Knowing Spain by road
Europe is, by far, the site of the world’s most attractive per square meter. There, a small town any monastery houses a millennium, the most unexpected way leads to a medieval castle, next to the smallest brook stands a Roman aqueduct and behind the most anonymous of the hills lies a five-star Michelin restaurant. And these are things that are not seen from the plane, but at ground level. Europe air travel between cities jumping may be convenient, fast or relaxed, but it makes you lose everything in between, which is a lot.
Photography by puuikibeach
Aspects of the trip:
To see all these “little treasures” (some not so small) that house the bowels of Europe there is nothing like traveling by car, taking advantage of the very extensive and impeccable road and highway network linking all countries on the continent. In these pages, we offer one of the many possible routes, which begins in Madrid and runs to the north of Europe in stages marked by cities like San Sebastian, Bordeaux, Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Cologne and Munich. When you turn around and start back, the journey Italian cities such as Verona threads, Florence and Pisa, and then cross the Mediterranean coast of France and ending on the fantastic Barcelona.
It is a journey that never spend more than a few kilometers without displaying the temptation to stop and discover a place full of history, ancient traditions and unique culinary delights. On this journey will find a lot of tips, warnings, prices and useful data for planning, or just fantasizing, with a journey through the roads of Europe.
Photography by Jim Linwood
Starting the path:
The starting point is the Spanish capital, a city of many charms to which we must devote at least three or four days. Those who visit for the first time can not fail to visit places such as Plaza Mayor, Gran Via, Prado Museum, Thyssen and Reina Sofia and neighborhoods such as La Latina, Chueca and Malasaña, where lies the vibrant nightlife and cuisine of the city. Madrid is also an ideal place to rent a car, thanks to the diversity of offerings (see rental car). The trip departs from Madrid to the northeast, toward the Basque Country and the French border, leaving the city center by the M-30 and then the A1 motorway. The route is 450 km (about 20 euros toll) and go through sites like Burgos (stop to see its famous Cathedral and Gothic) and Vitoria, the Basque capital, one of the most elegant cities in Spain.
At San Sebastian, there is no better plan than sustenance at one of the tapas bars (tapas) of Old Town. And then spend at least a day to stroll the beaches of La Concha Bay, belle epoque style boulevards and charming Basque villages that surround it, like Toulouse, a small and charming city of pure Basque character, surrounded by very green hills and Hondarribia, with its beautiful bay and harbor in front of the French town of Hendaye.
Leaving Spain for the passage of Irun, highways E70 and E5 are joining sites of great interest to the Basque coast as Saint Jean de Luz and Biarritz, up to Bordeaux, the great capital of French wine. There you can make a brief scale to enjoy a good French lunch in one of the historic downtown restaurants or go spend a day at any of the four wine regions (Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Médoc and Graves), which combine hills covered vineyards, imposing castles and enormous prestige wineries such as Château Lafite Rothschild, which prepares one of the best (and most expensive) wines.
Photography by Nic’s events
Continuing north, you pass other historic towns such as Poitiers and Orleans. In total, 820 km to Paris are (you will pay 60 euros toll) that can be done in one sitting or sleeping in one of the very good campsites around the towns of the road.
Enjoy your road trip in Spain!