Spain offers a rich tapestry of landscapes, from rugged coastlines and mountain ranges to lush valleys and vast plains, making it a prime destination for road trip enthusiasts. Here’s a curated list of the 10 most scenic road trips in Spain that promise breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences.
The Northern Coast
Starting in the Basque Country and stretching to Galicia, this route showcases the dramatic Atlantic coastline. Highlights include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the pristine beaches of Asturias, and the culinary delights of San Sebastian. The road weaves through fishing villages and past emerald hills, offering a glimpse into Spain’s Celtic heritage in Galicia.
Route of the White Villages in Andalusia
This journey takes you through the heart of Andalusia, from Arcos de la Frontera to Ronda, passing whitewashed villages perched on hilltops, such as Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra. The route is famed for its stunning views of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and the deep El Tajo gorge in Ronda.
Spanning the border between Spain and France, the Pyrenees offer some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in Europe. Starting from the Mediterranean coast in Catalonia and driving west towards Navarre, travelers can explore ancient monasteries, medieval towns, and national parks filled with hiking trails.
From Blanes to the French border, the Costa Brava road trip unveils rugged cliffs, secluded coves, and some of Catalonia’s most picturesque towns, such as Tossa de Mar and Cadaqués. Salvador Dalí’s influence is palpable, especially in Figueres, home to the Dalí Theatre-Museum.
The Silver Route (Via de la Plata)
Tracing an ancient Roman road from Seville in the south to Gijón on the northern coast, this route passes through the historic cities of Mérida, Cáceres, and Salamanca. It offers a journey through time, with Roman ruins, Gothic cathedrals, and Renaissance palaces dotting the landscape.
La Rioja Wine Route
Ideal for wine enthusiasts, this route winds through the rolling hills of La Rioja, Spain’s premier wine region. Visitors can tour vineyards, enjoy wine tastings, and explore charming towns like Haro and Logroño. The architecture of the Marqués de Riscal Winery is a modern counterpoint to the region’s ancient monasteries.
The Costa del Sol
Stretching from Malaga to Gibraltar, this sunny coast is famous for its beaches, golf courses, and luxury resorts. However, the route also offers cultural gems like the Picasso Museum in Malaga and the historic Alcazaba. The Rock of Gibraltar provides a dramatic finale.
Valencia to Barcelona
Following the Mediterranean coast, this road trip combines the best of Spanish culture, history, and cuisine. Highlights include the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, the Roman amphitheater in Tarragona, and the architectural wonders of Barcelona by Antoni Gaudí.
The Canary Islands
Although not a traditional road trip, exploring the Canary Islands by car is a unique experience. Each island offers distinct landscapes, from the lunar vistas of Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park to the cloud forests of La Gomera. The roads here twist through volcanic mountains, offering stunning ocean views.
A road trip around Mallorca reveals the island’s diversity, from the mountainous Serra de Tramuntana to the serene beaches of the south. The route includes stops in the charming villages of Valldemossa, Deià, and Sóller, with opportunities for hiking, cycling, and relaxing by the sea.
Each of these road trips in Spain offers a unique way to experience the country’s natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re navigating the winding roads of the Pyrenees or cruising along the sun-drenched Costa del Sol, Spain’s landscapes are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Spain is renowned for its diverse landscapes, from the sun-drenched Mediterranean coastlines to the rugged mountains of the north, making it an ideal destination for road trip enthusiasts seeking scenic routes. Embarking on a road trip across Spain offers travelers the chance to explore the country’s rich cultural heritage, culinary delights, and stunning natural beauty at their own pace. Here are the 10 most scenic road trips in Spain, each promising an unforgettable journey through some of the country’s most breathtaking vistas.
The Northern Coast via the N-634: San Sebastián to Santiago de Compostela
Journey along Spain’s rugged northern coastline on the N-634, from the culinary capital of San Sebastián in the Basque Country to the historic pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. This route takes you through lush landscapes, charming fishing villages, and some of the country’s most secluded beaches. Highlights include the dramatic cliffs of the Costa da Morte and the UNESCO-listed Tower of Hercules in A Coruña.
The Andalusian Route: Seville to Granada
Explore the heart of Andalusia by driving from Seville, a city famous for its Flamenco dancing and Moorish architecture, to Granada, home of the stunning Alhambra Palace. The route is dotted with picturesque white villages, olive groves, and the Sierra Nevada’s snow-capped peaks in the distance. Don’t miss the ancient city of Córdoba along the way, with its mesmerizing Mezquita.
The Mediterranean Coast: Barcelona to Valencia
Follow the Mediterranean coast from the vibrant city of Barcelona to the historic charm of Valencia. This route offers breathtaking sea views, bustling beach towns, and opportunities to sample Catalonia’s famous cuisine. Highlights include the Roman amphitheater in Tarragona and the Ebro Delta’s unique landscapes.
