Spain is a firm favourite with Brits travelling abroad and has been for many years. Short flight times, hot weather, family friendly and full of things to do, it’s ideal for people of all ages.

With so much to see and do, taking a drive to explore the sights is bound to be popular but it’s worth taking note of the rules when it comes to driving in Spain. Here’s our handy guide:

What you need to keep by law

When driving in Spain you must be at least 18 years old and seatbelts are compulsory in the front of all private vehicles. If you are driving any vehicle made after 1992 it is also compulsory to wear seatbelts in the rear seats. Additionally, it is the law in Spain to carry the following items in your car at all times:

– A valid UK driving licence. If you’re hiring a car when you get there, you will also need to provide the hire company with a licence check code so that they can access your driving record. You can get this from the website before you go – codes expire after 21 days.

– Your passport

– Proof of insurance (third party or above)

– Your V5C Certificate if you’ve taken your own car

– Reflective jackets

– Warning triangle 

– Headlamp beam deflectors 

There are hefty on-the-spot fines for those that are caught without any of the above items, so it’s best not to risk it.

Other considerations

In addition to the items you need to keep by law, there are also some useful nuggets of information to bear in mind while navigating the roads in Spain. Here are our top tips:

1. Don’t get horn happy. It is illegal to use your horn in urban areas except in an emergency. In other areas there may be restrictions and you will be notified of this by signage.

2. Strap the kids in. Children under 12 and measuring less than 135cm travelling in the front of the car must be using a restraint system adapted to their size and weight. Children measuring more than 135cm may use an adult seat belt. 

Any children under 135cm and in the back of the car must also be placed in a child restraint system adapted to their size and weight, except when in a taxi.

3. The legal limit for drink driving in Spain is lower than it is here, at 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. This goes for cyclists too. So, whether you are on two wheels or four, save the tipple for the days when you’re lying in the sun!

4. Don’t forget your change! You’ll find that tolls are in operation on most Spanish motorways so be sure to keep some Euros handy. If you know you are bound to forget, most motorways do operate an electronic system and you can buy a small transmitter for this purpose from banks and petrol stations so you can fit it to your windscreen. 

5. Prepare to park. The rules for parking in Spain are fairly straightforward and paid parking zones and maximum parking times will be signposted. The only thing to bear in mind is to make sure you leave your sidelights on when parking on a road without streetlights at night. No one wants to wake up with their wing mirror missing. Especially if it’s a hire car!

Sarah Lewis


July 31, 2015