Parking in Spain

Parking rules, regulations, penalties and disabled parking in Spain...

In Spain, parking is regulated by local authorities according to laws set by the government. Various types of sign are used to indicate parking restrictions and the municipality may place a fine (multa) on and tow vehicles which are not parked accordingly. All parking fines must be paid at the town hall (ayuntamiento) of the town in which the ticket was issued, though some municipalities have online systems for fine collection. In certain areas payment can be made at the police station; the town hall enquiries desk will be able to advise.

Street Parking & Car Parks

Road signs which signal that parking is allowed are rectangular or square, with a white border and letter “P”. In blue zones where ticket machines (expendedores de tickets para estacionamiento) are in use, drivers must buy a ticket and display it in their vehicle.

In some Spanish cities, restricted parking schemes are operated by the municipality under the title of OTA or ORA. Designated parking areas (zonas) may be given a colour, such as “zona verde” or “zona azul”, depending on who can park there. Residents who are registered with the town hall as living in areas where OTA/ORA systems operate can apply for discounted rates. Visitors must buy a ticket from a machine (expendedor) and pay a set rate according to the amount of time that they want to park for. As each city has its own regulations for parking within these systems, it is essential to check locally for confirmation of limits and fees.

Underground and multi-storey car parks (aparcamientos) operate in many locations. Signs are used to indicate whether there are spaces available (libre) or the facility is full (completo). Drivers take a ticket on entry and on leaving, and submit the ticket to a cash-desk or machine to make payment. This type of car park is usually monitored by a security guard.

No Parking Zones

Road signs which prohibit or limit parking (estacionamiento prohibido) are round with a red border and blue background. Places where parking is not allowed are also marked by yellow paint on the curb.

“Vado permanente” signs which include a municipal licence number mean that parking is prohibited and that parked vehicles may be towed. The “vado” sign is used to mark entry/exit passages for garages, warehouses and similar. A “retirada grúa” sign showing an image of a tow-truck means that parked vehicles will be towed. In both cases, fees to release the vehicle are payable by the owner.

In some streets, parking is allowed on one side of the street during the first half of the month (red and blue sign with numbers 1-15) and on the other side during the second half of the month (sign numbered 16-31).

It is always forbidden to park or remain stationary (parada):

  • In spaces reserved for disabled drivers
  • On motorways or toll roads
  • In places where the vehicle blocks visibility or the passage of other vehicles
  • In lanes reserved for the use of bicycles or public transport
  • On pedestrian crossings
  • In zones designated for loading and unloading (carga y descarga)
  • In front of a correctly marked “vado permanente” sign

Disabled Parking

Parking spaces reserved for the use of the disabled are marked with a white wheelchair symbol and a "P" sign. A vehicle parked in one of these spaces must display a standardised European Union Disabled Parking Permit (Tarjeta Europea de Estacionamiento or “Blue Badge”) or risk being fined or towed. Spanish residents can apply for or renew this permit at the town hall.

  • The disabled parking permit may only be used if the named holder is the driver or a passenger of the vehicle
  • Disabled parking spaces which are marked with a vehicle registration number cannot be used by other vehicles

Visitors to Spain who hold an EU Disabled Parking Permit with non-Spanish text may like to print the information found here (PDF). This can be displayed beside the permit when parked. The Spanish language document states that the permit holder is a visitor from one of the EU member states and entitled to park in a disabled space.