Blurred traffic with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France in the background.

Driving in Europe

Full help, incl equipment needed, insurance & speed limits

The general requirements for driving to and in Europe haven't changed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but travel restrictions remain in place for many destinations. If you've booked a trip (or you're planning to), then taking your car to the continent or flying there and renting one, can save money and hassle – but get it wrong and you can run into problems and even face hefty fines.


This guide has full help, including how to check you've the right paperwork and insurance cover, plus country-specific info on speed limits, emissions rules and extra equipment.

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Driving in Europe checklist

Here are the key things to check before driving to or in mainland Europe...

  1. In most cases you DON'T need a permit (despite Brexit) – but make sure your driving licence is valid

    Prior to Brexit, you could use a UK driving licence to drive in all EU countries, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, without any extra documents.

    The Government had warned that UK citizens may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU post-Brexit, but following the agreement of a trade deal just before the transition period ended, the Department of Transport told us that in most cases you WON'T need an IDP to drive in EU countries or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

    The only two scenarios in which you may need an IDP to drive in those countries are as follows:

    • If your driving licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man – you'll need to check with the embassy of the country you're visiting whether you need an IDP.

    • If you have a paper driving licence – you'll need to either check with the embassy of the country you're visiting whether you need an IDP, or change your paper licence for a photocard.

    If you do need an IDP, they cost £5.50, and depending on where you're planning to drive, you may need more than one as there are three different types – 1926, 1949 and 1968. For full details on how to get an IDP, see our Is your driving licence valid? guide.

    • EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

      EEA: Includes all the countries in the EU, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

      While Switzerland isn't in either the EU or EEA, full and valid UK driving licences are accepted there provided the holder is 18 or over.

    If you're planning to drive elsewhere in Europe, you might need an IDP, which is a requirement or recommendation in over 140 countries worldwide, even if neither of the above scenarios apply to you. For example, you'll need the 1949 IDP to drive in Andorra but the 1968 IDP to drive in Turkey, while you'll need a 1949 to drive in Cyprus if you're staying more than 30 days.

    Has your driving licence expired? It may sound obvious, but it’s an easy one to miss at any time, let alone when driving abroad. So before you depart, check the expiry date on your current licence. If it’s due to expire before your planned return from Europe, you’ll need to renew before you go. Full details in Is your driving licence valid?

    Illustration of a set of traffic lights showing red.

    Hiring a car? Request a DVLA code to take with you

    If you're hiring a car abroad, then as well as taking your driving licence you should request a personal code from the DVLA. You can do this up to 21 days ahead. It's so hire firms can check for points on your licence – you may need to provide the code when you go to the counter to collect your car.

    In practice, MoneySavers have told us many firms don't seem to ask for the code, but it's wise to get one anyway just to be on the safe side. For full info on how to get it, see DVLA code help.

  2. Take the right documents

    travel documents

    The AA recommends taking the following documents with you when driving abroad, to avoid being fined or even having your car towed:

    • Passport. Obviously.
    • Travel insurance documents. Also obviously – see Cheap Travel Insurance for full help.
    • Valid driving licence and possibly an international driving permit. As above.

    If you're taking your own car, you'll also need:

    • Vehicle registration certificate. Otherwise known as the V5C or log book – you'll need the original, not a copy.
    • Certificate of motor Insurance. And an insurance 'green card' if driving in some European countries outside the EU and EEA. See more on this below.

    As we've said above, if you're hiring a car in Europe, you'll need:

    • A DVLA licence check code. Hire firms won't always ask for this, but it's worth taking to be on the safe side. See full DVLA code help.

    If travelling outside the EU and EEA, you may also need:

    • Visa(s). Check the entry requirements of the country you're visiting on Gov.uk. From 2022 (the exact date's yet to be confirmed), you'll have to buy a £6 visa-waiver for holidays and short stays in the EU. See our Brexit need-to-knows guide for full info.
    • International driving permit. See more on this in Is your driving licence valid?
  3. Taking your own car? You no longer need an insurance 'green card'

    From 1 Jan until 1 Aug 2021, if driving in the EU or EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), you needed to get an insurance 'green card' – an international certificate issued by UK insurance providers to guarantee that the holder has the required minimum level of third-party cover. But this has been scrapped as of 2 Aug 2021, so you no longer need an insurance green card in the EU and EEA, plus Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Switzerland.

