As you know, we have been living in Spain for a few years, and during that time we have done our fair share of driving and trying to figure out the Spanish road signs.  I remember when we first arrived and trying to figure out the rules of the road.  Coming from the United States, there were plenty of things that were familiar, but many others that just made us wonder, or look up the answer on the internet.

We have welcomed several visitors to Spain and it has been fun driving around with them.  It is fun hearing their thoughts on driving in Spain as well the meaning of the road signs in Spain and the street markings.  Did you know we have a Zebra, Giraffe and Jellyfish crossing?  What about the Poo Stop or Ninja’s on the loose?

Driving in Spain and Spanish Road Signs, All of the tips are provided for you with many resources for your time in Spain. Read more on

If you want a complete guide to the road in Spain, rental car deals and tips, as well as knowing where the speed traps are and how to pay a ticket at a discount, then please click here to learn more about our ebook Driving in Spain – Everything you need to know & more.  I promise it will be well worth the $9.99!

Okay, now on to our post.

We thought it would be fun to share a few of the funny ones with you and then review some of the “official” rules, regulations and tips for driving in Spain.

Road Signs in Spain

Giraffe Approaching

 (Merging Traffic - Giraffe) Driving in Spain

I bet you didn’t realize there were Giraffe in Spain.  Well, there aren’t, except maybe in a zoo.  But that didn’t stop one of our many visitors from asking “Why is there a giraffe on the road sign?”.  I remember thinking “Huh? A giraffe?”  I had them point out the sign with the “giraffe” and had a good laugh.  Let me know what you think about the giraffe sign (merging traffic).

Jellyfish Crossing

jellyfish or headlights

As we were meandering along our beautiful roads of Costa Tropical, another visitor asked “Why do you have a jellyfish sign on the road?  Are there problems with jellyfish here?”  Again, I am “Huh? Jellyfish?”  She said, “Yes we just passed a sign with a jellyfish.  Oh look, there is another with a question mark.  Are they asking you about jellyfish?”.

How many jellyfish? Check your headlights.

This one has been my all time favorite for sure.  I replied with “Yes, we need to be on the look out for jellyfish in every tunnel we enter.  Then when we exit, we need to give the count.”  What do you think the jellyfish sign really is?  (Turn on headlights and Check your headlights, before/after a tunnel)

Beware Of Ninja’s Sneaking Up On You!
(Doing Rear Wheelies)

Driving in Spain precaucion

No matter where we drive in Spain, we get the biggest kick out of this sign.  We get it!  We do understand they are trying to tell us not to follow too closely, but every single time we see this sign, we think if Ninja’s sneaking up behind us to spy.  Spanish drivers do tend to follow very closely behind the car in front, so keep a good eye on the rear view mirror.  (Keep safe distance between vehicles)

An Alien Life Form Is Drawing You In!

Control_de_velocidad_autovia_o_autopista (Radar ahead)

Spain means business when they warn you about the speed limit.  This sign is warning you to play it safe and control your speed.  It usually means there are speed cameras ahead and they will be sending you a ticket in the mail, if you over the speed limit.  It is funny as traffic will be buzzing along, well above the speed limit.  Then, all of a sudden one of these signs or a known speed trap is upcoming and traffic feels like it comes to a halt.  A brief halt for the cameras and then it picks back up again.  For me, I just like to set the cruise control and not have to worry about it.  (Speed camera or radar ahead)

Spanish road signs and radar speed control

LINK for Spain Traffic Cameras and LINK for Spain  Speed Control Cameras.

Watch your speed!  There are speed cameras all over, especially near the cities.  There are also many cities with restricted driving for residents or public transit only. Granada is especially popular for those camera tickets for driving in a restricted zone.  

They usually warn you with signs, but you need to see and understand those signs.  There are often cameras at then end of tunnels as well.  

Oh, and if you are driving on a toll road (AP – Autopista), watch your speed there too.  Sometimes they note the time of entry onto the toll road and the time of exit.  If you covered the distance too rapidly, a ticket may soon be arriving in your mailbox.

If you would like to estimate the cost of the toll there is a great site here showing the toll roads in Spain and prices.

With Just One Right You Will Make A Left

cambio sentido - change direction, left turn, u-turn

Many roads have a solid white line in the center, which you are not meant to cross.  If you need to make a left turn, it is very typical for you to make a right to make your left.  If it isn’t in a round about, you will often need to turn right onto a frontage road and then wait to cross over to make your left and/or U-Turn (Cambio de Sentido – change directions).

Potty & Poo Stop?picnic spot or potty stop

When we first arrived in Spain, we kept noticing this sign that looked like someone was using the toilet.  I remember thinking that it was an odd sign for a rest stop and I couldn’t figure out why they had the big “P”.  What do you think it is?  It is a picnic sign!

