Guides to Madrid Car Hire and Driving Tours Getting Around Transportation

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Hiring a car in Madrid isn’t something that’s to be undertaken lightly. Cars are seldom the best way of getting around any city and Madrid is no exception. Most of Madrid’s attractions are within walking distance of each other and those that aren’t can easily reached with the help of the city’s slick public transport system. Madrid’s winding cobbled streets and convoluted one way systems make navigation tricky, traffic snarls up during rush hour and finding a parking space is virtually impossible.

However, if you’re planning to visit some of Madrid’s outlying attractions; then hiring a car suddenly begins to make sense. Popular ‘day trips’ include the stunning hilltop town of Segovia, the Moorish city of Toledo and the medieval town of Cuenca.

The mechanics of hiring a car in Madrid are simple enough: You need to be aged over 21 years, hold an internationally recognised driving license and have a credit card as a deposit. Most of the big international car hire companies (such as Europcar, Avis and Hertz) have offices at the airport, where you can simply turn up and rent a vehicle. However, for the best deals you’ll need to book in advance. The Internet is the obvious starting point and you’ll find that a quick click around will save you both time and money.

When choosing your vehicle give serious consideration to splashing out a few extra Euros on air conditioning; Madrid’s much closer to the Equator then you may think. Before driving off give your rental car a thorough inspection for damaged bodywork; after all there’s no reason why you should have to fork out for someone else’s carelessness. Finally check exactly how much fuel there is in the tank; otherwise you might receive a nasty shock when you return to the airport.

Madrid is an undeniably relaxed place, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that local authorities are similarly inclined. Madrid’s traffic police are particularly hot on wearing seatbelts and if you’re caught without one on you’ll face hefty fine. The following speed limits are also strictly enforced: urban areas; 50kmh, countryside; 90 100kph and motorways; 120kmh. If you are unfortunate enough to break down while in Madrid the Reial Automobil club is connected with a number of pan European breakdown services and can be contacted by dialing Tel: 900 307 307.