    This means things are now back to how they were before the UK left the EU – if you have a UK car insurance policy then when driving in the EU or EEA you automatically get third-party cover, ie, your provider will pay out if you damage another car, but not if you damage yours or it gets stolen. Some comprehensive UK policies go further and also offer comprehensive European cover – if in doubt, check before you go.

    The important thing to remember is:

    Make sure you take a copy of your certificate of motor insurance with you so you can prove you're covered if necessary.

    You'll continue to need to ask your insurer for a green card if taking your car to a number of non-EU and non-EEA countries in Europe, including Albania, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Turkey and Ukraine.

    If you want comprehensive cover in EU and EEA countries, rather than the third-party cover you automatically get, call your insurer giving your dates of travel and the countries you'll visit (or plan to pass through, even if it's only for a few hours) to extend your policy. There may be a charge to do this, but some providers will do it for free if you're only going for a few days.

  4. Check whether your breakdown cover is valid in Europe

    guy checking car

    UK breakdown cover is rarely valid overseas, so check before you go anywhere.

    If yours isn’t, and you’ll only be away for a short time, contact your provider to upgrade your cover to Europe. As with car insurance, this could cost you extra.

    If you don’t already have breakdown cover, and you're only likely to be away for a few days a year, take out a cheap UK policy and then upgrade it just for a few days – check that option’s available before taking out the policy though.

    If you regularly drive on the Continent, it may be cheaper to take out an annual breakdown policy that also covers Europe. For full help, see Cheap Breakdown Cover.

  5. You may need extra equipment in your car, eg, a reflective jacket

    In the UK there's no legal obligation to carry any particular equipment in your car. But in many European countries it's compulsory to have certain gear – exactly what, depends on the country and time of year, but usually it includes some or all of the following:

    • Reflective jacket
    • Warning triangle
    • Snow chains or winter tyres (depending on season, conditions and terrain)

    While it may seem unlikely you'll be caught without the necessary equipment, bear in mind that by not carrying it you'll be breaking the law. In Belgium, for example, you could face a fine of up to €1,500. So if you're driving your own car in Europe, or hiring one to use there, you should buy the equipment that's compulsory in the country/countries you'll be driving in before you travel.

    To find out what you're legally obliged to carry in popular European destinations, check out the country-specific help below. You can buy accessories and kits that meet European regulations from the AA shop* and RAC shop – you may be able to find what you need cheaper elsewhere online, but check it conforms to the necessary standards of the country you're visiting before buying.

    Hiring a car? Check the boot before you drive off

    Car hire firms will usually provide all the necessary equipment – but it's technically the driver's responsibility, not the hire firm's, to make sure it's onboard. So when checking over a rental car before you drive off, make sure you have all the necessary equipment.

    Turn your phone into a free sat-nav

    While it's not required equipment, you're likely to want a sat-nav system when driving in Europe. Car rental firms often charge over £10/day extra for one, but you don't need to pay – there's a trick to turn your phone into a free worldwide sat-nav.

  6. Check if you need an emissions sticker to avoid a £70+ fine

    French emissions sticker

    Depending on where you're planning to drive in Europe, you may need to display an emissions sticker or badge on your windscreen. Several countries on the Continent require you to do this to drive through certain cities at certain times, to curb pollution. If you have an older car it could be banned altogether at certain times.

    France introduced an emissions sticker scheme in 2017, and there is a similar one in place in Germany. In Belgium, only drivers of the most polluting vehicles need buy a permit, while in Italy you can only drive through certain historical centres and major towns if you're a resident.

    In some cases you'll have to order a sticker before you leave the UK, so check what you need and see full details of how to get one in our country-by-country info below. It's vital to do this if you'll be driving in a low emissions zone – usually the stickers only cost a few quid but if you're caught without one you could be fined £70+ in some cases.

    Beware rip-off emissions-sticker sites. We've seen third-party websites selling French and German stickers at more than FIVE TIMES the going rate. For the cheapest options, see our country-by-country info.

    Illustration of a set of traffic lights showing red.

    Some cities may ban certain cars during heatwaves

    If you're driving in Europe in the summer, beware additional rolling vehicle bans which may be brought in during heatwaves. During especially hot periods, some cities ban older and less efficient cars altogether – even if you have an emissions sticker – as the heat makes air pollution worse.

    For example, Paris and Lyon have already imposed temporary bans on some vehicles during heatwaves this year, in addition to their usual emissions rules. In Paris, cars with the Crit'Air 3 badge were banned (cars with Crit'Air 4 or above were already banned), meaning up to 60% of vehicles reportedly couldn't enter the city. 

