Holiday routes through Spain

An interactive road map of Spain

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The best routes to southern and western Spain and Portugal

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Main routes through Spain

1.  From Southwest France - via Irun-  to Seville and the Algarve

Mauve route - most of this route is toll free (2024), and beyond San Sebastian traffic becomes increasingly light. Past Burgos and Valladolid, traffic is liable to be very light indeed, all the way as far as Seville. This is a route to be taken at a leisurely pace, as there is so much to see along the way, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites at Burgos, Salamanca, and Caceres. See area guides for Castile and Leon, and Extremadura.

2  The shortest route to Valencia, Murcia and eastern Andalucia - without tolls

Green route While it may be intuitive to imagine that the shortest way to the central Mediterranean coastal resorts of Spain (to the west of Valencia) is to come through France and follow down the Mediterranean coast, this is not the case. Calais to Benidorm via the French A75 and Perpignan is 1800 km; Calais to Benidorm via Chartres, Biarritz and Pamplona can be 100 km shorter (see No tolls through France), depending on the route taken through France. For details of this route through Spain, see route description on No tolls through Spain, and area guides for Navarre and Aragon

3  The Mediterranean Motorway - From Mediterranean France to Marbella

Red route - Since 2022 the tolls have been removed from the AP7  motorway, which is now free for most of its length from Le Pertus, the border crossing on the French A9 toll motorway south of Perpignan, as far as southern Andalucia. From the French border as far as Valencia, this is a busy motorway by Spanish standards, with particularly busy sections around Barcelona. After Valencia, there is a choice of routes, inland or along the coast. Both routes meet again beside the town of Elche before dividing again into the coastal AP7 and the inland A7. The A7 route divides again after Murcia at Puerto Lumbreras, with the faster inland route following the A91 via the fabulous city of Granada (UNESCO world heritage site), the southern  route rejoining the coastal route at Vera, and then linking all the resorts from Mojacar to Marbella.
   See area guides for Catalonia and the Valencia region

4  From route 1 after San Sebastian to Northwest Spain

Deep red route.  This route follows Spain's attractive northern coastline, through the regions of Cantabria and Asturias, as far as Galicia, and the pilgrimage town of Santiago de Composte,a UNESCO World Heritage site. From there it is a short drive on and into the North region of Portugal.  Most of the motorway is free, though there a toll sections in and around La Coruña

5  From route 1 at Salamanca to Central Portugal

Deep blue route.  This central route into Portugal is for people travelling to the coast or up to Porto.Note that there are tolls on most Portuguese motorways, and visitors are advised to buy a pass on entering Portugal. See driving in Portugal.

6  From route 1 at Caceres to Lisbon and the Algarve

Orange route.  Leave the motorway at Caceres and take the traffic-free N523 across the empty countryside of Extremadura, to Badajoz. Then follow the motorway to Lisbon, and/or on to the southwest tip of Portugal. Note that there are tolls on most Portuguese motorways, and visitors are advised to buy a pass on entering Portugal. See driving in Portugal.

7.Driving to Madrid (not marked on map)

To reach Central Spain, Toledo and the Castile La Mancha region, leave Itinerary 1 (mauve route) at Burgos, and follow the A1 signposted Madrid. Drivers entering Spain on itinerary 3, the red route, are recommended to leave the AP7 at Exit 8 (Girona airport), then follow the C25 motorway via Vic to Lleida, then on following  the A2  past Zaragoza and Calatayud, to Madrid

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