How to drive in Spain?

Basic rules of the roads and driving requirements.


In Spain cars drive on the right side of the road


The network of freeways in Spain is divided into autopistas and autovías. The former are generally toll roads, whereas the latter are not. Both have at least two separated carriageways and two lanes per carriageway

Drive on the right.

Outside many towns there are sensors that detect your speed as you approach the town. When a car is over the speed limit, a traffic light at the edge of the town is automatically turned to red. It means that you must come to a stop before entering the town. Two red lights mean “No Entry”.
Jaywalking is illegal and its prohibition is strictly enforced.
Traffic on the right has priority.
Traffic on major roads has priority over minor roads.
On daylight and outside a built-up area, you must use the horn to indicate your intention to pass another vehicle.
At night, remember to use your directional lights to inform that you are going to turn. Do not pass another vehicle in areas which are stopped and accepting or letting off passengers.


No parking in spaces painted yellow or in areas with "No Parking" signs.
Parking spaces with meters are marked in blue where a ticket can be purchased from an attendant or machine. The machine may be halfway down the block; don´t assume that because there is no meter near the car that parking is free. These spaces are usually for two hours maximum. Fines vary between areas but can be substantial.
Do not leave anything of value in a parked vehicle.


Fines for speeding are paid on the spot. If the fine cannot be paid or guaranteed, the vehicle will be impounded and the driver detained until the fine is paid.
The legal drink-drive limit is 015mg per millilitre with breath test a frequent occurance. Fines for this are very high.


Fuel prices are government regulated. Some fuel stations accept credit cards. Regular leaded petrol has an octane rating of 92; the octane rating of super is 97. Unleaded petrol is called gasolina sin plomo. Unleaded super petrol has an octane rating of 95. Diesel is called gas-oil.


Speed limits in Spain are implemented rigorously, and radar traps are frequent.
Speed limits are measured in KPH (Kilometres per Hour) and can vary, so ensure you check road signs.

Motorways 120kph
Dual carriageways 100kph
Country roads 90kph
Urban roads 50kph
Residential areas 20kph


There are many motorway tolls across Spain. If you are travelling significant distances on Spanish toll roads, you may wish to make savings by obtaining a Solred Card.


The minimum driving age in Spain is 18.

Drivers licence.

Non-Residents can drive in Spain with an International Driving Licence or a foreign driving license for a maximum of 6 months in the calendar year.
European residents can drive on their existing Eurpean Union (EU) license until it runs outs. When it does run out you must apply for a Spanish driving licence. Non-EU residents must obtain a Spanish driving license after one year.
If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Road Tax.

Road tax in Spain is paid to the local government. The fee is related to the individual vehicle and the area. All vehicles are required to undertake an annual inspection (called an ITV), to check the condition of the vehicle. Major towns and cities have several ITV stations to which you can take your car.


As with most other European countries third party insurance is mandatory.
If you provide proof of at least 5 years no claims from your previous insurer you can reduce your insurance premiums.

Car requirements.

When you are driving in Spain you must have with you two warning trinagles, replacement bulbs, a visibility vest, international driving licence, vehicle registration and certificate of motor insurance.


It is compulsory to wear both front and rear seatbelts.


Children over 12 years may sit in the front seat. Children under 12 cannot travel in the front unless using a suitably adapted restraint system. In the rear, passengers under 135cm tall must use specially adapted safety devices and restraints.


Motorcyclists must use headlights both at night and during the day. Crash helmet use is mandatory for both driver and any occasional passenger.


Police 112
Fire 112
Ambulance 112
Red Cross 956 68 20 20

Girona Airport Cars

Sources: Drive Alive / Spain / DrivingAbroad / DGT Dirección General de Tráfico de España / Wikipedia