Are you thinking of joining the 309,000 Brits that now call Spain home?
If so, you have a lot to look forward to. Spain beckons people with its long sunny days, warm sea breezes, tapas bars, and Spanish wines.
But wait--what about driving in Spain? Can you bring your car from the UK? What do you need to know about Spanish road signs or driving in Spain with a UK license?
Don't worry. In this post, we'll outline everything you need to know about driving in Spain.
Your Car and Vital Documents
For starters, can you bring your car from the UK into Spain?
Yes! The quickest way to do so is to load it on a ferry bound for Bilbao or Santander. If you're not in a hurry, you can also cross the English channel and enjoy a leisurely drive through France to Spain.
To legally drive in Spain, you'll need:
- Valid UK or EU driver's license (or international driver's license)
- Proof of ownership
- Proof of insurance (third party or more)
- Euro plates or GB sticker
- Warnings triangles and reflective jacket (in the event of a breakdown)
- Headlamp beam deflectors or deflector stickers
- Helmet for motorcycle or moped riders
If you're pulled over or involved in an accident and don't have one of these required items, you could face heavy fines. Play it safe and make sure you've got everything before you get on the road!
Road Signs and Road Markings
Most road signs and markings will be easy to identify. Here are a few that you may not be as familiar with.
- Blue square with curved arrow and distance in metres: U-turn permitted
- Blue square with a white number: Maximum advisable speed
- Blue rectangle with camera icon: Scenic viewpoint
- Yellow zig-zig: Parking prohibited
- Yellow line on curb: Parking prohibited
- Yellow "X" at an intersection: Only proceed if the exit is clear
- Blue lines: Parking limited
When driving in Spain, you'll quickly get used to these new signs and road markings.
Helpful Tips for Driving in Spain
The national speed limit is 120 km/hour on all motorways. If someone plans to overtake you, they'll flash their lights to make sure you see them.
This is a common courtesy and safety measure you should adopt in your own driving. The same goes for using your indicator when changing lanes or position.
In most cities and towns, the speed limit drops to 50 km/hour. Don't be surprised to see a lot of bicycles and mopeds mixing with road traffic. Simply slow down, be courteous, and keep an eye out for rogue pedestrians and motorbikes.
Like elsewhere in the world, driving under the influence of alcohol is never advisable. The allowable blood-alcohol content (BAC) in Spain is 0.05%.
Ready, Set, Drive
Driving in Spain is just one of many things to consider before you make your move.
It's also important to familiarise yourself with the local language, education system (if you have kids), and healthcare options.