Spain attractions

Places to see by hire car


There's no space to describe in detail all the places to visit in Spain but we can give you our view of a few places worth visiting

You can only get to the real Spain by leaving the holiday costas. The country is littered with superb old buildings, from Roman aqueducts and Islamic palaces to Gothic cathedrals.

Almost every second village has a medieval castle. There are endless tracts of wild and crinkled sierra to explore, as well as some spectacularly rugged stretches of coast between the beaches.

This website is also designed to give you all round assistance in Spain, so you can pick up a vehicle, at our many locations listed here. If you are a new driver in Spain, please refer to our"Driving Regulations" page. If you are intending to ramble round Spain, then probably our "Places to Stay" page would be helpful. For some really exotic touring routes, try our "Scenic tours" page. and if you'd like some more information about our hire cars network does its job, go here . . .

  Parc Güell

Parc Güell in Barcelona Constructed as a 20-hectare park between 1910 and 1914. The original intent was to create a pleasant combination of urban and natural landscapes by building houses, gardens and public institutions. But the project was never completed.However, you do get to see a great mixture of architectural styles.

For instance, the columns of the Sala de las Cien Columnas (Hall of the Hundred Columns) are purely classical, while the balcony they support is an example of romantic style, and it's covered in modernist-style colored mosaic tiles.

Your rental car will be waiting at our rental outlets in Barcelona. Find more information on using a hire car in Catalonia, on our "Car Hire in Barcelona" page.

  Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Gaudi's Sagrada Famiglia Cathedral, Barcelona) It is a group of massive white buildings, designed by Richard Meier.

It combines elements of modern American architecture with the Mediterranean rationalist custom.

It opened to the public in 1995, showing a permanent collection donated by Catalonia's other great artistic institutions, made up of work produced over the last 50 years.

The museum organises regular temporary exhibitions featuring contemporary Spanish and foreign artists as well as lectures, concerts, seminars and audiovisual competitions.


This exclusive transparent building houses the city's aquarium and has become a main visitor attraction on the harbor. The tanks hold the widest possible variety of marine life from all the world's seas, but the big draw is the sharks, of course. Children's play room and a souvenir shop is also there.

  Zoo (El)

Division of the Parc de la Ciutadella (City Park) complex, the zoo houses over 7,000 animals from over 500 different species. You can see dolphin shows and other aquatic mammals performing in the marine enclosure at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 4pm. One of the star attractions is Copito de Nieve (Snowflake), the only albino gorilla in captivity. There are tropical birds, reptiles, spiders, lions, tigers and more.


In the 6th century the cathedral started life as a small Visigoth chapel. Afterward, during the 11th century, a Romanesque church was built on top of it. In 1298, construction of the Gothic cathedral proper began, and that's what visitors see today. Although regular additions have been made over the years, you can see some of the 11th-century structure in the Portal de Sant Iu doorway. The interior contains some masterpieces of religious art and architecture, including the choir area, the Christ of Lepanto (16th century) crucifix, the Crypt of Santa Eulàlia (Barcelona's patron saint) and its adjoining cloister.

  Basílica de Santa María del Mar

Apart from the Cathedral and Sagrada Familia, this is the most visually appealing religious building in the city. You should include it in any visit to the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). It's an austere Gothic structure with a hugely impressive 15th-century stained-glass window in the shape of a rosette. Built between 1329 and 1384, it features some outstanding sculptures on its façade and in the tympanum.

  Teatro Arriaga The Guggenheim in Bilbao

The building is designed using the Paris Opera House as a model. To which, Joaquin Ruboca, who designed it, added some Renaissance touches. Great play has been performed by some of the country's best actors in this favorite theatre over the years. Outstanding architectural features contain the two polygonal towers, the grand auditorium, the mezzanine, the huge windows and the rooftop terrace with views of the river, Arenal and Campo Volantín. The sophisticatedly furnished and lavishly decorated interior has a magnificent imperial staircase designed by Francisco Hurtado de Saracho. The theatre opened in 1890 and was later named after a young local musician.

