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I want to drive from Barcelona to Madrid (Around 600kms) this december.

  1. Is it beautiful?
  2. What are the safe car hiring options for foreigners?
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Two years ago I drove from Madrid to Barcelona. I didn't rent a car, but used my own. However, I can add some hints:

  • As MastaBaba mentioned, the toll roads are sometimes quite expensive. On the other hand very often you can choose if you want to use the new and empty highway and pay the toll or if you want to use the old highway that is quite often next to the new one, but for free. On the other hand the old highways are full of trucks and locals.

  • There is a law in Spain that says that drivers have to be warned before every speed trap. So if you see a sign on the road that there will be a speed trap in the next few hundred meters, you should really slow down. On the other hand, if there is no sign, there is no speed trap.

  • I'm not sure if you want to do this in one day, but if you have some time, go off the highway and visit some of the small towns right on the highway. At least for lunch it is really worth it. Visit for example the region around Santa María de Huerta.

  • Driving into Madrid can sometimes be a little bit stressful. At least for me, it was one of the European cities with the most traffic (where I was the driver myself). However, if you want to park there, there is a huge parking space right below Plaza Mayor in the center.

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Speed traps warnings are mandatory just for fixed ones (and you can easily find a list of them), but not for mobile ones -usually cars parked on the roadside- so be careful anyway. –  machlas Jan 17 at 13:02
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'Beautiful' is relative, but if you take the highway, well, it's a highway.

Spain ain't, say, the Central African Republic, so, car hire is a pretty boring (and safe) business. All the regular players are available in Barcelona. I recommend booking through 3clickcarhire. They tend to give decent deals. This September, I also rented a car through 3clickcarhire in Barcelona, the provider being Budget Rent-a-car, where the cost of renting the car was pleasantly low and service good. Do realise that Spain has plenty of (sometimes expensive!) toll roads.

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Cataluña, I think, has the biggest concentration of toll roads in Spain. So getting out of Barcelona is possible where you'll face most of the payments for the route. –  SERPRO Nov 23 '12 at 10:41
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