Renting a car in Lanzarote is the best way to explore this magnificent island.
Below is my complete guide on how to rent a car in Lanzarote, covering:
- which type of car is best,
- tips on best rental companies and reducing costs,
- insurance recommendations,
- essentials to avoid any scam,
- rules and regulations,
I have tried listing everything you may need to know to enjoy a worry-free car hire experience.
This article contains affiliate links (Disclosure page). If you purchase using my link, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
Renting a car in Lanzarote - Overview
Do you need a car in Lanzarote?
It depends what kind of holiday you want.
But if you want to be able:
- To enjoy some of the hidden gems such as rock formations, lesser known beaches...
- Visit a place early before the crowds or enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets
- Be flexible to adapt to the weather
Then renting a car is the best option.
Below are a few locations you could easily visit:
Is it difficult to drive in Lanzarote? Is it safe?
It is very easy to drive in Lanzarote. Most roads are in good conditions.
It is easy to get oriented and there is often a very good visibility.
The most difficult are the few mountain roads in the North but they are not long.
You may read horror stories on the Internet. But remember that all the hundreds of thousands of people who did not have any issues, did not write so on the Internet!
Absolutely essential tips - from my personal experiences
If you don't want to read the entire article with the step-by-step to renting a car in Lanzarote, here is a short summary of my top tips:
- No special recommendation in terms of size or power of car - roads are generally wide and not steep
- Book early to get the best prices and the choice of cars (remember that this is an island)
- There are a few area that can only be accessed by 4WD, but not many and I don't recommend renting a 4WD because many companies don't allow off-road even with 4WD. So check the small prints!
- Always check the car upon arrival and take pictures of anything you see (don't forget the roof and under the bumper)
- Many rental companies don't allow you to take the ferry to neighbor island Fuerteventura.
- Do not drive with flip-flops
- Check your contracts, most companies do not allowed to drive on unpaved road. Which means if you go to Papagayo beaches with you rental (tracks only) and you have a technical problem, then you will have to pay a lot of money for servicing
The booking platform I personally use
You will see mentions of Discovercars.com throughout this article.
This is the platform I personally use (since I have discovered them).
As soon as I decide on a destination and dates, I go check their deals and available car types.
Upon research, they often have the best deals for my needs.
This is one of the best customer-rated comparison sites on the market.
And I selected Cicar. My experience was really good.
#1 to 3 - How to rent a car in Lanzarote - required elements
Tip 1 - License to rent a car in Lanzarote
First of all, do not forget your driving license!!! LOL
Then the rules are as follows:
- People with EU licenses can drive on their holidays with only their valid national licenses
- All other nationalities must have an International Driving Permit (on top of their national license)
Tip 2 - Extra age requirements / years of driving
Official driving age in Lanzarote (like Spain) is 18.
However, many car rental companies in Lanzarote
- will require you to be 21 or 23
- will require you to have held a license in your home country for a year or more,
- may add charges, if you are under 25,
- may add charges, if you are over a certain age.
It’s best to make sure to read all the fine print.
On the platform Discovercars.com you can enter your age, to see any limitation in rental cars available and any additional fee.
Tip 3 - A credit card that can handle the hold charge
Remember that unless you have decided to purchase a full coverage insurance directly with the rental company, you will be asked for your credit card to hold a charge a.k.a. a deposit (on top of the payment). This amount, the "excess charge", is blocked on your account via your credit card (unblocked upon car return).
As it is on top of the payment, you may be hitting the limit of your credit card daily/weekly or monthly protection limit.
I have seen many people at rental companies counters being surprised by this situation and having issue managing it.
How to manage it?
- Use a different credit card for the hold charge,
- Contact your bank prior to traveling to change your limits,
- Purchase a full coverage insurance with a 0 excess charge.
On the platform Discovercars.com:
- once you open one option, you can click on Rental Conditions, and you will see the Security Deposit amount.
- And if this is an issue for you, you can pre-select the amount you are willing to have blocked as security deposit in the filters
#4 & 5 - When and where to hire a car in Lanzarote
Tip 4 - Best period
Lanzarote is a very popular destination, especially in Summer.
So, if you want the choice of your vehicle types and good prices, it is better to rent your car as early as possible.
You won't find last-minute deals in Summer. As soon as you have picked your dates, book the car!
Tip 5 - When and where
Car hire in Lanzarote is available from the airport, the port as well as all the main resort towns.
So you could hire it only for a few days from the town where your accommodations is.
However, really, to save money, I think it is better to hire your car from the Lanzarote airport in Arrecife for the whole duration of your stay.
The largest car rental hubs in Lanzarote are:
#6 to 10 - What type of car to choose
Tip 6 - Recommendations for size of car / power - does size matters?
