I will be in both cities in May with my 3 kids,16-23 in ages, and we all want to go to Giverny and Figueres. With the cost of train tickets for 4, I was thinking it might be worth it to consider renting a car for these daytrips esp since it will give us more freedom to see the sights. And while we're in Figueres, we can continue on to Cadaques for the Dali home which would be tough to do with public transport. How do I go about renting a car for 1 day? Is this even possible? I've never driven in Europe before but since they drive on the right side of the road, I thought I could manage. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!
I suspect renting a car for one day will cost quite a bit. You will have to allow time to pick it up ( can take along as an hour to get there and then do the paperwork) and then you will have to think about after-hours return. Is it even allowed? Not at all locations. So you might have to pay to park overnight and return it the next day. I don't know where you are goinginFrance, but return tickets between Barcelona and Figueres are 22 euros round trip on the regional trains,mdeparting 7 am and returning 7 pm. There are intermediate faster trains that cost a bit more, like 15 euro instead of 11 if you want to go a bit later or come back sooner.
Train tickets from Paris to Vernon( Giverny ) will cost about 25 euros each return( if purchased well in advance!) .That will still be cheaper likely then renting a car for one day, dealing with a rental car for one day, and the hassles associated with a one day rental , gas, parking etc. 100 euros each, versus what a rental car would cost ( and insurance etc). Autoeurope is pretty popular, look it up and see what sort of prices are offered.and make sure you include the insurance and extras that can pop up after you look at intial price. I personally would not do it for the French portion of your trip,, it would just be the hassle factor.I can't speak to the Spanish portion. I also suggest that once you get off the train in Vernon you and your family could rent bikes , ( just outside train station) , pick up a picnic in town, and ride to Giverny, its a lovely bike ride, I did it on a tour, but it would be easy to do on your own. The bike trail follows along the river, on an old decommmissioned rail line, so you are enjoying nice countryside, you can stop for a picnic, you can enjoy wandering the town a bit.
Make sure you make arrangements ahead of time from the US. A couple of years ago I was visiting relatives in Barcelona and wanted to rent a car for the weekend on the spot. I walked to a couple of offices not too far from Plaza de Catalunya (don't remember if Avis, Hertz or what have you) and they quoted me prices well in excess of 200 euros a day.
We rented a car from the Barcelona airport and did all three Dali sites. The rental was reserved here in the US before we left. We did Gala's Castle in Pubol on a separate day along with some great Greek and Roman ruins in Empuries right on the Mediterrian. You do need a car to get to Cadaques and we did both the summer home and the museum in Figueres in one day by car. Make sure you have a reservation for Cadaques. The scenery is beautiful and the summer house is a great treat for Dali lovers. We found driving in Spain fairly easy with our GPS and some patience.