There’s a lot to admire in the Spanish capital and its vicinities. And it's better to do it “your way”, not depending on public transport. Not far from Madrid is the town of Boadilla del Monte with beautiful mountain rivers, valleys and pine forests — the residents of the Spanish capital like to go there for picnics. Another popular tourist destination is Alcalá de Henares, the birthplace of Cervantes. Those who travel with kids will enjoy a trip to the Warner Bros. Movie World (Parque Warner Madrid), Spain's Disneyland.
By renting a car you can easily visit Toledo — the heart of southern Spain; Segovia with one of the best-preserved elevated Roman aqueducts; Cuenca with houses built on the rock; Avila with the ancient Town Walls (Murallas); and, of course, towns of Campo de Criptana and Consuegra with their windmills Don Quixote valiantly fought. The windmills are still standing.
Where can I rent a car?
You can book a rental car in advance online with delivery either to your hotel or to the international airport of Madrid by the time of your arrival.
The latter is more convenient because you do not have to pay for a cab to Madrid or use public transport with transfers.
You will need only 3 documents:
- ID or passport
- Driver’s license
- Bank card
Traffic regulations in Spain
Madrid has a dense traffic but the drivers are polite and careful. The traffic regulations, road markings and signs are the same as in the rest of Europe.
The police of Madrid most eagerly issue fines for driving with a child without a child seat, not fastened seat belts, talking on a phone while driving without a hands-free system, speeding or violation of parking rules.
Parking in Madrid
There are green and blue areas of the Regulated Parking Service (SER) in Madrid. The blue zones allow parking to any driver for a limited time of 2 hours, and the green zones are reserved for the locals without any time limitation, while non-residents can use these car parks for a maximum time of one hour. You pay at a parking meter. There are large parking lots and incentive parking lots.
Free parking is available only outside the historic centre of Madrid.
Gas stations in Spain
Gas stations offer petrol 95 or 98 and diesel. Most gas stations are operated manually, but there are also automatic gas stations. The latter work around the clock.
There are 4 main mobile operators in Spain: Orange, Vodafone, Movistar, and Yoigo. Tourists can choose only prepaid plans (Tarjeta). When choosing a plan for calls, you should take into account not only the cost per minute, but also the connection fee (a separate fee in addition to the mobile data), and whether VAT is included. The card must say “con impuestos” (tax included) or “iva incluido” (VAT included).