Barcelona car hire

Car hire in Barcelona is as straightforward as in any other major European city – with all of the top names having numerous offices both in the city itself as well as at the airport.

Travellers arriving at the airport will often have their own favourite web site where they can find good deals by booking their car hire in advance but we find that ebookers.com and travelsupermarket are as good as any. If you are arriving by air with Ryanair to Reus or Girona airports they offer their customers special rates and easyCar always gives good prices – although their site necessitates a short bus ride from the terminal buildings.

If you are hiring your car from Barcelona airport, then one or two things need remembering. If you are arriving in the summer and intending to drive around city areas, then air conditioning is an absolute necessity. Most cars offered will have air conditioning as a matter of course – but still make sure you check. Also, you’ll find that rental cars that have automatic transmission can often be twice as costly as those with standard manual transmission – and they are often unavailable. If you do require an automatic transmission vehicle, then you really must book it as far in advance as you can.

Many people like the freedom that renting their own car can bring them when they are away – even for a few days – but it is worth considering whether or not this is a really necessary thing to do in Barcelona. I can still recall the nightmare journey I had when driving to Barcelona from Granada – a mighty haul in itself – and then coming into the city on the ten-laned Avinguda Diagonal before spending an eternity driving round the streets round the back of La Sagrada Familia looking for the well concealed narrow entrance to our hotel’s underground car park. Driving around Barcelona is not for the faint-hearted. The one-way systems can cause confusion; congestion is to be expected at most times of the day; the street signs are not always sympathetic; the local motorists can sometimes be even less sympathetic; parking spaces are limited anywhere near the city centre; and the narrow streets in parts of the city can really test the nerves. On top of that, the public transport systems are superb – trains and buses from the airport take you right into the heart of the city at a very low cost and the metro and bus services both offer excellent value tickets to make your way around far less problematically.

Having said all that, though, if you want to visit Montserrat with its amazing monastery and breathtaking views, take a tour round the wine growing areas or drive along to Sitges, Tossa de Mar or the theme park at PortAventura then you might well think that a Barcelona car rental offers you the easiest and most economical choice. It’s as well to expect to be stopped by the traffic police on a fairly regular basis – they make far more spot checks than their British counterparts. Therefore, make sure you’ve always got all your documents with you and they will for the most part be polite and helpful. Your Barcelona car rental, as is the case throughout Spain, should include bright reflective vests – which must be worn in the event of a breakdown if you leave the car – as well as two red warning triangles, and spare bulbs and wheel. If your car lets you down on a dual carriageway you are supposed to put your triangle 10 metres behind the vehicle. If it happens on a single carriageway road, then you should place one in front of the car as well.

Car hire in Barcelona is not necessarily the nightmare I’ve painted it to be here. If your hotel is a little way out of the city centre and you want to explore the local region, then you will be able to find many reputable companies able to meet all your requirements.