Skip to Content

Hiring a Car in Alicante: Everything You Need to Know

Hiring a Car in Alicante: Everything You Need to Know

No question about it, hiring a car in Alicante is an awesome idea that will help you make the most of your Spanish vacation.

It’s as straightforward for foreigners to rent a car in Alicante as it is anywhere else in Spain. Once you have a set of wheels and a full tank, you’ll have the freedom to explore the local area and plan some independent day trips from Alicante.

As with everywhere in Spain, the roads in the Alicante municipality and the wider autonomous community of Valencia are in excellent shape.

Renting a car in Alicante allows for greater flexibility to explore harder-to-reach areas. It might also work out cheaper than traveling around Spain by train, especially for couples and families.

Avoid any surprises and read our practical guide to hiring a car from Alicante Airport or the city.

Can Foreigners Hire a Car in Spain?

Hiring a car in Spain as a foreigner is very simple. If you hold a driver’s license from the UK, EU, or any other country on this list, that’s all you need for hiring a car in Alicante.

If your driver’s license is from the USA, Canada, or another country that is not on that list, then you will need to have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). These are only available in person or online in your home country. You can’t buy an IDP once in Spain.

If you are from the US, you can get an IDP via AAA online or in person. It’s much easier and quicker in person.

Canadians can apply for an IDP online via the CAA website or in person at one of the locations specified.

You must be 21 years or older to rent a car in Alicante. Some rental firms add a surcharge or a higher insurance fee to renters under the age of 25.

In addition to a driver’s license, possibly an IDP, and a valid photo ID, you will need a credit card to rent a car. You cannot rent a car in Alicante with a debit card, it must be an internationally accepted credit card. Ideally, a Visa or Mastercard.

steering wheel with womans hands on the wheel and a small view of fields in the background out of the window.

Hiring a car in Alicante means you can get out and explore the entire region with ease.

Is it Worth Hiring a Car in Alicante?

If you are planning on spending at least a couple of days in Alicante then it’s wise to consider a car rental.

Alicante is a small city which you can mainly explore on foot. If you’re just staying a few nights and have a hotel booked around the city center, you won’t need a car to enjoy the main things to do in Alicante.

With a stay exceeding three nights, you might want to get out of the immediate urban area. Many of the beaches around Alicante are only a tram ride away and don’t really require a rental car. However, a rental vehicle allows for more control over your schedule and lets you turn a beach day into a fun mini-road trip.

Families with children may also find it preferable rather than lugging toddler gear around on the tram.

If you are visiting for a week or more, this is when renting a car in Alicante is a great idea. 

You can still use buses and trams to get around downtown Alicante but enjoy the freedom that the car offers and hit the road with no fixed plans. Alicante sits right on the border with Murcia and you can even drive as far as Almería in Andalucia if you feel like it.

You might want to look at hiring a car at Alicante Airport. This will save you from dealing with public transportation or pricey hotel transfers.

photo out of the window of the passengers seat with the right wing mirror just in shot and then the road to the right with the ocean at the edge of the road while hiring a car in alicante.

Get out to all of the different beaches nearby or not so nearby when you hire a car in Alicante.

Is Renting a Car in Alicante Safe?

Alicante is a safe and easy place to drive. The roads are well cared for and towns and beaches are clearly signposted. The important thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the national road rules. You can acquaint yourself by using these tips for driving in Spain.

The climate is sunny and mild all year round and you will not have to worry about snow, rain, or ice. You can even visit Alicante in winter – the weather in January is perfect for driving. Just be mindful of shorter days so that you aren’t driving back from the mountains in the dark.

Two Autovia highways loop around the city center: the A-70 and the A-31. You will probably drive on both of these to reach your hotel after renting a car from Alicante Airport.

The city center has one-way systems in place, which can be confusing if this is your first time driving in Alicante. Download an app like Waze to help navigate these. This also takes care of any language barriers and finding parking.

The beaches of the Costa Blanca are easy to get to, as are the cities of Murcia and Cartagena.

However, if you venture into the mountains be mindful that the roads can be very windy and steep in places. It’s fine if you’re used to these types of roads but if you’re nervous about driving or damaging the car, consider booking a guided tour or using public transportation instead.

car driving through a tunnel and coming out of the other side into a little bit of traffic. Camera is at the perspective of the eyes of the driver so you can see their hands on the steering wheel and out of their side of the car window.

Driving in Alicante is like driving in most places where you drive on the right side of the road. Follow road signs and keep your eyes out for other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles and you’ll be fine.

Road Rules in Alicante

These are the main rules to know when hiring a car in Alicante and the Costa Brava.

  • All drivers renting a car from Alicante Airport or the city center must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Seatbelts must be worn by all passengers at all times (front and back seats).
  • Children need to be at least 12 years old to sit in the front passenger seat.
  • Any child smaller than 135 cm (4’4″) must use a car seat.
  • The legal limit for alcohol when driving in Spain is a maximum of 0.5 grams of alcohol per liter of blood. This is lower than in the UK and the US and equates to one very small glass of wine or beer.
  • Priority is given to those already in a roundabout (rotary circle).
  • Rental cars are required by law to contain two traffic triangles and reflective vests. These must be used in the event of an accident. Always check your rental car for these items before driving off the premises.

Speed Limits in Alicante

Don’t get the cheapest car hire in Alicante from Discover Cars and then blow it by getting a speeding ticket.

There are a lot of speed cameras around this tourist region, especially in zones where drivers are most likely to be caught speeding. The Waze app will warn you when you’re approaching a camera. It will also tell you what the speed limit for each road is in case you missed the sign. But you should still be mindful.

