The Asturias region in northern Spain is a fantastic region to visit by hire car. A drive through its coastal and mountain landscape reveals a stunning location with incredible views and surprising destinations and a slice of Spain that is less commonly seen. There is local transport, but your route will not be your own and it will certainly eat into your time. A hire car is a fantastic way to explore the hidden valleys and coastal villages of this great driving route. An entry-level car will be fine on these roads but if you plan to venture off the main roads then you should perhaps consider a bigger car or a 4x4 just to give you that extra comfort.
People drive on the right in Asturias, and everyone needs to wear a seat belt. Young children should be in a restraint such as a child seat and children smaller than 135cms (4.4ft) cannot travel in the front passenger seat. You need to carry certain safety items in your car such as reflective vests and triangles for emergency stops as well as relevant insurance and tax documentation. Your car hire company can advise on this. If you wear glasses, you are expected to have a spare pair in the car and you must always carry your passport or national ID card.
Cars hired in Spain are generally covered to cross borders within EU countries. So, for example, in Asturias you won’t be far from the French border. However, it’s important that you let your hire car company know that you may travel outside Spain. They will ensure that your insurance covers the trip. Some of the firms don’t charge for this but others have a daily surcharge so it's worth checking this out at the time of booking.
While a driving holiday implies you will spend time in the car, in a region like Asturias you need to plan to get out into nature. Your hire car can take you to places like national parks or agri-tourism sites that other transport can’t and that have a lot to offer on foot. Plan for multi-day trips that begin and end in different parts of the region.
FAQs about hiring a car in Asturias
The main benefit of hiring a car in Asturias is the ease of access it provides to the entire region. There are professionally researched driving routes available, such as those that take you into the Central Mountains and those that take you to the meadowlands around Gijon. You can plan drives through rural vineyards or follow an architectural theme through the ancient villages of Asturias. There really is an amazing amount to see, but you’ll need a car to do it properly.
The A8 motorway that runs through Asturias and northern Spain is a lot less busy than its southern counterparts. It offers dramatic views so be alert for other tourists being distracted by what’s around them. It’s advised that tourists stay in the right-hand lane on the motorway, which is the slower lane, and the opposite of the UK system. The speed limit on motorways is 120km/h (75mph). Roads are generally in exceptionally good condition although, once you come off the major roads and move into the mountains, they can be smaller, windier and have a variety of surfaces.
You need to be at least 21 years of age to hire a car in Asturias. There is a surcharge for anyone under 25 years, and older drivers may also face a surcharge, particularly those aged around 75. If you fall into this age bracket it’s important to have a letter from your GP to prove that you are competent to drive. UK and EU driving licences are acceptable without an international driving permit but if your driving licence is written in a script other than Latin then it’s best to have an international driving permit also.
Full-size (Class Full-size Van or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Asturias.