From winding mountain roads to gorgeous coastlines, Spain boasts some of Europe’s most exhilarating road trips.
Travelling by road is a fantastic way to explore the enticing and diverse landscape that Spain has to offer. Stretching over 683,175 kilometres, Spain’s landscape connects scenic mountainous routes, rocky coastlines, and restaurants boasting local cuisine.
But which route to take? Spain Life is here to help. Let’s dive into our top picks for Spain’s car routes, featuring historic sites, lively attractions, and coastlines that’ll take your breath away:
1. The Roads of El Chorro
Found in the heart of Andalusia, the glorious mountains and rock formations are about an hour outside of Malaga. This region has a special place in many hikers’ hearts, for its wooden paths over 100 metre deep chasms. El Chorro is renowned for its mixture of wide, as well as narrow mountain roads that seem a bit daunting to drive through, albeit extremely exciting. As you’ll pass many breathtaking sites, you’ll have to resist the temptation to get out and take a photo at every scenic spot, otherwise, it’ll turn into a very long drive.
The route to take is the MA-5403 and MA-448 from Ardales to El Chorro, and it takes about 30 minutes in total. On your way to El Chorro, you’ll pass the scenic lake Conde de Guadalhorce Reservoir on your left.
2. Ruta de la Plata Highway
This highway is considered the equivalent of Route 66 of America. After the AP7, this route is the second-longest motorway in Spain. Translating to the “silver route” in English, it gets its name from the road built by the Romans between Mérida (Extremadura) and Astorga (León).
The route is 810 kilometres long and is an ideal way to explore the Peninsula from north to south or vice versa, passing through Andalusia, Extremadura, Castilla y León and Asturias.
We recommend this route for its breathtaking natural beauty of Spain’s western region from top to bottom. Definite stopovers include Oviedo, León, Benavente, Zamora, Salamanca, Béjar, Plasencia, Cáceres, Mérida, Almendralejo, Zafra, and Sevilla.
3. The Tunnels of Andalusia
These ancient tunnels are a few kilometres away from the motorway that was built to take on some of the coastal regions. Built 37 years ago, the old coastal N340 takes you along the sunny Costa del Sol. As it’s no longer the main route commonly taken by cars, you’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time when you hit these roads.
Leaving behind the cities of Malaga and Almeria, this route takes you along a dreamy tour of the curvy coastlines, with scraggy rocks to one side and the mediterranean sea to your other.
The N-340 from Adra to Málaga is a cruiser’s paradise. Just relax, enjoy the beaches and coast along. The total journey is about 1 hour and 40 minutes, and is suitable for classic cruisers.
Plaza Balcón de Europa, Nerja, Spanje
4. Costa Brava – Lloret de Mar to Tossa de Mar
Our next route takes us to the gorgeous Costa Brava of Catalonia. This route will mesmerise you with beautiful views of waves crashing against the rocks between Lloret and Tossa de Mar. Along the way, you’ll be enticed to stop at all of the beautiful coves that you’ll pass along the way.
Some of these coves are accessible by crossing through pine forests. Plus, this route features medieval castles and fortresses to explore. The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Tossa de Mar is the imposing castle that flanks the main beach. This enchanting historic site makes Tossa de Mar the perfect place to end this car route!
Take the AP7 from Lloret until Tossa de Mar, amounting to a journey of a little over 2 hours.
Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, Catalonia
5. Mountains and Coastline from Santander to Gijón
This route from Santander and Gijon has something to offer everyone – intimate, winding roads, close to the coast, and restaurants with fresh seafood. This Northern route invites you to discover the magic of the region, known as the A8, or Autovia del Cantábrico.
The motorway gives scenic views that will blow you away, passing Bilbao, Santander, and Gijón on its way to Baamonde. There are also picturesque side roads, along the routes N-634, N-621, N-625 and back again on N-634 and N-632.
This enchanting drive takes you along the gorges, shorelines and rugged mountains on the meandering Picos de Europa in Asturias. The final stretch brings you to the coast of the Cantabrian Sea.
Faro Cabo Mayor, Santander, Spain
6. The Montserrat Mountains
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the last route on our list is the one for you. The Montserrat mountain in Catalunya. 45 kilometres northwest of Barcelona, this mountain with the Benedictine monstery as a backdrop will take your breath away.
This enchanting mountain road has miles of stunning views, twisty hair-pin turns, high elevations, and steep grades. As you reach the end at the monastery, you’ll be rewarded with some truly goreoys views of Catalunya.
The monster is built into the mountains itself, with views extending all the way back to Barcelona. A nice pit stop worth making is the Cal Noio restaurant in El Bruc, which is closely located to the Autovia del Nord-Est, and serves classic Catalan cuisine.