    It’s shaping up to be a long hot summer and unfortunately there's no easy way to predict when or where these temporary rules will be applied. The best way to check is to look online at the websites of official emissions schemes or local news stories to see if any additional restrictions have been imposed. 

    Hiring a car? Check with the rental firm

    What if you're renting a car in Europe and driving in a low emissions zone? Well, check with the hire firm if it's organised a sticker. In Germany, for instance, hire cars come with stickers by default.

    You're unlikely to be able to get a sticker yourself as you'll need vehicle registration details to do so.

  7. Keep loose change in your car for tolls

    Many European countries, including France, Ireland, Italy and Spain, have toll roads where you pay at a gate to use them. While most tollbooths now accept a variety of payment methods, it'll make your journey a lot less stressful if you're prepared for any eventuality.

    So keep enough loose change and cash in your car in the correct currency or currencies to cover the cost of toll roads – there are websites that can give you an idea of costs before you go – and keep it somewhere accessible to avoid any last-minute fumbling at the barriers.

    Many toll roads now accept credit cards too – so if you've a specialist overseas card, you may be able to use that instead (and get a better rate). For the cheapest cards to use abroad, see our Travel Credit Cards guide.

  8. Remember: drive on the right

    Motorway in Germany

    Apart from the UK (and the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), there are just three European countries that drive on the left – Cyprus, Ireland and Malta. So, chances are that if you're driving in Europe, you'll be driving on the right.

    As you'd expect, it can take some getting used to if you've not done it before, especially in a left-hand drive car. The AA advises first-timers to give themselves extra time to get where they want to go, take regular breaks and travel with an alert passenger so you've someone to give you the heads-up if you lapse into 'left-hand side autopilot'. This is especially easily done when pulling back onto the road after a fuel stop or lunch break, so be aware.

    Also exercise extra caution at roundabouts and junctions, and when overtaking. For more help, see the AA's tips on driving on the right (point 7).

  9. Going in your own car? You'll need headlight converters

    If you're taking your own wheels overseas, you'll need headlight converters. That's because at night the headlights of cars designed for driving on the left-hand side of the road will dazzle oncoming drivers in countries where you drive on the right. It's a legal requirement in most European countries not to dazzle oncoming drivers, and if you don't take steps to ensure your car doesn't, you could receive a fine if stopped – or even invalidate your insurance.

    Headlight converters are stickers that adjust the dipped beam of your headlights to prevent them dazzling oncoming drivers. They're generally compatible with a huge range of cars and come with fitting instructions. Kits are widely available and usually cost £6-£10 – AA converters* are currently £4.28 (not including delivery) at Amazon.

    Don't leave looking into them until the last minute, as depending on your car you may need to get a mechanic to adjust your headlights for you instead.

    Remember to remove converters as soon as you return to the UK, and also that in some European countries it's compulsory to use dipped headlights or daytime-running lights in tunnels, when visibility is poor due to rain, fog etc or even throughout the day regardless of the conditions.

  10. If you're hiring a car in Europe, you can take a child car seat for free

    If you're travelling with tots and planning to fly to the Continent then hire a car once you get there, you'll need a car seat.

    Renting one can be pricey, adding £7-£8 a day to the cost of hiring a car in many cases. The good news is many airlines let you check in a car seat for free, in addition to your usual luggage allowance.

    For more info see our Overseas Travel Tips guide.

  11. NEW. GB stickers have been replaced by UK stickers

    Previously when travelling in the EU, the number plates on your car needed to have a Euro symbol and the Great Britain (GB) national identifier. If they didn't, you had to display a 'GB' sticker on your car. However, the rules changed on 28 September.

    The GB identifier on number plates has now been replaced with a United Kingdom (UK) identifier. Unless you have the new UK identifier on your number plates, you'll need to display a UK sticker on your car when driving in the EU.

    There are a couple of exceptions:

    • If you're driving in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you'll ALWAYS need a UK sticker, even if you have the new UK identifier on your number plates.
    • If you're driving in Ireland, you DON'T need a UK sticker or number plate.

    We spotted UK stickers and magnetic plates for £3.99 at Halfords*. But you may be able to find them cheaper elsewhere – the RAC says they should be available online and in post offices for around £1.50. 

For more help on driving in Europe, see these related sections and guides... 
Cheap Car Hire | Cheap Hotels | Cheap Travel Insurance | Cheap Travel Money | Improve Fuel Efficiency | Travel Credit Cards | All Travel & Motoring guides

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Country-specific need-to-knows

The rules on how fast you can drive, what equipment you need to take and what emissions stickers you may need vary by country.

