Last updated on February 7, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, travelling and renting cars In Spain

Spain Road Trip Itinerary: The best 20 Scenic routes

It has been a long time since I wanted to write about my favourite Spain road trips. My first Spanish itinerary was 30 years ago and I completed my last one just a couple of months ago.

I just love renting a car in Spain and exploring beyond the famous destinations. This is a country famous for Barcellona, Madrid and Seville, but there is so much more to discover, from the beautiful countryside to the hidden beaches and villages.

But, without further ado, let’s get to the key points with a full table of my suggested Spanish road trip itineraries.

Driving along the Costa del Sol
Driving along the Costa del Sol

Spain Road Trip – Key points

Here is a table with 20 of the most epic Spain road trips that you can find in the country.

For some of them, I described below the full itinerary. You can click on the route name or keep reading for more details. On a mobile, swipe left and right to see all the columns.

An important tip: rent your car well in advance, especially if travelling in peak season. I usually book my cars on DiscoverCars, a website that compares local and international providers besides offering full insurance at just 8 Euros/day, a real bargain

Name of the Road TripKm to DriveThings to Do & ExploreInteresting Fact
Andalucia Road Trip800Explore historical cities, flamenco cultureAndalucía is known for its rich Moorish history
Islands of Galicia and Northern Spain900Visit beaches, traditional villagesGalicia has a unique Celtic heritage
The Best itinerary from Barcelona through the Pyrenees and back1,300Mountain landscapes, medieval townsThe Pyrenees are a natural border between Spain and France
Madrid, Toledo and Central Spain640Historical cities, Spanish cuisineToledo is known as the “City of the Three Cultures”
Fuerteventura, the Best Itinerary in the Canary Islands300Beaches, natural parksFuerteventura is famous for its wind sports
Costa Brava Road Trip along Spain’s Mediterranean Sea300Coastal towns, beaches, Dali MuseumCosta Brava means “Wild Coast” in Spanish
Road Trip Through Spain: From North to South in Style1,500Diverse landscapes, cultural landmarksThis trip to Spain is going to highlight the huge difference between north and south of the country
The Loop – The Ultimate Road Trip around Spain and Portugal3,400Spain and Portugal, diverse culturesCombines the best of the Iberian Peninsula
From France to Spain Itinerary800Montpellier to Barcelona, Mediterranean coastLinks French and Spanish Mediterranean cultures
Valencia to Malaga Coastal Drive500Mediterranean beaches, paella in ValenciaValencia is known for its City of Arts and Sciences
Basque Country Culinary Journey300Gourmet cuisine, coastal townsThe Basque Country is renowned for its unique gastronomy
Northern Spain Adventure800Rugged coastlines, Picos de EuropaNorthern Spain is known for its distinct Celtic influence
Spanish Wine Country Tour400Vineyards, wine tastings in La RiojaLa Rioja is one of Spain’s most famous wine regions
Historic Cities of Castile Itinerary 700Medieval cities, castles in CastileCastile is the heartland of historic Spain
Aragonese Pyrenees Exploration300Mountain villages, national parksThe Aragonese Pyrenees are less travelled yet stunning
Mediterranean to Atlantic Coast Trip1,000Diverse beaches, from calm to surf-friendlyShowcases the contrast between Spain’s two coastlines
Green Spain Nature Drive600Lush landscapes, traditional fishing villages“Green Spain” refers to the verdant northern regions
Extremadura Undiscovered Route400Roman ruins, natural reservesExtremadura is known for its unspoiled natural beauty
Southern Spain Beaches and Mountains800Sierra Nevada, tropical coastOffers a mix of mountainous terrain and tropical beaches
Gibraltar to Girona Coastal Journey1,200Diverse cultures, Rock of GibraltarA journey from the southern tip to the northeastern coast
The best 20 Spain Road Trip Itineraries

Andalucia Road trip – An itinerary in the South of Spain

View of Malaga from the Gibralfaro Castle
View of Malaga from the Gibralfaro Castle

This is often pointed out as the best road trip in Spain. It is certainly on top of my favourites, starting with a short stay in the vibrant coastal city of Malaga where you can explore the city’s rich history and lively culinary scene.

Next, venture 140 km to Granada for the magnificent Alhambra Palace. Spend two days there wandering through the historic Albayzin district, absorbing the city’s captivating charm.

Journey 170 km to Cordoba, one of the best destinations in Andalucia, a city steeped in Islamic and Roman heritage. Here, Mezquita and the Jewish Quarter offer a deep dive into Andalucía’s history.

Your next stop, 140 km away, is Sevilla, the capital of Andalucía. Over three days, discover its architectural marvels, including the Plaza de España, the Alcázar, and the modern Metropol Parasol (Las Setas) and immerse yourself in the vibrant flamenco culture.