You can collect your hire car at our rental outlets in Burgos. To find more information on using a hire car round Bilbao, try our "Car Hire in Burgos" page.

  Puente Colgante

This is not only giant iron bridge but a transport platform also. There is a striking similarity to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It joins the two districts of Portugalete and Getxo by spanning the 160m of river separating them. You can take a trip on the elevator and walk along the platform 163m above the water to get some exceptional views. It was built between 1890 and 1893 by architect Alberto Palacios who was also responsible for Madrid's famous Atocha station. Guides accompany visits up the elevators and it costs 500 ptas (EUR 3). The structure is an official architectural heritage site.

  Museo Guggenheim Bilbao

Opening in October 1997, it's first exhibit included over 250 examples of cubist, futurist, constructivist and other 20th-century art movements. There's a permanent collection of late 20th-century art featuring more of the century's best creative talents including young Basque and Spanish artists. Frank O. Gerhy designed this complex with its spectacular curtains of glass, stone curves, titanium and glass walls, walkways hanging from the ceiling, transparent elevators and immense open spaces. There's a bookshop, a gift shop, cloakroom, library, restaurant and cafeteria.

  Canary Islands  
  Casa Museo de Colón

The Casa Museo de Colón commemorates explorer Christopher Columbus' visit to the islands on his way to "discover" the Americas, as well as the role that the Canary Islands played as a bridge between the New and Old Worlds. A reproduction of the navigator's shipboard cabin, complete with an exhibition of pre-Colombian ceramics inside are featured. A section of the museum is set aside for a fine arts exhibit. The building itself is a fine example of typical Canary Island architecture, with an impressive Gothic sandstone façade and lovely wooden balconies. Admission is free.

You can collect your hire car at our rental outlets on the islands. For more information on using a hire car round the Canaries, try our "Car Hire on the Canaries" page.

  Playa de Las Canteras

Generally considered one of the greatest beaches in the area, this 4km stretch of sand is protected from the Atlantic's fury by an attractive rock and sandstone breakwater. It is the perfect place to watch the sun set and one of the few public open spaces in the vicinity. It has been awarded the EU "Blue Flag" category in recognition of its excellent facilities and services, including daily cleaning, lifeguards, water sports zones, bars, restaurants and night clubs. Come at night as well as during the day for a truly magical atmosphere.

  Playa de Maspalomas

This 10km-long widen of golden beach has been awarded an EU "Blue Flag" category in recognition of the quality of the waters, the cleanliness of the beach and the range of facilities on offer. Northern Europeans dream of this place during their long cold winters and come in droves throughout the year. Attractions include a lighthouse and the well-known sand dunes (a protected natural heritage site). Other entertainment options are the water sports or the bars, restaurants and night clubs. The beach is cleaned daily, there are lifeguards, private beach clubs and water sports facilities.


This is the country's most visited historic sight. This masterpiece of Moorish architecture Courtyard of the Alhambra, Granadais just the most fantastic and exciting set of buildings in Spain. The complex is made up of three parts: a fortress (Alcazaba), royal palaces (Alhambra) and a summer palace with luxuriant gardens (Generalife). The buildings date mainly from the 13th and 14th centuries, after the Arabic Nasrid prince, Ibn al-Ahmar, made Granada an independent Moorish state. Each succeeding Nasrid ruler continued to beautify the royal palaces, combining wood, plaster, marble, brick and ceramic tiles with water, light and Arabic calligraphy.

You can pick up your car at our rental outlets right in the town. Find more information on using a hire car round Granada, try our "Car Hire in Granada" page.

  Vedrà (Es)

The Es Vedrá rock rises 391 metres out of the sea and all those who see it (especially at sunset) regard it as one of the most magical places on the island. If you want to get a closer view, you can catch one of the boats from San Antonio that sails around the rock, and at the same time you can also view the rocky isle Es Vedranell, just next to Es Vedrá, which is 129 metres high. For several years a priest (Father Palau) lived as a hermit on the Es Vedrá rock.

You can pick up your car at our rental outlets in Mallorca. For more information on using a hire car round Ibiza, try our "Car Hire on the Balearic Islands" page.


