Driving In Spain

Roads in Spain have recently undergone great modernisation and now it is easier to reach your destination quickly and safely. Below you will find advice regarding what to expect and what you should and shouldn't do on the roads.

Roads in Spain

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodrguez Zapatero has implemented a 15-year plan to pave the way for high-speed travel between the country's provincial capitals by road or rail without having to go through Madrid. The programme is targeted to give Spain one of the "most advanced" infrastructure networks in Europe and will in turn boost the domestic economy.

An objective of the plan is to ensure that 94% of the country will be within 30 kilometres of a highway.

A little more than a quarter of the funds are being spent on expanding the road network. The biggest improvements are expected in the regions of Teruel, Ciudad Real, Salamanca, Cuenca, Soria, Zamora and Cáceres. Due to improved roads, property investor interest has been increased in the country’s interior as well as new coastal regions and property prices have consequently been rising steadily.

Documentation and equipment needed

You should have a full driving licence which includes a photograph as the Spanish police no longer accept the old green licences.

If you are a resident, your EU licence is acceptable for up to three months, after which you should register it with the traffic police. Be warned, most insurance policies will only accept your licence as valid after it has been registered with the traffic police.

You should have the following in the car:

  • Your original full driving licence, NOT a photocopy,
  • Vehicle registration document (V5).
  • If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.
  • Motor insurance - third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip.
  • A first-aid kit is advisable but not compulsory.
  • Wearers must carry a spare pair of glasses in the car.
  • It is compulsory to carry a replacement set of bulbs.
  • Visibility vests are compulsory in Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU) if your car breaks down and you need to get out of the car. Every person who gets out of the car is required to wear one.
  • Warning triangles are also compulsory.

Provided you hold a full UK licence and you are over 18 years of age, you may drive a car or motorcycle over 75cc
Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Seat belts and car seats

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seats. Children under 150 cm in height must either have a car seat or a booster seat.

Animals are legally obliged to be restrained in the back, so that they cannot jump into the front.

Speed limits

  • Motorway 120 km/h
  • Open Road 90-100 km/h
  • Town 50 km/h

Drinking and driving

Alcohol % in blood is limited to 0.05 (less than the UK). With over 0.05 % you could face anything from a severe fine, withdrawal of your licence or even imprisonment.


On-the-spot fines are issued unless you are a resident and have funds in Spain. Ensure the officer collecting the fine issues an official receipt.


Dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility. Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.


All grades of unleaded petrol (sin plomo), diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. Leaded fuel no longer exists, however it is permitted to carry petrol in a can.

Car transportation

It is relatively inexpensive to have you car shipped to Spain, so you can use your own car without incurring the cost and inconvenience of hiring. It is important to use a reputable company to transport your vehicle to Spain. One such company is Motor Mania.
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