We’ve put together an extensive list of the best road trips in Spain, from the lush northern coast of Galicia to the sun-drenched lands of Andaluzia, from windmill territory in Castilla to the vineyards of La Rioja.
The list is far from being comprehensive. Spain provides endless opportunities for a road trip. Take it as a starting point for your future trip research of best road trips in Spain. And if it’s Spain’s neighbour you are interested in, have a look at the 5 best road trips in Portugal.
Before you turn the ignition key, make sure you are familiar with the do’s and don’ts of driving in Spain.
- 1 | MOUNTAINS OF ARAGÓN
- 2 | VINEYARDS OF LA RIOJA
- 3 | CANTABRIA
- 4 | EXTREMADURA
- 5 | RUTA DEL QUIJOTE
- 6 | PUEBLOS BLANCOS
- 7 | ASTURIAS
- 8 | ISLAND OF MALLORCA
- 9 | GIRONA
- 10 | UNESCO CITIES OF CASTILE
- 11 | RIBERA DEL DUERO
- 12 | RIAS BAIXAS
- 13 | COAST OF CÁDIZ
- 14 | RUTA DEL CÍSTER
- 15 | PROVINCE OF MÁLAGA
- 16 | ISLAND OF LANZAROTE
- 17 | NAVARRA
- 18 | ISLAND OF MENORCA
- 19 | COAST OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY
- 20 | VILLAGES OF TERUEL
1 | MOUNTAINS OF ARAGÓN
Route 1 is a round trip that takes us through the ancient kingdom of Aragón, born in the Middle Ages under the protection of the Pyrenees mountain range, the formidable barrier between Spain and France.
Check out all the information about road trip 01!
After leaving Huesca we will reach the tiny village of Alquézar, with its churches and ancient buildings. After driving across the vineyards of the Somontano region we will drive through Graus on the way to beautiful Aínsa, another extraordinary village in the Pyrenees. Set some time aside to visit the Ordesa National Park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, before relaxing at the Panticosa Spa and reaching the French border at Formigal. The town of Jaca is the capital of the region and a short drive from Jaca will take you to the majestic Canfranc International Railway Station. The location of the ancient Monastery of San Juan de la Peña will impress you, as well as the unusual rock formations of the Mallos de Riglos. The final stop for the trip is the magnificent Loarre Castle.
2 | VINEYARDS OF LA RIOJA
Route 2 is a trip through the most famous wine-making region in Spain, La Rioja.
The trip starts from Haro, the self-appointed capital of the La Rioja wine region, with the highest concentration of wineries of La Rioja. On the way to world-famous Marqués de Riscal winery and hotel, designed by Frank Gehry, we will stop at the Wine Museum in Briones. The trip ends at delightful Laguardia, with a visit to another state-of-the arte winery, Ysios, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
3 | CANTABRIA
Often overlooked by foreigners, the northern coast of Spain boasts an extraordinary combination of spectacular mountains (the awesome Picos de Europa) and coastal villages along the Cantabrian Sea.
We hit the road in Santoña, famous for its delicious anchovies. Get ready to fall in love with beautiful Santillana del Mar. Moving along the coast, we visit Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera, two delightful seaside towns. For the final half of the trip, we abandon the coast and head to the mountains of the Picos de Europa. Potes is a beautiful little mountain town you will visit before taking the cable car at Fuente Dé for a glorious view of the mountain range.
4 | EXTREMADURA
A true off-the-beaten track road trip through a region, Extremadura, brimming with history and charming towns.
The route takes off from Hervás in the far north of the province of Cáceres, and goes down do Plasencia before visiting the historic Monastery of Yuste, where the emperor Charles I of Spain died. The highlight of the region is the town of Trujillo, the birthplace of Pizarro and Orellana, famous Spanish conquistadores. World Heritage City Cáceres is the final stop before reaching the end of the route in Mérida, the capital of Extremadura.
5 | RUTA DEL QUIJOTE
An absolute classic and a road trip that conjures up images of Spain that go back centuries in time. Our version of the Don Quixote route takes you to charming villages where you can expect unforgettable encounters with an army of windmills.
Starting off from Consuegra, where one of the most picturesque sets of windmills is found, we will go through Puerto Lápice on the way to beautiful Almagro. It will then be back to Quixote references in Manzanares, Tomelloso, Campo de Criptana and its extraordinary windmills, and El Toboso.
