Although you’re able to start your road trip in practically any major city in Spain and tailor your itinerary around that particular starting point, we’re going to begin our adventure in Madrid. Fly into the Madrid-Barajas Airport and pick up your rental car. Explore the city as you see fit, and then wind your way along the Duero River just north of the city, through the Ribera del Duero, which happens to be one of the country’s most celebrated wine regions. Bodegas (vineyards) in this region are slightly less accessible than vineyards in Napa or Loire, and usually require appointments for visits. You’ll thank yourself for your careful pre-planning because the payoff in visiting Ribera is exceptional. The bodegas are small with intimate tasting rooms and private tours lead by vintners.Â Ancient walled cities, medieval castles and expanses of wildflower fields cascade over the landscape.
There are approximately 250 wineries spread across the Ribera del Duero’s 20,000 hectares of vineyards, and nearly 57 million bottles of wine were labeled last year!
Bilbao can be reached from both Madrid and Barcelona, so if you’re feeling up for an additional adventure, you can add a Barcelona leg to your road trip between Madrid and Bilbao! Drivers will appreciate the sheer beauty they’ll encounter while following the Basque Circuit and this drive alone could be turned into a road trip of epic proportions. If you’ve rented a convertible, now is the time to show it off, as this area is lined with beaches, cliffs and fishing ports that can be admired from the twisting roadways above, or experienced up close.
Don’t forget your protective eye wear when driving through Valencia. Food fights are king in this region, and if you find yourself in the tiny town of Buñol on the last Wednesday in August, you’re apt to get caught in the crossfire of hundreds of flying tomatoes. This sleepy village comes alive during La Tomatina, when thousands of visitors pile into the town’s city center in earnest anticipation of participating in the world’s largest food fight. While you’re in the area, don’t miss the Haro Wine Festival. Just a short drive from Buñol, hundreds of individuals armed with jugs, buckets and water pistols filled with wine with the primary targets being fellow participants. In addition to quirky festivals, Valencia is a vibrant and friendly city with two outstanding fine-arts museums, a lovely old quarter, as well as one of Spain’s most exciting nightlife scenes.
Sevilla and Cordoba
There are numerous stop-off points you can choose to explore when driving from the Costa del Sol area to Sevilla, popular cities include Benahavis, Gibraltar and Cadiz.