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Lots of tourists opt to rent a car in order to get around the city of Barcelona in complete freedom, especially if you don't like travelling on the metro or if you prefer to drive yourself rather than having to rely on a taxi.
This option is ideal for groups of friends who would enjoy making a few trips outside the city or who want to get to Barcelona quickly from the airport.
Where to hire a car in Barcelona
You can hire a car right at the airport or at the city's main train stations. For example, a station that's full of places in which to rent a car is Sants Estació which has as many services around the station as there are inside. When you book a car online, you will need to pay attention to the directions provided with regard to arranging the rental and how to collect the vehicle in order to avoid wasting time unnecessarily.
Barcelona has plenty of international car rental companies operating in the city. The main ones are: Europcar (green), Hertz (black and yellow) and Avis (white and red). The pricing from these companies is competitive and it is recommended to choose the company with an office that is either closest to your hotel or to one of the main places of interest.
In addition to the fact that, when you rent a car in Barcelona, it is important to remember that the pick-up point for the car is likely to be the same as the drop-off point, there is other information that's worth knowing about this transport option.
In general, in order to hire a car in Barcelona, the minimum age requirement is 21 years, although some companies, such as Hertz, have lowered the minimum age but they do apply a "youth supplement" for drivers aged between 19 and 24 years. The second essential requirement is to have a credit card. In the event that you choose to insure your trip, it is important to ensure that the driver has sufficient funds available on their credit card to cover the total cost of the insurance, which will be refunded when the vehicle is returned. Only the person who is registered as the driver will be able to drive the hire car. Otherwise, it would be necessary to pay an additional supplement for registering a second driver.
There are, in fact, two different types of rental: one which carries comprehensive insurance which covers the driver for any damage they may cause or that is caused by a third party, or, the less expensive option - which is slightly more risky, which does not cover the person renting the car for any accidents or problems that they have caused themselves. Renting a car can be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, for a short or longer period of time. You can also opt to return the car with a full tank, taking responsibility yourself for filling the car prior to returning it, or paying for the fuel consumption when you return the vehicle.
A lot of the car rental companies have adapted to the requirements of international tourism and in order to improve the level of convenience provided, there are now a lot of automatic as opposed to manual transmission vehicles available for rental. For drivers who are used to a manual vehicle, it is recommended that you specifically request a manual drive vehicle when making your booking. It is also worth mentioning that you shouldn't be fooled by the picture of the car that appears on the booking page when making your reservation online: quite often, this is just an "indication" of the type of vehicle that can be chosen but in all likelihood, when you arrive at the pick-up point, only then will you find what type of car you have been allocated. It can happen that you will be allocated a better type of car but you should never be given an inferior vehicle to what you have booked. A final tip: you should be really careful when driving in a city like Barcelona. The city's streets are, in general, one way and the right hand lane is reserved for taxis. These can only be used when turning right. You should also pay great attention to the traffic lights: frequently, just before the zebra crossings, you will need to stop at the red traffic lights even if the previous light has just been crossed on green.