I know it depends on how many people are traveling and how much luggage you are traveling with.
There is nothing specific to keep in mind in Lanzarote.
I have recommendation for size or power.
Parking space are fine, road sizes are fine, nothing is very steep.
Tip 7 - Transmission type - Manual vs Automatic
Most cars in Spain have manual transmission.
You will pay more for automatic and they are fewer options.
Tip 8 - Fuel choice - Diesel, Gas or electric
- Petrol station in Spanish is "estación de servicio"
- Petrol is on green pump - called "gasolina" and if unleaded "gasolina sin plomo"
- Diesel is on Black pump called "gasoil"
- See the concentration of electric car charging station, where you are going in Lanzarote on this website
Tip 9 - Is it useful to have a 4WD?
I don't recommend it.
There are a few area that can only be accessed by 4WD, but not many.
Know that even if you have a 4WD, the insurance protection associated with the rental probably does not cover use of the car out of paved roads.
This is frequent in many countries. Read the fine print.
Tip 10 - Consider vehicles with sleeping options
Motorhome and vans are not ideal on Lanzarote.
There is a campsite but it normally opens on in Summer.
Wild camping regulations are not clear. Check out this article by another blogger.
There are very few companies renting campers
All my favorite locations are included (with GPS coordinates, map and tips) in my travel guide eBook that helps you easily plan your Lanzarote road trip:
Plan your dream road trip around Lanzarote!
- 7 easy-to-plan maps
- 55 Scenic locations in Lanzarote
- 19 Scenic locations in Fuerteventura
- Planning tips + Best times
- 140+ large photos to decide where to go
- GPS coordinates direct to the carparks
#11 to 17 - Best rental car companies in Lanzarote - reviews
Tip 11 - Cost of car rental in Lanzarote
To give you an idea, based on data from Discovercars.com, prices are around:
- The average rental car price varies greatly throughout the year from 10 USD to 55 USD per day
- The cheapest prices are generally for when you travel in Lanzarote around June
It is very easy to compare prices online on platforms.
However, be careful: if you are testing direct websites and trying to compare, it can be very difficult as they hide fees or taxes later in the process.
Tip 12 - Things to consider when choosing your car rental company
- First, of course, the company must have the type of car your needs
- Then, check out the cancellation fees -
- Authorized milage - depending on what you are planning, have a look at unlimited or defined daily milage allowance
- The pickup location - some require a shuttle to the get to the rental area
- And if you plan on visiting Fuerteventura with the same car don't forget to check if it is allowed - on Discovercars.com, once you selected a car click on "Rental Conditions" and head to "geographical restrictions".
Tip 13 - Best rated car rental companies in Lanzarote - reviews
Don't forget that on Tripadvisor or Google for example, anyone can write a review even if they have not used the company.
On the platform Discovercars.com, each rental company has a mark on 10 points. This is an average of the marks given by actual customers - On the search page, you can select only the best rated ones such as:
I have personally used Cicar in Lanzarote and was very satisfied. It is available on Discovercars.com.
Tip 14 - How to save money - cheap car rental in Lanzarote
If keeping the cost down is your main concern, you should:
- Book very early
- Return the car where you picked it up
- Book a smaller car
- Pay attention to pick-up and drop-off times - Car hire is typically charged per 24-hour period
- Choose a rental without cancellation or with limited cancellation
- If renting for 6 days, check the price for 7 days - sometimes companies have a discount for 1 week rentals.
- Book with limited milage
Tip 15 - Check opening hours if picking a company not at an airport
If you are picking up your car at the airport, the companies are normally open as long as flights are arriving.
However, if you are renting a car from a town, especially a smaller one, they will have shorter opening hours (especially on weekends). This may mean that you have to rent for an extra day if you can't drop off the car.
Tip 16 - Car rental scams in Lanzarote
As in most country, if the price is very very low there must be conditions and tricks behind it.
But there is not specific scam for Lanzarote.
Always take dated pictures of the car on arrival and upon return (if you can't get the document confirming no issues right away).
Tip 17 - Be careful if changing island
From Lanzarote, you could also visit the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura.
However, that implies taking a ferry.
Most of the rental companies on Lanzarote island do not allow taking the ferry. But a few do.
If renting with Discovercars.com, once you selected a car you can click on "Rental conditions" and then again "Rental conditions" or "Additional conditions" to find the "geographical restrictions".
If it is not documented, you can add the question to customer support.
#18 to 20 - Understanding Insurances
Tip 18 - Choose the types of insurance you need + requirements in Lanzarote
Many levels of insurances are available. And their wording is often not very clear.
