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Anyone Driven Around Spain?

Hoc

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We are thinking about taking a driving trip around Spain, perhaps next year. Perhaps renting a car in Madrid and driving around for 2-3 weeks. Rental prices seem to be outrageous, at about $680 a week for an economy car, though we did find a deal through AARP for closer to $400 a week. Thinking about staying in Paradores, using one or two five-day passes. I would not mind seeing Avila, Granada, Valencia and Sevilla and maybe making it up to San Sebastian for a couple of days for the food. Maybe go back to my old college stomping grounds in Salamanca.

But we're still in the early planning stages, and I'd love to hear input from anyone who has done or planned such a trip. Any tips/advice?

P.S. - We've been to Madrid, Barcelona and Toledo before, so (other than a 3-day planned stay in Madrid to revisit some favorites) we were looking for some other places. I don't think we'll be there for "running of the bulls" time in July (and I've done that before, anyway), so I don't think that it's worth an out-of-the-way trip to Pamplona.
 

LisaH

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Wow, does it really become so expensive? We rented a car for a week in 2005 and I recall the total weekly rental was under $200 including insurance. Must be because of the strong Euro...

We stayed in Marbella and visited Seville, Granada, Ronda, and Gibraltar. Liked all of the places we saw. I planned on returning to Spain soon again but DH wants to see Italy before returning to Spain. Hopefully next year...
 

Keitht

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Have you checked www.carjet.com? They aren't a hire company rather a consolidator. Their system searches many of the rental companies and displays best prices.
 

Hoc

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Have you checked www.carjet.com? They aren't a hire company rather a consolidator. Their system searches many of the rental companies and displays best prices.
Thanks for the link. They won't book out that far, but for March, they are charging $471 a week for automatic transmission cars (can't drive a standard), so it doesn't look like they are any better.

At least, with the AARP rate, I get CDW included.
 

hibbeln

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We drove around Andalucia (including Granada) and found driving to be very easy both on the highways and on the smaller roads....even the mountain roads. Signage was excellent, roads were VERY well-maintained. Drivers seemed quite sensible.....just don't be a dum-dum and drive slow in the left lane or you will have someone on your tail flashing their lights. Right lane is for driving, left lane is for passing. Other than that......easy!

We also used CarJet and found them to be FAR cheaper than others. I remember our car was extremely reasonable, and it included all insurance in the price.......so all we had to do was hand the keys back and it didn't matter what kind of damage had happened to the car (not that any happened, but......). But we did get a stick and that made it much less expensive.

Time to learn to drive a stick!!!!!! :banana:
 

Hoc

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Time to learn to drive a stick!!!!!! :banana:
Five attempts with disastrous results and one transmission on the pavement say otherwise.
 

scotlass

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International Driver's license

We had no problems driving while staying near Marbella. We had been advised that we needed an international driver.\'s license in Spain and did get them for both of us. AAA has them and they are really inexpensive.
 

CarlK

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In May of 2007 we flew from Barcelona to Malaga and picked up a rental car at the Malaga airport that we had booked through CarJet. As mentioned above CarJet is a consolidator and the actual rental company was Centauro rent a car (www.centauro.net). The rental cost for 2 weeks was 250 Euros. This was for a standard transmission. I wish I had rented an automatic because I got sick one day while driving and my wife cannot drive a standard (but that's another story).

If you decide to go to Granada I would recommend staying at the parador, although I'm not sure you should eat there because I think that is why I got sick (but that's also another story!).

Carl
 
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IngridN

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We drove from Madrid to Southern Spain in 2001 and had no problems at all. Rented a car from www.autoeurope.com and got a good price then. Don't kow how they are now.
We particuarly enjoyed visiting Cordoba.
I was going to post the exact same thing except we went in the late 90's. If you plan on staying at the Paradores, especially in Granada, book early. We traveled off season in October assuming they would have availability upon arrival...they laughed at us when we said we didn't have reservations :shrug: !

Ingrid
 

Hoc

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If you plan on staying at the Paradores, especially in Granada, book early.
That's why I'm planning the trip now, even though we won't be going until next summer.
 

IngridN

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As I recall, we were told to book a year out, even in the off season.

Ingrid
 

LLW

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We flew into Madrid, toured for a few days without a car; then flew into Sevilla, picked up a car at the airport, and stayed for a couple days in Sevilla (mainly with the car in the hotel garage); drove to Algarve in Portugal (exchanged into Four Seasons Fairways), explored the nearby areas; then drove to Marriott's Marbella Beach in Costa del Sol (exchange), and explored the nearby towns (Gibraltar, Toledo, Ronda, Granada, etc.); drove back to Sevilla to turn the car in (as we heard that drop-off charges would be high on the car on a one-way rental); flew to Barcelona, stayed for a few days, then flew home from Barcelona (via an unexpected and un-time-coordinated stop at Madrid :eek: ).

