Good to know - Driving in Spain

Are you a UK Motorist planning to drive in Spain?

It is a legal requirement you carry:

•    A full and valid UK driving license 
•    Your motor insurance certificate.
•    Ownership documents (or rental documents) 
•    Wearers of glasses should carry a spare pair.
•    Fluorescent vest (for all occupants) 
•    Two warning triangles.
•    Set of replacement bulbs and associated tools.
•    Spare tyre and associated tools.
•    Failure to carry required equipment may result in a fine.

It is recommended you carry:

•    A Fire extinguisher (recommended) 
•    A First-aid kit (recommended)

Essential Information

Driving licences

•    The minimum age for driving a car is 18.
•    The minimum age for riding a Motorcycle up to 125cc is 16 , for a motorcycle over 125cc you must be at least 18. 
•    All valid UK driving licences should be accepted in Spain. This includes the older all-green style UK licences (in Northern Ireland older paper style with photographic counterpart) although as these may be more difficult to understand drivers may wish to voluntarily update them before travelling abroad.
•    Alternatively, older licences may be accompanied by an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Seat belts
•    Compulsory for front / rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.
•    Children under 12 years of age, of a height less than 135cm must be seated in a child restraint system adapted to their size and weight. Children of a height more than 135 cm may use an adult seatbelt.

Bringing Your Car To Spain

•    Insurance cover must be extended to cover travel in Spain. 
•    You may bring your EU registered car into Spain without formality but you may not use it in Spain for more than six months in a calendar year.
•    If you spend more than six months in any year in Spain, you will be considered resident and consequently you must obtain full national plates and pay the vehicle registration tax (impuesto municipal sobre circulación de vehículos). 
•    You may also register your foreign car with Spanish plates.  This must be done within two months from the time of entry. You should present all original documents because it is a complicated procedure.

Drinking and driving 

•    If the level of alcohol in the blood stream is found to be 0.05 per cent or more, severe penalties apply including fines and withdrawal of visitor’s driving license. 
•    Drivers with less than 2 years experience, have a lower limit of 0.03% alcohol. Severe penalties include imprisonment for non compliance.

Fuel types

•    Unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane). 
•    No leaded petrol is available. 
•    Petrol cans are permitted. 
•    Diesel (Gasoleo “A” or gas-oil) is available. (Gasoleo “B” is heating oil only).


•    Use of full headlights in built-up areas is prohibited: use sidelights or dipped headlights depending on how well lit the road is.
•    Dipped headlights must be used in tunnels.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits (subject to local variations indicated by signage) for private vehicles without trailers are as follows;

•    Built-up areas: 31 mph (50 km/h) Some residential zones are 13 mph (20kph)
•    2nd category roads : 55 mph (90 km/h)
•    1st category roads:  62 mph (100 km/h) 
•    Motorways: 74 mph (120 km/h).   On motorways and dual carriage ways in built up areas a lower speed limit of 49 mph (80km/h) applies. Minimum speed on motorways and dual carriageways is 37 mph (60 km/h).