6 | PUEBLOS BLANCOS
The Pueblos Blancos, the White Towns of Cádiz, are one of the reasons people head to Andaluzia. The houses were painted white in an attempt to keep away the unbearable heat felt on the region during the summer season.
The route is all about gorgeous villages, right from the start at Vejer de la Frontera and Arcos de la Frontera, with their houses defying gravity on the edge of an abyss. Ubrique, Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra, Olvera and Setenil de las Bodegas all vie with each other to enchant visitors with their charms. Although not a proper White Town, the trip ends in style in beautiful Ronda.
7 | ASTURIAS
The region of Asturias shares with its neighbour Cantabria a unique combination of mountains (the mighty Picos de Europa) and coastal landscapes.
From the mountain to the sea, this road trip has a bit for everyone. We take off from Llanes at sea level on the way to Cabrales, Covadonga and Cangas de Onís on the mountains. Back to the coast for the charm of Ribadesella and Luanco before heading for the final stop at cute Cudillero.
8 | ISLAND OF MALLORCA
The largest of the Balearic Islands hosts an amazing array of attractions. Its outstanding turquoise water beaches are among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean Sea. But in Mallorca you will also find charming little villages found on the Tramontana, its main mountain range. Not to mention the treasures of its magnificent capital, Palma.
Our round trip departs from Palma, the capital, and travels along the main mountain range, the Sierra de la Tramontana, visiting Valldemossa and Sóller before getting to Formentor. Then it’s all about the east coast beaches, the best on the island, with an off-trip to Cabrera National Park.
9 | GIRONA
Girona (also Gerona) is the northernmost province of Catalonia, sharing a border with France. It is a fabulous destination with a wonderful mix of attractions, from the mountains to the sea.
Once you have visited the outstanding medieval capital city of Girona, our route will take you first to extraordinary Besalú, a medieval small town that will steal your heart. Up in the mountains we visit the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes before descending to beautiful Cadaqués. We are in the Costa Brava, the rugged stretch of Mediterranean coast that has captivated the imagination of generations of locals and foreigners alike. The ancient city of Ampurias bears witness to the presence of Greeks and Romans on the region. Pals, Peratallada and Calella de Palafrugell are other stops on the way to the final destination in Tossa de Mar.
10 | UNESCO CITIES OF CASTILE
An unusual entry on our list of best road trips in Spain. We have repeatedly advised against using a car to visit the cities of Spain. But here we will make an exception. Not that the car will become of any use on the cities visited along the route (book a hotel with a car park!). But the proximity of three outstanding World Heritage Cities makes for a wonderful road trip.
Salamanca, Ávila and Segovia are the outstanding cities visited on this route, with a final side trip from the latter to the Royal Palace and Gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso.
11 | RIBERA DEL DUERO
The region known as Ribera del Duero has a reputation for producing some of the finest wines in Spain – and that’s saying a lot. It is a wonderful destination for wine lovers with its unique combination of traditional and state-of-the art wineries and beautiful villages and small towns.
We have designed a road trip that visits a handful of selected wineries. In between glasses of wine, we visit Peñafiel and its mighty castle and other beautiful medieval villages such as Peñaranda de Duero.
12 | RIAS BAIXAS
The Rias Baixas are a series of four inlets on the southern coast of Galicia. The region is rich in marine life which feeds a powerful fishing and aquaculture industry. This road trip is all about a way of life where seafood takes up a center role.
The cities of Vigo and Pontevedra are our starting points of interest. The route takes us to picturesque Combarro before moving along to O Grove, seafood capital of Spain and an excellent place to get acquainted with the way seafood is produced. Beautiful Cambados is the final stop before heading to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and final destination of the Way of St. James.
13 | COAST OF CÁDIZ
The province of Cádiz in Andaluzia is home to a fascinating stretch of coast full of exciting destinations. From the Doñana National Park to the Straits of Gibraltar, this west to east road trip is an absolute delight.
Beginning at the Doñana National Park and its neighbour Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the road will pass through Chiclana de la Frontera and Conil de la Frontera before reaching wonderful Vejer de la Frontera, one of the Pueblos Blancos (white towns) of Andaluzia. We enter know “red tuna” territory, where the traditional tuna fisheries are still very much alive in Barbate and Zahara de los Atunes. A visit to the roman settlement of Baelo Claudia will be the final stop before reaching Tarifa, where a spectacular vision of the mountains of Africa can be seen.
