drives on the right side of the road and other rules include: you mustn’t use full beam lights in built-up areas and seatbelts must be worn by everyone in the vehicle. When you approach a junction you must give way to vehicles coming from the right, unless the signs indicate otherwise.
The maximum speed limit is 74mph on motorways and 62mph on dual carriageways. On other roads the limit is 55mph and the normal limit is 31mph in built-up areas. Madrid is a huge world-class city, with a long list of attractions, ranging from royal palaces to stylish tapas bars. As well as historic squares and busy galleries, you'll find wide boulevards and huge green parks. Spain's second city, Barcelona, is every bit as appealing as the capital. This coastal city has less regal splendour, more rebellious charm. Highlights include the Ramblas, Gaudi's Sagrada Familia church and the nightlife. If you rent a car in Spain, you'll find both cities are relatively easy for driving around. And if you head for the southern province of Andalucia, you'll definitely need a car to explore this sun-drenched area of mountains, historic cities and seaside resorts, all with a hint of African style.
With a fabulous coastline ranging from the Bay of Biscay in the north to the volcanic beaches of the Canary Islands in the south, Spain is famous for being a wonderful holiday destination. But there’s a lot more to this grand historic nation than just sun and sand.
The main Spanish cities are powerhouses of culture and commerce, towns and villages are full of unique charm, and there are lots of wonderful landscapes to discover.
Cultivating capitals of Spain and Catalonia
The capital and largest city, Madrid, stands right in the heart of the country. It’s a huge world-class city with a royal grandeur in its wide boulevards and formal parks. It’s a busy, smart city and you’ll find everything from elegant palaces to national museums and galleries here.
The second city, Barcelona, is the capital of the semi-autonomous Catalonia region in the north-east. Barcelona has a more bohemian feel to it and you’ll find beaches and examples of Antoni Gaudi’s remarkable architecture here, such as the Casa Vicens and the world famous La Sagrada Familia.
Spain’s other lively cities include Valencia, Bilbao and Seville, and they’re all packed with art, food and culture. You’ll find Spanish specialties like tapas bars, street performers and atmospheric churches everywhere.
The glorious coasts
Mainland Spain is lucky enough to have two coasts: a green, mountainous one facing the Atlantic and Bay of Biscay in the north and a sunny, sandy one looking out on the Mediterranean in the south and east. And here is where you’ll find the Spanish ‘Costas’ that are among Europe’s most popular seaside destinations. For example, the Costa del Sol along the south coast includes family-friendly resorts like Torremolinos and Marbella; Costa Brava in the north-east has the pretty seaside town of Lloret de Mar; and Costa Blanca in the east has the classic resort of Benidorm. They’re all great sandy beaches backed by bubbly, buzzing vacation towns.
Winter fun and summer retreats
You’ll discover Spain is one of Europe’s most mountainous countries. You can find ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada in the south or in the Pyrenees in the north. The Picos de Europa Mountains in the north offer a green wilderness for hiking and wildlife adventures, while the dry center of the country has miles of dusty dry peaks and summits. Dotted around this inspiring landscape are ancient castles, churches and farms that are little changed for hundreds of years. Sometimes it can seem like the Spanish countryside was designed for great driving adventures.
The surrounding islands
Spain also includes two major island groups, the Balearics in the Mediterranean and the Canaries in the Atlantic and both have become major visitor attractions.
The mild climate of the Balearics attracts millions to its beaches. The main island of Mallorca and the party island of Ibiza are the top attractions, but they’re all great to explore with a hire car.
Just to the west of Africa, the Canaries offer even more sunshine and they’ve become one of Europe’s top winter sun holiday destinations. The main islands here are Tenerife and Gran Canaria which offer grand colonial architecture, exotic vegetation and memorable volcanic landscapes, all enhanced by a sensational climate.