It Was Worth Every Euro Road Tripping Around Spain

Road Tripping Around Spain
Alcazar In Seville

Does the idea of road tripping around Spain excite you? Or are you a little nervous, new roads to master, tolls to be paid, where to park and where to go? It is natural to feel a little nervous, driving in Spain can be a bit crazy.

Perhaps you remember when actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Chef Mario Batali made a 13-part TV series back in 2008 called “Spain On the Road Again.” They made the trip to Spain with food writer Mark Bittman and actress Claudio Bassols.

Since then, road-tripping around Spain is something we have always wanted to do. Did you see the popular series? They had wild times driving convertibles, eating tapas, drinking, eating some more and exploring Spanish culture.

(Editor Update November 2019)

We were recently chatting with some friends of ours about travelling together again. We all just happened to be in Spain at the same time. Could we replicate something similar? Of course, we could! It would not be the same itinerary and not in a Mercedes convertible. We would not enjoy the same restaurants or bars but we could make it our own!

If you are road tripping around Spain you have to have a theme song don’t you? So what better than Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again?” As we departed Madrid that warm Saturday morning after spending 2 days seeing the attractions, we started singing but really all we could remember is the chorus. I am not sure whether we can put it down to old age or just that it is the only part of the song we ever knew in the first place. We will go with the latter! Our Spanish road trip turned out to the best road trip ever! With four of us in the car we knew that 4 large pieces of luggage would be a bit of a squeeze, so we had to plan our packing carefully and only pack what we really needed.

 

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Where to stay in Madrid
Compare prices on accommodation here for our accommodation at the L & H La Latinain Calle Calatrava 17 Madrid. Centrally located apartment with excellent facilties

“If Those Back Seat Drivers Don’t Shut Up, Leave Them at the Next Servo..”

When our friends collected the rental car they requested a GPS navigation system. It came in handy especially when we went around roundabouts a few times to try and fathom the right exit road. Like us, they were Australians. They were given one with an Aussie accent and sense of humour.

Nicknamed Slippery Sam, our friend told us off when we ignored his instructions and followed our instincts. He somehow knew when the back seat drivers were at their most vocal, hence the heading above. Servo to those readers who aren’t Australians means Petrol Station. For US readers, that’s a gas station. Perhaps you have travel friends like this.

When we did make it onto a motorway he would say “take the motorway and cruise, too easy mate”. When we arrived at our destination he would announce, “you have arrived, put those sunnies (sunglasses) on and don’t let the seagulls steal your chips.” This was his response even if we were 200 kilometres inland with no beach in sight. He was a hoot!

PRO-TIP

Do you need a GPS for your road trip? No, it is easier to buy a SIM card and use Google Maps.

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Spain Itinerary

Our top places to visit in Spain on a road trip.

Toledo

Road Tripping Around Spain Toledo

Mezquita in Toledo

Toledo was Spain’s Capital up until the 15th century. For hundreds of years the Jewish, Muslims and Christians lived together within the city walls. Have you visited? There are churches, mosques, synagogues, palaces and fortresses in this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site. We recommend that you enjoy a coffee in the Jewish Quarter before you start your sightseeing.

Does staying a night in an 18th century renovated palace in a small historic town that dates back to the Neolithic ages excite you? Well then Andujar is the place for you, not too far a drive from Toledo and an hours drive away from Cordoba, the next stop on our itinerary the next morning.

Our accommodation: Palacio Sirvente Mieres at Altozano Serrano Plato 4, Andujar

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At 9 pm on a Sunday night, all the locals were out enjoying their Sangrias and beers with Tapas. Their children and grandchildren all played together around the tables.

Cordoba

Road Tripping Around Spain Cordoba

White Washed Buildings down small alleyways in Cordoba

Cordoba was known as one of the greatest cities in the medieval world and now it is famous for one of the greatest mosques in the Western World. You can wander through the whitewashed plazas and small narrow alleyways and head towards the Mezquita (mosque). For lunch or dinner try the back streets for small local bars and cafés where you enjoy local not tourist prices.

