Have you been looking into a trip to Spain? Good News--the search is over! Take a look at the four incredible Spain road trips listed below, and get ready to embark on the vacation of a lifetime, as you explore at your leisure in the comfort of your very own Spain rental car from Auto Europe. Whether you're looking for the latest travel news, need to explore family rental car options, or are in search of travel tips, Auto Europe has you covered with award-winning customer service agents awaiting your call, 24/7.
Click any of the Spain road trip banners below to navigate to each specific itinerary.
Tourists flock to Spain each year for it's sunny weather and spectacular food but many miss out on experiencing all this Iberian country has to offer when they stick to a typical package tour. Instead, come bask in the sun on Spain's eastern coast with all its Mediterranean acclaim on a relaxed road trip by way of your own private rental car in Barcelona from Auto Europe.
Enjoy touring the rolling Catalan countryside at your own pace; taking in the Roman ruins, delightful small villages, world-class wineries and culinary experiences that you choose to partake in. With over 500 kilometers to explore between the bustling Barcelona and the pristine beaches of Alicante, in the comfort and convenience of your own private luxury car rental, your Spain travel plans will truly come alive.
Begin your Spain road trip in the cultural center of Barcelona, celebrated for its Catalan cuisine, diverse art scene, and myriad architectural wonders. The sheer volume of attractions found in Barcelona, coupled with it's idyllic seaside locale makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and undoubtedly you could spend your entire vacation in this city alone. Most Spain tours overlook the many exciting towns and villages outside of the city, though, so break from the tourist mold and ready your Barcelona rental car for the ultimate Spanish vacation!
Barcelona Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Catalan cuisine is praised far and wide for its sundry and assorted use of fresh vegetables and seafood. Similar to other Mediterranean culinary styles, Catalan cuisine is highly diverse, making Barcelona's restaurant scene vibrant and full of options. No matter what your food preferences are, you're sure to find a restaurant in Barcelona that you'll love. Somewhat expectedly, the nightlife scene in Barcelona is top-notch with an endless array of dance clubs, bars, and afterhours venues peppered throughout the city.
Barcelona Hotels & Lodging:
You may be drawn to Spain for the urban enchantments of Barcelona but you'll stay for the utopian country villages. Between Barcelona and Valencia you'll discover the Gothic and medieval gems of Tarragona, an long-ago port city trapped by an eponymous district, which blends the romance of ancient history with the best of Mediterranean of today.
Tarragona Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Much like Barcelona, Tarragona's coastal Mediterranean locale inspires a wealth of fresh seafood options and tapas bars. The larger province of Tarragona has been a major wine production region since the ancient Romans, and today is celebrated for the continued production of traditional wines, including sweet dessert wines, sun-aged Rancios, and high alcohol content Tarragona Clásico. Though obviously smaller than Barcelona, the restaurant and nightlife scenes are still thriving, with a number of bars, cafes, and bistros spread throughout the area.
Tarragona Hotels & Lodging:
Located on the Mediterranean Sea, nearly 4 hours south of Barcelona, Valencia's paradiasical locale offers a unique vantage point from which to explore the regional culture and attractions. In contrast to most coastal tourist destinations where the pulse of the city is experienced primarily at the beach, Valencia's cultural personality is centered around its downtown neighborhoods. A wide variety of attractions await you in Valencia, including the internationally famous Fallas Festivity--a week long, city-wide celebration in March where each of Valencia's neighborhoods displays massive paper mache effegies before burning them to the ground on the final day during a proud display of fireworks.
Valencia Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
As the official birthpace of Spain's most popular culinary offering, paella, it's basically a requirement to sample all the incredilbe paella varieties when you're in Valencia. To differentiate authentic Valencian paella from the tourist-trap variety, it's smart to avoid restaurants that advertise with large doorway signs displaying paella. In most circumstances, this is an indicator of previously-frozen/microwaved paella. Valencia's cultural customs indicate that paella is typically served as a mid-day meal, as opposed to dinner, so you may want to avoid restaurants that oppose this custom, as the quality of the paella should be in question.
Valencia Hotels & Lodging:
As your Spain road trip through Catalonia and Valencia comes to a close, the final day brings you to the paradiasical port-city of Alicante. This historic Mediterranean port is an excellent destination to soak up some sun, and relax a bit after all the site-seeing you've been doing the previous 3 days. A variety of private and public beach-fronts can be found throughout Alicante, including the Explanada de Espana, a promenade lined with palm trees, restaurants, shopping, and beach-access.
