Car hire in Barcelona
Hiring a car in Barcelona
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and it is safe to say it has a personality all its own. From the architectural masterpieces of its most famous son, Antoni Gaudi, to the equally world-renowned Camp Nou Stadium and the team that play there, Barcelona is a cultural and fun destination to visit. That’s before we’ve even got started on the food, which is so outstanding that people have tried to replicate it all over the world.
This destination is within Spain, but somehow separate from it, and can be reached from the airport by car in about 20 minutes. Look for the signs for C-31 and C-32, which will take you to the Gran Via, Avinguda Diagonal, Ronda de Dalt or Ronda del Litoral roads, all of which lead to Barcelona city centre.
What you need to know
Hire cars in Barcelona are available from the airport, main train station or a city centre location. The largest number of suppliers operate out of the airport and it is a good idea to compare car hire deals using our website to ensure you get the best option for you. More than a dozen car hire firms have a presence at Barcelona Airport (BCN), with many of them rated excellent and very good by our customers. All of them are covered by the Holiday Autos free cancellation policy and 24/7 support should you need it.
Where to pick up your car
There are car hire desks at both terminals one and two at Barcelona Airport. The likes of Sixt, Thrifty and Budget all have desks in Terminal one, while centauro rent-a-car and Sol Mar Rent A Car provide free shuttle buses from this terminal to their desks. Meanwhile, Firefly Car Rental, Avis and Europcar have desks in Terminal two and inter rent, centauro rent-a-car and Goldcar rental all offer shuttle bus services.
Some of the big names, such as Budget, Hertz and Sixt allow you to pick up your hire car from within metres of Barcelona Sants Station. This is particularly convenient if you are travelling to the city from elsewhere in Spain or further afield in Europe, such as Portugal.
“Pick up was good and efficient”
Where to go
Once you have your hire car then the whole of Barcelona opens up to you. This means you could throw all your beach stuff into the back of the car and head to Barceloneta Beach, where there is no less than 1,100 metres of sand to stretch out on. With a backdrop of the city, it is this beach that many people believe sets Barcelona apart from many other European cities.
Alternatively, why not do a tour of Gaudi sites? While some of these are quite central, such as Casa Batllo and Casa Mila (otherwise known as La Pedrera), not all of them are that convenient to visit. Park Guell, for example, lies on the outskirts of the city and a hire car will make it so much easier to get there.
If you’re travelling with kids, then they’ll definitely want you to drive them up to Tibidabo. This amusement park sits atop a 512-metre hill overlooking the city, which means you get fantastic views of Barcelona whether or not you decide to ride the big wheel.
Around an hour’s drive from Barcelona along the A-2 road is the holiest site in Catalonia, Montserrat. It occupies a mountain with several peaks and is home to a stunning Benedictine abbey, as well as some pretty great views. If you happen to be in Montserrat when the resident choir are doing a performance or even just rehearsing, be sure not to miss it, as the sound is truly breath-taking.
If beaches are more your thing, strike out along the C-32 toll road to Sitges. Here you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding which beach to lie back and soak up the holiday spirit on. Take a stroll before making your choice and once you’ve relaxed, have your lunch at one of the top quality seafood restaurants dotted along the seafront. In the afternoon, wander the whitewashed buildings of Sitges and enjoy its cool narrow streets.
Slightly further afield at 99 kms away from Barcelona via the AP-7 and C-32 roads you’ll find Tarragona. This destination is Roman ruins central and you’ll be able to explore everything from the remains of an amphitheatre to a forum and the archaeological museum is highly informative. Once you are done with such relics, head to the cathedral, which has a stunning interior.
The Medieval walled town of Montblanc lies 118 kms from Barcelona and can be reached using the AP-7 and AP-2 roads, but be prepared to pay tolls in return for the speed they afford. Having a hire car will mean you can really make the most of the area around Montblanc and drive along what is known as the Cistercian Route. It will take you to beautiful monasteries at Poblet, Vallbona de les Monges and Santes Creus.
Top attractions to visit in Barcelona
When it comes to things to do in Barcelona, you’ll be completely spoilt for choice, but here are some of the best.
La Boqueria Market
Located right on the Ramblas, this market has been serving the people of Barcelona since 1217 and is a must-visit for foodies. Just wandering around and seeing all the colourful mounds of fresh produce is a feast for the eyes before you’ve even bought any ingredients to cook up and enjoy.
Camp Nou Stadium
Barcelona’s football club is among the most famous in the world and its stadium matches the team’s stature. Getting to see a game played here is a wonderful experience for any football fans, but if that’s not possible during your stay, then a tour is another great option. The highlight is bound to be visiting the trophy room, which is packed full of silverware, including five Champions League trophies.
Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece is an amazing example of visionary architecture and is different each time you visit. Marvel at the many towers and see the light shine in through a wall of stained glass. Tickets and time slots should be secured early on in the day to avoid disappointment. You can even purchase special entry to ascend one of the towers.