Looking for renting a scooter in Barcelona? Awesome, yet how does it actually work? What options are there, and what should you know beforehand?
My name is Matt and I live in this beautiful city we will talk about today.
This is my complete guide to scooter hire in Barcelona.
I want to walk you through everything you need to know here. I cover the safety issue, prices, companies to rent from and more tips!
Quite frank, I want to scare you a bit for your own good and safety. But at the same time, I want you to get excited about this unique way to explore the city.
Furthermore, at the end of this guide, you will definitely be fired up to hop on and ride off. Because, if anything, this city on two motorized wheels is just amazing. It is simply the best way to get around!
Cooltra has several offices around town and also has bikes for rent.
Prices start from 40€ per day – yet, the prices depend on availability.
Besides, the scooters are basic and fun, kept in white with a big, blue logo on the side. Personally, I prefer the classic red Vespa.
One super cool thing: They offer electric bikes, too. Generally, it is one of the few places to rent electric scooters in Barcelona from.
Vesping is the 2nd rental for Vespas. Same as Via Vespa, prices start from 20€ for 2 hours and 40€ for the whole day.
They have the white-orange Vespas, and every single one is equipped with a GPS Satellite Navigator. Hence, you can better plan your trip and visit all the spots you want!
There are 4 pre-programmed itineraries on the GPS. Quite useful!
Their office is located close to Sagrada Familia. However, that may not be ideal. Although you have the blue and purple metro line options from there.
Personally, I prefer to rent my scooter downtown.
1.4 Ride On
Ride On opened their shop in Poble Sec, near Montjuic. You have the red and green metro line nearby from there.
Interestingly, it is the cheapest scooter rental in Barcelona, starting from 28€ per day.
The scooters, however, are very regular and basic. But if you are looking for the cheapest option, Ride on must be it.
And before I forget, make sure you check if insurance is included in your rental too.
1.5 Get Your Guide
Number 5 on the list of scooter rental companies is Get Your Guide.
Get Your Guide is basically an online booking service for tours and sightseeing tickets. Therefore, you can book with them your Sagrada Familia Ticket, the Park Güell Ticket and as well as your motorbike.
The prices can be as low as 20€ per hour or even 28€ for the whole day.
You can either rent a scooter per hour, per day as well as for a tour.
The longer you rent, the cheaper it is.
Certainly, there are a lot of different companies and agencies. Scroll up again to see my comparison.
An important thing to keep an eye on is the deposit and what is included in the price.
Usually, the gas is not included and at least 1 helmet is always provided. If you are with a companion, you maybe need to rent a second helmet as it may not be included.
Good to know: Avoid an extra free and always ask if the 2nd helmet is included in the price. Via Vespa for instance always includes 2 helmets!
Remember, wearing a helmet is mandatory. Without a helmet, the police will stop you in zero time and you are looking at a big fine.
I would not even consider riding without a helmet – for financial reasons and your own safety.
Personally, we have never heard of any company renting without helmets, but in case someone offers you a discount for not using the helmet, leave right away. Again, we never heard about this, just in case!
Furthermore, do make sure that the price you pay covers the basic insurance. There is also extra insurance against theft. This is worth it to consider!
3. Things you have to know BEFORE renting
First of all, hiring a motorbike, vespa, scooter or motorcycle in Barcelona is AWESOME. As a local, I guarantee you that!
Seriously, it was the best investment I did when I moved to the city.
Without a doubt, you can get around Barcelona in no time. And once you adapt to the traffic, it is seriously safe.
However, you have to know what to expect when driving a scooter. Also, just a quick tip, please don’t drive as you do in a Mario Kart. (I will keep mentioning Super Mario Kart, get ready!)
And to show you a glimpse of what to expect, kindly watch this video.
I wrote down a list of things you should consider before getting one.
3.1 You need a driving license
You need to own a valid drivers license to handle a motorbike in Spain.
Luckily, when you come from the European Union and you own a valid drivers license from any European country, you are ready to go.
Assuming, your license allows riding scooters, starting from 49cc, obviously!
What about the United States of America and Canada?
When you come from the USA or Canada, however, make sure you bring your IDP.
Now that we have the legal requirements, let’s get this thing on the road.
Always remind yourself: This is not Mario Kart! Yes, we all love to throw bananas at other Gokarts and shoot the red shell. But then again, this is regular Barcelona traffic.
Above all, you are here to enjoy an epic day out in the city on a cool motorbike. Therefore, getting hurt and visiting a hospital is definitely NOT on our list.
For sure you will have a fantastic time, but please read through my security tips.
Vehicles you should look out for:
Taxis and Cabs: The taxis are the worst drivers, meaning they can drive quite aggressive. However, they actually drive really safe, but they are quite selfish on the road. So stay away from them and keep a distance!
