Car hire at Barcelona, especially Barcelona Airport (BCN), this year will be challenging especially due to big number of Spanish and foreign car rental providers like Firefly, Budget, Hertz, Avis, Sixt and Europcar, price comparison portals like Vehicle Rent, Skyscanner and big demand for those cars in summer 2018. Tourist behaviour in last 5 years has changed in order that European destinations are becoming the top places to visit for holidays and with a rental car you can drive around European countries in just couple of days. An average tourist rents the car at Barcelona Airport terminal or at their hotel reception – be it in the Barcelona downtown or on the outskirts of the city. But to get the best prices online car booking is the optimal approach to get good price and to be able to compare between different car rental providers and their features.
If you are flying to Barcelona Airport from the UK like London, Manchester, Birmingham or Liverpool airport be suer to check the flight status of your arrival. Typical car rental pickup locations in Barcelona are from a tourist’s perspective mainly Barcelona Airport (BCN), Badalona, Sabadell, Manresa and of course picturesque Barcelona downtown. The majority of rental car providers are prepared to offer cars for leisure such as to drive around for sightseeing, exploring the nearby surrounding for hiking or just to take the family to a new beach in a new town around Barcelona and Spain mainland.
What are best car rental prices in Barcelona this summer 2018?
Normally the price of the per day car hire will start at 20 EUR with all fees included for small car category on the competitive booking websites for the summer season in Barcelona. For booking the car at the airport the price might be 30 EUR per day or even more, since Barcelona airport (BCN) is a premium location to pickup up the car in summer 2018. The price will go up if you book the car late online – just before your arrival to Barcelona or if you book the car at the hotel’s reception desk. Also at the reception desk you will not be in a position to choose between various rent-a-car providers, it will be just the one that is preferred by the hotel management.
The best way to book your rental car is online via websites that let you choose among different rental car providers, so you can compare offers directly and the prices are most competitive. Booking the car directly from a chosen car rental company website can lead to extra margin in price.
The most reliable way to hire a car is via travel portals like Kayak, Momondo, Vehicle Rent and Skyscanner. You will be able to see the final price immediately and choose between various car rental providers and their offers on one place. To give you a benchmark the price for 1 week’s car rental will start at 150 EUR for small car (like Fiat 500), which is convenient for Spanish and European city streets but only does the job for 2 travelers. For families the price of 1 week’s rental will amount around 220 EUR (starting with Ford Focus estate), because the car will be convenient enough for 4 persons travelling with 4 big suitcases.
The prices will rise with time. It is best that you book you car hire trip when you are done booking your plane tickets and hotel reservations. Normally the cancellation policy of the car rental providers will let you cancel your car reservation until 2 days before the booked pickup.
7 things to be careful about when choosing the right rental car at Barcelona Airport!
First thing you need to know is that car rental companies in Barcelona have one of the lowest reputation in the holiday industry. They are worse in the eyes of an average tourist than railway companies and even low cost airliners. So you as the customer have to know what are the risks that can ocurr and spoil you the leisure benefit of your holiday.
- Will the car be insured? In Barcelona the competition is very strong, so there will likely be offers that will include full insurance. But either way you must check if the rental car offer consists of “CDW” (Collision Damage Waiver), TP (“Theft protection”) or full insurance. In many cases car’s windows, mirrors, tyres, undercarriage and interior will be exempt, so be careful to check also those!
- If a damage to the rental car happens, will I pay the excess fee? Eventhough you have the full insurance covered there is still the excess policy to be checked. In most cases the excess is about 3% which means after you bring the car back to the rental company and they repair the car you will be charged 3% of the cost. If you crash a 30.000 EUR car and produce extra 20.000 EUR to another vehicle this means you will still have to pay 1.500 EUR of costs to the insurance companies invloved in your collision case.