To help, we've summarised the key info below for the most popular destinations in Europe for UK drivers. There are 50 sovereign states in Europe, so we haven't done them all – we're MoneySavingExpert, not MotoringOverseasExpert. But for comprehensive country-by-country info, see the AA website.

Double-check before you go. We've summarised the info for each country below as best we can, based on local information plus AA and RAC tips. Rules can change without warning though, particularly with emissions schemes which are mid-roll-out – so check local info too before you go.

Illustration of a set of traffic lights showing red.
Belgian flag

Driving in Belgium


Speed limits

  • Motorways: 120km/h (75mph)
  • Outside built-up areas: 90km/h (56mph) in Brussels-Capital Region and Wallonia, 70km/h (43mph) in Flanders
  • Built-up areas: 50km/h (31mph)
  • Residential areas: 20km/h (12mph)

Compulsory to carry

  • Reflective jacket
  • Warning triangle

Emission rules

Antwerp and Brussels each have a low emission zone (LEZ).

  • Antwerp: To find out if you have to pay for your car to enter the LEZ, take the test on the Antwerp city website. If your car passes but has a UK number plate, you'll still need to register for free no later than 24 hours after entering the LEZ, again using the Antwerp city website

    If your car doesn't pass the test, you can buy an LEZ day pass online, which you can do on the day – these cost €35 (about £30) and allow you to enter the LEZ until 6am the following day. You're limited to eight per year per vehicle. If your car fails the test and you enter the LEZ without buying a pass you could be fined €150 (about £130).
  • Brussels: If your car has a UK number plate you'll need to register in advance on the Brussels region website before entering the LEZ. To check if you'll have to pay, refer to the tables on the Brussels region website – you'll need your vehicle registration certificate (aka logbook or V5C) handy if you don't know your emissions standard.

    If your car meets the criteria for entering the LEZ for free, registering is all you'll have to do. But if you have to pay, you can buy a day pass after registering. These cost €35 (about £30), and you're limited to eight per year per vehicle. If you enter the LEZ without registering your car, or in a car that doesn't meet the free-entry criteria and doesn't have a day pass, you could be fined €150 (about £130).

Registration and day passes for Antwerp and Brussels are not interchangeable. Registration and day passes are only available online – you're not required to display a sticker or any other physical proof in either city as checking is done by number plate.

French flag

Driving in France


Speed limits

  • Motorways: 130km/h (81mph)
  • Urban motorways and dual carriageways with central reservations: 110km/h (68mph)
  • Outside built-up areas: 80km/h (50mph)
  • Built-up areas: 50km/h (31mph)

Compulsory to carry

  • Reflective jacket – kept within reach
  • Warning triangle
  • Breathalyser – while there's no fine for not having one, the law states you must be able to produce one unused, certified self-test breathalyser. You can get a pack of two from Halfords* for £5.99 in store or via click and collect, or order for £6.98 including delivery from Amazon*
  • Snow chains – compulsory in some areas during winter, must be used as per road signs

Emission rules

A number of French cities now have low emission schemes, and more are being added all the time. Cities affected include:

  • Chambery – emergency scheme, access only restricted if pollution reaches a particular level
  • Grenoble – permanent scheme, only applies to commercial vehicles
  • Lille – emergency scheme, access only restricted if pollution reaches a particular level
  • Lyon – emergency scheme, access only restricted if pollution reaches a particular level
  • Marseille – emergency scheme, access only restricted if pollution reaches a particular level
  • Paris – permanent scheme, applies daytime on weekdays (as of 1 July 2019, diesel cars made before 2006 are banned 8am-8pm on weekdays, even if displaying the appropriate emissions sticker)
  • Strasbourg – emergency scheme, access only restricted if pollution reaches a particular level
  • Toulouse – emergency scheme, access only restricted if pollution reaches a particular level

If you want to drive in a restricted area, whether there's a permanent or emergency scheme, you'll need to display an air quality certificate sticker, known as a Crit'Air vignette, on your windscreen. If you don't you could be hit with an on-the-spot fine of €68 – about £60.

There are six different types of sticker – the type you get will depend on the emissions standard your car meets, and will dictate where you can drive. Once you've got a sticker you can drive in any city's restricted area and it's valid for the lifetime of your car.