Alicante Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Piripi: Modern take on the traditional trinity of rice, fish, and seafood
Mesón de Labradores: Bona fide tiled décor, appetizing croquetas
Dársena: Nautical themed, flavorful tapas
Nou Manolín: Local hidden gem
Don Carlos: Fusion cuisine
Alicante Hotels & Lodging:
Additional Travel Resources: Catalonia & Valencia Road Trip
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Bordered by both the Pyrenees Mountains and Atlantic sea, as well as straddling two nations, this seaside region of Basque country has much to offer to travelers year-round. From ocean air and sunny beaches to the rolling hills of the Basque countryside, immerse yourself in the locals' unique language, exciting personalities and amazingly rich history. With the advantage of having your own personal mode of transportation, you will have a vacation that is uniquely you and nothing like the packaged tours you'll find else where.
Take advantage of the Spain Road Trip itinerary below, or craft your own as you go; this adventure is in your hands!
With it's classic romantic ambiance, it's difficult to understand why San Sebastián--known by locals as Donostia--isn't a Mediterranean hotspot. Come discover the magical atmosphere for yourself. Known primarily for it's golden-sand beaches and paradiasical coastal flora, San Sebastian is the perfect destination to relax and soak up the sun in-between adventures to must-see attractions.
San Sebastian Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Parte Vieja--historic downtown--is a gourmet food lovers paradise, overflowing with tempting tapas and pintxos bars, it's a perfect locale for hopping from place to place sampling all the flavors this countryside has to offer. San Sebastian's seaside locale means that the seafood offerings are almost always fresh caught, so be sure to sample the local ocean-fare.
San Sebastian Hotels & Lodging:
Many tourists visiting Spain don't find their way to modest Vitoria-Gasteiz, heart of Basque Country, but you're one of the lucky ones. Visiting this enchanting village, with its 15th century storefronts, will no doubt be a highlight on your trip as you're swept back in time.
Vitoria-Gasteiz Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Calle Correría: Memory-making, high-end splurge restaurant
El Portalón: Historic stagecoach inn turned restaurant, wait staff wears vintage farming costumes
Zaldiarán: Eight-course tasting menu, classy yet affordable
Restaurante El Clarete: Adventurous Basque cuisine, "surprise degustation" menu
Vitoria-Gasteiz Hotels & Lodging:
Haro sits at the northwestern tip of the celebrated wine region of Rioja, a region that produces some of the best value bottles of wine in the world--like its Tempranillo-dominant, cherry and vanilla hinted reds, and its crisp whites. The best time to visit Haro is during the Summer when the Haro Wine Festival begins, where vintners and oenophiles engage in a red wine fight. Be sure to pack an old white shirt for June 29, the Day of Patron Saint San Pedro, and prepare for a wine and grape slinging free-for-all.
Haro Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
"Food without wine is a corpse; wine without food is a ghost." ~ Andre Simon
Experience the life and excitement of perfect parings on your Basque road trip at one of Haro's many fabulous restaurants.
Haro Hotels & Lodging:
Welcome to Bilbao, the final stop on your Spain road trip, and the capital of Basque country. Art and culture lovers will find themselves at home in the frenetic cultural capital of Bilbao. Myriad attractions await you, from stunning architecture to idyllic beaches, so be sure to use your Bilbao rental car to the fullest and explore unabated. Looking for a bit more history out of your Spanish tour? Day trip to Guernica and experience one of the first aerial bombing targets by the Nazis in 1937. Take in this inspirational location for Pablo Picasso's black-and-white mural Guernica or contemplate the challenges of war and peace at the Gernika Peace Museum.
Bilbao Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Mercado de la Ribera: Open air market with fresh produce, food-carts, and sit-down eateries
Plaza Nueva: Prime people-watching location, tapas bars in all directions
Rio-Oja: Traditional Basque fare (like sheep brains & squid in pools of its own ink)
Bilbao Hotels & Lodging:
Additional Travel Resources: Basque Country Road Trip
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From lively festivals to diverse architecture & cultural history, this Andalusian road trip will leave you breathless. It comes as no surprise that over two million visitors a year vacation here. Stretching across the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Andalusia has played host to numerous empires across the ages that have left beautiful, indelible marks upon the region.
Branch out from the package tour and explore its whitewashed villages and rich cultural defining traditions--from bullfighting to tapas to flamenco dancing. Andalusia is a captivating and romantic provence you'll be loth to miss out on so book your private rental car with Auto Europe and prepare to venture on the road trip of a lifetime.
In terms of impressive architecture, Sevilla is second to none. Not only is the world's largest cathedral, Seville Cathedral, located in Sevilla, but myriad other architecture wonders. The hardest part of visiting Sevilla is deciding where to go first. With so many incredible attractions at your fingertips, a Sevilla rental car only makes sense.
Sevilla Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Traditional of Spain, you can always find tasty tapas (small plates) to sample throughout the night and the riverside district of Triana is an excellent place to visit as it's packed with rustic bistros and tap houses galore. Beyond tapas, another regional specialty not to be missed is the Sherry--a fortified (meaning Brandy is added) wine.
Sevilla Hotels & Lodging:
Málaga was founded in the 8th century and while keeping with its roots and plenty of historic Moorish influence, it is also a hotbed for art of every kind (from glass and crystal to classic cars).