 Usually it means there is a picnic table ahead.  Finding places to eat along the highways in Spain is very different from the US.  There aren’t fast food stops at every exit, in fact it is rare to see such a sight.

If there is a rest stop, it often had a typical Spanish restaurant or maybe a convenience store.  Many Spaniards, bring their own food and just stop for a quick picnic.  We have even seen people who pull out their own table and chairs for their meal, alongside the road.
(Picnic Park or rest stop ahead)

Click on the books below to purchase from Amazon.

Round and Round and Round You Go

Roundabout in Spain
Photo credit –


Spain is full of roundabouts and in some cases, double roundabouts.  Sometimes you may feel like just closing your eyes and jumping in, but they aren’t that bad.  

If you are unsure, you can just stay to the outside lane and keep going around until you know where you need to exit.  

The driver who is already in the roundabout has the right of way, unless there are traffic lights at the roundabout that govern the flow of traffic.  Before you leave the roundabout, you should turn your right turn signal indicator to indicate that you are leaving the roundabout.  That is the law in Spain, but it isn’t always followed. 

When you Drive in Spain, you must understand the road signs!

STOP! What about the stop sing in Spanish?

Stop sign in Spain

Okay, we are in Spain.  In Spain they speak Spanish, but not when it is time to stop.  In Spain, you will not see a stop sign in Spain.  It doesn’t say “Alto”, like you would in Mexico.  

Nope, here the Spanish stop sign is in plain English!  It is odd, and I almost forgot about it, but thought it was worth mentioning.
Did you know if there is a green light with the stop sign in Spain, you aren’t supposed to stop!  The signal light has a higher priority over the sign, so you follow the light.  If the lights happen to be out, then the sign would be there to follow.


No Explosives Spain

Just in case you didn’t know, you shouldn’t blow up your car (Especially if you are in it)!  Really it is no explosives, but doesn’t it look like you left a volcano school project on the roof?  Or maybe a little sparkler stop your cake?  Thanks for the reminder to add this on Cat!

Confusing Spanish Road Signs!


I am so confused about the Double negative or no negatives, slash and no slash!

  • A white sign with a red circle means (Prohibited, No or Don’t).  Sometimes there is a slash and sometimes there isn’t.
  • No pedestriansFor example this sign means no pedestrians on the garage ramp.  In the US, we would likely see a slash through a circle to represent “No”.  The sign to the right represents no higher than 2.25 meters.
  • WNo more highway - leaving the highwayhen leaving the highway or a town you will often see a sign with a slash.  This is letting you know you have “left” that area, but it doesn’t tell you where you are.  All you know is where you are no longer.
  • No No Right TurnBut I have to say the all time most confusing is the double negative.  The red circle alone means don’t, but when there is a slash through it too, does it mean No Don’t?  Do 2 no’s make a yes?  Are you leaving the right turn area? Maybe it means “We really really mean NO right turn”.
  • Spain speed limit noThe same goes for the speed limit on the highway.  You will often see a speed limit sign with slash through it.  You know it is no longer that speed, but what speed is it?!!! Should you drive faster or slower?


What are the best tips to find deals for a rental car in Spain?

To get the best deals on a rental car, there isn’t just one way to find the deals.  I usually search many ways and compare and play with the dates and times for the car rental.  We usually search a few ways:

  1. Directly with a car rental company.  

    • We have rented via Gold Car many times from the Malaga Airport.  This summer we rented June, July and September and paid from €93 to €300 for each 28 day rental from them.  This was the price only for the rental, excluding the fuel policy or insurance.  We needed to return the car and rent another every 28 days.  We find if you are in their loyalty program they email you great deals.  We have also used many others visa the aggregate option.  
    • Sixt we’ve used them 2 times in Spain and they are pretty popular.  Check out the latest deals.
  2. Through a search aggregate:
    These are search engines which compile many car rental companies and provide a nice matrix or comparison chart, so you can find the best deal possible.  This is usually how we rent our cars and believe me I search them all for the best deals.

Driving in Spain Tips:

  • They drive on the right!  This is a bonus for the American, as it is familiar and the same as the US!  That said, they do drive pretty fast and typically only use the far left lane for passing.  If you find yourself sightseeing in the left lane, scoot on over and drive in the right lane.
  • Are you planning on a Car Rental?  We share 9 tips to help you navigate the car hire in Spain process. Most car rentals will be manual transmission you will need to specify automatic and it will typically cost quite a bit more.  Unless you are staying in a city environment, we do recommend renting a car.  This will allow you to explore off the beaten track and make some amazing discoveries, like we did in Castril, Spain.  Just make sure you have a map of Spain or some sort of navigation in the car, on your smart phone or other electronic device.

Don’t get distracted!