Seville

Road Tripping Around Spain Seville

Seville’s Cathedral at Night

Seville is a short drive from Cordoba. It is known as the ‘frying pan of Europe’ where temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees centigrade in summer. You can walk through the city of ancient winding streets, see the Santa Cruz Jewish Quarter, Moorish great architecture, Seville’s Cathedral, Plaza Espana and experience the home of Flamenco. For authentic Tapas and Sangria head to the Mercado Ferria before 2 pm.

Our apartment was located in the Santa Cruz area of Seville.  The apartment was suitable for the 4 of us with a well-equipped kitchen. We had great views over the park in front of the building. The car park was a 5-minute walk away.

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Related reading:

Highlights of our Free Walking Tour of Seville

Walking Tour of Triana in Spain

 

Carmona

Carmona Road Tripping Around Spain

View of Carmona

Plan to visit Carmona on the way to Granada, it’s a picturesque village on top of a hill. The Tower that is seen for miles is similar to the Giralda Tower in Seville. Carmona has been settled since prehistoric times and contains three Moorish fortresses and has one of Spain’s best examples of a Roman Gate. Enjoy lunch in one of the many restaurants in Plaza San Fernando, where you can have a set meal for Euros 9.90 per person.

Granada

Granada Road Tripping Around Spain

Granada

Even during summer, the Sierra Nevada ranges that hug Granada can be snow-capped. It is Europe’s southern ski resort. Granada is one of the few cities in Spain that has free Tapas when you buy a drink. The most famous building ‘The Alhambra’ cannot be missed sitting proudly on the hill overlooking the city. It is one of the last Moorish strongholds in Europe, a unique complex of gardens, Moorish architecture and cascading fountains.

Our apartment in Granada: Real de Cartuja. Suitable for two couples, parking provided underneath the building, good kitchen facilities and within a ten-minute walking distance to the heart of Granada and its restaurants and bars.

 

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Related Reading: How To Make The Most of Your Visit to Granada

Valencia

Road Tripping Around Spain Valencia

Plaza de la Vergen

The Old Town of Valencia needs at least a few days to explore. Visit its Mercado Central, Barrio del Carmen, Mansion Houses and Cathedral. After you have enjoyed the old town head towards new Valencia and the City of Arts and Sciences for the biggest aquarium in Europe, the laser IMAX cinema, Palau de les Artes, Palau de la Musica and the beaches and port area.

You can reach the new Valencia by walking through what was once the Turia River until it was diverted and the river turned into parklands, sporting grounds and cycle lanes.

Accommodation in Valencia: Hote Casual Valencia del Cine – centrally located and highly recommended.

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Sadly, all good road trips have to come to an end, and this one ended in Barcelona mid-afternoon nine days later. We had enjoyed nine days of fun, laughter, food, sangria and beer and of course tapas that Spain is well known for. We covered a total distance of 1658km.

Where to stay in Barcelona:

Over the years we have stayed in a few places in Barcelona. Here are our recommendations from budget to luxury.

Budget: Hostal Europa, great location just off Las Ramblas at Carrer de la Boqueria, 18,

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4 Star: Som Nit Triomf: 4º, Trafalgar, 39, 08010 Barcelona, great location close to La Sagrada Familia. Also a good location as it was close to the Airport Bus.

 

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4 Star: Hotel Oasis atPla de Palau, 17, 08003 Barcelona – trendy hotel in a good location just off the Gothic area with swimming pool and outdoor terrace and bar.

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Spain Itinerary 10 days

Day One:

Madrid to Toledo: Distance 73km, travel time 1 hour

Toledo to Andujar: Distance 263km, travel time 2 hours 15 minutes

Day Two

Andujar to Cordoba: Distance 77km, travel time 1 hour

Cordoba to Seville: Distance 140km, travel time 1.5 hours

Day Three to Day Five

Seville

Day Six

Seville to Carmona: Distance 35km, travel time 30 minutes

Carmona to Granada: Distance 228km, travel time 2.5 hours

Day Seven

Granada

Day Eight

Granada to Valencia: Distance 498km, travel time 5 hours

Day Nine

Valencia to Barcelona: Distance 344km, travel time 4 hours

Day Ten

Barcelona

Road Trip Costs & Statistics

Total Road Trip Distance covered: 1658km

Diesel costs: Euros 100 (average cost 1.169 per litre) In 2019 the average cost of diesel fuel is 1.17 per litre.