This is an expedition for the fit and healthy only. Atlantis is a beautiful shore opposite an impressive rock called Es Vedrá, close to Cala d'Hort beach. Take the road from San Antonio to Cala d'Hort and turn at La Torre de es Savinar to the beach. The steep drop leads to a thin stretch of sand 250m-long leading to the old half-submerged stone quarry. Don't miss the natural cave with a painted image of the God, Shiva, who is claimed to protect the cave temple. The trek back up the slope is a challenge, but worth the effort.

  Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

Undoubtedly among the oldest and best collections of paintings in Spain, the 17th-century examples stand out above all. The most interesting works include two self-portraits of Goya, canvasses by Zurbarán, Ribera, Murillo and Velázquez along with those by foreign painters of the stature of Rubens, Van Dyck and Arcimboldo. There's a room dedicated to Picasso, a room especially for decorative arts, a section for drawings and prints and a valuable series of sculptures by Jose Gines. Regular temporary exhibitions are organized. Access to the research library is restricted.

If you pre book, a car will be waiting on your arrival. Find more information on using a hire car round Madrid, try our "Car Hire in Madrid" page.

  Parque de Atracciones

Young families from Madrid love coming here to visit the six different adventure zones full of activities: Naturaleza (Nature), Maquinismo (Automation), Tranquilidad (Tranquility), Infantil (Infants), Gran Avenida (Grand Avenue) and Trispace Virtual (Virtual World). The children's amusement park offers loads of things to do, including water rides, a house of horror and a puppet theatre. Some of the rides have great names like Rapids, Launch Pad, Fiords, Top Spin and Fantasy. There are musical shows, travelling performers and places to eat.

  Biblioteca Nacional

An impressive neoclassical building to one side of Plaza de Colón, it's spectacular façade features three entrance archways with wrought-iron gates and an upper gallery decorated with elaborate carvings and Corinthian columns. Statues of Alfonso X (The Wise) and San Isidoro stand on the grand main staircase. Alongside the main doors, you'll be welcomed by images of Lope de Vega, Cervantes, Antonio de Nebrija and other famous Spanish writers like Santa Teresa, Quevedo and Fray Luis de León. It was built during the reign of Isabel II in the 19th century and contains more than five million books.

  Parque de El Retiro

A visit gives you the opportunity to wander around these beautiful subtropical gardens belonging to a 17th-century private estate as well as seeing all the 150 different species of tropical birds. There's a special enclosure where you can make direct contact with some of them. You'll find the park in what's now a suburb of the city called Churriana, just 20 minutes from the centre. It's open all day and has a cafe-bar where you can have lunch.

You can pick up your car at our rental outlets right in the town. Find more information on using a hire car round Malaga, try our "Car Hire in Malaga" page.

  Paseo del Parque

These botanical gardens feature species of plants and trees brought in from all over the world. The mild climate allows them all to flourish on land reclaimed from the sea in 1897. You'll come across squares and monuments dedicated to important figures from Malaga's history including the statue and theatre in honour of Eduardo Ocón. Live performances are put on for free during spring and in summer. On the other side of the avenue there's the old gardener's house (now a Tourist Office) as well as the Bank of Spain, the Palacio de la Aduana (Customs House) and the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).

  Catedral (La)

The largest and most important Catholic church in the city is widely considered a masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture. Building started in the 16th century and the interior belongs to this period. However, the main facade is 18th-century baroque. The original plans envisaged two bell towers, but only one was completed. That's why locals affectionately refer to their cathedral as La Manquita (Little One Arm). The side chapels are richly adorned with paintings and the choir stalls are a masterful work of art by sculptor Pedro de Mena. Climb up the bell tower to enjoy the spectacular views.


Discount car rental and hire in Spain.

Spain is a place rich in tourist destinations, and possessed of some of the most beautiful scenic splendour on Earth. Hire cars let people enjoy that beauty, and we are proud to help.

We have extensive car hire coverage throughout Spain ranging from major cities in the north such as Asturias and Cantabria to Madrid and Extermadura in the central regions to Andalucia and Murcia in the southern parts of Spain.