Drive 120 km south to Cadiz, with a fun detour to Jerez de la Frontera, renowned for its sherry production. In Cadiz, enjoy the blend of historical exploration and beach leisure, visiting landmarks like the Castillo de San Sebastián and unwinding at La Caleta Beach.

Conclude your journey in Estepona, 160 km away, with a stop in the picturesque village of Casares. Estepona offers both lovely beaches and one of the best historical centres to stay in the Costa del Sol.

I write extensively about this Road Trip through Andalucia. Here below is a quick table to summarise the trip

DayLocationDriven KmActivities/HighlightsAccommodationNotes
1-2Malaga0Explore historical sites, vibrant restaurant scene, and nightlifeEl MuseoPerfect blend of history, culture, and beach relaxation
3-4Granada140Visit the Alhambra, explore the Albayzin district, enjoy local cuisinePalacio Gran VíaExperience the rich history and stunning architecture of Granada
5-6Cordoba170Visit the Mezquita, explore the old town and Jewish QuarterH10 Palacio ColomeraDiscover Cordoba’s blend of cultures and historical wonders
7-9Sevilla140Visit the Plaza de España, Alcázar, enjoy flamenco showsH10 Casa de la PlataCultural vibrancy and historical beauty of Sevilla
10-12Cadiz & Jerez120On the way from Sevilla to Cadiz stop at Jerez de la Frontera for a day visit.
Explore Cadiz’s old town and local market
Relax on the beach, try water sports, and visit La Caleta Beach
Los ClavelesPlenty of history and beach time
13-14Estepona – Costa del Sol160Early morning departure, stop at Casares, visit Historic Centre Estepona, relax by the beach and Esplanade walkApartamento en Playa del CristoEstepona to Malaga Airport is 80Km
ExtraRondaNAIf you have 2 spare days, add at least a night to Ronda, a unique town sitting on the El Tajo Gorge, just 1 hour from the Estepona/MarbellaCatalonia RondaIt can be done also as a day visit from Costa del Sol
The perfect itinerary in Andalucia
Andalucia Road Trip Itinerary Map
Andalucia Itinerary Map

Islands of Galicia and Northern Spain

This part of Spain is often overlooked by most travellers and in this respect, you will find a more genuine and characteristic environment, definitely less touristy than most of the country.

Start this Northern Spain itinerary from the Cíes Islands in Galicia, accessible from the airport of Vigo where you can rent the car. Spend a day at Rodas Beach, a natural paradise of crystal-clear waters and pristine sands. Hike through diverse flora for breathtaking Atlantic views.

Next, travel 100 km to Illa de Arousa, a serene island with wooden walkways and fresh seafood. Then, venture 150 km east to As Catedrais Beach in Lugo, famous for its natural rock arches and caves.

Continue your journey 220 km west to the vibrant Gijón, strolling along San Lorenzo beach and experiencing the local sidra culture.

Keep visiting (90 Km) the Asturias and explore the Picos de Europa National Park. The Covadonga Lakes offer spectacular glacial landscapes.

Conclude in the Basque Country, 300 km away, in San Sebastián famous for its lovely Concha Beach and exquisite cuisine.

Islands off the coast of Spain and Portugal - Galician Islands
The Galician Islands off the north coast of Spain

The best road trip from Barcelona through the Pyrenees

Begin in Barcelona, where Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces and the bustling Las Ramblas set the vibrant tone. Plan to spend at least 3 full days in this amazing city.

Drive 80 km north to the charming town of Vic, known for its medieval architecture and bustling market square. This is a city with plenty of history that reminds me a lot of Siena, in Tuscany, with a wide main square and all the medieval buildings around to form a sort of stadium.

Venture 300 km further into the heart of the Pyrenees to Aínsa, a hidden gem with cobblestone streets and stunning mountain vistas. The town develops around the Cinca and the Ara rivers in a magical setup.

Continue 60 km to the enchanting Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. Spectacular landscape with the Pyrenees mountains in the background, lush valleys, and amazing waterfalls. The park is really the perfect destination for hikers and nature lovers.

Next, journey 60 km to the quaint town of Jaca, a gateway to the Pyrenees. Explore its historic citadel and the Romanesque Cathedral, a testament to the region’s rich heritage.

Conclude your adventure 200 km away in San Sebastián, nestled in the Basque Country. This coastal city, known for its beautiful beaches and world-class cuisine, offers a luxurious end to your Pyrenean odyssey.

On your last day, make your way back to Barcelona by taking the direct A-22 and A-23. The trip is around 560km or 6 hours.

Spain - An amazing drone view of Barcelona
Spain – An amazing drone view of Barcelona

Madrid, Toledo and Central Spain

Begin your adventure in Madrid, a city where you will find plenty of art, culture, and vibrant energy for some of the best nightlife in Spain. Dedicate at least three full days to explore Madrid’s renowned museums, bustling plazas, extensive parks, tapas places and the great party scene in the underground hidden bars.