Car rental costs: Kia Manual medium size car, fully insured Euros 425.70. For the latest car hire rates in Europe click here for more details.

Tolls Valencia to Barcelona: Euros 41.25. In 2019 the tolls are now Euros 69.15.

Examples of Tour Costs: (Updated 2019)

Toledo:

  • Entrance fee to the Fort at the City Gates Euros 3 per person
  • A cup of coffee in the cafes in the Jewish Quarter: Euros 2.25 per person
  • Marzipan per piece: Euros 0.50
  • Parking: Euros 2.25 per hour (parking station at the entrance to the City Walls)

Andujar:

  • Local Bar: Pre-dinner beers: Euros 3 per person
  • Local Restaurant: Dinner in the evening: Euros 12.00 per person

Cordoba:

  • Great coffee for Euros 1.75 per person – Mercado Victoria
  • Parking Station opposite Mercado Victoria 3 hours Euros 5.70
  • Lunch at El Baron 3 beers 1 sangria and 4 dishes Euros 26.00

Seville:

  • We can highly recommend La Azotea in Calle Mateos Gago 8 in Seville for dinner. Dinner for four with drinks Euros 20 per person
  • Entrance fee to Cathedral: Euros 9 per person
  • Entrance fee to Alcazar: Euros 9.50 per person
  • For authentic Tapas wander down to Mercado Ferria before 2pm and enjoy Tapas, Beer and Sangria for as little as Euros 6.00 per person.
  • Car parking for 4 nights: Euros 86

 Carmona:

  • Lunch set menu in Plaza San Fernando – Euros 9.90 per person 2 dishes and a beer or Sangria

Granada:

  • Coffee Euros 2 per person
  • Tapas – 1 beer and free tapas Euros 2 per person
  • Dinner for four at an Arabian Restaurant Euros 63 for drinks, entrees and main meal

Valencia:

  • Drinks in Barrio Carmen – 6 Beers and 2 Sangrias Euros 25
  • Breakfast – Croissant and Coffee Euros per person 2.50

 

If you have any questions or would like some advice we would love to hear from you. You can reach us via our Facebook page or email us here.

 

Spain Tours

We list our top recommended tours for each city we visited.

We are very happy using Get Your Guide in activities in cities that we visit.  We love their ‘best price guarantee’ which means if we find the same activity by the same local tour operator in the same currency for less they will refund the difference.  Currently, they offer over 35,000 activities in over 7,600 locations.

Madrid

We missed getting tickets to visit the Madrid Palace, as we left it too late.

You can purchase Skip the Line Tickets in advance which we highly recommend.

Our preferred travel around Madrid is the Madrid Hop On Hop Off City Bus Tour.

We love Tapas and there is nothing better to do in Madrid then a Tapas Walking Tour.

Toledo

Toledo is quite a hilly town. You can purchase tickets in advance on the Tourist Train.

Another way to enjoy visiting Toledo is to take a walking tour that also includes the tourist pass to 7 monuments.

Get the most of your visit to Toledo Cathedral by taking a tour with a local guide.

Cordoba

Skip the queues at the Mosque by purchasing your tickets in advance.

2-hour private Mosque and Jewish Quarter Tour

You can now purchase your ticket to the Cordoba Alcazar ticket in advance with a guided tour.

Seville

Well worth the ticket price for the priority entrance and guided tour to the Alcazar. The queues can be quite long during the summer months.

1 hour Flamenco Show at the Museo del Baile

Spanish Tapas Cooking Class

Valencia

Historical Walking Tour of Valencia

Valencia is famous for its street art – now you can take a 2.5-hour street art tour.

