If you are considering embarking on a self-drive holiday, look no further than Spain. Each region of the country makes the ideal destination for a road trip, as each and every one boasts its own unique history, monuments, tradition and gastronomy to explore. If you are trying to decide a route that’s best for you, read our suggestions below to find out more about why Spain is the perfect self-drive destination.
Reasons to take a Self-Drive Tour in Spain
Spain is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Europe, meaning that there is a route to suit any traveller and the routes can be tailored and customised to suit your own preferences in terms of time, budget and desired destinations.
Impressive World Heritage
An interesting fact about Spain is that it boasts the second highest number of World Heritage Sites behind only Italy and China, and the largest number of World Heritage Cities in the world. With such a long list of sights to see and places to visit, discovering the country by car is definitely the best way to ensure that you make the most of your time during your trip to Spain.
Efficient Roads and Infrastructure
The Spanish motorways – known as autovías - are abundant throughout the entire country, making connections between important cities and regions very straightforward and easily accessible. Due to huge amounts of infrastructure remodelling and maintenance, Spain is home to one of the most modern and well maintained road systems in Europe. Tourists are often pleasantly surprised by the ease of use and overall efficiency of the Spanish roadways compared to other large countries, guaranteeing a comfortable journey.
Suggested Routes and Areas to Visit
No matter what sort of trip of you are looking for, there is definitely a route through Spain to suit anyone’s preferences.
If you are looking for the traditional Spanish holiday, look no further than Andalucía. Drenched in sunlight throughout the year, Spain’s southern region is the perfect place to explore by car to discover places which are both culturally rich yet provide that perfect, relaxing summer holiday. Combining cities such as Sevilla, Granada and Córdoba on your route will allow you to explore Spain’s fascinating Moorish history and Islamic heritage. Monuments worth visiting include the Alcazar of Sevilla, the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Córdoba. Andalucía is also the birthplace of the famous Spanish tapas, so make sure to taste some of the region’s fantastic gastronomy while you’re there. What’s more, the highlights of the whole region form a convenient loop, so you will never lose much time while driving.
la Alhambra Palace, Granada
la Mezquita, Córdoba
The north of Spain is one of the most fascinating parts of the country in terms of culture, history and landscapes. The Basque Country, for example, is one of the most interesting regions in Spain and retains a unique heritage. Stay in the beautiful San Sebastián, admiring the breath taking La Concha beach and tasting some of the city’s world famous cuisine or ‘pintxos’. Just one hour away you also have Bilbao, home of the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum. Then, a 4 hour drive will bring you to the region known as the natural paradise – Asturias. Due to the northern rainy climate, the region has an abundance of stunning green landscape and fresh air, perfect for those interested in nature. The Asturian cities of Gijon and Oviedo are also a must, if you are looking to try some of the region’s traditional dishes or world famous cider. If you have the time to take a longer route, you also have the opportunity to stop by fantastic cities such as Santander, Logroño, Léon or Burgos on the way.
the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
los Picos de Europa, Asturias
The Capital and Castilla y León
Although people don’t often choose to visit the smaller, inland towns and cities of Spain, it does not mean that they’re not work your time. Castilla y Léon is the largest of all the Spanish regions and is overflowing with culture and history, from all of its medieval towns, castles and Roman ruins. Why not start in the city’s capital of Madrid? This way, you can experience the cosmopolitan city vibe as well as see historic sites such as El Escorial (the monastery and historical residence of the King of Spain) which is just 30 minutes away. Then continue on to Segovia to witness the breathtaking Roman Aqueduct and Disney princess-like castle. Another less than 2 hour drive will take you to Salamanca, a picturesque university town and the perfect place to spend a night tapas-crawling.
Calle Gran Vía, Madrid
Roman Aqueduct, Segovia
Things to take into consideration
To make sure your self-drive journey in Spain goes as smoothly as possible, take note of some of the points we have listed below about driving in Spain:
• If you are travelling with children, they should always be seated in a back seat if they are under 1.36m.
• If you are travelling in the winter months, make sure to check the road conditions before setting off on your journey, especially in the Northern regions where the weather is generally a lot colder
• To hire a vehicle you must be at least 21 years old.
• If you are coming from an EU state, Norway or Iceland you will only need a current driving licence, but if you are coming from another country you must hold an International Driving Licence.
• Be aware of tolls that must be paid when on some motorways.
At Across Spain, we will provide you with all of the resources you need to complete your road trip of a lifetime. Our clients can choose from a variety of our pre-made self-drive packages with many different pre-organised itineraries, or we can assist the client in creating their own personalised route which we can tailor to your preferences in terms of budget, time and desired destinations. Our team will also organise the client’s car rental with a full tank of petrol, any accommodation needed, as well as assisting with entry tickets to famous monuments. Don’t hesitate to contact us!
Map marking out self-drive routes