Friday, December 1, 2023

The Iberian Peninsula: 22 Thrilling Street Journeys from Madrid

For those who’re seeking to journey to Spain and discover the great thing about this European nation (and the remainder of the Iberian Peninsula) past Madrid, we propose getting in a automobile and hitting the open street. 

With 22 distinctive routes, the next itineraries for street journeys from Madrid can have you exploring all the pieces from historical cities and coastal landscapes to Portugal and past.

Brief-Distance Street Journeys From Madrid

To begin your journey, take a look at our suggestions on the place to remain in Madrid. Selecting the best neighborhood could make it simpler to relaxation correctly earlier than embarking on these short-distance street journeys from Madrid.

Salamanca and Ávila

Attending to Ávila from Madrid takes simply over an hour on the A-6. As soon as there, you may spend a number of hours wandering across the fortified metropolis partitions and Twelfth-century Ávila Cathedral.

Then, take the A-50 northwest for about an hour to succeed in Salamanca. The College of Salamanca is a good spot for people-watching, as is the Baroque-style Plaza Mayor. 

Cuenca and Alcalá de Henares

For those who’re a fan of Spanish literature, take a street journey to Alcalá de Henares, the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes. Take the M-30 out of Madrid earlier than merging onto the A-2, and also you’ll be there in not more than 40 minutes. 

Discover the native structure and cease at a neighborhood restaurant to order the realm’s well-known roast lamb. After, take the E-90/A-2 and head in direction of Guadalajara—it’s the most effective path to Cuenca to keep away from tolls. From Guadalajara, you’ll take the N-320 for about an hour and a half earlier than reaching Cuenca. Go to the hanging homes in Cuenca’s fortified Outdated City, a UNESCO World Heritage website. 

Sierra de Guadarrama Nationwide Park and El Escorial

For a nature-filled escape from town, discover the Sierra de Guadarrama Nationwide Park—about an hour north of Madrid through the M-601. Hike by way of the granite rock formations and pine bushes to get to locations just like the Lagunas de Peñalara or Valle de La Fuenfría. 

Head again in direction of Madrid, however take the M-614 for about 45 minutes and cease in El Escorial, dwelling to the El Escorial Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Website that when served because the Spanish royal palace.

Ávila, Segovia, and La Granja de San Ildefonso

When you would possibly end up pressed for time should you attempt to match this street journey into simply in the future, exploring these three charming pueblos from Madrid on one scenic journey is attainable. 

Begin by taking the AP-6 freeway northwest till you veer west onto the AP-51 in direction of the walled metropolis of Ávila. After, get again on the AP-6 and head northeast towards Segovia through the N-110 for about 50 minutes. 

Discover the Roman Aqueduct and the fairytale-like Alcazar Fort in Segovia earlier than hopping again within the automobile for a fast 15-minute trip to La Granja de San Ildefonso, identified for its opulent Royal Palace and gardens.

Burgos and Surrounding Areas

Beginning in Madrid, hop on the A-1 to Burgos, a metropolis simply two and a half hours north with a must-see Gothic cathedral. Then, take the N-234 for about an hour to succeed in the country village of Santo Domingo de Silos and its monastery. 

Head again to Burgos for the night time so you may get up contemporary the following morning to get pleasure from a fast 25-minute drive down the A-1 to get to Lerma for wine tastings at native vineyards. Finish the journey in Ribera del Duero, the place you may wander alongside the River Duero or go to one of many bodegas within the area—Bodegas Portia is among the greatest!

Toledo and Segovia

A Toledo day journey is extremely really useful once you’re in Madrid, and you may simply attain the medieval metropolis in about an hour through the A-42. Go to the Thirteenth-century Toledo Cathedral and Alcázar of Toledo earlier than getting again on the A-42 and heading north in direction of Segovia, dwelling to the gorgeous Alcazar Palace and the well-known Roman Aqueduct.

Lengthy Distance Street Journeys From Madrid

When you have per week or two to spend in Spain, the next itineraries are nice should you can dedicate about seven to 10 days to savoring Spain’s gorgeous landscapes by automobile. Don’t fear—there’s time to cease alongside the way in which!

Andalusia Street Journey

Get able to discover Andalusia through the A-5 and A-66, which carry you to Seville in just below 5 hours. Take your self on a strolling tour of town, hitting hotspots just like the Plaza de España and the Royal Alcázar of Seville, earlier than treating your self to a flamenco present.

