One can enter Spain coming from France through the highway. Generally, roads in Catalunya are quite good, except in some mountain areas, where gas stations may also be distant. Highways are the best and fastest choice, the AP 7 coming from the French border and running all along the mediterranean coast, and the AP 2 to Zaragoza, are the main highways, both of them toll highways. There are also toll-free highways for some routes.
At the Toll Highways pages you may see the toll fees, traffic state and facilities available.
At the Campsa guide there are good updated maps, a route planner with the best option for your trip, all the information about the Spanish roads, facilities a a reputed gastronomis and touristic guide.....See the Campsa map & guide.
If you are driving into or out of the city center this advice will be handy:
SOUTH OF THE CITY: On the southeast of Barcelona is the sea.
The Ronda Litoral is a Ring Road that runs along the coast.
It crosses the city on an east-west axis and it is ideal if your destination is a coast resort very near the city (Maresme, Sitges).
In the south is the Airport del Prat del LLobregat. We can get there, coming from Barcelona, from any of the ring roads, or taking the Gran Via from the junction at Plaza de España. Further on is the freeway C31 to Castelldefels which also leads you to the airport, and follows on to Tarragona. There is also a toll highway, the C32 to Sitges and Comarruga.
If you prefer a faster trip to Tarragona you'll have to take the A7; again taking any of the rings or the Diagonal Avenue out of the city, then take the A2 along the LLobregat industrial basin up to Martorell where the A2 and the A7 split, the A2 towards Lleida and the A7 towards Tarragona.
NORTH: . If you are heading to France and you want to take the A7, you'll have to take first the C33 (to Montmeló) or the C17 (to Ripoll and the Pyrenees) up to Mollet del Vallés where they join the A7.
You can access these roads towards the norheast taking the Ronda Litoral or Ronda de Dalt rings, or from the great junction called Nus de la Trinitat at the north of the city, which you can approach taking the Avenida Meridiana.
EAST: Towards the northeast, along the coast, are the towns of Badalona, Mataró and the area of El Maresme; further north, the Costa Brava. There is a road (N II) which runs along the coast up to the town of Calella. The highway C32, is faster and goes inland up to the Costa Brava.
The highway A7, goes through Granollers, towards Girona and France. (See North)
WEST: In the northwest of the city are the hills of Collserola, and behind them, the towns of Sant Cugat, Terrassa, and the area called El Vallés. Departing from Barcelona, you can access this area through the tunnel of Vallvidrera and the road C 16 or E 9.
The Ronda de Dalt is the Ring road which bypasses the city across its northern side.
Parking in the city:
All the city center, including the Eixample, is Área verde -green area- which means that ALL street parking bays are pay ones from 8.00 am to 20.00 pm. There are resident-reserved areas marked with a signpost. Only cars holding a resident parking permit can park there, In preferent and blue areas, non-residents can park for a limited amount of time after paying the fee at the --pay machines. More info on Green areas here - in Spanish-.
If you park incorrectly, the city's towing service can quickly remove your car and store it in one of the municipal car parks until you come to pick it up after paying the fine. See Barcelona's Towing service.
Car Parks in the city search engine. There are plenty of car parks in Barcelona, of diferent types and sizes: from an ultra modern robotized underground one to the shabby small car park in a basement. There are 45 municipal carparks, they offer cards with an amount of parking hours in diffrent formulas : See here municipal carparks B:SM.
Here below some of the main car rental companies in Barcelona:
An intelligent way to own a car, not spending too much money is Carsharing, a shared property formula ideal for residents who need to use the car with some frecuency.