Drive 70 km south to Toledo, a city perched on a hill above the Tagus River. Toledo’s ancient walls encase a rich tapestry of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish heritage. Wander through the cobbled streets, visit the imposing Alcázar, and explore the stunning Toledo Cathedral.

Continue 180 km east to the charming town of Cuenca, known for its “hanging houses” (Casas Colgadas) perched perilously on cliffs. Cuenca’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a blend of medieval and modern art, with the abstract art museum housed in the hanging houses.

Journey 280 km west to the walled city of Ávila, famous for its perfectly preserved medieval walls. Explore the city’s historic centre, visit the Cathedral, and walk along the ancient walls for panoramic views.

Conclude your itinerary with a return to Madrid, 110 km away. This 640-km journey through Central Spain offers a unique blend of history, architecture, and scenic beauty, capturing the essence of Spain’s rich cultural tapestry.

Plaza Mayor in Madrid
Plaza Mayor in Madrid

Fuerteventura, the best road trip itinerary in the Canary Islands

Set off on a magical drive across Fuerteventura, the second-largest of the Canary Islands, known for its stunning beaches and captivating landscapes. Begin your journey in Puerto del Rosario, the island’s capital, where you can immerse yourself in local culture and history. Spend a day exploring the quaint streets and harbour area.

Drive 30 km southwest to the charming town of Antigua, nestled in the heart of the island. Antigua offers a glimpse into traditional Canarian life with its windmills and the Centro de Artesanía, showcasing local crafts.

Continue 70 km south to the picturesque fishing village of Morro Jable. Here, the pristine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters of Playa de Jandía beckon for relaxation and water sports.

Venture 20 km west along the coast to the stunning Cofete Beach, a remote and unspoiled paradise perfect for those seeking tranquillity away from the crowds. The dramatic backdrop of the Jandía mountains is really unmissable, especially at sunset time.

Journey north 140 km to Corralejo, a lively resort town with vibrant nightlife, excellent dining, and the famous Corralejo Dunes Natural Park, offering vast sandy landscapes.

Conclude your Fuerteventura adventure back in Puerto del Rosario or the airport.

Best places to stay in Fuerteventura
Map of the island with the best places to stay in Fuerteventura

Costa Brava road trip

DestinationKmHighlights and Things to DoInteresting Fact
Girona Airport0Pick up the rental carGateway to Costa Brava
Girona12Explore the Old Town, Girona Cathedral, walk along the Onyar RiverKnown for its well-preserved medieval streets
Tossa de Mar40Visit Tossa de Mar Castle, enjoy the beach, explore Vila Vella (Old Town)Home to one of the few remaining medieval towns on the Catalan coast
Sant Feliu de Guíxols30Visit the Monastery, enjoy water sports at the beachKnown for its annual music festival
Calella de Palafrugell30Explore the coves, Botanical Gardens at Cap Roig, traditional fishing village charmFamous for its Habaneras music festival
Begur15Visit Begur Castle, explore the village, enjoy nearby beaches like AiguablavaKnown for its Indiano (Cuban) architectural influence
Pals10Explore the medieval village, visit the Torre de las Horas, rice fieldsPals is known for its rice cultivation. Do it as a day trip from Begur.
Empuriabrava50Explore the marina, skydiving, visit the Butterfly ParkKnown as the ‘Venice of Spain’ due to its network of canals
Cadaqués30Visit Salvador Dalí House Museum in Portlligat, explore the town’s art galleriesFamous for its association with Salvador Dalí
Girona Airport85Return the rental car, end of the tripConvenient return to the starting point
Costa Brava itinerary
Cadaques with its traditional white wall buildings by the seaside
Cadaques with its traditional white wall buildings by the seaside

Road Trip Across Spain: From North to South in Style

This is a long trip that deserves around 3 weeks otherwise it would be rushed through and you would not be able to experience the essence of the country and the cultural difference between the south and the north of Spain.

Starting in Barcelona, you’ll immerse yourself in the city’s artistic vibrancy and beach culture. Moving to Valencia, enjoy its innovative architecture and culinary scene.

Stop in Granada, one of the best places to visit and stay in Andalucia. Witness the breathtaking Alhambra and delve into Andalusian culture. Stay in Malaga for the blend of history and seaside relaxation.

Marbella, one of the best destinations on the Costa del Sol, provides a luxurious retreat with its beaches and upscale charm. Experience the essence of Andalusian culture in Sevilla with its rich history and lively streets. Conclude in Cadiz, where history and coastal beauty culminate in an unforgettable Spanish experience.

