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Top tips for hiring a car in La Palma
When you hire a car in La Palma, it is important to be aware that the regional speed limits are signposted in kilometres per hour, rather than in miles. If you are driving in a residential area in La Palma, the speed limit is generally 20 km/h (12 mph), while in towns, it increases to 50 km/h (30 mph). On country roads, outside of built-up areas, the speed limit is usually 90-100 km/h (55-65 mph). Keep an eye on the speed limit signs as you go, as these can vary depending on the route you take. If you are caught speeding in La Palma, you could be hit with a fine of between 100-500 € (£86-426)
If you’re visiting La Palma with children, you should be aware of the laws regarding children’s seatbelts and safety restraints. In La Palma, children under the age of 12 or less than 135 cm in height are not allowed to ride in the front passenger seat. Children riding in the back seats must also have a properly fitted child seat and appropriate restraints in place.
La Palma has strict drink driving laws to prevent road accidents. If you are driving in La Palma, you must have less than 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. Fines for being over this limit can reach up to 1.000 € (£855), and, if you are a foreign national, you could be asked to pay them on the spot or have your vehicle confiscated. Therefore, if you are planning to go out for drinks while in La Palma, make sure you have an alternative form of transport to get home or that one of your party is the designated driver.
Vehicles in La Palma drive on the right-hand side of the road and are equipped with left-hand steering. Roundabouts move anti-clockwise in Spain and, when you are making left turns, you should always be sure to check for traffic coming in the opposite direction. You should also avoid using your horn when driving in La Palma and, instead, flash your lights if you want to make other drivers aware of your presence. Horn use is banned in many urban areas across Spain, so it is not so commonly used as a signal.
FAQs about hiring a car in La Palma
Public transport is limited in La Palma, so hiring a car is a great way to explore the island at your own pace and visit less accessible, more remote areas. Buses on La Palma may be slow, and passengers may face long waits for connections or large gaps between services. Hiring a car means that you won’t have to wait to explore remote parts of the island and ensures that you can set your own schedule while travelling in La Palma.
La Palma has well-maintained roads around the coast and main road access to many areas inland. Many parts of the island are very hilly and steep, and drivers should be aware that there may be rocks and debris on some parts of the road, especially after heavy rain. It is usually safe to just clear small rocks away by hand; however, it is a good idea to avoid driving in bad weather in hilly areas, as roads can occasionally become blocked or flooded. Drivers on rural parts of the island should take care not to go too fast, as some parts of the road may be single track. It is also legally required that you carry some safety equipment with you in your vehicle, such as a warning triangle and a high visibility jacket.
The legal age at which you can hire a car in Spain is 21 years old. However, many car hire companies do not lease vehicles to those under 25-26. Some companies, such as Avis and Maggiore, do operate young driver policies, however. If you want to hire a car and drive in La Palma, you will need a valid British driver’s licence and a valid passport. You should always carry these documents with you while you are driving, and you will also need them when you go to pick up your hire car.
Economy (Volkswagen Polo or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in La Palma.