Here is a high-level overview of the different types of insurances - which are not really insurances, but waivers to limit your liability:
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) - It limits the customer’s responsibility during the rental period and sets the maximum amount of money the customer will have to pay in case of damages -
- Theft Protection (TP) - this waiver limits your liability up to the vehicle’s deductible/excess amount in the event the car is stolen (proof required are a police report and the car keys). TP is frequently included in the car rental price.
- Third Party Liability (TPL) - also known as Supplemental Liability Insurance, Extended protection, liability protection... - it covers personal and material damages caused to other people’s cars, property and even medical expenses. They have different limits.
- and many others...
The mandatory insurance in Lanzarote / Spain are:
- In Spain, unlimited Third-Party Liability insurance is required by law - therefore it is included in the price of car rental
Tip 19 - 4 ways to purchase insurance
- Option 1 - Use your credit card insurance/ or your own car insurance
Many credit cards and home car insurance include some coverage for rental cars.
You need to read all the fine prints to clearly understand what is covered or not.
- Option 2 - Purchase upon booking your rental car
When you book your rental car, you normally have the option to select the insurances you want.
The deals are most of the time better than at the counter (I have seen 3 times less, once).
On direct websites, you get the dealer's insurance, but on platforms, you get a special insurance created by the platform.
For example, on Discovercars.com, they have their own Full Coverage Waiver Insurance Option
Personally, this is what I used. I know I may already be covered by my credit card and all, but this just seems the easier route, more straightforward in case of an issue. Personal choice.
- Option 3 - At car rental
This is the more expensive option, but if you have not done it before, you could purchase it as you are paying.
- Option 4 - Travel Insurance
Get a travel insurance that include comprehensive car rental insurance with one of the classic insurance companies.
Tip 20 - Consider taking roadside assistance
Not an insurance, but it is offered at the same time. Some company ma include it or part of it in their rental agreement.
Conditions of coverage vary. They normally include:
- Loss or damage of car keys
- Keys locked inside the car
- Flat tire
- Rental car not starting
- Car out of fuel
If you are in a country you don't know, traveling alone and not good at changing tires, this could be a great option.
This is something you can get at the counter when getting the car.
#21 to 23 - Extras
Tip 21 - Do I need GPS?
To navigate, you can consider renting a GPS.
- Option 1 - Bring your own GPS
This is my favorite options. I know well how it works, plus I can pre-enter all my destinations which saves me a lot of time.
On my travel guide eBook you get the GPS coordinates of the carparks of all my favorite locations
- Option 2 - Use your phone
If you have a phone, don't forget that the roaming charges abroad can be very expensive.
However, you can download a map beforehand, when you are connected to wifi, so that you can navigate without spending money.
Don't forget the charger and your phone holder so that it is comfortable!
- Option 3 - Take the GPS extra
I don't recommend it. I think this is a last resort if you don't have your own or a good phone. I always find it very expensive.
Tip 22 - Additional driver charges
Decide beforehand whether or not you will need more than one driver.
If so, take this into account when comparing rental deals between companies.
Some companies have deals that has a free extra driver.
On the platform Discovercars.com, if there are any, it can be selected on the filters:
Tip 23 - Child safety seats rules in Lanzarote
The law indicates that:
- children under 18kg (39.7 pounds) in weight must be in child seats
- and children under 135cm (4.4ft) tall should be in the rear seats on a booster.
#24 to 31 - How to pick up and drop of the car to avoid issues
Tip 24 - Check your vehicle at pick-up
For a worry-free exchange with the rental car company, I recommend you do a thorough check of the car before leaving the carpark.
Sometimes it is done with an agent. Sometimes they just give you a form with the state of the car before renting. Sometimes they tell you nothing...
Make sure all dents and scratches are noted, if not, make sure they add it.
Plus, for peace of mind, you can take pictures before leaving (like in every country).
Things to look for:
- Check all the exterior of the car for dent and scratches
- Don't forget to check the roof!!! It is often forgotten, but they might check it when you return
- Don't forget under the bumper
- And don't forget the back of the mirrors
- Check the interior for any damage
- Check the state of the tires
- Check the state of the fender (mud wing above the wheels)
- Make sure the spare tire is in place and in good condition
- Check that gas level and milage match the record
Tip 25 - Check the mandatory equipment is in the car
In Lanzarote, the following pieces of equipment must be available in the car:
- 2 Warning triangles
- Reflective vest or jacket
- Spare wheel and tools to change it
- First aid kit (advised, not mandatory)
- Flashlight (advised, not mandatory)
Tip 26 - Ask about the management of tolls
There are not toll roads on Lanzarote
Tip 27 - What to do in case of fine or tickets (speed / parking)
You are responsible for any parking tickets or driving fines that you receive during the rental period.
If you are aware of it right away, you can go and pay at the police station or online, as indicated.
