Even if you don’t speak much Spanish, it’s possible to learn driving and getting a driver’s license in Malaga. In case you haven’t read my other article about how to get a driver’s license based on your existing one from your home country, I suggest doing that if that’s a viable option for you. Learning driving here and getting a driver’s license in Malaga is not a fast or easy process as you will see. Let’s get started!
Originally, I had a driver’s license, but it expired, and traveling home was so expensive that I had a crazy idea: What if I just go to a driving school here, take the exams and get a license in Spain, instead of going home to renew it? Apparently in Spain, there is no minimum mandatory number of classes that you need to take to get a driving license. If you can pass the theory and driving exam you are free to go! And to be honest, that pretty much explains why there are so many terrible drivers here…
I signed up for the driving school: Torcal. I am not necessarily recommending them, because I was not completely satisfied with their serice as you will see, I am just stating a fact that I signed up with them. I signed up because for 50 euros they gave me access to their online platform where I could practice for the theory exam. You can practice for the exam in English and you can also take the exam in English, there is no Spanish knowledge required. However, please note that the practice material and the exam itself is terribly google translated from Spanish, so it might be challenging. Not because you don’t know the answer, but simply because in some cases it’s impossible to understand what the question or the answer meant to be? Anyway, passing the test is quite easy if you have more brain cells than a butterfly.
But, before the theory exam, you have to get a medical certificate that you are medically suitable for driving. Again, if you are not dead and nota butterfly, you will pass that. To get this medical certificate, you need to go to a place called: “centro medico de conductores” that you can find easily by just googling it. There are several in Malaga, for about 40 euros they are happy to certify that you are ready for the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
After you have the medical certificate and you feel like you have practiced enough the driving theory, you can ask the driving school to set an exam date for you. In my case, they told me that the exam will be at X date at Y time… and then they changed that two times to a later date and time.
Finally, when you have the correct date of the exam, you have to go to the official exam place with all the other students from all over Malaga to take the exam. There are several dates and times available. The exam is the exact same as the practice. On a computer, they display questions and images, and you have to select the correct answer. After practicing a lot, you will recognize the same questions, so passing as I said is super easy. The exam was in English for me, because the driving school when asked for the exam date, they also stated that I want it in English. It was easy and smooth, the next day I got a text message from the school saying I have passed.
The driving school in the 50 euros service package didn’t just include the online platform, but also 4 driving classes. Since I didn’t drive for some years, I thought it’s a good idea to get behind the wheel a bit before the actual driving exam, just to get familiar with the roads and the overall Spanish driving culture.
For you, reading this article, it might seem like everything is going smoothly so far right? Well, brace yourself…
First of all, after passing the theory exam, when I told the school that I want to use the included 4 driving classes, they told me that they have no free cars and instructors at the moment, so I might need to wait a month before I can drive. My suggestion is that before you sign up to a driving school, as them how many free cars and instructors they have, to avoid similar problems.
This Torcal driving school has several offices around Malaga, because it’s a franchise business. When I asked my office that what if I go to another branch, they told me that I can’t use my 4 classes there since that’s a different company with different offers, also, they might also not have free cars. Well, the last statement was not true, because I called some and all of them were happy to take me and drive around with me immediately, anytime.
After some shouting and telling them that I will contact the main Torcal office and get their school license revoked because they are doing a shitty job and scamming people signing up, while they clearly don’t have the resources to provide the service, I managed to get some dates to take my 4 driving classes, and I started driving…
Here comes my second useful hint for you: Sign up in a driving school that is close to the exam place in Malaga. When you go to take the driving exam, they have 9 official routes in the city. All of those routes start from the same spot. If you want to practice those routes (and you should) then it’s beneficial if you start your driving practice classes from there.
Let me explain: At the time of doing this whole driving bullshit, I was living in Torremolinos, which is a little city next to Malaga, about 15 minutes by car. The driving school was in Torremolinos as well, and the driving classes started from Torremolinos. That means that I had to drive to Malaga, which is 15 minutes, then drive for 15 minutes, before we had to head back to Torremolinos, since one driving class is only 45 minutes long, we wasted 15 minutes to go to the exam spot, then after 15 mins, we have to go back to Torremolinos where we started our class. Basically I was just practicing driving on the highway back and forth, that didn’t make any sense.
When I asked the driving school, that, can I start my class at the exam spot in Malaga and drive on the official exam routes for 45 mins, they said… “No, that’s not possible”.
So my suggestion is to ask the driving school about this or pick a driving school near the exam spot, which is at the Ortega y Gasset avenue.
Anyway, after driving 4 times 45 mins, mostly on the highway, I was confident that I can still drive, now I understand the crazy roundabouts here and the flashing yellow light that almost have me killed as a pedestrian several times, so I signed up for the driving exam.
Of course, the driving exam was also postponed at least 2 times just like the theory exam. When the day has finally come and the diriving school was taking me and other students to the exam spot, the driver told us: “The examiner is in bad mood, so far everyone failed today, so… do your best”
Well, it didn’t discourage me with my 10+ years of driving experience. At home we have ice, snow, fog, at times golf ball size ice pieces are falling, so I was driving in much worse conditions than any Spaniard in Malaga, where we have like 350 days of sunshine from the 365.
Spoiler alert: I have failed.
If you are a confident driver already, that is actually a minus on the exam, since you drive more casual than the newbies. I don’t hold the streeing wheel with two hands all the time, I change lanes faster and I indicate my turns only if there are other cars on the horizon. For example on the exam we were driving on a deserted road, no other cars anywhere… while I would normally indicate my turn to signal other cars about my intention, in this case it was simply not necessary. And there were other minor mistakes that I made, but overall during the 30 mins driving exam there were too many of these small mistakes, that eventually resulted in me failing the exam.
Of course, I signed up for a new exam asap, but it was like another month when I actually got an exam date. I don’t know if all the schools are this slow or only the one that I signed up for, but waiting for a month for an exam date fent ridiculously long.
Now that I’ve learnt from my mistakes, I was trying to act like a newbie, I was hlding the steering wheel as I should, I was using the indicator all the time, payed attention to the speed limits even more, changed lanes slower, accelerated slower, and did everything by the book…
…and I failed again. WHAT THE F…
This was the moment when I decided that I rather go back home and get my driving license renewed, than spending more money on driving schools and exams in Spain. Instead of saving money by not traveling home, I ended up wasting more money, since I had to go home at the end.
At the end, I have my driving license from home and even if I am considered a bad driver in Spain who can’t drive properly in perfect sunny weather, my statistics are still pretty good, zero accidents at home, in Spain and in many european countries where I was driving.