  • Do not use a cell phone while driving because it is against the law, unless it is hands-free.  The Guardia Civil has fined many motorists for using their cell phones and often set up checkpoint at on/off ramps near the highway.  I was pulled over once, accused of using a cell phone.  I was only adjusting my sunglasses and it took some convincing to prove I was not using my phone.
  • pedestrian crossingSlam on your brakes for pedestrians.  Spaniards (in Southern Spain and most places we have visited) are very courteous to pedestrians and you better stop if you see someone in the cross walk / Zebra crossing.  Many pedestrians don’t even look before crossing, because they know vehicles are supposed to stop.  The pedestrian crossings or cross walks are marked with black and white wide striped lines.  If there is no traffic light at the crossing, the pedestrian has the right of way.  Always expect the unexpected, as you can see in the comments below, someone has had a different experience in Barcelona.
  • Your car is meant to be scratched, dinged and loved.

Ride Shares In Spain

Just in case you don’t want to do the driving, here are some sites which offer ride sharing in Spain!

What does Red Basica mean, painted on the roads in Spain?

Red Basica translates to “Basic Network”

This means that road is part of the main network of roads within Spain or that region.  For example, in Malaga it is on the main road through the city center.  This is part of the main network of the N-340 road within Spain, which runs through Malaga.  There are various road networks throughout Spain.  Here is a map of the various road networks within Spain.

Driving in Spain Road Signs

We have many more road signs in our ebook below.  Here are a few examples:

Driving in Spain- Everything you need to know & more. If you are planning a trip to Spain and intend on driving, this is an essential book for you. We offer you a complete guide to driving in Spain.

If you want a complete guide to the road in Spain, please read our ebook Driving in Spain, Everything you need to know & more.  Click Here Now! We offer quick reference for signs, what to do in emergencies, how to navigate a roundabout, general road rules and more!  What do you do when there is a stop sign and a green light at the same intersection?  Do you have to have that international driver’s license?

 It is just $9.99!  It will save you so much time and help avoid fines!

Obtaining a Spanish Drivers License!

Americans Getting a Drivers License in Spain. We share the entire process to obtain a Spanish Drivers License, including the process, costs and more. Read more on
Driving in Spain and Spanish Road Signs, All of the tips are provided for you with many resources for your time in Spain. Read more on
Driving in Spain and Spanish Road Signs, All of the tips are provided for you with many resources for your time in Spain. Read more on

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Links and Other references to full list of Spanish road signs or Road Signs in Spain:

How about a Road Trip in Spain:

What is Spain known for?

I think if you ask anyone in Europe what Spain is known for, they will quickly respond with sun and beaches, but there is more to it than that! Read more on

What to buy in Spain

What To Buy In Spain, Souvenirs, Gifts & Things To Enjoy Right Away! If you aren't sure what to buy in Spain, here's a great list for you.  From things to buy in Spain as souvenirs, as well as things to buy as gifts from Spain too. What's Spain famous for?  We're about to tell you. Read more on

Some other articles that may be of help to you.

Alan has written a very thorough e-book, Live in Spain, which walks you, step by step, through the entire process of the non lucrative visa requirements and the Spain retirement visa requirements.

It is full of tips and tools to help you and a matrix with spells out the special things for each Spanish consulate in the USA.  It also provides you with a checklist to make sure all of the organization and timing of documents in on target. 

We have helped hundreds of families, couples and singles successfully move to Spain! 

Do you want to live or retire in Spain?  If you are an American or Canadian, or even just an English speaking resident of a non-European Union (E.U.) country and want a long term visa in Spain, then Live In Spain is what you need. This is the book that will help turn that dream into a reality. Read If you're interested in applying for either a Retirement or Non-Lucrative Visa, you're going to want Live In Spain. Read more on
If you are moving to Spain from the US or just about any other country, this will help you with your residency paperwork, setting up banks, utilities & services. Save you money on ATM's, transfers and cars. Read more on

We also have a book to help you prepare for your move and getting settled once you arrive!  Getting Settled In Spain

Where to Stay in Costa Tropical

We have the best Spain holiday rentals here:

Property Owners: you may list your holiday property or room rental for free!

Are you heading to nearby Portugal or Morocco?  Not to worry, we have driving tips for Portugal and Morocco too.

Do you have any tips about driving in Spain or some interesting Spanish road signs?  Please do share in the comments below.

If you are thinking of moving to Spain, we have collected most of the info we have, all in one spot.  We will help you plan and execute your Move to Spain.

Move to Spain Consulting

Do you want a quick answer or someone to speak with?  We also offer consulting.  Check out our Spain non lucrative visa consulting page now, for our latest offers!

Move to Spain Relocation Services

From relocation planning and visa application, to residency and getting settled, we offer our expertise and knowledgeable advice.  We can help you with your move to Spain with children or without.  We also offer custom packages for your move to Costa Tropical.  Click here to read more about our Move to Spain Services.

We help you plan and adjust for your move to Spain. Read more on

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