- Type of the car. On the car rental websites you will choose your preferred car, like Volkswagen Passat or Renault Clio but when you come to your pickup location in Barcelona there might not be this car with the selected color, rims or engine. Car rental companies in Barcelona usually publish the car grouping and expose an example in form of car’s brand and type, but this does not mean you are reserving the same car you had clicked. What you see is not what you will get, but in Spain in many cases there are big car rental providers and if you appeal on the spot they might give you a car that fits your choice better.
- Are all fees included in the price? Is the price displayed the final price you will pay? Like with the airline low-costers also the car rental companies will try to tame you with a very good deal, but then when you will book the price will go up due to some extra fees or just a price increase. Indeed there are fees that are to be paid with the car rental booking, but they should be already summed up in the marketed price of your car rental offer. In many cases they aren’t, so ask your car rental provider if the airport tax is included in the price, or the fuel policy will add to the price at the end. You might be surprised that the very best offer for Barcelona car hire you had found on Skyscanner will at the end not be comparable to some middle range prices from renowned car rental providers.
- The pickup location! When you will search for the right car for your holiday, there will be zillion of offers and selecting the right car based on color will surely be disaster. One of good search criteria to base you decision on is the location of the car’s pickup. It is basically the rental car provider’s office where he hands the keys for your car and you start your journey. Most probably you will fly to Barcelona airport and the most convenient place to pick up the car is …. Barcelona Airport! Not Barcelona Downtown where prices are cheaper and probably not even the shuttle of airport if you come with small children in the middle of the night. Place yourself into the moment you pick the bags from the airport luggage tray and do the next step. You would want to stop by the car rental provider’s counter in the terminal or at least go out and find them in the airport’s garage or outsides. Good pickup location has its price, so if you are price sensitive the airport shuttle to the car rental pickup will present a convenient solution for you, eventhough the time to get to the pickup location will be 30 minutes longer.
- Do not be late to pickup the car at the car rental provider’s office in Barcelona! You will be charged for late show and the fees are not small. When booking you will have to enter the starting hour of your car hire pickup time. In the middle of the season Barcelona is crowded with flights every day and oftenly the arrivals are delayed due to congestions in the air above the city. Also remember to leave your flight number in the booking process field, so the car provider will be able to track your arrival. In high season also calculate there will be a line in front of the provider’s office on the BCN airport and the provider will not check the queue.
- Customer support. When you rent a car the car for your holidays the car stays with you day and night. It is a car not known to you by the time of pickup, so you will have some questions to the car rental provider also a day or two after. It is important that you choose a company that will pickup up the phone in the middle of the night, otherwise you will suffer unnecessary torture with questions and situations that car rental provider could solve quickly. It is their job to assist you full time, if you have rented the car from then.
5 places to drive your rental car from Barcelona Airport to inside and around Barcelona in 2018
Once you pick up the car you will most probably drive it to your hotel or you will just continue your road trip to the nearest restaurant or even a sightseeing venue. In Barcelona you can drive around the city and park very close to the most renowned museums and sites. But you can also take the trip out of the city center and explore the Spain mainland freely. Here are some tips for your 2018 road trip:
- Sagrada Familia. Designed by Antoni Gaudi, a church that has never been built completely all the way from 1882. It is built in neo-gothic style with modern elements that resonate to the inside of the huge church in Barcelona. You can park yery near Sagrada Familia on a parking lot complex in the Garaje Sagrada Familia, Parkimeter or Aparcament Municipal Mercat Sagrada Familia all 50 meters from the church and Sagrada Familia plaza.
- Park Guell. Another masterpiece of Gaudi who has marked Barcelona’s identity more the most. Parking to Park Guell is located at Parquinq Bus Parc Guel and at parking Esperanca I Guell. From the parking lot to the Park Guel you will have to walk around 200 meters to reach the Guel’s entrance.
- Montjuic Barcelona. There are many ways to reach Montjuic. One of the most convenient is by car, independetnly from all other transportation means and cable car to the top of the hill. Parking is organized around the Montjuic hill and you cannot drive directly to the top. Instead you can take a cable car which is around 11€ per person.
