What you should know before hiring a car in Barcelona
Barcelona city centre
Car hires in Barcelona: practical information
Where to rent a car in Barcelona
At El Prat Airport you will find most of the major international car hire companies with counters in the Arrivals bay. Avis, Europcar, Hertz, National Atesa and Sixt are located in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2B. Make sure you book your car in advance though, since most of the counters are only open until 3pm, making it difficult to book a car upon arrival if you've booked flights that arrive after that time.
You can also find a discount car hire in Barcelona, not at the airport. There are no shortages of offices around the city, just ask at your hotel to be pointed in the right direction. Some hotels even have car hire services down at their front desk! Now that's what we call convenient. Otherwise, you will find plenty in the city centre.
Driving in Barcelona: parking and other tips
While it's not entirely recommended to park in the city centre, chances of finding a free space are slim, but you can find ample parking at a metro stations just a few stops from the centre. You must pay to park in blue zone between 9am and 2pm, then again from 4pm to 8pm. One good thing about Spain, free parking during siesta time! You pay at the nearby meter and display your ticket on your dashboard. Green zone parking is for residents only. White zone parking is free at any time, although there aren't any of these in the city centre.
There is no shortage of car parks around the cities, at train stations and near major sights like the Plaça Forum. If you need long-term parking for your rent car in Barcelona, ask for a special rate at car parks, many of them offer discounts for multiple-day parking passes. Just watch for signs showing how many free spaces are available in a car park before driving in. Expect to pay between €1.50 and 2.50/hour or €20/day. Another tip, reserve a spot in the parking lot of your hotel at the same time as you book your room.
Road trips from Barcelona: what to do, what to see
Sitges is the perfect place if you want to spend time at the beach while on holidays in Barcelona but are tired of the crowds of tourists in Barcelona. Sitges is a beach city with a lot of local feel to it. The city itself overlooks the Mediterranean and its old quarter is a delight of narrow streets full of shops and boutiques. After a dip in the sea, pull your chair up to a seafood restaurant for dinner! It's 25 miles from Barcelona towards the south.
Just 30 miles away is Mont Serrat where you can visit a monastery that is built high up in the mountains. From there you can get great views of the Black Madonna and makes a great outdoor outing since there are tons of excellent hiking trails nearby.
If you are an art-lover, or at least can appreciate Spain's rich artistic history, then plan a trip to Figueres. It is home to the most impressive Salvador Dalí museum in the world. The museum, which also doubles as a theatre, was designed by Dalí himself. To save time, book your visit in advance by buying your tickets to the Theatre Museu Gala Salvador Dalí online. From Barcelona, it's 85 miles away.