Updated May 22 2023
If you’re likely to stay within Barcelona city centre, we wouldn’t recommend hiring a car. If, on the other hand, you’re thinking of planning a day trip to the small towns along the Costa Brava or the Costa Daurada, or discovering inland Catalunya, which is full of great spots, charming towns and many must-see places, then hiring a car is definitely the best option.
Having a car at your disposal will allow you to go on these little trips to all of these places that are slightly further away from Barcelona. And if you’re after a short break of a few days in and around Catalunya, you’ll be able to see the larger cities such as Girona, Tarragona and Lleida as well as the smaller towns that aren’t so well connected via public transport.
How to hire your car
The requirements for people to hire a car in Barcelona and in the rest of Spain are the same for a Spanish citizen as for anyone holding a driving licence from other member states of the European Union. You will need to present your original driving licence, which must have been valid for at least two years, and the driver must be at least 23 years old.
If you’re a citizen of a country outside the European Union and haven’t passed the driving test in accordance with the Geneva or Vienna Conventions, you’ll need to gain an international driving licence in the country in which you reside.
So that you can search for the different models of car available for hire, below we have given you details of some of the car hire companies that have offices in Barcelona. We have also included a reservation tool, in which you can see what offers are available with some of the main companies.
Car hire companies in Barcelona
Although you can arrange your hire car directly in any of the companies’ offices, we recommend reserving in advance online. By doing so, you’ll ensure that the type of car you need will be available, and you’re likely to save money too.
Fuel tank: Usually the car hire companies give you the option to hire the car with a full tank of petrol or with it practically empty. If you go for the full tank option, bear in mind that you’ll need to fill it up again before returning the car, otherwise you’ll be charged for a full tank of petrol at a much higher price than you would pay at the pump.
Franchise: The cost of car hire depends on whether you decide to hire the car with an excess of a certain amount, protecting against any possible damage caused to the vehicle, or if you choose to waive the excess, in which case the price will be higher. Without a doubt, the price will be cheaper with excess, but it’s often wise to go for the fully comprehensive option, because it will give you peace of mind throughout your trip.
Additional driver: Many companies make an additional charge for a second driver being added to the hire agreement. If you’ll only be doing short journeys perhaps it’s not worth insuring an additional driver. Another possibility is to check whether any of the companies offer a second driver to be included free of charge.
Return of the car: Many companies offer the possibility to return the car to an office other than the one from which they have hired the car, whether it’s in the same city or not. If you would like to do this, you’ll need to advise the company when you hire the car, and there will be an extra charge incurred.
Deposit: to protect against any incident that might occur while you have the car, when you hire it you’ll be charged a deposit, which will vary depending on the company. It’s standard practice, and the deposit will be returned to you when you return the car in the state it was in when you hired it, as set out on the rental agreement.
Where to hire a car?
All the major companies have offices in various locations throughout Barcelona, so that you can choose which office suits you best. Below we have given you some of the locations in which you can hire a car in Barcelona and throughout the rest of Catalunya.