Car Hire in Barcelona
This information is correct as of July 2015
Barcelona, the seaside city of various cultural, architectural, and gastronomic delights, is a wonderful place to visit in Spain. One will find here breathtaking landmarks such as La Sagrada Familia, Museu Picasso, and Mercat de la Boqueria. These are just some of the various sights to check out after landing at the airport and getting to the city. When exploring, you can also rent a car for more convenience, especially if you have a detailed itinerary.
Where to hire a car in Barcelona
There are several options available in Barcelona when it comes to car hire operators. There are at least three branches of Europcar, two of Sixt, and one of Hertz, Budget, and Alamo in different parts of the city. This does not include the number of independent car hire services to be found in Barcelona, which let you consider which operator you will be transacting with. It is important that you enquire about all the terms and conditions and determine if your travel insurance covers car rental concerns. When taking the car, make sure to ask about getting two EU-approved, red warning triangles, as well as two reflective jackets you can wear during emergencies. It is required by law to travel with these, as you might need them for signalling or in case of accidents.
What to expect when hiring a car from Barcelona
The road conditions in Barcelona are well paved and easy on the car's wheels, but they can be hard to deal with during peak times of the day. Traffic increases around 7 am and dissipates only after past 8 to 9 am. It can also be hard to go around after six, especially if you are going to the city centre. There are also toll roads in Barcelona, particularly the AP7, while congestion charges may or may not apply in specific parts of the city. It is not clear whether Barcelona is implementing the charging for this fee, but you will need to prepare for them at least. Always remember that you should drive on the right side of the road and overtake to the left side. Cars coming from your right have the right of way. Keep in mind that you should be alert when out on the road and look out for sudden movements of motorcycles and scooters.
There are three trams operating into the suburbs of greater Barcelona from Placa de Francesc Macia, with the T4 line running from behind the zoo to Saint Adria via Glories and the Forum. The T5 line, on the other hand, goes from Glories to Badalona and T6 between Badalona and Sant Adria. The tram blau (blue tram) is also handy, as it runs up to the foot of Tibidabo. More than 180 kilometres of bike lanes are also laid out across the city. Taking note of the roads affected by these two forms of public transport is important, so you can manoeuvre carefully. Parking can also be arranged in various underground parking lots, parking zones with meters, and other authorised areas.
Getting to your destination
There are a number of places where you can go on a day trip from Barcelona. Some of them are:
The southernmost beach resort on the Costa Brava, the town of Blanes features a beautiful coastline where cliffs alternate with quiet coves. You will find here the remains of the castle of Sant Joan, the Gothic fountain, and the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza, to name a few.
To get here, take Gran Via to C-31 in Sant Adria de Besos and then go on to C-32 to GI-600. Take exit 134 and continue to GI-600. Take Ctra. Tordera and Carrer d'Anselm Clave to Placa de la Solidaritat in Blanes. Tolls must be paid on the way though, but going through here can shorten the trip to around an hour or so, depending on the traffic.
Vilanova I la Geltru
This seaside town features a medieval defensive wall, with outstanding landmarks such as the Santa Maria de la Geltru Parish Church. You can also see here Saint Gervasi Church, the Principal Theatre, and the Railway Museum. There is also the Victor Balaguer Museum-Library and several museums.
When going here, be sure to get on B-10 from Via Layetana, Passeig de Colom, and Passeig de Josep Carner. Take C-32 to and then exit 26 from C-32, before continuing onto C-31. You can reach your destination from here via Vilanova I la Geltru. Tolls have to be paid at C-32 at C-31, with the trip lasting about an hour in light traffic conditions.
Located in the northeast of the region, the coastal landscapes of Girona make a beautiful sight to explore. There are also the nature reserves of Aiguamolls de L'Emporda, Cap de Creus, and La Garrotxa volcanic area to see.
Get on B-10 in Sant Adria de besos from Gran Via and Exit 209. Take AP-7 to C-65 and take exit 7 from AP-7. Follow C-65 and Carrer Barcelona to Ronda Sant Antoni Maria Claret in Girona. Tolls will have to be paid when taking AP-7 and C-33 to reach the city in around an hour and 30 minutes.