Despite not being the capital, Barcelona is probably the best known city in Spain (as well as being a hugely romantic destination).
Famous for its architecture and vibrant culture, some of the top attractions in Barcelona include the Sagrada Familia, Park Guelle and Casa Battllo.
It's a huge city with so much to see and do so you’ll want at least 2 days in Barcelona, to really get the most out of your time here.
But better still, based on our experience road tripping Spain, it's a fantastic base from which to rent a car and embark on a Spanish road trip.
Heading south you have the warm coasts and further north the beautiful mountains.
Below I want to share with your our best advice on who to rent from (and how to get the best deal) based on our extensive experience renting vehicles from all across Europe.
Let's get straight into it ...
There are SO many options out there for Barcelona car rental. We’ve found that using a car rental search firm like Discover Cars can help massively narrow down your options.
They give you a choice of some of the biggest and best car rental companies in the world, so you can compare each firm and find which best suits your needs.
Discover Cars even won an award in 2022 for being the World’s Best Car Rental Booking Website, and they operate in 150 countries so you know you’re in safe hands.
We've used them personally a number of times now and are our go-to place to begin a search.
In order to ensure you find exactly what you’re after, you can filter by price, fuel policy, mileage and size.
You can take advantage of one way rentals with Discover Cars, so if you head across to another city you don’t need to worry about making it all the way back just to drop your car off.
It’s a super easy site to use. Just enter your availability, alongside your pick up and drop off locations, and see what it gives you. You can then filter the search depending on what is most important to you.
Discover Cars go above and beyond to ensure you have a great experience with them, offering:
Their Gold Club offers members exclusive discounts, priority bookings for peak periods, and points collections that can be used for discounts on future rentals.
Centauro promises the best prices by ensuring there are no additional charges at pick up - the final price is guaranteed.
What makes Centuaro our top pick for Barcelona car rental has to be their modern fleet.
Centauro aims to offer the most up-to-date fleet on the market, renewing it every 7 months.
The fleet includes over 40,000 types of vehicle. So with a fleet this vast you’re bound to find something that’s right for you.
With family cars, hybrids, convertibles and 7 and 9 seater people carriers, Centauro can accommodate all travellers.
Drivalia pride themselves in offering the best value car rentals with their all-inclusive rates.
Their transparent prices make them a well trusted and reliable brand.
Also, the app means you can book lots of different services quickly and conveniently, whether that’s your car rental, or ride-sharing.
Drivalia ensures customers get their money’s worth by delivering premium customer service, and a high quality fleet.
Insurance packages included in the rental rates can be customised and their rates are also inclusive of a free second driver.
The Drivalia fleet is varied from vehicles as small as a Citroen C1, which comes in at less than 10€ per day, up to large vehicles with capacity for up to 7.
Popular vehicles on the Drivalia fleet include the Fiat 500, Vauxhall Corsa, Nissan Juke and Peugeot 3008.
There’s both manual and automatic vehicles in the fleet.
Alamo is a great choice for budget conscious travellers with their all inclusive rates.
They’re an extremely affordable option, with a damage waiver and extended protection included in rates. In fact, this company offers some of the cheapest car rentals in Barcelona.
Since its founding in 1974, Alamo has aimed to offer renters the lowest rates, accompanied with the most hassle-free customer experience possible.
Alamo now operates all over the world, throughout Europe (including Portugal), North America, Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim.
You can choose from mini, economy, compact, intermediate, SUV, estate and elite vehicles on Alamo’s up to date fleet.
The Mystery Car option is great if you are budget conscious and flexible with your vehicle.
This discounted rate gets you a surprise car, with anything up to a people carrier available.
All cars have their own features such as air con, and manual/automatic transmission.
Sixt is perhaps one of the biggest and best known car rental firms in the world. They have over 2000 branches in 105 countries, so you know you can trust them.
The Sixt app means you can pick up and drop off digitally, avoiding queues and getting you on the road straight away.
Sixt are a great choice for longer term rentals as they offer discounts and cheaper rates, the longer you rent the vehicle for.
If you don’t want to make the journey back to Barcelona after your trip, you can have a look at their options for one way rental.
In fact, Sixt also offer car rentals in France, so you could always explore more of Europe too.
There are 94 cars on Sixt’s Spanish Fleet. 64 of these are automatic, 17 are available to drivers under 21, and 46 are available to drivers under 25.
They have small vehicles like Fiat 500s and VW Polos, all the way up to larger 7 seater people carriers.
Their great variety of vehicles includes premium rate options such as Range Rovers and BMW sports models, so there’s a rental for every type of traveller!
Olimpia aims to provide the best customer service, as well as top quality cars.
Affordable prices, and convenient pickup and drop off locations make Olimpia a great choice for car hire in Barcelona.
The longer you rent the vehicle for the cheaper the daily rate is.
Olimpia enhances their customer experience with services such as free car delivery to hotels within Calella. For an extra fee, cars can be delivered to Barcelona airport.
Drivers must be over 21 and have held a full licence for at least 2 years.
The Olimpia fleet is made up of vehicles from economy to luxury. You can filter the vehicles by category, including minivan, automatic and economy.
