By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Santander?

Do you need a car in Santander > Should you rent a car in Santander Spain > Santander ( SDR )

Some visitors to northern Spain will know Santander because it is the port used by Brittany ferries for their sailings from Portsmouth and Plymouth. These routes are also complemented by a service to Bilbao from Portsmouth. This is also now operated by Brittany Ferries, following the withdrawal of P&O from the Bilbao route.

Do you need a car in Santander? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

However, our Santander car hire advice guide is based mainly on the assumption that you are flying into Santander airport, rather than arriving by ferry. However, some people like to use ferries as a foot passenger. For onward travel be car, there are still plenty of hire offices in downtown Santander.

Santander is certainly the sort of city that is actually very easy to get around. The centre is very compact, and it’s all very walkable, even if this is a part of Spain that is known for its rain as much as it is for its sunshine!

There’s also a really good network of coastal railways which spreads both east and west from Santander. There are also a lot of express buses offering a more direct service to the much larger Basque city of Bilbao.

Why should you rent a car in Santander?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Santander?

Santander Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 100 - of which 40 have free parking. [full notes - parking]




Do you need a car in Santander?

However, coming to Santander and then trying to get around using only public transport means missing out on a lot of the great scenery that lies inland. This is especially so in the Picos D’Europa National Park.

To go walking around the high altitude areas here, you will need to take the cable car up to the top at Fuente De. It is still a lot easier to have a hire car to get here in the first place. There are also a great deal of pretty villages all over Cantabria, with the author’s favourite being Santillana Del Mar. Although you can get to most of these villages using public transport, it tends to be a more arduous process the further away you get from Santander.

Santander car hire deals are usually reasonable value, when compared with elsewhere in Europe. However, they are nothing like as cheap as car hire deals on the southern costas. This is for the simple reason that there is much more competition around those resorts.

Do you need a car in Santander? Yes, a hire car is extremely useful here.


Car rental in - Santander Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Santander?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Santander?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Santander?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Santander if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Santander if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Santander if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in Santander?

Have you driven in Santander? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Santander?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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