We rented an automatic, even though both of us can drive standards, and automatics are much more expensive, so that we could optimize the enjoyment from the road trips while driving in unfamiliar territories (and we did get a GPS). One thing to remember is passenger cars in Europe mainly use diesel, so check the fuel spedified in the rental agreements beforehand and be careful when filling up.
 

drgary

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Beware of road to Rhonda

We stayed in paradors in Malaga and Ubeda......both were excellent. We drove to Rhonda.....the road is very steep.......the Spanish drivers are in a hurry...... the guard rail looks like a small barrier between you and a huge cliff. Because of the high elevation.....often fog (or clouds) will obstruct visibility. I was tense the entire drive to Rhonda and back. (I would not make this drive again.)

Be sure and get detailed road maps and do not rely on travel books.

Have a great trip!

drgary

www.travelbesttips.com
 

x3 skier

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Just remember gas is NOT CHEAP in Europe. The cost of renting is small compared to the cash you will lay out if you drive very much. I was in London last week and gas was around $9 - $10 a gallon.

Cheers
 

reddiablosv

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Driving is easy, but, rent a GPS.

I rented my TS near Marabella to a co worker. She and her elderly mother rented a car at the Malaga airport after a redeye. They made a wrong turn at night on the way to the resort. They kept driving until my co worker fell asleep at the wheel and plunged over a cliff. They both survived but were hospitalized for about 6 weeks.:( She is a very determined lady and had resolved to make it to the resort if it killed her. It almost did. She was on her way to France ( the opposite direction) and would never have made it to the resort. There are other options, but I have a Magellan Roadmate that is loaded with European maps. I always take it with me when I travel. Just think about it. I speak Spanish, but how good is your Flemish when you are negotiating a series of roundabouts at night. Ben
 

RDB

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Take time to study up on white villages. We recommend visiting the church overlooking the cliff at Arcos.

Roam the narrow streets of old Cadiz.

Robert
 

derb

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Add Rhonda, Mejas pueblo and Morroco to your list.

Used good Credit Card insurance. I rented minivans from Europcar on our last two visit to Spain and left pieces of those two vehicles all over Spain, esp in garages. They do like their tight spaces.

Spaniards also seem content to drive around for hours looking for a free parking space and park any place a car can fit rather than pay a euro an hour to park in a mostly empty public parking garage.
 

Zac495

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We rented a car in Marbella. We were constantly lost - but it sounds as though we were dopes as other Tuggers aren't complaining about the confusing round abouts (NOT that I'm saying don't go!! GO!!!) I would simply suggest a GPS. My picture trail of Spain has a pic of one of the round abouts - air view. :)
 

Passepartout

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Southern Portugal/Spain border

Sorta off topic, but since we are going to Portugal in October, and renting a car, anything anyone care to share about the border crossing into Spain? I'm guessing it's no deal at all, since it's EU country into EU country, but that's just a guess.

As all US residents, we are not used to roundabouts, but have driven in Europe some. I will try to rent a GPS there as mine doesn't have European map available. Michelin maps are the gold standard and I have both Portugal and Spain.

Jim Ricks
 

PClapham

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WE drove around northern Spain in the 70's-uncharted territory- they people all thought we were French-no Americans ever went there. We traveled from Madrid west to Oporto, Portugal, and then up the coast past Tuy and Corona, Santander, then into southern France at Irun, tp Pau, Carcasonne, Perpignan, and then to Barcelona and back to Madrid. The trip of a lifetime. It took 3 weeks.
Anita
 

Zac495

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I rented my TS near Marabella to a co worker. She and her elderly mother rented a car at the Malaga airport after a redeye. They made a wrong turn at night on the way to the resort. They kept driving until my co worker fell asleep at the wheel and plunged over a cliff. They both survived but were hospitalized for about 6 weeks.:( She is a very determined lady and had resolved to make it to the resort if it killed her. It almost did. She was on her way to France ( the opposite direction) and would never have made it to the resort. There are other options, but I have a Magellan Roadmate that is loaded with European maps. I always take it with me when I travel. Just think about it. I speak Spanish, but how good is your Flemish when you are negotiating a series of roundabouts at night. Ben

Oh my gosh. What a horrible story! Yes - it is very tricky finding the timeshares (Marriott in my case) and we were very confused with the roundabouts.
 
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