Genral information for foreign drivers in Spain


Visitors may enter with unlimited foreign and Spanish currency. You can't leave with more than EUR600 and foreign currency to a value of EUR3000, unless you can prove that you declared to customs any excess when you entered the country. You may import 10 liters of spare fuel free of duty.


EC format pink/green license is accepted; old-style green or non-European license must be accompanied with an International Driving Permit.


You must carry two warning triangles in your vehicle; motorcyclists, however, need not carry a warning triangle. You must carry spare bulbs of the correct wattage for your lights. Vehicles are required to have at least two rear view mirrors. Drivers must have a clear view of at least 50 meters; thus caravans should be equipped with extension mirrors. Helmets are compulsory for motorcyclists and their passengers riding motorcycles which have an engine larger than 125 cc.

Tolls (Correct as at March 1, 2004)

Private cars (with or without caravans) and motorcycles pay tolls as follows.



A1 & A68 Burgos to Mirands de Ebro EUR6.90
A2 from A7 juntion to Zaragoza 13.50
A4 Sevilla to Cadiz 8.25
A6 Madrid to Adanero 6.50
A7 La Jonquera to Barcelona 8.25
A7 Barcelona to Salou 7.75
A7 Salou to Valencia 20.50
A7 Valencia to Alicante 13.50
A8 Bilbao to San Sebastian 10.00
San Sebastian to France 1.30
A9 La Coruña to Santiago de Compostela 3.50
A9 Pontevedra to Vigo 2.50
A15 Pamplona to Tudela 7.50
Barcelona to Manresa 4.30* A18
A19 Barcelona to Malgrat de Mar 2.75
A66 Oveido to Leon 7.80
A68 Bilbao to Zaragoza 29.00
*EUR2.25 for a motorcycle A18

A16's Tunnel Garraf between Castelldefels & Sitges charges a toll of EUR1.85 for motorcycles; EUR3.75 for a car, a van, a minibus, or a car towing a small trailer; and EUR6.60 for a caravan or a car towing a caravan.

C138/D929's Bielsa Tunnel runs through the Pyrénées between Aragnouet and Bielsa, France; 3 km long; usually open all year, but closes from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.l.

C1411's Cadi Tunnel between Bellver de Cerdanya and Bagá. The tunnel runs west of the Tosas Pass: 5 km long; EUR6.25 for cars and motorcycles, EUR7.75 for cars with a small baggage trailer, EUR17 for caravans and for cars with a large trailer.

Near Barcelona the Vallvidrera Tunnel charges a toll of EUR2.10 for motorcycles; EUR2.60 for a car, a van, a minibus, or a car towing a small trailer; and EUR4.15 for a caravan or a car towing a caravan.

Compania Transmediterranea SA operates year-round ferry services to the Balearic and Canary Islands:BarcelonaPalma (Mallorca); ValenciaPalma; BarcelonaMahón (Menorca); ValenciaMahón ; BarcelonaIbiza; ValenciaIbiza; PalmaMahónIbiza; CádizLas Palmas (Grand Canaria); CádizSanta Cruz (Tenerife); FuerteventruaLanzaroteGomeraHierroLa Palma.

Non-toll Mountain Passes & Tunnels

Non-toll mountain passes and tunnels tend to be much more difficult to negotiate than those which charge a toll. If you're driving a vehicle (such as a caravan) that's not allowed on or recommended for some of the following passes, or if you wanna travel quickly across or through the mountains, note that a mountain pass or tunnel which charges a toll tends to be close by.

NIII's Contreras Pass, Tarancon to Requena. 890 meters; maximum grade is 7 percent; minimum width is 6.82 meters (22 ft.); OK for caravans.

NVI's Guadarrama Pass, Madrid to La Coruña. 1510 meters; closed occasionally; maximum grade is 12.5 percent; minimum width is 8 meters (26 ft.); OK for caravans.

