Madrid travel: car tips and advice

Madrid travel: car tips and advice

In Madrid, travel car is one of the options you can use to visit the region. Travelling by car is great because you have the freedom to travel where and when you want, stopping whenever you need to. On top of it, Spain’s roads and highways are in very good condition.

Since the distances in Spain are relatively short compared to other countries (e.g. The US, Canada or Australia), exploring Madrid by car is one of the best options to know the region. In fact, if you choose alternative roads instead of highways, you’ll discover amazing villages and admire wonderful landscapes.

Madrid travel: car access towns

You can get to Madrid by driving a rental car, either coming from Portugal or France.

If you’re coming from France, the entry points are:

  • Irún, on your way to San Sebastián and Bilbao.
  • Canfranc and Formigal, on your way to Zaragoza.
  • Vielha, Andorra, Puigcerdà, and La Jonquera, on your way to Barcelona.

If you’re coming from Portugal, the entry points are:

  • Tui, on your way to Santiago de Compostela.
  • Guarda, on your way to Salamanca.
  • Elvas, on your way to Badajoz, Mérida and Salamanca.
  • Ayamonte, on your way to Huelva and Seville.

Explore Madrid renting a car or taking the train. What’s best for you?

So to help you decide between taking the train and renting a car while you prepare your trip, here is a list of variables you should consider:

  • Geographical range. Trains are better if your itinerary covers a wide area. Americans, Canadians and Australians usually believe that Spain is a small country, which is true compared to this specific countries. And while Spain has an excellent road network, the train is a better option if you plan to travel across the country. This is particularly the case for an itinerary including Barcelona, Madrid and areas of Andalucía.
  • Rail coverage. Fortunately, train travel in Spain is extremely easy, comfortable and safe. There are more than 14,000 km (8,700 mi) of railways. Such a vast network serves almost every town in the country.
  • Urban vs. rural. Do you plan to spend most of the time in big cities or do you prefer to explore off the beaten path little towns? The answer to this question will determine your final choice. A car is a pointless hassle in most Spanish cities, but it can be really helpful in the countryside where train communications are less frequent.
  • Number of travelers. How many people are going to be traveling with you? As soon as you share it with more than 2 people, a rental car is 9 times out of 10 the cheapest option. And it’s a great option if you’re traveling on a budget. But do you math and take into account all the extra costs and fees that a rental car can imply.
  • Luggage. Actually, it’s not really a matter of packing light or not. But if you’re traveling by car around Spain, you can basically fill the trunk with all kinds of stuff and luggage. On the contrary, traveling by train has its limits: Renfe, the Spanish railway operator, lets you carry up to three pieces of luggage that may not exceed 25 kg without any chance to buy extra baggage allowance.
  • Kids. Car travel is more flexible, but trains give kids room to move around. Travel times will also be considerably lower so your patience won’t be challenged by their usual “when are we getting there?” question. In addition to this, did you know that children younger than 4 can travel by train around Spain for free?
  • Energy and time. First of all, by taking the train you won’t get tired having to drive yourself. And, depending on where you’re going, the train can take you there much faster (e.g. high-speed train from Madrid to Seville).

Madrid travel: car adventures around the country!

Renting a car in Madrid is an experience that you shouldn’t miss.

Spain is in many areas, a densely populated country. This means that the close proximity between locations, and the diverse landscapes, make a trip through Spain an adventure that has something for everyone.

No road trip is complete without a trip to the coast to take in the beach, admire the rugged shoreline and sample the delectably fresh fish. Spain, whether you’re on the northern or southern coast, has miles upon miles of uninhabited scenery that you can explore thanks to a rental car.

On the contrary, do you prefer the mountain?

Having a car in Spain allows you to explore the mountains and find some amazing hiking trails. There are tons of scenic hikes that trail off from the foot of every mountain range that will leave you physically and mentally breathless.

One of the great advantages of a road trip around Spain is having the flexibility and freedom to go at your own pace, as well as the ability to get off the main road to explore the lesser known towns. So leave the highway behind, turn on Google Maps on your smartphone, and set it to a random town you saw on the screen map.

This article is part of a complete tutorial about car rental in Madrid where you can read all the information you need to organize your road trip around the country.