Spain in the spotlight: Car rental holidays

Spain is certainly the place to be in 2015. France has its charming countryside, Italy has its pasta, but Spain has all of this and so much more. From urban and diverse cities brimming with culture to spectacular beach resorts, wine regions, mountains, rivers and islands, it is a land of plenty. Rent a car and explore it at your own pace and on your own schedule.
 
There is something for everyone in Spain. Here is our guide to the best and brightest locations for your next road trip:
 

Ibiza car hire

Those who like to go where the party is should look no further than Ibiza, Spain’s island of nightlife and beautiful beaches. Pick-up a rental car from Ibiza Airport and use it to explore every inch of this lovely island. With well-maintained roads, it is a driver’s paradise and you can see it all with your own set of wheels - nowhere on Ibiza is more than an hour’s drive away, it’s that compact. 
 
Highlights to add to your itinerary include the hidden cove of Atlantis, the beautiful old part of Ibiza Town, the many beaches, Cova de Can Marca cave and Formentera, which requires a boat trip. There is no end to the available activities, with a focus on water-sports - try parasailing, jet-skiing, scuba diving or just swimming. 
 
The countryside is an often-overlooked feature of Ibiza and a very scenic one - perfect to take advantage of in a car rental. Also, the wharfside markets are great for trinkets, souvenirs and food. Of course, the nightlife is world-renowned, with numerous clubs and DJs on show, so be sure to plan a night or two out on the town.
 

Barcelona car hire

The major airport in Barcelona, Barcelona-El Prat, has plenty of car rental companies on- and off-site, so you will be able to find the perfect vehicle with the help of Airport Rentals. Compare the top hire brands to find the best deal for you. Hit the road (making sure you drive on the right!) and explore this huge, diverse city and beyond. We recommend you add a GPS to the rental to help you find your way in the streets and avenues! Be warned - the locals speak Catalan, which is similar to Spanish but not quite the same.
 
There is so much to see in Barcelona, and the beauty of a car rental is the freedom to set your own itinerary and schedule, as well as head out to the surrounding regions if the countryside is calling to you. The Old Town is especially attractive, with a lot of history to soak up. The spectacular Sagrada Familia is a must-see, and lovers of architecture should find their way to Antoni Gaudi’s other works in the city. you can find information on these at any tourism office or provider. There are museums galore, the Temple of Augustus and the famous street of La Rambla with street entertainers, shopping and cultural centres.
 
Barcelona is known for its beaches, some located quite centrally. Head up or down the coast a little to find some less crowded stretches of sand. The coastline of Catalunya, the region which includes Barcelona, has 114 beaches awarded the “blue flag” distinction of quality by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Montgat Nord offers lovely views of the city in the distance and beautiful yellow sand, and as you head further north the coast breaks into smaller, charming coves and inlets for sheltered swimming. Tamariu Beach, 1.5 hours north, is a favourite for families. 
 

Palma de Mallorca car hire

On the island of Mallorca, Palma is the largest city and the main gateway to the Balearics. A car rental from the airport located just outside of town is a great way to begin an adventure in this big island with 555 kilometres of coastline and several cities. With many car hire suppliers, a rental is relatively inexpensive and there are many scenic drives both inland and coastal.
 
Palma itself is a fabulous destination, with the incredible restored Cathedral of Palma at its centre, surrounded by the picturesque Old Town. Take a few hours to wander the narrow streets and appreciate a bit of history. The Paseo Maritimo, a waterfront area near the port, is another lovely spot to walk, sit and people-watch. Of course, the beach is a popular place to go when it’s hot. There are several in the city and nearby.
 
For a particularly jaw-dropping drive, head up the island’s west coast on the Ma-10 highway. There are many lookouts where you can pull over, take a break and enjoy the view. Stop in the charming beach resort of Port de Soller, then continue on the route through the mountains and past Cuber Lake where you will find some challenging hiking trails. After a driving time of 3.5 hours, the Ma-10 finishes in Pollenca. The eastern coast is a little less mountainous but very pretty with endless beach towns, and the island’s central plains are criss-crossed with roads which follow the paths of old Roman roads through orchards, groves and villages. The Museum Etnologic de Mallorca in Muro is a fascinating place to learn a little about the island’s past.
 

Malaga car hire

Bringing the best of both worlds is Malaga in southern Spain. In the sunny south, it has everything you might want for a relaxing beachside holiday, as well as the culture, history and atmosphere of a big European city. There is lots to do, and everyone does it at their own pace. Pick up a rental car at Malaga Airport to join in the fun.
 
In the city, visitors should check out Alcazaba, a Moorish castle which is the best-preserved of its kind in Spain. It overlooks the remains of an old Roman theatre. Malaga Cathedral is located right in the heart of the historic city centre, and you can even visit Picasso’s birthplace in the Plaza Merced. 
 
There are many places your rental car can take you with just a short drive from Malaga. The sun-drenched Costa del Sol runs to the south-west of the city and includes many popular beach resorts with party town Marbella at its centre. Beyond is the interesting British Overseas Territory, Gibraltar, overlooking the entrance to the Mediterranean. Head in the other direction towards Almeria and see the vast fields of greenhouses covering Poniente Almeriense. The N-340 curves along the dramatic coastline between Calahonda and Castel de Ferro, a stunning section of road.
 

Alicante car hire

Alicante, a popular tourism city in the Valencia region of Spain, is a beautiful coastal city overlooked by the iconic Mount Benacantil and the medieval Castle of Santa Barbara. It has one of Spain’s biggest and busiest airports, so there are no issues finding a flight and a rental car to send you on your way in this wonderful part of the country.
 
Friendly locals and great restaurants and bars have made a name for this beach city. Be sure to try the tapas, paella, seafood and local wine - just remember that many Spanish restaurants don’t open for dinner until 9pm! The nightlife revolves around El Barrio in the Old Town. Visit the castle on the hill, take in a museum or two, then hit the beaches - they are Alicante’s best feature. From Postiguet Beach in the city centre to 7 km-long San Juan Beach, reachable with a bit of driving, there is a stretch of sand for anyone.
 
A great road trip with an Alicante car hire is the coastal route to Valencia, another fabulous coastal city. Alternatively, head into the mountains of the Valencia region to visit the charming towns perched on hills and straddling rivers - such as Alcoi, Ibi and Castalla, all close by Alicante. Don’t go without visiting beautiful Guadalest and its miniatures museum, salt and pepper shaker museum and hilltop tower. Despite a tiny population of 200 people, this castle town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region and the entire country.
 
Spain is waiting for you in 2015, so start planning your car rental holiday today!
 

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