Their smallest vehicle is the Mercedes SLK convertible which seats just two, and is perfect for those after a slick and luxury rental experience.
Their largest vehicle is the 9 seater VW Caravelle, perfect for the whole family.
Avis is a well-known name when it comes to car rental in Europe, so they’re a top pick for Barcelona car rental.
Their convenient car rental locations at the airport, train station and coach stations around the city, makes Avis an easy and convenient choice.
They’re a great choice if you’re after a more familiar name, as opposed to a local firm. You know you’re going to be in safe hands with Avis.
Avis has a flexible cancellation policy, offering free cancellations and booking amendments up to 48 hours before. They also have a loyalty program which offers great deals on rentals.
The Barcelona fleet comprises a variety of vehicle sizes including small, mid-size, estate and people carriers.
There’s a mix of both automatic and manual cars, as well as electric vehicles too.
Their smallest vehicles seat 4 whilst the largest people carrier has space for 9.
Avis car rental rates are inclusive of airport/city surcharge, local tax, vehicle registration fee and unlimited mileage.
Hertz has come to be one of the biggest and best known car rental firms in the world, so they have a lot to offer, including a best-rate guarantee, extensive fleet, and a flexible cancellation policy.
Hertz offers a great loyalty program too called Hertz Gold Plus Rewards. It offers up to 10% off rentals and is free to join.
Hertz has a wide variety of vehicles in their fleet - exactly what you would expect from one of the world’s largest car rental firms!
There’s cars for everyone and every budget, including electric, hybrid and more fuel-efficient vehicles.
With 400 locations across Europe, Thrifty is a fantastic choice for your Barcelona car rental.
They’ve been in the vehicle rental game since the 1950s, so have a wealth of experience and customer satisfaction behind them!
Thrifty aims to provide all travellers with car rentals that don’t burn a hole in your pocket, found in convenient locations throughout Europe.
Free unlimited mileage on all rentals also means you can explore Barcelona and the surrounding areas to your heart's content, without having to worry about additional costs.
Discounts are available if you prepay for your rental.
The Thrifty fleet is designed to meet the needs and taste of every road-tripper.
They have a great selection of electric vehicles for those eco-conscious renters, and some great value economy models for those on a tighter budget.
There’s a mixture of both automatic and manual vehicles. Vehicles have a maximum capacity of 5.
The minimum age to rent most vehicles from Thrifty is 25. Certain vehicles are available to those under 25, but a Young Driver Surcharge may apply.
Conveniently located at the airport and the train station, Record-Go are ready to get you on the road straight away.
They have been in the vehicle rental game for over 20 years, so they know a thing or two about what they’re doing!
The Record-Go club entitles you to 10% off online rentals. The minimum rental age from Record-Go is 21.
Record-Go have small, medium, SUV and luxury vehicles. They even have a couple of 2 and 3 wheeled rentals if you’re feeling really adventurous!
The vehicles on the fleet are perfect for urban tourism, and there’s also hybrids, and zero emission vehicles available.
Enterprise is a classic household name when it comes to car hire, with over 7,200 locations across 30 countries.
They aim to ensure that renters don’t have to sacrifice quality for price, offering all their vehicles at competitive price points. There’s better rates if you book your rental online too.
You have to be 25 to rent a car from Enterprise.
As such a well established company Enterprise has a fantastic fleet. You can filter the cars by category such as compact, standard and intermediate.
There’s a variety of both automatic and manual vehicles on the fleet, as well as different capacity vehicles, which seat from 4 to 9.
Some of their larger vehicles are people carriers, with space for larger groups and families.
Enterprise's range of SUVs are perfect for those wishing to explore the Spanish countryside.
On average the price of car rental in Barcelona works out at around £23 a day.
As such, hiring a car is certainly a great way to travel cheaply, yet see everything this city and its surrounding area have to offer.
Hiring a car in Barcelona offers greater levels of freedom, and gives you the opportunity to see more of the areas surrounding the city.
It also means that any exploring you do, isn’t time limited by the constraints of public transport.
It will save you money on organised tours as well, however traffic in the city can be heavy at times!
Inner city parking is very limited, especially if you are looking for accommodation with parking. So you might find it hard to find somewhere to park your hire car in Barcelona.
Whilst most Spanish rental companies have a minimum age of 21 years old, costs are typically higher for drivers under 25.
Certain types of vehicles will require the driver to be over 25, so check your rental policy carefully before booking.
If you're a young driver, it's best to shop around if you're looking to hire a car in Barcelona as some companies will charge you a surcharge for being under 25.
Now you’ve got an idea of car rentals in Barcelona, it's time to start planning your epic Spanish road trip!
This amazing country has so much to offer, and we regard it to be one of the best places to visit in Europe.
The best way to get the most out of your time in Barcelona is to plan exactly what you want to see and when.
There’s a lot to get through, and attractions are spread out, so follow our 2 day itinerary to get the best out of the city.
Of course there are lots of cost factors to take into consideration when planning a road trip, especially accommodation.
So if you want to take your bed on the road with you, check out our guide to the best campervan rentals in Spain. This will allow you to explore more of the country, away from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona.
Here are some other guides you may find helpful: