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Car hire is a wonderful way to explore Europe. You can drive where and when you want and make multiple stops along the way. You can explore those hidden treasures just off the beaten track and travel with your family and friends without stressing about public transport or taxi fares.
If you’re trying to explore Europe by car for the first time, you may wonder if you can drive rental cars across borders, and then the answer is yes.
Reasons to Take a Car Hire Road Trip From France to Spain
Considering hiring a car for a road trip from France and Spain? With so many amazing routes, epic driving scenery, and amazing food, there are numerous reasons to take a driving holiday between these two countries.
While driving Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, it only takes 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais with your car hire, and from there, it would be possible to drive from France to Spain. The route is pleasant, and there’s much to see and do along the way. Here are six excellent reasons to take a road trip through France and Spain.
There are Numerous Choices for a Road Trip From France and Spain
What’s amazing about a road trip from France to Spain is how much you can create and tailor the route to you. Once you’ve traversed from Folkestone to Calais via Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, central Europe is your oyster. Do a bit of research and throw together your ideal European road trip!
You could drive the coastal route through France, stopping at lovely and largely overlooked seaside towns like Boulogne-sur-Mer before shifting inland after St Malo. Or, you could take the inland course across France, stopping by towns like Orléans, Bourges, and Blois along the way.
Either way, drive for the pretty beach town of Biarritz in the South Western corner of France before moving across the border and into the Spanish Basque Country. Once in Spain, it’s a gorgeous coastal route, with dramatic cliffs and the blue sea on one side and rolling verdant mountains on the other. You’ll eventually arrive at Santiago de Compostela, heading through San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander, and Oviedo.
There are Dozens of Lovely Cities Along the Way
Both France and Spain are full of lovely cities. These are some of the finest stopovers along the way.
The upscale city of Orléans makes a wonderful road trip stop or a terrific day trip from Paris. With cobbled streets and half-timbered houses, it’s very picturesque, and there’s a lot of history here. Most notably, Joan of Arc famously donned armour here to help defend the city from the invading British army.
Known as La Ville Rose (the pink city), this stunning city of terracotta tiles rests on either side of the Garonne River. It’s a bit of a detour from the route, but worth it if you can add an extra day or two to see a little more of France.
Also, on the Garonne River, the city of Bordeaux is filled with 18th and 19th-century mansions and is one of France’s most stunning cities.
San Sebastian is a vibrant town full of character and one of many people’s favourite cities in northern Spain. The honey-coloured old town centre, with its narrow pedestrian lanes and energetic pintxos bars, is a must-visit.
A city of historical and religious importance, Oviedo is where the original Camino Santiago pilgrimage started. The gorgeous cathedral towers over the historic centre, where you’ll discover plenty of Asturian cider houses – an unmissable experience.
Santiago de Compostela
Famed for its unique cathedral, Santiago has a winding city centre with a positive feel. You’ll encounter plenty of tapas, bars and adorable shops to keep you busy.
You Can Drive Through Wine Countries
One of the big attractions for tourists visiting France is wine. A road trip through France could bring you through La Côte d’Or in Burgundy, where the slight expansion of the road leading from Santenay to Dijon passes through some spectacular scenery and some of the finest vineyards on the planet. En route to Spain, there’s also Bordeaux, deemed by many the world’s wine capital. Swing by some of the most prominent estates, partake in a wine tour or even spend the night at a château.
Its neighbour might somewhat overshadow Spain when it comes to wine, but it’s the third-largest wine producer in the world. The verdant valleys around Galicia specialise in zesty white wines, which go beautifully with the region’s excellent seafood.
You Can Discover Deserted Beaches Along the Way
Spain’s southern coast might be jam-filled with holidaymakers, but the north coast is a distinct world entirely. Despite having some of the most stunning beaches you’ve ever come across, this region is very underrated, and you’ll often encounter a beach all to yourself, even in summer.
Driving a hire car will allow you to stop off wherever you like, so you’ll be able to find some of the best beaches along the way. Stroll the coast of Llanes in Asturias and discover secret rocky coves and white sandy beaches with no crowds.
A Road Trip Through France and Spain Possesses Some Stunning Drives
A fantastic road trip has to involve good roads. Luckily, both countries brag plenty. With everything from mountains to marshlands, there are many captivating drives through scenic landscapes across France and Spain.
The coastal drive from Bordeaux to Biarritz is considered one of the country’s most scenic. On the one hand, is the Bay of Biscay with its windswept surfing beaches, and on the other rests the rough and rugged Landes de Gascogne national park.
Extending along the border between France and Spain, the Pyrenées-Atlantiques present winding mountain roads through some dazzling scenery. Equally surprising and mountainous is the Picos de Europa in Cantabria at the core of Green Spain. This national park is home to some spectacular drives through towering gorges.
It’s So Easy to Reach!
The crossing from Folkestone to Calais takes 35 minutes via Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, and the mainland is within easy reach, with up to four departures an hour. Driving your car hire on holiday means no baggage limitations and no long waits at airports. You can also carry a roof box or bike with no supplement!
Another way to save time is to obtain a Sanef toll tag, which will mean you can utilise the automatic lanes at tolls to save even more time. Eurotunnel Le Shuttle customers acquire an exclusive offer when booking their tickets through the site. It’s easy to reach Spain with your car hire, allowing you to plan any road trip route you fancy.
Can I Drive My Car Hire in Another Country?
Within Europe, the typical answer is yes; you can drive your hire car into another European country from where you picked it up. However, you may encounter some restrictions depending on the following:
- The country you hire the vehicle from
- Country/countries you want to drive the vehicle to
- The category of the car you rent
- Car rental provider.
You may spend some extra fee, called a cross-border fee, to get the car insured outside its home country.
Can I Cross Any European Border With My Rental Car?
Most of them, yes. Car hire providers do not commonly prohibit crossing borders, but it does happen. It’s always worth reviewing the Ts & Cs for your deal and asking the car rental experts where you can take the car.
Some car hire providers don’t let their luxury or sports cars enter particular countries. For example, Thrifty Germany doesn’t permit their Mercedes, BMWs or convertibles in Italy.
Most car hire providers on the Spanish mainland don’t permit their cars on ferries to the Balearic Islands (even though there are no borders to cross).
How to Drive a Car Hire Across the Border?
Before you book, review the terms and conditions of the car you’re interested in to see whether you can drive it to another country.
When you pick the car up, let your car rental provider know you’d like to take the car to another country. They may ask you to sign an additional agreement and/or pay an extra fee so your rental is protected abroad.
If you drive your rental car into a new country without setting it, you’ll negate any protection incorporated in your rental (and any extra insurance you buy). If you have an accident or your rental car gets stolen or damaged, you’ll be responsible for all the costs to the rental company. The rental company might charge you a penalty for crossing a border without their authorization.
Do I Have to Spend More When Crossing Border With My Car Hire?
Yes, usually, you have to pay a ‘cross-border fee’ when you pick the car up. This fee will augment your rental’s direct damage, theft and third-party protection so it functions in another country.
When you inform your car rental provider that you want to take the car abroad, they’ll arrange to insure the car for you. They’ll fill in a VE103 form, enabling you to temporarily drive a hire car into a new country, have it covered, and have it charged to your credit card.
Can I do it for free?
Most of the time, you’ll have to pay a cross-border fee to take the car to another country. However, some car hire providers, such as Europcar, offer deals that enclose cover for the car abroad, so you won’t spend extra when you arrive. You’ll locate the specifics for any rental car in its terms and conditions.
Can I Drop My Car Hire Off in a Different Country?
Some car hire companies permit their cars to be left in a different country. They usually set both a cross-border fee and a one-way fee. One-way fees can be pricey, so it’s worth comparing other options online to discover the cheapest deal.
If your plans are flexible, dropping off the car hire to the same country you picked it up from, and crossing any borders within your trip, will be more reasonable.
As ever, review the terms and conditions before you book to confirm what you can do.
Checklist When Driving Your Car Hire in Europe
You should be aware of several essentials when driving in Europe, so it’s worth reading this guide carefully to know everything you need to drive there.
This essential checklist will inform you everything you need to know when cross-border driving in Europe, from what to bring to things to remember when you get there.
Essential Documents That You Should Bring When Driving Car Hire in Europe
- Valid driving licence and national insurance number
- Proof of vehicle insurance
- Proof of ID (passport)
- V5C certificate (the ‘log book’)
- Travel insurance papers
- European Breakdown Cover policy number and records
- Before you start your road trip, ensure your vehicle’s tax and MOT are valid and up-to-date
- Crit’air sticker if driving in France
You may also need to bring other documents with you, namely:
- one or more additional international driving permits
- a separate UK sticker
Required Equipment That You Should Bring When Driving Car Hire in Europe
- Reflective jackets you should bring one for each passenger and be kept within the car’s cabin)
- Warning triangle (mandatory in most countries)
- Headlamp beam deflectors (depending on your car, you’ll either require deflector stickers or have to modify the beam manually)
- UK car sticker (if you don’t own a GB Euro number plate, or no matter what’s on your number plate when driving in Cyprus, Malta or Spain)
- First aid kit (mandatory in Austria, France and Germany)
Recommended Things to Carry Along When Driving Your Car Hire in Europe
- Fire extinguisher
- Replacement bulbs
- A high-quality torch
- A spare fuel can
- Extra engine oil and water (for topping up)
- An up-to-date road map or satellite navigation system
- Sun cream
- Refreshments and plenty of water
- If you have children, carry some games you can play in the car during the journey.
- Bring extra medication supplies in case you can’t get these abroad
- Photocopies of necessary documents
- European Health Insurance card
Why Choose Car Hire and Rental
Whether going on a city break or a beach holiday, hiring a car with Car Hire and Rental will add a sense of adventure to your trip. Take to the open road and explore the countryside, discover hidden treasures you can only reach on foot, or beat the crowds by avoiding the public transport system.
Car Hire and Rental has a wide range of vehicles to suit every type of holiday, with various prices for all budgets. Whether you’re looking for a sleek city car made for nipping through town, a 4×4 for countryside driving, or a people carrier for a big group getaway, it’s easy to discover the best price and book online with us.
Car Hire and Rental compares the price of hire cars from other car hire providers at your destination to ensure you always get the best deal on the vehicle you want. Let us know your travel dates and destination, and we’ll offer you the best car hire prices for your stay.