Valencia market tour and paella private foodie tour.

Barcelona

Priority access guided tour to La Sagrada Famila with ticket

Wine tasting tour with Tapas

2-hour walking tour around the Jewish Quarter

Spain Travel Information

Flight Deals

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Visa for Spain

Do you need a visa for Spain?

 

Where to stay in Spain

 

Car Rental

We use AutoEurope for our car rental in Europe.

Eurail Pass

Do you need a Eurail Pass?

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18 Comments

  • Carolyn says:

    Thanks for the breakdown of your costs, very helpful to see how things pan out, plus the distances travelled too gives us good ideas of what we can cover if necessary on a long day.
    I’d be interested to know what car rental companies you used in Spain, as your rental car seems very reasonable.
    I’m checking your other Europe travel posts too, very insightful.

    • Hi Carolyn,
      Thank you for your comments! We used Gold Cars based in Barcelona. A tip don’t let them sell you a GPS – your google maps will work perfectly in Spain.
      Cheers

  • Raghav says:

    Surprisingly enough, Spain is one of the very few places, outside of India, in the world where I have driven a car. My friends and I did a little drive holiday (not exactly a road trip) around Costa Del Sol. Other than that I have been to Valencia a couple of times for business, but the remaining places remain undiscovered for me. There was also a popular Indian film recently that included a road trip across Spain, and it has made more people from here want to do that. For me though, I enjoyed driving around Spain, even though it is a little crazy sometimes, and would love to get back on the road and discover what else it has to offer.

    • Hi Raghav
      Thanks for your comments. Spain is a fun country and so much to see and do, it is a lot easier when you have a car. You can pop into small villages along the way and enjoy local cuisine.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Sreekar says:

    Ya, totally agree with you there. Spain isn’t the cheapest to do the road trip, but it is worth it isn’t it? On our last trip we found the entry to many of the attractions being expensive especially in Toledo, but frankly speaking, it was all worth it. Great trip hands down!

    • Hi Sreekar
      Thanks for your comments. We loved road tripping Spain and would do it again in a hurry. It can be a bit expensive, but as you say ‘ all worth it’.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Cat says:

    Cordoba is one of my favorite towns to visit while in Spain. Kev’s personal favorite is Granada for its Moorish architecture.

  • Diana says:

    I would love to road trip Spain and especially the Andalucia region, so your itinerary is perfect! The costs actually don’t seem bad at all (3 euro beers? yes please!) But yea I’ve traveled there via train and plane and really want to get a more authentic feel next time by road tripping!

    • Hi Diana
      Thanks for your comments. We have done both by car and bus and would definitely recommend driving. You have so much more flexibility.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • umiko says:

    I never heard that TV program, but hey, who said you couldn’t do the same-different thing, right? I recognized all the cities in your trip but Carmona. They’re all beautiful. It’s great also that you share the cost breakdown for your reader. That will help a lot. Thank you!

  • Daniel says:

    What a comprehensive and informative article! You did a great job of breaking down the total costs of the trip and I think anyone planning a road trip to Spain should read this article. Sure, Spain isn’t a very cheap country for a road trip but like you said, it’s worth every euro 🙂

    • Hi Daniel
      Thanks for your comments. Road tripping is so much fun. A tip is to take roads that don’t charge tolls – they can be a killer cost!
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Sinjana Ghosh says:

    I have not watched this series, but a Bollywood hit “ZNMD” has put the Spanish road trip on the dream list for many Indians. All these places – Toledo, Granada , Valencia , Seville are such historic cities with marvelous architecture. I could only visit Toledo out of these, and did not do a road trip. Thanks for providing the detailed cost estimates. This article is a gem for planning a roadtrip in Spain.

  • Abhinav Singh says:

    Someone told me how wonderful road tripping in Europe is. I know what they mean after reading this blog. Spain gained popularity in my country India after they based a Bollywood Movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ in Spain. I like how you gave a detailed itinerary including the distance and travel time. This is very useful guide especially for a first timer.

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