Stickers cost €4.21 (about £3.75) including postage from the official French environment ministry website. It's worth digging out your vehicle registration certificate/logbook before you get started if you're not familiar with your car's emission standard. While the website says stickers should arrive within 10 days of application, the RAC says it can take up to six weeks, so take that into account when planning your trip.

German flag

Driving in Germany


Speed limits

  • Motorways: 130km/h (81mph) on some – on others there is no official speed limit (shown by a circular white sign with five diagonal black lines)
  • Outside built-up areas: 100km/h (62mph)
  • Built-up areas: 50km/h (31mph)

Compulsory to carry

It's not actually compulsory for UK-registered cars to carry any special equipment. However, it's recommended you carry a reflective jacket and warning triangle, as these are compulsory for German cars.

Emission rules

There are low emission zones in most major German cities, including Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart.

Drivers are legally required to display an emissions sticker known as an 'Umweltplakette' to enter these zones. There are three colours of sticker – green, yellow and red – with the colour denoting a car's emission standard and therefore whether it can enter a particular zone. Most cities only allow cars with green stickers to enter. If you enter a low emission zone without a sticker, you could be fined £70+.

The cheapest way to buy one is from the official Berlin city website (though stickers are valid in all LEZs across Germany). They cost €6 (about £5.35) including postage – allow 14 days for delivery. They only need to be replaced if they're damaged or you re-register your car. While you can also buy stickers from the vehicle licensing authority, vehicle inspection centres and some garages, be aware that the price isn't fixed by the German government, so some places sell them for more than twice the price.

Irish flag

Driving in Ireland


Speed limits

  • Motorways: 120km/h (75mph)
  • National roads (including dual carriageways): 100km/h (62mph), or as indicated by road signs
  • Local and regional roads: 80km/h (50mph), or as indicated by road signs
  • Built-up areas: 50km/h (31mph)

Compulsory to carry

As in the UK, it's not compulsory to carry any special equipment.

Emission rules

Ireland doesn't have any low emission zones or schemes that apply to cars.

Italian flag

Driving in Italy


Speed limits

  • Motorways: 130km/h (81mph)
  • Dual carriageways: 110km/h (68mph)
  • Urban motorways: 70km/h (44mph)
  • Outside built-up areas: 90km/h (56mph)
  • Built-up areas: 50km/h (31mph)

Compulsory to carry

  • Reflective jacket
  • Warning triangle
  • Snow chains (or winter tyres) – depending on conditions, must be used where signs indicate

Emission rules

Most major towns and cities in Italy have low emission zones, especially in the north. There are restrictions on where you can drive in Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence, Bologna and many more cities.

In most cases, you can't drive into cities during the day on weekdays, although in some, cars are barred on Sundays too. Penalties for entering at a restricted time range from €70 (about £60) to a very steep €450 – circa £400.

For the vast majority of zones, permits to enter them when restrictions are in place aren't available to visitors, though some cities do allow you to enter if you're staying at a hotel within a low emission zone. Information in English is difficult to come by, so check with your hotel before travelling if that's the case and your Italiano is non buono.

The exception is Milan, where a congestion charge is payable, much like in London, if you want to enter the historical centre, otherwise known as area C.

  • If you enter area C on weekdays between 7.30am and 7.30pm, the congestion charge costs €5 (£4.50ish) if you pay it in advance or by 11.59pm the same day, or €15 (£13ish) if you pay after then but within seven days. The penalty for non-payment is a fine of between €70 (£60ish) and €285 (£250ish).

    You can pay the charge in advance or after entering area C using the official Milan city website (you'll need to translate it into English using Google Translate or similar unfortunately) or via parking meters, newsagents, Azienda Trasporti Milanesi (Milan's public transport company) and Intesa Sanpaolo ATMs.

Dutch flag

Driving in the Netherlands


Speed limits

  • Motorways: 130km/h (81mph)
  • Outside built-up areas: 80km/h (50mph)
  • Built-up areas: 50km/h (31mph)

Compulsory to carry

Like in the UK, it's not compulsory to carry any special equipment.

Emission rules

Arnham, Rotterdam and Utrecht have low emission zones (LEZs). But you don't need to order an emissions sticker in advance – all that matters is the date of your car's first registration, which you can find on your vehicle registration certificate (which you may know as your logbook or V5C).

