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Getting To Madrid: Rental Car

You may be tempted to rent a car while in Spain. Getting to Madrid by car is easy: Spain has a modern road network and the city is particularly well connected.

Depending on how much you like driving, you should consider organizing a road trip. It is a fun and independent way of seeing the country. Not only can it be a cost-effective way for small groups to get around, but it also lets you see what’s off the beaten track.

However, don’t forget to respect certain rules while driving around Spain to have a safe trip and avoid fines.


Madrid Road Network

As the capital of Spain, Madrid is the central hub to which all roads lead. In fact, there is a plaque in Puerta del Sol indicating the center (km 0 or kilometer cero) of the radial network of Spanish road.

Being located in the center of the country, Madrid is not more than 6-7 hours driving from the furthest Spanish town (except those outside the Iberian Peninsula, of course). The main highways linking Madrid to other important cities are:

  • A-1 (Autovía del Norte) with 371 km (231 mi) connects Madrid to Irún, next to the western part of the French border.
  • A-2 (Autovía del Nordeste) with 504 km (313 mi) connects Madrid to Barcelona.
  • A-3 (Autovía del Este) with 355 km (221 mi) connects Madrid to Valencia.
  • A-4 (Autovía del Sur) with 660 km (410 mi) connects Madrid to Cádiz.
  • A-5 (Autovía del Suroeste) with 408 km (254 mi) connects Madrid to Badajoz, next to the Portuguese border.
  • A-6 (Autovía del Noroeste) with 590 km (370 mi) connects Madrid to Arteixo, next to La Coruña.

Additionally, Madrid has three orbital highways, the M-30 being the closest to the center of the city, the M-40 and the M-50 the furthest one, – although you are not probably to use the latter.

If you are a planning a road trip around the country, read more about the international driver’s license. Moreover, you should also have a look at some information about moving around Madrid by car. Drive safe!


Short Day Trips From Madrid By Car

Although I don’t advise it, you can also choose to rent a car to do some day trips from Madrid. Why isn’t it a good idea?

  • Madrid is a relatively big city and you will need a GPS system, a road map and a good sense of orientation to exit it without getting lost. Unfortunately road signs can be misleading sometimes.
  • Most of the historical towns around Madrid have traffic limitations within their old centers. In other words, car parks are relatively far away from the main attractions and are not particularly cheap.

You should definitely try to get there either by train or bus.


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