Malaga Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Malaga plays host to a largely exuberant nightlife and you can easily find your place to party at any of the bars near Plaza de la Merced, Plaza Mitjana and Plaza de Uncibay.
La Rebaná: Centrally located, tapas, unique dishes (foie gras with salted nougat)
El Tapeo de Cervantes: Fresh dishes (artichoke and goat cheese quiche with basil pesto)
Aire Gastrobar: Vast range of Mediterranean fare
Malaga Hotels & Lodging:
The ancient Muslim capital of Granada still displays the best of its Islamic influences, evident from the heavy-presence of Moorish architecture, tiled facades, and modern bazaar-style markets.
Granada Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Amazingly, many of the city's bars still keep to the fading tradition of serving a free tapas plate with the purchase of beer or wine. Plenty of delicious options are available to you as well if you're looking for a more substantial meal, such as at Carmen--a restaurant within one of the Albayzín's magnificent walled gardens overlooking the Alhambra.
Granada Hotels & Lodging:
Welcome to Córdoba, where the central Mezquita represents a unique cultural combination that joins Roman and Visigoth influences with the rich impact of Islamic medieval architecture--like it's Mihrab and Torre del Alminar.
Cordoba Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Insider's secret: Venture into the Jewish Quarter for the best restaurant values in town.
Restaurante El Choto: Grilled meats, offers fixed price as well as tasting menus for any appetite
Casa Mazal: Jewish cuisine, modern feel, good for vegetarians
Taberna San Miguel El Pisto: Traditional Spanish dining, tapas, old-school ambience
Cordoba Hotels & Lodging:
Additional Travel Resources: Andalusia Road Trip
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With its popular Mediterranean climate, delightful eateries and deep cultural heritage, millions of visitors are drawn to this region each year; few Spain destinations can contend with the capital city of Madrid. While the environment differs from that of the coastline experiences, the country's largest city provides immense eye-opening opportunities as it dates back to the Middle Ages and is overflowing with both historical treasures and 21st century excitement.
Whether you're a tapas-loving foodie or you desire to be drawn into a fiery flamenco beat, you can probably find a packaged tour of Madrid on the market. However, to truly uncover the heart of Spain and delve into the culture, nothing compares to the comfort and convenience creating your own personalized itinerary with the versatility afforded by having your own method of transportation. Enjoying Madrid itself on foot and then pick up your vehicle to further your Spanish adventure with the suggested itinerary below.
As one of the livliest cities in Spain, Madrid is the perfect destination to kick off your Central Spain road trip. With so many incredible attractions to choose, from multi-genre art musuems and ancient architecture, to a undoubtably legendary nightlife scene, a rental car in Madrid is an absolute must in this Spanish metropolis.
Madrid Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Madrid is a city that deeply honors culinary tradition, evident through the myriad restuarant and bar options scattered throughout the city. Madrid's inland locale makes it more of a haven for farm-fresh local ingredients than seafood options, but regardless of what you desire, Madrid is sure to have something that piques your interest.
Madrid Hotels & Lodging:
Treasured collections of modest Moorish architecture and medieval churches line the city streets, making a simple afternoon stroll the most picturesque of events.
Segovia Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
No Spain road trip is complete without sampling the regional fare of roast suckling pig in Segovia. Segovia, Spain, has a multitude of eateries and bistros that do traditional meals, as well as plenty of modern bars, lounges, and clubs.
Mesón de Candido: Celebrity-frequented, offers traditional roast sucking pig
Restaurante Casa Chapete: Local favorite, smokey atmosphere
Narizotas: Ever popular chef's "mystery sampler," tapas
Segovia Hotels & Lodging:
At the intersection of medieval wonderment and Mediterranean paradise lies the quaint UNESCO World Heritage site, Avila. The city's primary claim to fame is its curved, ancient city walls providing a remarkably preserved lens into the 12th century.
Avila Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
There are plenty of delicious meal options around Avila but for a sweet treat to round off your meal, look for "yemas de Santa Teresa"--a lemony custard cake specific to Ávila and named for the town's patron saint.
Avila Hotels & Lodging:
Toledo sings a magnificent melody of Spanish history--filled with impressive remnants of Roman, Visigoth, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian occupation. A self-guided walking tour through the city's labyrinth of streets will give you an excellent glimpse into Toledo's vast past via it's architecture alone.
Toledo Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Los Cuatro Tiempo Restaurante: Offers three-course dinners, romantic ambiance, game and roasts or step into the shoes of an old world aristocrat at the palatial restaurant locale
Castilian Restaurante Casón López de Toledo: Located in a 16th century palace, reservations recommended
Restaurante Mesón Palacio: Hearty home cooked meals (steaming bowls of bean soup with partridge)
La Abadia: Lighter meals, traditional fare, decent price
Toledo Hotels & Lodging:
Additional Travel Resources: Central Spain Road Trip
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