The Route of the White Towns: Ronda to Arcos de la Frontera
This road trip takes you through Andalusia’s “Pueblos Blancos” (White Towns), starting from the cliffside town of Ronda to Arcos de la Frontera. These towns are known for their whitewashed buildings, narrow winding streets, and their rich history. The scenic drive through the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park offers stunning views of mountainous terrain and lush valleys.
The Pyrenees: Huesca to Andorra
Traverse the majestic Pyrenees mountains from Huesca in Aragon to the tiny principality of Andorra. This route is a paradise for nature lovers, featuring national parks, medieval villages, and panoramic mountain views. Highlights include the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, known for its waterfalls and wildlife.
The Silver Route: Seville to Gijón
Follow the ancient Vía de la Plata (Silver Route), a Roman road that stretches from Seville in the south to Gijón on the northern coast. This historical route passes through the heart of Spain, offering a glimpse into the country’s Roman and Moorish past. Key stops include the Roman city of Mérida, the medieval city of Salamanca, and the Celtic city of Astorga.
The Costa Brava: Blanes to Portbou
Discover the rugged beauty of the Costa Brava by driving from Blanes, just north of Barcelona, to the border town of Portbou. This coastal road trip offers stunning views of coves, cliffs, and medieval towns. Highlights include the Salvador Dalí House in Port Lligat and the Greek and Roman ruins at Empúries.
La Rioja Wine Route: Logroño to Haro
For wine enthusiasts, the La Rioja Wine Route is a must. Starting in Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, this route takes you through rolling vineyards to the town of Haro, famous for its wine festivals and bodegas (wineries). Along the way, enjoy tastings of some of the world’s finest wines and explore charming medieval villages.
The Green Spain Route: Oviedo to Santander
Experience the lush landscapes of “Green Spain” by driving from Oviedo in Asturias to Santander in Cantabria. This route is characterized by its verdant hills, dramatic coastlines, and the Picos de Europa National Park. Don’t miss the prehistoric cave paintings at Altamira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Valencian Orchard Route: Valencia to Alicante
Explore the fertile lands of Valencia’s orchard, driving south to Alicante. This route is known for its diverse agriculture, from orange groves to rice paddies, and offers a taste of Spain’s rich culinary traditions. Highlights include the Albufera Natural Park and the historic city of Elche, with its vast palm grove.
Continuing your journey south from Valencia towards Alicante, you delve deeper into the heart of Spanish agricultural heritage and natural beauty. After visiting the Albufera Natural Park and soaking in the sights of Elche’s palm groves, your route along the Valencian Orchard unfolds with more captivating experiences.
Gandia: A Coastal Gem
Just a short drive from Valencia, Gandia offers a mix of beautiful beaches and historical intrigue. The Ducal Palace of the Borgias is a must-see, showcasing the splendor of Renaissance architecture and the history of one of Italy’s most infamous families. Gandia’s beaches, like Playa de Gandia, are perfect for relaxation after a day of exploration.
Denia: Gateway to the Balearic Islands
As you approach Denia, the landscape changes to rugged coastlines and the impressive Montgó Mountain. Denia is renowned for its castle, which overlooks the city and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. The city’s port serves as a gateway to the Balearic Islands, making it a bustling hub of activity and culture.
Xàbia (Javea): A Coastal Paradise
Continuing along the coast, Xàbia presents a stunning mix of beaches, coves, and a historic old town. The Montgó Natural Park extends into Xàbia, offering hiking trails with breathtaking views. The town’s Arenal Beach is a popular spot for sunbathing and water sports.
The Vall de Laguar: A Hidden Valley
Venturing slightly inland, the Vall de Laguar offers a serene escape into nature. Known for its terraced landscapes and traditional agriculture, this valley is perfect for hiking and experiencing rural Spanish life. The area is dotted with small villages like Fleix and Benimaurell, where time seems to stand still.
Altea: Between Sea and Mountain
Back on the coast, Altea awaits with its charming old town, cobblestone streets, and the iconic church of La Mare de Déu del Consol, easily recognizable by its picturesque blue and white dome. Altea’s hilltop old town offers stunning views of the Mediterranean, making it a favorite among artists and photographers.
Finishing in Alicante: A City of Castles and Beaches
Your journey concludes in Alicante, a vibrant city known for its castle, Castell de la Santa Bàrbara, perched on Mount Benacantil. The city’s beaches, like Postiguet, are perfect for unwinding. Alicante’s Explanada de España, a maritime promenade lined with palm trees, offers a lively atmosphere with its restaurants and bars, encapsulating the spirit of the Mediterranean.
The route from Valencia to Alicante is not just a journey through scenic landscapes but a voyage through history, culture, and culinary traditions. Each stop along the way contributes to a rich tapestry of experiences, offering insights into the diverse heritage of Spain’s eastern coast.