- Barcelona beach – Mediterranian coast has one of the most interesting beaches with relative warm water in the summer. Barcelona beach is oftenly neglected by the visitors of this interesting city. To take a swim in Mediterranian sea and relax a bit can be just a tourist would want on his or her roadtrip. Parking for Barcelona beach is available along the whole coast of Barcelona and you need not to worry about pre-booking.
- Catalonia. Half an hour away from the city center of Barcelona towards the Spain mainland the very nice highway will take you to the innerside of Cataloina region. It is not just the city and art that is interesting to a traveler, it is also the sites that you can only reach by car and be very independent. You can visit olive plantages and haciendas that welcome a lonely visitor and provide them with the local cuisine and vine. There are also some interesting monasteries like Montserrat, Pedrables and Reial Monestir de Santa Maria that in some parts are open for public and tourism and offer one time experience with their guided inside tour.
Some evergreen tips for driving in Spain and the rest of Europe
To avoid damages and keep your trip flowing here are some tips that will help you prepare for Spansih roads on your holidays:
- Drive on the right side (just as in EU mainland, US and Australia)
- There are semaphors at the side of some roads that will go red if you speed
- It is better to pay the parking toll that to leave the car on the street for free
- Watch out for high pedestrian pavement shoulders when your coming to the main street. A car tyre may be cut or the car’s undercarriage could get damaged.
- Close all windows and doors of the car when you park it. There is a high penalty that police can give you if you don’t lock the car.
- The speed limit on the highways is 120 kilometers per hour
Have a nice stay in Barcelona! There is a high chance you will come back or recommend the road trip to your friends.
Is this your first car rental booking in Barcelona? Read these extra helpful tips
Car rental reservation is pretty much similar to your other travel reservations. Like with booking a hotel or flights you will need to leave your personal details, destination information and timings. The result in form of the final price for your 2018 Barcelona car hire should be visible to you before you confirm and pay the reservation. To avoid unnecessary frustration here are useful tips you need to keep in mind:
- Select the website you wish to compare the car rental prices for your destination. There are many middleman websites that give you opportunity to compare prices between variuous car rental providers’ offers. Like booking an airline ticket you could also book at a car rental provider’s website directly, but you should be warned that the prices for a booking at the car rental provider directly could be very uncompetitive. It is advisable that you open up websites that hold offers from as many car rental providers in Barcelona as possible, so look for car rental sections of Skyscanner, Momondo, Kayak or Vehicle Rent.
- Input your search criteria into the search form. There will be a dropdown of locations and you should find the closest pickup location for your car to your arrival destination. If you land at Barcelona airport (BCN) there are car hire counters at the terminal and also outside of BCN airport. Arriving to the airport these will be the closest for you to pick up the car. Selecting a cheaper car rental location outside Barcelona airport could rise frustration especially if you travel with kids and it is 11 pm in the evening. At this step you will need to enter the driver’s age, since the price in Barcelona will include a premium for young drivers for under age of 21 years and under age of 30 years. You will also have to leave data about your residence country since taxation varies between countries and taxes are included in your final price.
- Select your car. When you submit the search form the site will take some time to load all the matching offers around your pickup location in Barcelona. The car rental prices will be displayed in total or per day price, but be aware that some websites do not show here the taxes that will be visible yet on the checkout page. To select the preferred offer you have to take many factors into the account: is this the final price (does the website mention that all fees are included in the displayed price?), what features are already included in the car rental offer, will the size of the car fit to our needs when traveling with family or in groups and if the collision damage waiver is included.
- Select upgrades. While driving your family around European cities like Barcelona you will need baby seats and special seats for children with your rental car. You might also add GPS to the car, although Spain has very good 3G, 4G and LTE coverage and you can just use an app on your phone. In Barcelona in summer 2018 there is no snow forecast so you will save on wintertyers and snowchains fees. To protect yourself and your money from unknown events you might also add excess cover protection and cancellation refund options.
- Confirm reservation. After all is selected you will pay for your reservation of the rental car. Mostly Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted on the rental car booking sites.