DestinationKmHighlights and Things to DoInteresting Fact
Barcelona0Explore Gaudi’s masterpieces, La Rambla, enjoy the beachesRenowned for its art, architecture, and vibrant street life
Valencia350Visit the City of Arts and Sciences, enjoy the beaches, explore the old townFamous for being the birthplace of paella
Granada500Visit the Alhambra, explore Albayzin, enjoy local flamencoHome to the stunning Alhambra Palace
Malaga130Explore the historic centre, visit the Picasso Museum, relax on the Costa del Sol beachesBirthplace of Picasso
Marbella60Enjoy the luxury resorts, visit the Old Town, relax on the beachesA hotspot for international celebrities
Sevilla230Explore the Alcázar, Plaza de España, experience the vibrant flamenco cultureOn the way to Sevilla, stop at the unique Caminito del Rey for one of the most impressive hikes in the world
Cadiz130Explore the old town, visit the Cadiz Cathedral, relax on La Caleta BeachOne of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe
Ultimate Spain Road Trip through Spain: From North to South in Style
Walking and getting lost in Malaga
Walking and getting lost in Malaga

The loop – The ultimate Spanish road trip with Spain and Portugal

This is one of the best trips I ever had in my life. I enjoyed it so much, every single day. I did it in 6 weeks, and I stopped in a few more locations. The table below suits a 4-week trip but you can easily adapt it to make it shorter or longer.

This road trip starts from Barcelona, with its artistic vibrancy, and then heads to Valencia for a blend of modernity and tradition.

In Granada and Sevilla, immerse yourself in the essence of Andalucía. Cross into Portugal to explore Lisbon and Porto, enjoying their unique cultural and culinary offerings.

Journey to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, a city of great historical and spiritual significance. Visit Bilbao and San Sebastián in the Basque Country for a taste of Northern culture and cuisine.

Conclude your epic itinerary back in Barcelona, completing a full loop of unforgettable experiences. This journey is a once-in-a-lifetime exploration of the Iberic Peninsula’s diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant local life.

DestinationKmHighlights and Things to DoInteresting Fact
Barcelona0Explore Gaudi’s masterpieces, La Rambla, and the city’s beachesA vibrant city known for its art and architecture
Valencia350Discover the City of Arts and Sciences, old town, and enjoy the beachesBirthplace of paella
Granada500Visit the Alhambra, explore Albayzin, and enjoy flamenco nightsHome to the majestic Alhambra
Sevilla250Marvel at the Alcázar, Plaza de España, and experience flamenco cultureThe heart of Andalusian culture
Lisbon, Portugal460Explore Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, and time at Lisbon beachesA city famous for its maritime history
Porto, Portugal310Discover the Ribeira, wine tasting in the Douro Valley, and Porto’s beachesKnown for its port wine production
Santiago de Compostela230Visit the Santiago Cathedral, explore the historic centreEnd point of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage
Bilbao600Guggenheim Museum, stroll through the old town, enjoy Basque cuisineFamous for its modern art and Basque culture
San Sebastián100Relax on La Concha Beach, explore the Old Town, enjoy pintxosRenowned for its culinary scene
Barcelona600Return to Barcelona, end of the itineraryA perfect loop back to the cosmopolitan start
The loop – The ultimate scenic road drive in Spain
Where to stay in Porto - Best areas and hotels
Where to stay in Porto – Best areas and hotels

From epic Spain & France itinerary – Montpellier to Barcelona

DestinationKm from Previous DestinationHighlights and Things to DoInteresting Fact
Montpellier, France0Explore the Place de la Comédie, Fabre Museum, and relax on Mediterranean beachesA vibrant city known for its rich history and culture
Carcassonne, France150Visit the medieval fortress city, explore the old townHome to the UNESCO-listed La Cité, a fortified medieval city
Toulouse, France90Discover the Capitole de Toulouse, visit the Cité de l’Espace, and enjoy local cuisineKnown as ‘La Ville Rose’ for its distinctive pink terracotta buildings
Andorra190Enjoy shopping, hiking in the Pyrenees, and visit the thermal spa at CaldeaA small mountainous country nestled in the Pyrenees between France and Spain
Lleida, Spain160Pass the border and visit Spain. Explore La Seu Vella (Old Cathedral) in Lleida and the historic centreKnown for its rich architectural heritage and fruit cultivation
Tarragona, Spain100Discover Roman ruins, visit the Tarragona Cathedral, and relax on Costa Daurada beachesA city with ancient Roman history, home to the UNESCO-listed Roman Amphitheatre
Sitges, Spain60Enjoy the beaches, explore the town’s modernist architecture, and vibrant nightlifeA picturesque coastal town known for its Film Festival and Carnival
Barcelona, Spain40End the trip exploring Gaudi’s masterpieces, La Rambla, and the city’s beachesA vibrant city famous for its art, architecture, and cosmopolitan lifestyle
Spain & France itinerary – Montpellier to Barcelona
The old town of Sitges
The old town of Sitges
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

Leave a Comment