Bikes: Bicycles, on the other hand, drive everywhere and nowhere. Thus, you should really pay attention to these guys. Apparently, bicycles here consider themselves invisible or indestructible.
Cars: Contrarily, cars do drive quite gentle and they pay attention to scooters. To be completely honest, this was really surprising for me to experience when I started to cruise around.
But bear in mind that this is no generic rule, obviously.
Other Scooters: And finally what about the scooter drivers themselves? Well… they drive crazy!
I have seen young drivers playing their Mario Kart in real-life. And I have seen quite a lot of accidents, more than I did in Vietnam.
As far as I can tell, 98% of these accidents happened due to careless driving!
Let me share with you this simple rule:
In order for you to have an awesome time and skip the accidents, please do
always pay attention to the road.
Besides, some roads are one-way roads, though most of them are two line roads.
Therefore, it will be very helpful to get a GPS.
BUT please, please, please: Do not use your phone while driving.
This is seriously dangerous for you and the other vehicles. You can stop on the side of the road and have a look where you have to go.
Or better yet just simply hand your phone over to your co-pilot on the back and he or she can navigate you instead.
TIP: A good app to use is Maps.Me (available for Android and iOs)
3.3 You can get around in no time
We are done with the legal, and boring stuff. Also, now we already know how to survive Barcelona on two wheels. It’s time to get around.
Let’s compare the two motor wheels with the other transportation options.
Starting with, the metro connection is really good and frequent. You can catch a metro every 2-3 minutes.
Secondly, the buses do a really good job as well, bringing the people from A to B. With maps.google.com you can always check the best connections in your location.
In my experience, this the best way to get the schedules for public transport in the city.
But still, lastly, a scooter is a whole different experience. It is far better, faster and super flexible. Even more, this is perfect especially for everyone spending only 2 or 3 days in Barcelona.
A few examples of Metro vs Scooter:
With the metro, it takes you around 30 minutes from Placa Catalunya to Park Güell. But with a motorbike, on the other hand, it will take you half the time in the metro; only around 15-20 minutes.
Another quite a good example is visiting the not-so-hidden-gem-anymore of Bunker del Carmel, you have to take a metro or bus.
From the bus station or metro stop, you still have to walk then another 10-20 minutes.
But when taking the scooter, you are sitting on the bunker and perfectly enjoying the view in around 15 minutes. Plus, you can park right nearby.
These are just a few examples to show you the benefits of a scooter.
Moreover, to give you a better idea, I have added a map below.
Finding a parking spot for your motorbike is no problem at all.
In fact, you can almost park it on every single street and corner. On the contrary, it can be quite hard to park in downtown since we are not allowed to park right in front of a shop, for instance.
However, you can always have a look at where the locals’ park.
But generally, there are official parking all over. Even more, I included here a photo of the marked parking spots to better help you out.
Here are some parking rules in a nutshell:
Only park on white, marked spaces on the streets
Blue, green and yellow marked spots are for cars only – and not for bikes
Park only on the sidewalks more than 3 meters wide, besides the curb. Never block the pedestrian paths.
Do not park in front of the dumpsters or large bins
It is totally safe to park it all night on the streets or sidewalk
Most of all, a great thing to know, parking for motorbikes is always FREE.
I have never paid any parking for a motorbike. So that’s another cost you save, comparing to renting a car in Barcelona.
Usually, parking a car in Barcelona is so expensive, it can be as easy as 3€ per hour.
My own personal story: I once parked in front of a hotel without realizing it. As I was about to walk away from my bike when the hotel concierge came running after me. He told me in a nice way that I cannot park there since it was intended for hotel guests only. He was right, there was the sign, and I missed it… Oooops… My bad!
I basically had no idea and they could have easily called a tow truck. But yeah, it was a lucky day for me!
4. Is it safe to drive a scooter in Barcelona?
Let us talk about what happens when you’re actually sitting on it.
As I told you from the beginning, I wrote this guide to scare you – a bit at least. Not because I am a mean person, but because it is about your health and safety.
Moreover, I already walked you through the different vehicle types here and their skill-level of driving in Barcelona.
Again, in a nutshell:
Taxis: Crazy, selfish, but usually safe drivers. Most certainly they know their streets. If they have the chance to go first, they will! So pay extra attention to Taxis, they are your “enemies” to stay away from.
Bikes: Basically a crazy person on two wheels. They like to drive wherever they want; especially bigger groups on bikes. Do pay attention!
Cars: Surprisingly, the cars are considerate and respectful with scooter and motorbikes. They pay the most attention to two-wheel vehicles. I am assuming they know motorbikes are small and can be easily overseen.
