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The Iberian Peninsula: 22 Thrilling Highway Journeys from Madrid


In case you’re trying to journey to Spain and discover the fantastic thing about this European nation (and the remainder of the Iberian Peninsula) past Madrid, we recommend getting in a automotive and hitting the open street. 

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

Brief-Distance Highway Journeys From Madrid

To start out 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 achieve Salamanca. The College of Salamanca is a good spot for people-watching, as is the Baroque-style Plaza Mayor. 

Cuenca and Alcalá de Henares

In case you’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 an area restaurant to order the world’s well-known roast lamb. After, take the E-90/A-2 and head in direction of Guadalajara—it’s the very best 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 Go to the hanging homes in Cuenca’s fortified Outdated City, a UNESCO World Heritage web site. 

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 timber 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 after served because the Spanish royal palace.

Ávila, Segovia, and La Granja de San Ildefonso

Whilst you would possibly end up pressed for time when you attempt to match this street journey into simply at some point, exploring these three charming pueblos from Madrid on one scenic journey is doable. 

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 automotive 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 achieve the country village of Santo Domingo de Silos and its monastery. 

Head again to Burgos for the evening so you may get up contemporary the subsequent morning to take pleasure in 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 finest!

Toledo and Segovia

A Toledo day journey is very really helpful whenever you’re in Madrid, and you’ll 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 Highway Journeys From Madrid

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

Andalusia Highway 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. In case you 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. Loosen up 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: Finest day journeys from Seville

Northern Coastal Spain Highway Journey

Porcia seaside, Asturias

Get able to gawk at Spain’s beautiful 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, one in all 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, an enthralling medieval city with a wealthy historical past, beautiful structure, and lovely environment.

Portugal Exploration

Nazare seaside 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 essentially the most sense. As soon as there, take a port wine tour with tastings, discover the Gothic structure, and revel in sundown views over the Douro River. 

Spend two to 3 days right here earlier than taking the A1 to Lisbon, the place you’ll wish to keep for a minimum of 4 or 5 days. Take a Tagus River cruise, go to close by Sintra, and wander the cobblestone streets.

Northern Spain Highway Journey

On a street journey from Madrid, you may discover Northern Spain in about six or seven days when you observe the A-1 and A-6 highways as they reduce 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 swap to the A-23 in direction of Jaca. From there, take the A-138 in direction of Aínsa, surrounded by dramatic peaks and plush 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 

In case you love exploring the nice outdoor, you need to 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 encircling 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 wish to plan a minimum of every week to discover all of the sights in every city), protecting over 600 km on highways A-6, AP-9, and AG-55. 

Alongside the way in which, snap pictures 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, equivalent to Santiago de Compostela’s UNESCO-listed cathedral.

León and El Bierzo

Whereas much less visited by most vacationers, the Castile-León area is nicely price your time when 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 finest 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? Observe the A-6 and A-52 highways from Madrid to achieve 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

In case you’re taken with turning your street journey right into a mountain climbing 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 Highway Journey

What higher solution 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 achieve 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 a minimum of 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 energetic 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 Highway Journey

Observe 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. One of the best ways to benefit from the journey is to hike the paths that snake by way of the area and study 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. Observe the A-2 and A-22 highways for a scenic drive stuffed with towering peaks and charming cities, like Jaca, dwelling to a novel Eleventh-century Romanesque cathedral. 

In your solution 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 buying in Andorra.

Conclusion

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

Completely happy travels and comfortable exploring!

Timon, the voice behind TravelSpain24.com, 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 professional journey recommendation.

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