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Advice on parking and car travel in Spain

My husband and I will be in Seville, Spain on Oct 18 to see our son. We want to go to Ronda on the way to Granada on the following Tues or Wed. We are considering renting a car so that we can have the greatest travel flexibility, however we have some concerns. Will it be difficult for us to drive as we do not speak Spanish? Additionally, we understand that parking is not available in the middle of Ronda. Is parking on the outskirts of town readily available? If so, are there buses or shuttles that provide access to in the inner part of the town?

Thanks for any advice that you can offer!

Posted by
4535 posts

I can answer some of your questions.

Driving in Spain is pretty easy for the most part. Roads are good and well marked and I've found Spanish drivers to be courteous. Traffic signs are pretty similar to US standard signs but it is always a good idea to review signage in a guidebook or online as there are always some signs you might not recognize. Also, an International Drivers Permit is required to drive in Spain. In the US, those are obtained via AAA with your valid drivers license and two passport photos.

Now a warning. Granada does not seem to me a very driver friendly city, and central Sevilla most certainly isn't. If you use a car to explore the smaller towns in between, that can make some sense. But if you are just going from Sevilla to Ronda to Granada, you really might do better taking the bus. Spain has an excellent bus system, ALSA, and they are convenient and fairly cheap.

Posted by
9110 posts

You can park in Ronda within walking distance of anything you want to see.

Directional signs are directional signs, you won't get lost. Have a basic understanding of the international traffic signs and you'll be able to hive out the variations.

Posted by
3304 posts

Granada has a historic center typical of European cities; i.e., narrow streets with very poor parking availability. As I recall, it also has a one-way system, which means that if you miss a turn, you have to go a long way to get back to where you want to be. For those reasons, when we visited with a car, we chose to stay at a hotel in the modern area. We booked a tour of the Alhambra, which included a bus pick-up at the hotel. There was a public bus stop 50 meters from the hotel, which took us into the center in about 10 minutes and cost 1 euro/pp. We visited Ronda on that same trip, and I do not recall any problem with parking.

Posted by
11832 posts

Parking in Ronda wasn't difficult. I think we parked on the street. We were there in April (which is part of high season) so I don't think you will have any trouble.

The roads are good and signage was logical (not like Italy). I speak some Spanish but think it would be reasonably easy if you didn't - just make sure you know what the correct fuel for your car is in Spanish.

We brought a GPS (with European maps) from home. About 10am, I'd call ahead to book lodging, put the address into the GPS, then tell it to navigate to parking near the destination. We found a parking garage just around the corner from our hostal in Granada easily. I probably wouldn't try parking on the street in Granada. I noticed many places were no parking during certain hours - which could get you towed if you don't pay attention.

Posted by
5618 posts

In case you're considering vehicle options, we try to get the smallest car we can that will still let us stash our luggage out of sight in the trunk (or usually these days, under the hatch cover of the hatchback). These usually have a manual transmission, so if you can drive a stick-shift, you have the benefit of a less expensive rental cost and a car with the best gas mileage, that takes up minimal parking space and is easier to navigate on narrow streets in cities and towns. Even if you go with an automatic transmission, I'd recommend that, in Spain, smaller is better.

Posted by
14905 posts

There is an underground parking lot in the center of Ronda. My hotel paid for it, so I don't know the cost. Are you planning to spend several days between Seville and Granada? If you aren't planning to stay overnight somewhere, it's really a lot of driving in one day and not much time to see anything. DRiving in Ronda was not difficult. You will do well to drop the car as soon as you get to Granada and then use public transportation. Take a taxi to your hotel. Then walk. There is a frequent minibus (nothing bigger could get through the streets) to the Alhambra.