• Spain's news in English

Spanish parking places are smallest in Europe

Steve Tallantyre · 13 Feb 2014, 12:48

Published: 13 Feb 2014 12:48 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Getting out of a car wedged into a tiny underground parking space is a rite of passage for motorists in Spain.

Drivers are often seen scrambling across their vehicles and contorting themselves to squeeze out of the passenger-side door because they don't have room to open their own.

Getting into the spaces isn't always easy either, as the scraped-off bodywork paint on concrete columns in car parks will attest.

Now motorists can console themselves with the fact that it isn't a lack of parking skills that leads to  their frustration and repeated trips to the paint yard, but a combination of larger modern vehicles and inadequate car park design.

EuroTest, a partnership of 18 automobile clubs in 17 countries, has released a report showing that Spanish parking places are officially the tightest in Europe.

The Real Automóvil Club de Catalunya (RACC), one of the participating groups, noted that Barcelona regulations insist only that parking places be 2.2 metres wide and 4.5 metres long.

That is much tighter than elsewhere in Europe, where parking bays are typically 20-30cm wider and 30cm longer.

Madrid motorists don't fare much better; Spain's capital insists only on 2.25 metre-wide spaces.

EuroTest suggests that parking bays should be at least 2.5m wide to fit modern vehicles.

A chart in their report shows how a typical small car has increased in size over recent decades, resulting in the current tight-fit fiasco.

A 1974 Volkswagen Golf was 1.61m wide, whereas the 2012 version is 2.03m with its wing mirrors unfolded.

RACC have asked that larger bays "should be mandatory in new car parks and when existing car parks renew their licences."  

Catalan daily La Vanguardia spoke to the Barcelona Provincial Guild of Automobile Repair Workshops who said that bodywork damage resulting from parking mishaps was so common that many motorists no longer even getting it repaired, making it difficult to gauge the full extent of the problem.

Story continues below…

The Eurotest report also slammed Spain's car parks for being "dark and cramped" and having poor wheelchair access.

But not everything was bad news.

The common practice of charging by the minute, not by the hour, was praised as "less costly for short-stay parkers".

And the country was ranked alongside France as having the greatest number of parking places for motorcycles.

Steve Tallantyre (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available