N111's Lizarraga Pass, Logroño to Donostia/San Sebastián. 1030 meters; maximum grade is 7 percent; minimum width is 5.42 meters (17.5 ft.); OK for caravans.

N152's Tosas Pass, Barcelona to Puigcerdà. 1800 meters; usually open; maximum grade is 10 percent; minimum width is 5 meters (16 ft.); marginally negotiable by caravans.

N230's Viella Tunnel runs 6 km from Viella and Vilaller; approaches to this tunnel are very narrow. N240's Azpiroz Pass, Pamplona to Donostia/San Sebastián. 615 meters; usually open; maximum grade is 10 percent; minimum width is 5.9 meters (19 ft.); OK for caravans.

N240's Barazar Pass, Gasteiz/Vitoria to Bilbao. 605 meters; maximum grade is 9 percent; minimum width is 6.5 meters (21 ft.); OK for caravans.

N330/N134's Somport Pass, Huesca to Pau, France. 1632 meters; usually open; maximum grade is 10 percent; minimum width is 3.72 meters (12 ft.); OK for caravans.

N400's Cabrejas Pass, Tarancon to Cuenca. 1167 meters; usually open; maximum grade is 14.3 percent; minimum width is 5 meters (16 ft.); OK for caravans.

N525's Canda Pass, Zamora to Orense. 1260 meters; sometimes closed; maximum grade is 12.5 percent; minimum width is 7.1 meters (23 ft.); OK for caravans.

N601's Navacerrada Pass, Madrid to Segovia. 1860 meters; usually open; maximum grade is 9 percent; minimum width is 6 meters (19.5 ft.); not recommended for caravans.

N623's Carrales Pass, Burgos to Santander. 1020 meters; maximum grade is 6 percent; minimum width is 6.82 meters (22 ft.); not recommended for caravans.

C135/D933's Ibaneta Pass, Pamplona to St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France. 1058 meters; usually open; maximum grade is 10 percent; minimum width is 4 meters (13 ft.); especially scenic; OK for caravans.

C136/D934's Pourtalet Pass, Huesca to Pau, France. 1791 meters; closed from late October to early June; maximum grade is 10 percent; minimum width is 3.4 meters (11 ft.); not recommended for caravans.

C138/D929's Bielsa Tunnel runs through the Pyrénées between Bielsa and Aragnouet, France; open 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. from Easter Sunday to mid November.

C142's Bonaigua Pass, Esterri d'Aneu to Viella. 2072 meters; closed from late October to early June; maximum grade is 8.3 percent; minimum width is 4.34 meters (14 ft.); not recommended for caravans.


Fuel prices are government regulated, so don't waste time shopping around. (Though this may soon change.) Some fuel stations accept credit cards. Regular leaded gasoline has an octane rating of 92; the octane rating of super is 97. Unleaded gasoline is called gasolina sin plomo. Unleaded super gasoline has an octane rating of 95. Diesel is called gas-oil. LPG is called gases licuados del petróleo.

Road Signs

Aparcamiento Parking ramp
Ceda el Paso Give Way
Centro Town center
Comisaria Police station
Cuidado Drive with care
Desvío Detour
Dirrección Única One-way street
Obras Roadworks
Peligro Danger
Todas Direcciones All directions

Roads marked A for autopista are toll roads.

Roads marked N are known as autovias and are the main, non-toll highways; these are often virtually as fast as—and more scenic than—the autopistas. A sign showing a stylized picture of a camera indicates an especially good view.

The word estación indicates a train station.


The minimum age of a driver is 18 years. Children under 12 years of age must be seated in an approved child seat to sit in the front of a vehicle. Seat belts are compulsory for front- and rear-seat passengers. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05 percent (0.03 percent if the vehicle is over 3500 kg or carries more than 9 passengers, or if the operator's license is no more than 2 years old). Speed limits are as follows: 50 km/h (30 mph) in built-up areas, 90 km/h (56 mph) or 100 km/h (62 mph) outside built-up areas, and 120 km/h (74 mph) on expressways. In residential areas the maximum speed is 20 km/h (12 mph). Cars towing a trailer are limited to 80 km/h (50 mph) on divided highways, 70 km/h (44 mph) on other roads.