14 | RUTA DEL CÍSTER
A route for history and art lovers through the provinces of Lleida and Tarragona in Catalonia, visiting three outstanding Cistercian monasteries and encompassing two other periods in history in Reus (birthplace of modernist genius Antoni Gaudí) and Tarragona (the former Roman city of Tarraco).
The first visit along the route is the Monastery of Vallbona de les Monges, followed by the Monastery of Santa María de Poblet, a world heritage site. The fortified medieval town of Montblanc is the next visit before the third and final monastery on the route, Santes Creus. For the final stretch of the trip, we visit Reus and its modernist collection of buildings and finally the world heritage city Tarragona and its rich Roman legacy.
15 | PROVINCE OF MÁLAGA
A mix of adventure and charming towns on a road trip through the province of Málaga, in Andaluzia.
Adrenaline junkies will have a field day at the world famous Caminito del Rey (the King’s Little Path), a walkway, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge, restored in 2015. From there, we drive through Málaga (make it the final stop of your road trip) on the way to Frigiliana, a lovely Pueblo Blanco (white town). Nearby Nerja, famous for its caves, is another highlight on the route.
16 | ISLAND OF LANZAROTE
Lanzarote is one of the most unique destinations in Europe. An island where trees have been replaced by volcanoes and where man-made adaptations for survival are extraordinary. The landscapes of Lanzarote are unlike any other thing you have seen. And they make up, without a doubt, for one of the best road trips in Spain.
Our road trip starts at the Monumento al Campesino, to continue through the unique vineyards of La Geria. Time for a bath at the beautiful Papagayo beach before stepping on the black volcanic sand of El Golfo. The extraordinary volcanic landscapes of the Timanfaya National Park are one of the highlights of the trip. Three spectacular attractions designed by local artist César Manrique round up the tour of the island: the Cactus Garden, the Jameos del Agua and the Mirador del Río.
17 | NAVARRA
Navarra is one of the historic regions of Spain and this road trip cuts through its territory providing striking contrasts between the lush north and the dry south. A trip for nature lovers.
The trip begins in the Selva de Irati on the Pyrenees Mountains near the border with France. Roncesvalles provides a lesson in history before heading to the Foz de Lumbier, a beautiful gorge. The medieval village of Olite is another encounter with history before the final visit on the trip, the Natural Park of Bardenas Reales and its dream-like landscape.
18 | ISLAND OF MENORCA
The second largest of the Balearic Islands combines outstanding turquoise water beaches with prehistoric monuments and quaint little villages.
Our round trip departs from Ciutadella and heads to one of the most extraordinary beaches on the entire island, Macarella. Then, we visit the Naveta des Tudons, one of the most important prehistoric monuments on Menorca. After enjoying the fantastic view of the entire island from the Cim del Toro viewpoint, we head to charming Fornells and its white houses. Talatí de Dalt is another important prehistoric monument, near the city of Mahón, the penultimate stop on the trip before we reach the adorable Binibeca Vell.
19 | COAST OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY
Few stretches of the coast of Spain are populated with such an extraordinary number of beautiful fishing villages as the coast between San Sebastián and Bilbao on the Basque Country.
The road trip takes you through a remarkable sequence of beautiful small coastal towns. Departing from San Sebastián, Zarautz is the first stop, followed by Zumaia. The stretch between Zumaia and Deba is known as the Ruta del Flysch. Mutriku, Lekeitio and Elantxobe are unmissable stops on a journey to the town of Gernika, of great historical and political importance for the Basques. Wonderful San Juan de Gaztelugatxe rounds up an unforgettable trip ending in Bilbao.
20 | VILLAGES OF TERUEL
The province of Teruel, part of the ancient kingdom of Aragón, is a hidden gem for road trippers. A unique ensemble of wonderful small towns makes for a truly off the beaten track trip.
One of the highlights of the region, the awesome village of Albarracín, is the starting point for the trip. The route embarks on a succession of charming villages leading to the final stop in Alcañiz. The sister towns of Mora de Rubielos and Rubielos de Mora, and the jewels of the Matarraña region, Valderrobres and Calaceite, provide ample reasons for you to fall in love with the region.
Full-blown routes coming soon!
What you have seen on the text above are shortened versions of the best road trips in Spain. As we speak, we are working on full-blown versions of all the routes that we intend to publish, one at a time, over the coming months.
Once the full routes are ready, we will put a link to each one of them alongside the text.