Driving in Barcelona: Important things you want to know

Driving in Barcelona: What You Need to Know Image
Just because you aren't a resident of Spain doesn't mean you can't drive in Barcelona or another city in the region! If you want to come to barcelona with your car or rent/buy a car in Barcelona, you need to have with your actual driving licence and your passeport, a valid insurance (resident country insurance that can cover you in Spain), and the registration documents of the car. In order to avoid being bother by authorities and quietly enjoy your stay, Here are a quick few things you should know about requirements for driving in Barcelona:

License ID-

US citizens:

  • A valid driver's license from any state may be used
  • You must also obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). IDP's are basically a copy of your native license copied into various languages, and they can be purchased through entities such as AAA for around $10.
  • Both ID cards must be carried with you at all times! Fines have been known to range from 250- 500 €!
  • After a period of six months, you are required to apply for a Spanish driver's license and go through the same exams and classes as locals. You are now driving as a residence, so you need to pay the special vehicle tax called " impuesto municipal sobre circulación de vehículos".

EU and EEA visitors:

Driving in Barcelona: What You Need to Know Image
  • Driving in Barcelona is easy! Your country license may be used in Spain until it is expired.
  • Carrying a passport is recommended.
  • You must register with travel authorities within six months becoming a resident of Spain and obtain a Spanish driver's license as well. You will drive as a citizen, so you have to pay the special vehicle registration tax (impuesto municipal sobre circulación de vehículos).
NB: After getting your spanish driving licence, your home driving licence will be returned to the issuing authority of your country. So do not be afraid if spanish authority don't give you back your home licence after submitting your application documents.


Third party insurance is required for all driving in Barcelona and other cities in Spain!


In case you came from your country with your own car and you want to stay in Spain for a couple of months or more, you need to matriculate your foreign car on Spanish plates. You can do it within 2 months from the day of the entry of the car.

Road Regulations-

Items required on/in vehicle

  • 2 EU-approved red traffic triangles
  • 2 reflective vests to be worn in incidents
  • spare headlight bulbs and tools to replace
  • spare tire and necessary tools
  • EU license plates with country of origin or sticker
Driving in Barcelona: What You Need to Know Image

Few traffic rules of thumb

  • Cars overtake and pass others from the left
  • Cars approaching from the right have the right of way
  • Cars in traffic circle have the right of way
  • Cell phone use is not permitted while driving. Fines are starting from 90€ and up to 300€
  • All passengers must wear a seatbelt
  • Children under 10 years old must sit in the back

Speed Limit and Alcohol

Driving in Barcelona: What You Need to Know Image
The speed limits for both cars and motocycles are:
  • Inner town: 50 km/h
  • Country road: 90 km/h
  • Clearways: 100 km/h
  • Highways: 120 km/h
According to the weight, there are some particular rules for trailers, RVs, and mobile homes.
  • RVs and Trailers <0.75 tons : up to 80 km/h on country roads, 70km/h on roads out of towns and up to 90 km/h on highways
  • RVs and Trailers > 0.75 tons: up to 80 km/h on highways
  • Mobile homes < 3.5 tons: up to 80 km/h on country roads, 90km/h on clearway and up to 100 km/h on highways
  • Mobile homes > 3.5 tons: up to 80 km/h on country roads, 90km/h on highways
On the Alcohol matter, the limit proportion in the blood is 0.5 percent. But for people whose the licence aged less than 2 years, the limit is fixed at 0.3 percent.

Breakdown and Accident help

The Spanish authorities hate when private cars are towing others. It's forbidden! If your got an accident or a breakdown, it is mandatory to wear a reflective jacket that must always be in your can and wait for the staff in charge of the help. In case of accident, you have to notify the police through 112. For more information visit Spain's Traffic Agency (Spanish). Safe driving in Barcelona! -Ty

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