  • 120 km/h on motorways
  • 90 km/h on single-carriageway roads
  • 50 km/h in cities where two or more lanes are going in each direction
  • 30 km/h in cities where there is only one lane in each direction
  • 20 km/h in towns wherever signposted

Parking in Alicante

There are several parking garages in Alicante that charge around €15 per day (£13 GBP / $16 USD). 

Otherwise, there are three types of street parking zones.

  • White Parking Zones: These are free but extremely hard to find. City workers and tourists compete for these spaces and they’re like gold dust.
  • Blue Parking Zones: These are cheap parking spaces. It usually costs around €2 per two hours. You’ll have to renew the ticket every two hours or pay using the Moviltik app.
  • Orange Parking Zones: These are primarily intended for Alicante residents but tourists may also use them for shorter stays. You can park for a maximum of two hours which will cost €1.40.
photo of the front of a jeep wrangler with Spanish plates.

You don’t need a 4-wheel drive in Alicante, but it’s fun to drive in near the beach!

What’s the Best Rental Company for Hiring a Car in Alicante?

You have the option to rent a car in the city center or at the airport. You can choose from all of the best rental car companies in Alicante on Discover Cars. Choose which location you want to pick the car up in and then narrow it down to places that only have a score of 8 or higher (out of 10).

Avis, Europcar, SIXT, and Budget have branches in the center near the train station and are all available on Discover Cars. Of these, SIXT is the most reliable option and has great customer service.

Centauro is a firm you may not know but they are a wonderful option for Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece. They are very transparent with their rates and have a fleet of high-quality cars to suit different budgets and requirements.

Cheap Car Hire in Alicante Airport

Your other option is renting a car from Alicante Airport. This is ideal if you’re landing and hitting the road right away for a road trip in southern Spain. If you have accommodation booked in Alicante, make sure you have a parking space before showing up with a rental car.

Alicante Airport (Aeroport d’Alacant-Elche Miguel Hernández) is located six miles (11 km) southwest of the city. It’s a busy airport since it is the gateway to the Costa Brava and Benidorm.

There are a lot of car rental kiosks including the internationally known Europcar, SIXT, Avis, and Enterprise. You will also find national and local firms including Victoria Cars.

You can compare them all here to find the best price for your upcoming trip.

If you want to bag a cheap car hire in Alicante Airport, you’ll want to book in advance – especially in summer. Prices will be a tad higher from late June when tourists arrive en masse. The rate will depend on the type, brand, and size of car you need.

In winter, you’ll find that Alicante Airport car hire agencies offer extremely reasonable rates. Expect to pay around €20 per day (£17 GBP / $21 USD) during the low season and when you book in advance. This will rise during July and August in Spain, but a classic Fiat will be one of the cheapest options.

The base rate should include unlimited mileage/kilometers, theft protection, third-party coverage, and collision damage waivers. However, you might have other deductibles and surcharges to take into account.

boardwalk in alicante with colorful tiles along the ground and palm trees lining both sides of the walkway.

Getting around downtown Alicante on foot is the best way, but if you want to explore further afield, you’ll want to rent a car in Alicante.

Renting a Car in Alicante with Discover Cars

The Spain Travel Guru team has relied on Discover Cars for car rentals in Spain and around the world for several years. This is the natural starting place when hiring a car in Alicante.

Discover Cars aggregate prices across all of the car rental companies. Not only does this site pinpoint the cheapest car hire in Alicante but it gives you a wide choice of vehicles.

What you’ll really appreciate about Discover Cars is that they clearly state exactly what is included in your car rental. The search usually details what isn’t included so that there are no nasty surprises when you arrive to pick up the car.

It’s worth having a quick check at the prices on the car firms’ websites before proceeding. Sometimes it might work out cheaper, especially if they have a promo. Also, if you note that Discover Cars has a better deal, you could contact the rental agency on the sly and see if they’ll match the price. 

Hiring a car in Alicante is incredibly affordable. Check the prices for the cheapest car hire in Alicante on Discover Cars here.

driving at night with no other cars on the road and the inside of the car lit up around the center console while renting a car in alicante.

Renting a car in Alicante means you can head out on day trips to places like Elche, Valencia, Calp, or Villajoyosa without having to wait for the bus.

Tips for Hiring a Car in Alicante

Check how much fuel the car has in its tank before you leave the rental office. You’ll need to return it with the same amount – it will probably be half-full, full, or somewhere in between!

  • Take photos and videos of the car. This is evidence that you have returned the car in the exact same condition it was when you rented it. Alicante car hire firms are unlikely to try and scam you but it never hurts to be cautious.
  • If you’re coming from the US or UK and it’s your first trip to Spain, you’ll need to acclimatize to driving kilometers per hour instead of miles.
  • Download the free Waze app to assist you. It alerts you if you are speeding, if there are police around, or if you have any incidents/stoppages ahead.
  • Book a hotel with secure parking. You might have to pay for parking but having the peace of mind of secure and guaranteed parking will be worth it.
  • Avoid driving to spots in the city center where you’ll have to battle for cheap parking or pay garage fees.

Can You Drive an Alicante Car Hire to Other European Countries?

Are you considering driving to Portugal, Gibraltar, or France during your vacation in Spain?

Check directly with the Alicante car hire company about whether this is possible. Many major firms will be fine but they’ll need to know your intentions for insurance purposes.

You will also need to check about the driving laws in those other countries and ensure you have all of the things you’ll need to be road-legal for your entire trip.