From Seville, it’s only a two-and-a-half-hour drive on the A-92 in direction of Granada, the place you may marvel on the Alhambra. For those who love science and historical past, cease on the Parque de las Ciencias, too.

Get again on the A-92 and head south for about an hour and a half till you attain the sandy shores of Málaga. Chill out on the Mediterranean seashores, go to the Alcazaba, spend time on the Museo Picasso, and take a day journey to El Caminito del Rey.

Additionally learn: Greatest day journeys from Seville

Northern Coastal Spain Street Journey

Porcia seashore, Asturias

Get able to gawk at Spain’s gorgeous seascapes on a week-long or ten-day street journey from Madrid to the northern coast.

It’ll take you thru scenic southwest France en path to San Sebastian’s seashores. It’s a few four-and-a-half-hour drive alongside the A-1 and AP-1 highways.

From San Sebastian, you’ll take the AP-8 and A-8 alongside the Cantabric coast for about two hours to make it to Santander earlier than venturing off to the charming port metropolis of Gijón. Lastly, you’ll arrive at Estaca de Bares, considered one of Spain’s northernmost factors.

Basque Nation Discovery

To traverse the picturesque Basque Nation, begin in Madrid and head north on the A-1 freeway to Bilbao, the place you may go to the enduring Guggenheim Museum and indulge within the metropolis’s dynamic culinary scene. 

From there, take the A-8 freeway to San Sebastian, famend for its lovely seashores and Michelin-starred eating places. Lastly, drive southwest on the N-1 freeway to Vitoria-Gasteiz, a captivating medieval city with a wealthy historical past, gorgeous structure, and lovely environment.

Portugal Exploration

Nazare seashore and metropolis heart buildings as seen from Miradouro do Suberco

If you wish to mix two Iberian international locations into one journey, take a ten-day street journey from Madrid to Lisbon and Porto. 

Usually, heading to Porto through the AP-6 makes probably the most sense. As soon as there, take a port wine tour with tastings, discover the Gothic structure, and luxuriate in sundown views over the Douro River. 

Spend two to a few days right here earlier than taking the A1 to Lisbon, the place you’ll need to keep for not less than 4 or 5 days. Take a Tagus River cruise, go to close by Sintra, and wander the cobblestone streets.

Northern Spain Street Journey

On a street journey from Madrid, you may discover Northern Spain in about six or seven days should you observe the A-1 and A-6 highways as they minimize by way of the strikingly lovely peaks of the Cantabrian Mountains. 

Cease to admire the turquoise waters of the Bay of Biscay earlier than arriving in Santander. Order some seafood and stroll round El Sardinero Seashore. Additional up, Gijón awaits with scrumptious seafood markets. 

Finish your street journey within the city of Oviedo, the place you may marvel at medieval structure and eat genuine Asturian delicacies. 

Pyrenees Journey

There are few higher methods to see the Pyrenees than by admiring them alongside the horizon as you drive your manner by way of the area earlier than stopping to hike, ski, or bike by way of the majestic landscapes. How do you get there?

Beginning in Madrid, observe the A-2 freeway in direction of Zaragoza, then change to the A-23 in direction of Jaca. From there, take the A-138 in direction of Aínsa, surrounded by dramatic peaks and luxurious forests. 

Lastly, cross the border into Andorra and expertise the tiny nation’s lovely nature—it’s nice for snowboarding or snowboarding, relying on the season.

Picos de Europa Discovery 

For those who love exploring the nice outside, you must go to the Picos de Europa Nationwide Park—Spain’s solely inhabited nature reserve. Hit the A-6 motorway in direction of the quaint city of Potes, nestled between the majestic Picos de Europa mountains. 

From right here, observe the winding roads in direction of the gorgeous Covadonga Lakes and cease for awe-inspiring views of the encompassing peaks. Don’t miss the village of Cangas de Onís and its iconic Roman bridge.

Extremadura Exploration

It’s easy to set out on an exploration journey by way of Spain’s southwestern area of Extremadura. 

Take the A-5 freeway from Madrid to Cáceres, a UNESCO heritage metropolis that has preserved its medieval and Renaissance structure. Proceed to Mérida and witness the Roman ruins that date again to 25BC. Finish the journey in Badajoz, identified for its fortress and Gothic cathedral.

All of the stops you can’t miss on an Extremadura street journey

Galician Delights

A journey to Spanish Galicia from Madrid takes roughly ten hours (of driving time—you’ll need to plan not less than per week to discover all of the sights in every city), masking over 600 km on highways A-6, AP-9, and AG-55. 

