To celebrate the launch of our Top Cars of 2018, we have put together a list of some of the best scenic drives in Spain. With breathtaking landscapes ranging from the lush greenery of España Verde right through to the deep orange terrain of central Spain, the country is filled with some of the world’s most beautiful views.
The Andalusian mountains
The Olive Groves of Andalucia
Crossing through the hills of UNESCO-listed towns of Ubeda and Baeza, this drive takes you through some of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes. One particularly breathtaking route is to leave from Seville before driving south towards the Parque Natural Los Alcornocales where you can drive through one of the region’s most beautiful green spaces before driving along the coast and up to Málaga.
If you’re looking to make a day out of the trip, Elite Traveler would recommend leaving Seville mid-morning before heading through rolling Andalusian hills and stopping off at Ronda where you can enjoy a lunch booking at the Michelin starred Bardal.
Alternatively if you want to set off a bit later you can finish your trip at Málaga’s most opulent eatery – José Carlos García. A Michelin starred restaurant sitting on the bay of the city where guests can enjoy views out across the ocean.
The rolling mountains of Picos de Europa, with a view of the roads running to the left
Cantabria and Picos de Europa
A 30 minute drive from Santander sits Picos de Europa, one of España Verde’s most breathtaking sceneries. With winding roads, gorges and snow-capped mountain peaks, Picos de Europa is easily on of the best areas for a drive in all of Northern Spain.
The route Elite Traveler would suggest is to leave from Santander, heading south west through the lush greenery of Cantabria before making your way through Picos de Europa and finishing your journey in Gijón. For a full guide on España Verde and the best places to stay, eat and visit while in the area make sure to read our definitive guide to the area.
Intercontinental Mar Menor
Madrid to Murcia
Offering slightly more varied landscapes when compared to our previous two entries. Elite Traveler recommends starting in the Spanish capital before driving 250km towards the cuevos de Montesinos where you can make your way through the 400 hectares of beautiful lush greenery in Quebrada del Toro. This beautiful bit of landscape encompasses a series of winding roads that cut through the mountains and take you alongside a series of natural lakes.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can park up and go for a walk through the cavernous paths or take a trip through the neighboring caves of Montesinos. Before finally making you way towards Murcia where we recommend staying in the Intercontinental Mar Menor Golf Resort & Spa, which is situated just over 10km outside of the city centre and is easily one of the region’s most luxurious properties.
Aigumolls de l’Emporda
Barcelona to the French Border
Perhaps the shortest drive on our list at roughly three hours, Elite Traveler recommends setting off from the Catalonian capital before driving along the coast towards Figueres (the final reasonably sized city before the French border). Your journey will then continue as you drive alone the Gulf of Roses and through the Aigumolls de l’Emporda, one of Girona’s most beautiful wetland nature reserves which is famed for being home to some of the world’s rarest species of birds.
As you continue round the coast, Elite Traveler would recommend booking out the Surrealist Suite at the five star Hotel Vistabella. Coming in at a reasonably sized 120 square-metres, the suite is filled with several pieces of traditional Spanish surrealist art and offers beautiful sea views from one of its three terraces.
Valencia city centre
Castellón to Valencia
The final drive on our list comes in the form of a drive through the beautiful landscapes of the Valencia Province. While the eponymous city is the third largest city in all of Spain, the region itself is the fourth most populated area after Andalusia, Catalonia and Madrid.
To begin with we recommend starting off in the port town of Castellón de la Plana where you will be able to drive along the Mediterranean Sea before heading inland and going to the Parc Natural de la Seera d’Espadá, the region’s largest and most expansive park with rugged mountain sceneries and winding roads that cut through the mountain peaks and valleys. Afterwards you can either cut through another piece of the region’s beautiful greenery by going through Parc Natural de la Serra Calderona or you can head back towards the coast to take in the spectacular beach views.
Either way, an hour and a half later you will find yourself in the centre of Valencia, where we would recommend staying in The Westin Valencia, the city’s finest five-star hotel with a spa and three restaurants, as well as making a booking at El Poblet, the city’s best Michelin starred restaurant where head chef Quique Dacosta has carved out a niche for himself as one of the city’s greatest contemporary chefs.