Driving in Spain

If you have previously driven around different European countries, you are probably well aware that driving requirements differ around the continent. So, before you start your journey to either travel around Spain or through it, we want to provide you with as much information as possible to ensure that are fully prepared by having the required items and documents and being aware of the laws which apply to motorists.

You simply need to gather some vital documents together before you begin your journey.

See below for what they are:

  • The photo and paper counterpart of your full UK driving license. If you don’t have your photo license, we recommend that you carry your passport (it is a legal requirement to carry your passport anyway) and International Driving Permit.
  • Evidence of your vehicles insurance.
  • The original vehicle registration document or hire certificate.
  • We also recommend a Green Card

The above can simply be stored in your pocket, wallet or bag at all times in case you get pulled over by the police.

There are multiple items needed to drive around the country that can simply be stored in the back of your boot. The items aim to enhance your safety and protect you, your passengers and other motorists in case an emergency arises.

The compulsory items are:

However, there are some items that are recommended to enhance your safety in an emergency even further:

Take a look at our European Driving Kits for everything you need.

There are some Spanish driving laws that overlap with the UK, however, some of them differ too, meaning that it is essential to be aware of them all before you begin your journey to prevent you from getting in trouble with the law.

  • All drivers must be aged 18 and over
  • Like the UK, it is compulsory to wear a seatbelt
  • The tolls on the motorways are charged
  • Some GPS devices included radar detection functions that can inform you when you are approaching a speed camera, however this is banned in Spain, so ensure that you disable it.
  • Children that are under the age of 12 and 1.35m must sit in a child seat
  • Always carry a spare pair of glasses in the vehicle with you if you wear them
  • Don’t use your horn in urban areas as it is illegal, unless you are in an emergency situation
  • Sat navs and other devices must not be in the view of the driver
  • If your vehicle exceeds 12m, you need to fit 2 yellow reflectors to its rear
  • Mobile phones should not be used unless it is through a handsfree device. Also, you cannot use headphones or earpieces or you wall face a 200 euro fine.
  • Snow chains or socks are recommended from November to March. Remember that you shouldn’t drive any faster than 50km/h if you have them fitted.
  • You should never use your full headlights in built up areas
  • In tunnels, you must use dinned headlight
  • If you are driving a motorcycle, you must use dipped headlights during the day.

Drink-driving laws are strict in Spain, we advise that you avoid it completely before driving, however see below for the official limits.

  • Normal drivers: 0.50g/l
  • New drivers (2 years or less): 0.30g/l
  • Professional drivers: 0/30g/l

Ensure that you do not break this law as you can be left with unwanted fines, have your driving licence took off you and even imprisonment.

The speed limits in Spain differ to those in the UK and the police take them very seriously, so it is essential to be 100% certain about them before you begin your journey.

  • Urban areas: 50km/h
  • Open roads (no hard shoulder): 90km/h (70km/h if towing)
  • Dual carriage ways: 100km/h (80km/h if towing)
  • Motorways: 120km/h (80 km/h if towing)

Alongside maximum speeds, there are minimum speeds too, the minimum speed limit while travelling on motorways and dual carriageways is 60km/h.

We hope this has given you all the information you need to drive in Spain, however, for more information check with the Spanish authorities.

Always remember, that the laws are slightly different in different countries, so if you are driving around other locations alongside Spain, ensure that you are fully compliant to their regulations.


Even though we update our information regularly, the driving laws often change without any warning, so we cannot be held responsible for any out of date information.


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