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Driving & Public Transport

Barcelona - Driving & Public Transport

All holders of European photocard driving licences are legally able to drive in Spain indefinitely, along with holders of driving licences from a number of other countries. However, even if valid, they still need to be stamped at the local Trafico office, which in Barcelona is situated at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 184, telephone 93 298 6539. A list of valid driving licences can be found at the Spanish Department of Transport site here.

Holders of driving licences that don't appear on this list have up to 6 months to exchange their licence for a Spanish one. The application for a Spanish driving licence can be made at the same office on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, and it may mean taking either a written or practical driving test, or both.

Many EU citizens do, however, choose to exchange their licences for Spanish ones, without the need for retaking a test, to avoid problems with traffic police who sometimes are not aware of the reciprocal agreement, and can and do issue on the spot fines for driving on what they believe is an invalid licence.

Although used cars do not depreciate in price as quickly as in other countries, new cars are relatively cheap in Spain. Some expats, however, still choose to import their car into the country. Owners of foreign cars have 6 months to register the car and have it issued with Spanish licence plates. Import taxes and a registration fee need to be paid. This can be done at the Delegacion de Economia y Hacienda office at Via Augusta, 197-199, telephone 93 216b 5000. The forms and bureacracy can seem overwhelming and many people choose to a hire a gestor, or bureacratic middleman, who oversees the form filling, documentation gathering, and queue waiting.

Along with all major Spanish cities, driving and more specifically parking in Malaga can be a stressful experience. Many choose to navigate the city using the extensive public transport system in place. The metro underground covers all areas of the city, as do trams and buses. The fares operate on a zone system, therefore the further outside the centre of the city your travel, the more expensive it becomes. Travelcards and 10 trip tickets are available and can be bought online at < ahref="http://www.tmb.cat/en_US/home.jsp/">www.tmb.cat/en_US/homes.jsp. Full details of timetables routes and fares area also available on the site, which can be read in English.

Taxis are popular in Spain as they are no cost prohibitive. Taxi ranks can be found on major streets in the city and outside bus and train stations. Further information on taxi ranks and fares can be found on the official Barcelona Taxis website at www.taxibarcelona.cat.

Barcelona's City Council has a complete guide to all public transport within Barcelona and Catalunya in English here.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.