  • Arnham. Diesel cars that were available before 1 January 2005 are banned from Arnham city centre. If you enter the LEZ with an older diesel car you risk being fined €95 (£85). 
  • Rotterdam: If you have a petrol car, you can enter the LEZ without paying, provided it was first registered after 1 July 1992. If you've a diesel, you can enter without paying if it was first registered after 1 January 2001. If you have an older car and want to enter the LEZ, you can apply for a one-day exemption. These cost €25.90 (£23), last 24 hours and are only available via the official Rotterdam website. Enter with an older car and no exemption, and you risk a fine of €95 (£85).
  • Utrecht: Have a diesel car? You can enter the LEZ if it was first registered after 1 January 2001. You risk being fined €95 (£85) if you enter with an older diesel car. There aren't currently any entry requirements for petrol cars.
Portuguese flag

Driving in Portugal


Speed limits

  • Motorways: 120km/h (75mph)
  • Outside built-up areas: 90km/h (56mph)
  • Built-up areas: 50km/h (31mph)

Compulsory to carry

  • Photo ID
  • Reflective jacket
  • Prepaid motorway toll tickets – you have to prepay tolls on many motorways in Portugal. You can do this via an automated credit card system, a prepaid card activated by text message, a prepaid ticket or an electronic device that you rent temporarily and link to your bank account. Full info, including rates, can be found on the official Portugal Tolls website

Emission rules

Lisbon is the only city in Portugal to have a low emission zone (LEZ) – and it's actually two zones. You can drive in zone 1 provided your car, whether petrol or diesel, complies with Euro 2 emission standards, which generally means cars manufactured since January 1996. You can drive in zone 2 as long as your (petrol or diesel) car meets Euro 1 emission standards – those manufactured since January 1992.

There's not a lot of information about the zones available in English, but this Lisbon city council leaflet gives you an idea of where they are.

Spanish flag

Driving in Spain


Speed limits

  • Motorways: 120km/h (75mph)
  • Outside built-up areas: 90km/h (56mph) on ordinary roads, 100km/h (62mph) on roads with more than one lane in each direction
  • Built-up areas: 50km/h (31mph)
  • Residential areas: 20km/h (12mph)

Compulsory to carry

  • Reflective jacket – you won't be fined for not carrying one, but you could be for not wearing one on the road should you break down, so keep it handy
  • Warning triangle – one is compulsory, but two are recommended as you could get fined for using only one in the event of an accident or breakdown
  • Spare wheel and tools to change a wheel

It's worth noting that you're NOT legally obliged to carry a spare pair of glasses with you if you need them to drive, as is sometimes reported. But according to Spain's Directorate of Traffic you could be fined if you need your glasses to drive and they're broken, so carrying a spare pair is advisable.

Emission rules

A permanent low emission zone (LEZ) was introduced in Madrid in November 2018.

Barcelona sometimes put temporary restricted zones in place if air pollution reaches a high level.

  • Madrid: Vehicles that qualify as 'zero emission' can circulate freely in the LEZ, while those that qualify as 'eco' can enter and park for a maximum of two hours. Those categorised as 'C' or 'B' can only enter to park in a public or private parking space, or a private garage. Too see how cars are categorised, see the 'National Scheme' section of the Urban Access Regulations in Europe website.

    While residents are required to display a (free) emissions sticker, this is voluntary for foreigners. However, foreigners are required to prove the environmental standards of their vehicle by taking their vehicle registration certificate to the Madrid city council that looks after the LEZ. The penalty for entering the LEZ with a vehicle that doesn't meet the required standards or staying longer than permitted is €90 (£81ish).

    For full info, see the Madrid city council website (in Spanish – translate into English using Google Translate or similar).

  • Barcelona: Petrol cars manufactured before 2000 and diesel cars manufactured before 2006 aren't allowed in the temporary restricted zone when it's put in place. See the Barcelona city council website for more info.

Swiss flag

Driving in Switzerland


Speed limits

  • Motorways: 120km/h (75mph)
  • Outside built-up areas: 90km/h (56mph)
  • Built-up areas: 50km/h (31mph)

Compulsory to carry

  • Snow chains – must be used where signs indicate
  • Warning triangle – must be kept within easy reach, ie, not in the boot
  • Motorway tax sticker – if you drive on the motorway you'll need to display a colourful vignette sticker to show you've paid tax. You can buy these in advance online for £32 (plus £3.50 booking fee) from the official Switzerland Travel Centre, or get them from customs offices at the Swiss border for about £31 – they're also sold at most Swiss post offices, petrol stations and garages. They're valid between 1 December of the previous year and 31 January of the following year. If you use the motorway without a sticker you could be fined about £158.

Emission rules

Switzerland doesn't have any low emissions zones or schemes at present.

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