Scooters: Fast and love to sneak in every little hole they see. In a traffic jam and on a red light, they slowly pass all the cars until they get in the first row.
The traffic in Barcelona is generally safe. Via Vespa summed up following rules:
Be thoughtful driver
Drive passive and slow
Do not use the bus line, taxi line or bike line
Don’t skip red lights
Pay attention to the traffic
Don’t use your phone or a GPS while driving (set this up before)
Do not wear flip-flops
Always wear the helmet
Here are a few more handy instructions:
Check the mirrors before accelerating
Always use the turn indicators
Do not leave the GPS on the bike – it can get stolen
Check the insurance with the company when renting
No smoking while driving
And my personal favorite:
Don’t throw bananas at other vehicles like in Mario Kart
5. Conditions to rent a scooter
There are basically 3 conditions to scooter rental in Barcelona.
A valid driving license
5.1 Drivers License
You need a valid drivers license to rent a Vespa in Barcelona.
Generally, this can either be a European Drivers License or the so-called IDP for internal visitors from the US, Canada and anyone outside the EU.
Also, I am not familiar with any rental service giving away a motorbike without a proper drivers license.
Even if there would be a shady company doing so, I would not recommend this. The police can stop you here, and a fine is extremely quite high as much as 500€.
Not worth it, I’d say.
What about the United States of America and Canada?
When you come from the USA or Canada, make sure you bring your IDP.
IDP stands for International Driver Permit. Commonly, you can get this in your home country before you leave.
You can ask in your home town how you can get an international driving license.
Furthermore, you will need this as well if you are planning to rent a car somewhere in Europe and actually around the world.
The same goes for visitors from Australia, Japan and every other country outside of the European Union.
No International Driver Permit? There is a way around it …
There is loop-hole you can use.
If somehow you did not manage to bring your IDP, you can still avail a scooter with your local drivers permit.
All you have to do is visit Via Vespa, my favorite Vespa rental in Barcelona. They offer professional and legal translation service from your language into Spanish.
However, this loophole will cost you 25€ and usually takes 1 day.
If in case this is what you have to do, make sure you get in touch with Via Vespa as soon as you arrive in the city. Then they can take care of your driver’s license.
Good to know: The translation service is only available from Monday to Friday, not on the weekends, neither on bank holidays.
6. No experience in riding a scooter? Read this
If you are coming over without any driving experience what so ever, don’t fear. You can still hop on a scooter and cruise around.
My personal opinion: If you are really not feeling good driving a scooter, skip it! You have to feel confident!
There are two options for non-experienced drivers.
Quick Driving Lesson
Option 1: Via Vespa offers basic driving lessons.
Just let them know you are not familiar with cruising a motor vehicle, they will provide safety tips and walk you through it.
However, if you are not comfortable driving away or in case you don’t have the license, you can always ask for a driver.
The only company we know offering this at the moment is Via Vespa. Keep in mind that they do not offer this every time. Better send them an email and ask them as soon as you find the time.
In general, this is a really popular option for female solo-travelers. But then again, this option exists for both male and female. Just ask!
Option 2: Hop on a Scooter Tour
Last but not least, you can book scooter tours.
There are full tapas and sightseeing tours. You will drive by the majestic Sagrada Familia, to the beach, all the way up to Montjuic Mountain with its castle.
7. Scooter Tours in Barcelona
Scooter Tours in Barcelona are super popular!
For several good reasons. You can you explore the city in a genuine way and you are able to see plenty of beautiful modern buildings along the way. Plus, you get from A to B in little time.
So, is there any cool tours in Barcelona by scooter?
The Vespa rental and tapas in several tapas places. You can book by sending them an email on their website. Let them know how many people you are and if you have any special requests.
For instance, vegetarian tapas, more fish tapas etc. They always customize their tapas tour for the needs of the travelers. This is why I recommend them!
8. Apps for Scooter Rental in Barcelona
Lately, many of the new scooter sharing apps popped-up around town.
You have the Ecooltra App, Yego App and Reby – to mention a few.
One good thing is, they are all similar and simple to use.
The first step is to register. You have to sign up with your email, send the required documents via your phone and then lastly you wait until you are approved. The confirmation takes usually around 1 day.
Documents you have to send over as a photograph include your driver’s license, a selfie, and your passport.
For locals, these apps are really cool. For visitors, well, not so much in my opinion.
To elaborate more, let me share a few pros and cons here.
1. You pay as you go. Payment is usually per minute. The price at Cooltra is 0.26€/ minute. Meaning, a 15 minutes ride would cost 3.90€.
While at Yugo, you pay 0.25€ per minute.
2. The app is easy to use although you have to be registered before, obviously.
3. There is usually a scooter nearby. And it basically takes you max 5 minutes walk to the next one. Generally, they are everywhere around town!