Road trip tips for Spain

Road trip tips for Spain

If you’re doing a road trip in Spain, there’s definitely a lot of things that you can do to save a bit of money. We started our trip in Barcelona and our itinerary looked as follows:

So lets start with what we learned on our road trip.


1. Take roads labelled A-7, A-5, etc. rather than roads labelled AP-7, AP-5, and so on.

Toll taxes in Spain are very high. On our first day, when we drove from Barcelona to Valencia, we ended up paying almost 30 Euros in tolls, that works out to almost 1 Euro per 10 kms! Very expensive!

This is because we took the AP7 almost all the way to Valencia. The AP stands for Autopista and that means that it is a toll road. The A stands for Autovia and these roads are free to use (and happen to be excellent as well!).


2. When choosing a place to stay, since you have a car – stay outside the city in a nearby town.

We looked for accommodation in most of the cities that we visited. However, most of the times there was no way that we could find a place for under 50 Euros. Add to that another nightmare – PARKING! Most Spanish cities do not have readily available parking spaces and this means that if you’re staying inside the city, prepare yourself for a world of pain.

In Valencia, we stayed at El Perellonet – a small seaside town 20kms outside of Valencia. Our hosts were Aurora and Paco who we found via – a pretty cool service that lets you put your extra space up for rent. The good thing about staying with them was the fact that we found parking easily and got to see another town that we would never have been to otherwise.

In Granada we stayed at a small town called Albalote just 10 minutes outside Granada. Again, no parking problems and a wonderful stay.

Our room in Albolote

Our room in Albolote

This place was way better than anything we could have got for the same price. Included breakfast for two and cost us only 25 Euros per night!

In Malaga we decided to stay at Torremolinos which is a sea side town near Malaga. It has a beautiful beach and we were able to get a studio apartment for 25 Euros a night.


3. If you are renting a car, try renting over the phone.

We compared many car rental quotes from different companies (Hertz, Budget, Europcar, small local rental companies) and all of them had hidden charges. This rang especially true for the smaller companies since we wanted to rent the car in Barcelona and return it in Seville. They would want to charge a one-way-rental fee in excess of 60 Euros. Not acceptable.

So we finally decided to book at Hertz and they gave us an online quote of 120 Euros for an 8 day rental. For some reason, the online booking didn’t work so we decided to call them up.

Over the phone we got a pleasant surprise! The call center rep said that he would give us a special offer reserved only for Hertz Gold customers and would give us the car for 8 days for just 100 Euros, also the car would be upgraded to the next category! This was an amazing deal for us, naturally we took it.

Our Clio in Barcelona

Our Clio in Barcelona

So when you’re looking for a car, make sure you try giving these companies a call. You just might get lucky!

Our Clio was very comfortable and had enough space for all our stuff!

We also got an AUX cable so that we could listen to our own music along the way.


4. If you are taking the AVE, make sure you book online and take advantage of the best fares.

We went from Sevilla to Madrid by the high speed AVE. When you book with the AVE, make sure you do so online at – they usually have tickets that can run quite cheap on certain days and certain time slots. We got our ticket from Sevilla to Madrid for 58.30 EUR per person. It was a quick 2 hour ride from Seville to Madrid – very convenient.


5. Remember to take your time and take tons of pictures!

Spanish countryside

Spanish countryside

We took our time with driving. People sometimes forget that the journey is as important as the destination. The Spanish countryside is breathtaking and you should definitely pause to appreciate it. There are orchards, mountains, farms, clouds, people, and dazzling scenery! Make sure you take a minute now and then to stretch your legs and take in all the beauty around you.


Well, that’s about it for now.

If you have any more tips or cool ways to save money – make sure you throw in a comment and share it!

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  • Duygu Says

    Hi there
    Thank you for this this useful post. I will be traveling in 2 days to Andalucia and your information just cleared up my mind. Thanx much!

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  • Hey, guys! Actually the advice you give is pretty good. About accommodation I would like to add: “try couchsurfing!”. It’s working pretty well right now in Spain and you could save quite a lot of money, since, as you say, hostels and hotels are expensive here. Another option I suggest, if you don’t want to rent a car, is using a service called blablacar. In that website you can sigin, create a profile and find people that runs a car in the direction you go (then you will split expenses and the price is really much cheaper). Also, if you rent the car you can drive people to the city you go and get some extra income! :)

    • Zara Says

      Hi Eva!
      Thanks for the input – the Blablacar service sounds pretty interesting! We’ve seen similar services in other cities (I remember San Francisco at least..) but never used it. Good tip, gracias! :)

  • Kayla Says

    I think I saw somewhere you went in December (though I could be wrong)
    Can you give any insights of things to do at that time of year? Is it worth it? I am thinking about going in December but I heard the weather is not that good and I am just wondering if I should bother.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Kayla,

      Yes, we did a road-trip in Spain during the month of December and by no means I would discourage anyone to travel there at this time of year. It might not be the best time to enjoy the beach, for example, but there is so much more to see and do, depending on your interests.

      Click in any of the cities above to see what we did there – all in December. And yes, very worth it! :)

      If you have any specific questions about the places, please feel free to ask!

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