Immediately outside many towns are sensors which detect your speed as you approach the town. If you're going over the speed limit, a traffic light at the edge of the town is automatically turned to red so that you must come to a stop before entering the town. Two red lights mean No entry. Generally, traffic on the right has priority. Normally where a minor road intersects a major road there's a sign reading "Stop" or "Ceda el Paso" (give way); if such a sign is not in place, the traffic on the major road still has priority.

Motorcycles must be operated with headlights on—day and night. All vehicles must have headlights on in tunnels. In built-up areas horns may be used only in cases of immediate and extreme danger. Elsewhere don't use the horn unnecessarily, but don't hesitate to use it in warning.

When in daylight and outside a built-up area, you must use the horn to indicate your intention to pass; at night, flash the headlights instead. It's illegal not to use your vehicle's directional to indicate your intention to pass. And if a vehicle comes up behind you signaling that it wants to pass and if you see that the road ahead is clear, you must signal with your vehicle's right blinker to acknowledge the situation. Trams which are stopped and accepting or letting off passengers may not be passed.

Police are empowered to collect fines of up to EUR300 on the spot. Foreigners must pay on the spot unless they can present a Spanish bail bond or an address of a Spanish friend or company who will guarantee payment of the fine. If the fine cannot be paid or guaranteed, the vehicle will be impounded and the driver detained until the fine is paid. There's usually a discount of 20 percent for immediate settlement. The police will issue a Boletin de Denuncia which specifies the offense and the amount of the fine. Check carefully that the fine amount noted on the document matches the amount you paid. Follow the English instructions on the back of the document if you wanna dispute the charge; you have 15 days to file a written dispute, and you can write your argument in English.


In some cities a blue line on the street indicates resident-only parking; in other cities, check for signs. Don't leave anything of value in a parked vehicle. Parking garages are a safer alternative to the street, but you might wanna check prices before you enter with your vehicle.

On one-way streets, parking is allowed on even dates along the side with even addresses and on odd dates along the side with odd addresses; in both cases, park in the direction of traffic flow.

Do not park within 5 meters of intersections or entrances to public buildings.

Blue Zones or Zona Azul are indicated by signs. Parking in these zones is allowed for 1.5 hours from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Parking discs can be obtained from hotels, travel agents, or the town hall.

Some large towns have Zona ORAs in the center of the town; parking in such a zone is allowed in conjunction with display of a ticket which must be bought at a tobacconist; tickets are valid for 30, 60, or 90 minutes.

Illegally parked vehicles may be towed. All this said, it is not unusual in the larger cities to see cars double and triple parked!


Campgrounds are rated on a 1 to 3 scale based on their spectrum of facilities, not on their quality. An International Camping Carnet isn't required at most. Amperage offered through electrical hookups tends to be low, sometimes as lows as 2 Amps. Free-camping without appropriate permission is illegal but quite tolerated.


Open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from October through June. Closed on Saturday during the summer.


Open on weekdays from 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Open and close one hour later on summer afternoons. Open until noon on Saturday.

National Holidays

Jan 1; Epiphany; Mar 19; Maunday Thur; Good Fri; Labor Day; Ascension; Corpus Christi; July 25; Aug 15; Oct 12; Nov 1; Dec 6, 8, 25. Many local variations.

BBC Radio Hours and Corresponding Frequencies
5:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.: 6195, 9410 and 15575 kHz
7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: 12095, 15070 and 17705 kHz
4:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.: 6195, 12095 and 15070 kHz

Breakdown, Accident or Emergency

In Madrid, Barcelona and other large towns: Police, tel. 091; Fire, tel. 080; Ambulance, tel. 092. Elsewhere refer to the telephone directory. The Traffic Control Department maintains a network of emergency phones along main roads and provides roadside assistance; call the operator and ask for auxilio en carretera. The national motoring club is Real Automóvil Club de España (RACE), FIA and AIT member, José Abascal 10, 28003 Madrid, tel. 447 3200, office hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. Friday) on weekdays.



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