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Driving Spain

Arlington, Virginia
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Driving Spain

My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Spain at the tail end of August (yes, we know it'll be hot, but it's the only time we have available what with work schedules and grad school). We did N. Italy last year and found driving was absolutely the way to go. We both love wine and food, thus getting to some of the more remote locales (including wineries) is paramount.

We'd like to fly into Madrid and make a circle NE (Priorat, Barcelona) to the Basque region, the NW (Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra) and down to the Sherry triangle.

Does anyone have any driving tips (or alternate travel suggestions), etc. for our travel? And places we absolutely must eat, drink or see?

Shrewsbury
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for Barcelona
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1. Re: Driving Spain

How many days do you have? What are your dates?

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Driving Spain

We would get in on Aug. 20 and fly out on Sept. 2. We're thinking of doing a multi-city flight (ie: fly into Barcelona and out of Madrid). I think our itinerary is a bit ambitious, so if we have to limit our travels, it will likely be to the North.

Shrewsbury
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for Barcelona
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3. Re: Driving Spain

I agree that it's too ambitious. Spain might be bigger than you realize.

I'm going to start with an "absolutely must ... see". You arrive during the Festa Major de Gracia if you fly into Barcelona. You should certainly try to take in a couple of days and nights of this before picking up your rental car. There's a risk that you might not want to leave, though.

Food and wine aspirations can be satisfied quite well by remaining in Catalunya with a visit to the Priorat region (don't miss the nearby village of Miravet) and some superb regional food specialties in the Ebro Delta (El Poblenou del Delta has some excellent restaurants and a couple of nice places to stay).

By now you will have sampled a tiny bit of what Catalunya has to offer and might be reluctant to leave it behind but your holiday will be nearing the half way stage so probably time to think about heading for the Basque region.

O Savinao, Galicia
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for Galicia
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4. Re: Driving Spain

Well it will not be so hot in the North of Spain and if it is the nights cool down significantly to allow one to sleep.

I do feel that 12 days and driving that route is going to allow you to see much of Spain other than the dash of your car.

For instance if you drive direct from Barcelona to Here in the Ribeirasacra it is over 1000km. One way that, for most folk, is over one days drive. Most of our guests, including Spanish fly that sort of distance.

Have you thought about flying into BCN, getting over jetlag; stay a few days if you have not visited before.

Either fly on to Basque country or Galicia. Then drive from either one of these locations back to Madrid.

The route from the Basque country is harder to determine as you do not say where in the area you paln on visiting. However it could be a very very long days drive. But there are quite a number of locations to stop off along the way.

The drive from Ribeira Sacra to Madrid is around 5 to 6 hours drive. However, this could be broken up with a stop off in Bierzo and some other city along the way.

When planning please remember one nighters do not work.

To some up I am in agreement that you are a bit ambitious in your original plans.

Looking at the route I take it you are very interested in wines am I correct?

Palafrugell, Spain
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5. Re: Driving Spain

An alternative suggestion would be to fly in to Barcelona. Take the first two-three days to take in Priorat and Penedes. Then one day (6-8 hours drive) across country to La Rioja and the Basque country. You'd want at least a couple of days for visits and sampling food and wine. Then another day drive across to Galicia (about 8 hours drive). That then allows you 2-3 days of visits, before another long drive down to Madrid (maybe via Oporto - another 8+ hours drive excluding stops). Then a day or two in Madrid before the return flight.

This is still a rush comparatively speaking, as people spend whole vacations exploring anyone of the places and areas you're looking at. Adding in Jerez, you'd need at least two more driving days and that excludes time for visiting while there.

Arlington, Virginia
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6. Re: Driving Spain

Thank you all for the great advice. We drove Northern Italy last year (spending no more than 3-5 hours in the car at a time), but I think I underestimated Spain's size. I think we're definitely going to do Catalunya, Basque, and Madrid. It's really a matter of whether or not we have time to squeeze in Galicia.

London, United...
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7. Re: Driving Spain

Avoid autovias and use A roads, they will be practically deserted due to the governments "creative" signage that funnels traffic onto the autovias whether they want to go on them or not! Trust your maps not the signs and have much more relaxing trip.

Los Angeles...
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8. Re: Driving Spain

We will be in Barcelona on August 27 and 28. Is this Fiesta still going on?

Shrewsbury
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for Barcelona
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9. Re: Driving Spain

Unlikely, I'm afraid. I'll try, later on, to find out f there are any more local festes happening.

Shrewsbury
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for Barcelona
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10. Re: Driving Spain

This website lists them all, LADarya

naciodigital.cat/laflama/…catalunya

You might need a map to identify many of the places identified. There are 14 pages of festivals listed for the whole of Catalunya. I didn't spot any for your dates when I checked a couple of pages but there's a good chance because August/September is one of the busiest times for Festes Major.