Alongside the way in which, snap photographs of the emerald-green forests, hovering mountains, and coastal villages. Bask in Galicia’s famed seafood and wine, and marvel on the structure and historic landmarks, corresponding to Santiago de Compostela’s UNESCO-listed cathedral.

León and El Bierzo

Whereas much less visited by most vacationers, the Castile-León area is effectively price your time should you love Gothic structure and distinctive mountainscapes. 

You’ll take the A-6 and AP-71 highways from Madrid to get to León, the place you may go to the majestic Gothic Cathedral, the Roman metropolis partitions, and the charming Barrio Húmedo. 

Proceed to Ponferrada to see the Castillo de los Templarios. Then, drive to Las Medulas, a UNESCO World Heritage Website dwelling to Roman gold mines. Lastly, head to Villafranca del Bierzo to expertise the peacefulness of this quaint city, surrounded by lush vineyards.

Costa da Morte and Rias Altas

Cabo Vilano Costa da Morte

A street journey alongside the Costa da Morte is among the greatest methods to discover Galicia and its coastal cities. After taking the A-6 freeway from Madrid, you’ll attain A Coruña first, the place you may tour the Tower of Hercules and loosen up at Orzan Seashore. 

From there, hit the AP-9 and A-8 highways for the smoothest journey to and thru the Costa da Morte and Rias Altas, the place you’ll uncover hidden coves and small fishing villages.

Coastal Gems of Galicia

Wish to discover the Galician coast? Comply with the A-6 and A-52 highways from Madrid to succeed in Vigo. Subsequent, cease in Santiago de Compostela, well-known for being the ultimate cease on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Then, proceed on the AP-9 freeway to the Rias Baixas, identified for its world-class wine and epic landscapes.

León Mountains and Sil River Canyon

For those who’re involved in turning your street journey right into a mountaineering journey, it’s price exploring the distinctive, jagged León Mountains and Sil River Canyon. To get there, drive alongside the A-6 freeway to Valdeorras, a small city dwelling to distinctive wines. 

Then, proceed to Ponferrada, the place you may witness the breathtaking silhouette of its medieval fort. Lastly, discover historic Astorga and the Sil River Canyon as you journey again to Madrid.

Mediterranean Explorer Street Journey

What higher method to discover Spain’s Mediterranean shoreline than with a scenic street journey from Madrid? First, you’ll observe the A-2 and AP-7 highways to succeed in the azure blue seashores of the Costa Brava—it’s a few seven-hour drive, so put together accordingly. 

From there, Barcelona’s simply over an hour and a half away. Plan to spend not less than three or 4 days within the Catalan capital metropolis, immersing your self in the magic of Gaudí and Gothic structure.

Proceed alongside the coast to discover the vigorous metropolis of Valencia and its spectacular Metropolis of Arts and Sciences. Lastly, head to the sunny, rugged landscapes of Cabo de Gata Pure Park for a style of unspoiled nature.

Andalusian White Villages Street Journey

Comply with within the footsteps of literary greats like Hemingway and discover the white villages of Andalusia. Whereas there are a number of to go to, our itinerary takes type by way of Ronda, Grazalema, and Arcos de la Frontera. 

To discover these picturesque pueblos, take the A-4 in direction of Seville, adopted by the A-374 onto the Sierra de Grazalema Pure Park. The easiest way to benefit from the journey is to hike the paths that snake by way of the area and find out about every village’s distinctive historical past.

Pyrenees Journey

Discover the peaks of the Pyrenees from afar by taking a street journey from Madrid to Jaca, Aínsa, and Andorra. Comply with the A-2 and A-22 highways for a scenic drive filled with towering peaks and charming cities, like Jaca, dwelling to a novel Eleventh-century Romanesque cathedral. 

In your method to Aínsa, schedule a while to hike, ski, or raft within the Parque Pure de la Sierra y los Cañones de Guara earlier than having fun with some tax-free procuring in Andorra.


In abstract, these 22 street journeys from Madrid provide a fascinating journey by way of the Iberian Peninsula. From medieval cities to gorgeous coastlines, every itinerary guarantees distinctive experiences and unforgettable reminiscences. So, hop in your automobile, embrace the open street, and let the wonders of Spain and Portugal unfold earlier than you.

Comfortable travels and glad exploring!

Timon, the voice behind, is a seasoned journey author and storyteller. As a digital nomad with a powerful connection to Spain, he navigates readers by way of the nation’s landscapes, merging private anecdotes with knowledgeable journey recommendation.

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