But know that it can take up to 3 months for a fine to be reported to the car owner (the rental company). In that case, they will send you proof and charge you for it and maybe add an administrative fee for managing the fine.
Tip 28 - What if there is a problem with the car
Don't lose your rental agreement.
On it, you will find the steps to take if you have a problem with your car.
Most use a breakdown assistance service and the number will be listed on the agreement.
Then you can contact the rental company to see how to car can be replaced.
Tip 29 - Don't forget to manage your tank
Nowadays, more and more companies have instituted a policy where you need to return your car with the same level of fuel (instead of getting a full tank and returning a full tank).
This is very annoying, but it is easier for them to manage.
Therefore, you need to understand how much the car consumes and how many kilometers / miles you still have to do, if you don't want to waste money.
Tip 30 - Drop off
For peace of mind, try dropping off the car during opening hours so that the car checks can all be made and validated. Get a document stating it is all OK.
If this is not their process, or if you are in a hurry and cannot get a document, make sure to take dated pictures of car before leaving it.
It is true that you can read a few horror stories on the Internet about renting cars in Lanzarote.
However, keep in mind that the thousands and thousands of people who have no problem don't write that all went well with their rentals...
So don't be stressed. If you have taken a reputable company, are respecting the rules, it should go very smoothly.
Tip 31 - What if you damaged the car
If your rental car gets damaged, the first thing to do is to contact the car rental agency.
- If your rental has only basic insurance, you will have to cover the damages up to your deductible amount.
- If you have purchased a full coverage with the rental company, check with them and it should be covered
- If you have purchased with Discovercars.com, contact them and provide all info (within 28 days of dropping off the car). They with refund you for charges and costs related to the damage, if warranted
- If you are using your own insurance, contact them and provide all info. They with refund you for charges and costs related to the damage, if warranted.
#32 to 36 - Get ready to drive in Lanzarote
Below is an intro to driving in Lanzarote.
Find all my tips in this other article.
Tip 32 - Understand the rules
- Driving in on the right side of the road, which means roundabouts are taken anti-clockwise
- Road signs are fairly easy to understand, nothing special to note
- Alcohol limit is 0.05% which is lower than the UK
- Seatbelt is mandatory for all
- No cell phone while driving
- Don’t wear flip flops to drive
- And of course: fully stop at stop signs, don't cross solid white lines, traffic on carriageway has priority to you entering...
Tip 33 - Watch videos
To get familiar with the driving you can watch videos of people road tripping in Lanzarote.
Below is my short video to give you an idea of what it looks like:
Tip 34 - Know the potential dangers
There are 3 main dangers to be aware of when driving around Lanzarote:
- SCENERY - The main danger is to get distracted by the magnificent scenery. The solidified lava is very impressive and you want to look better, but there is no place to stop. This is when you become dangerous.
- LOCALS - Because you want to look at the scenery, locals going to work can be impatient. There are sometimes a bit crazy when overtaking. Therefore, always look in your mirrors, particularly when turning left (to your accommodation for example) in the middle of a long straight road.
- CYCLISTS - During weekends cyclists take over the roads. Be really careful when overtaking.
Tip 35 - Plan your itinerary
It can be fun to go an adventure.
But if you want to see many locations on your road trip, better to plan ahead to balance your days and book accommodations.
Find all my favorite locations and tips in my travel guide eBook:
Plan your dream trip around Lanzarote!
- 7 easy-to-plan maps
- 55 Scenic locations in Lanzarote
- 19 Scenic locations in Fuerteventura
- Planning tips + Best times
- 140+ large photos to decide where to go
- GPS coordinates direct to the carparks
Where to stay in Lanzarote?
- Most enjoyable Resort Town - Playa Blanca - see best rated accommodations
- Main resort town (without car & nightlife) - Puerto del Carmen - see best rated accommodations
- Best location to be able to explore Lanzarote - Costa Teguise - see best rated accommodations
- Coastal Charm and Quiet - Punta Mujeres - see best rated accommodations
- Scenic Views - Famara Beach - see best rated accommodations
- Original & isolated - La Graciosa - see best rated accommodations
More tips on my article about where to stay in Lanzarote
Tip 36 - What to do in case of accident
In case there are people hurt or there is a conflict, the emergency number in Lanzarote is 112:
The best order of actions is:
- contact emergency services
- contact the police
- contact your rental provider
Want to see more of the best Lanzarote has to offer?
- 21 Best things to do in Lanzarote - read article
- Best Lanzarote Photography Locations - read article
- Lanzarote Attractions by César Manrique - read article
- Best Beaches in Lanzarote - read article
- Best Lanzarote Volcanoes - Tours & Photos - read article
- Best places to stay in Lanzarote - read article
- Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote - read article
And keep track of your own trip!
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