I’ve recently finished a road trip through east coast Canada. It was my first proper driving road trip and I learnt: a lot. How far I can drive, how far I can’t drive, games to pass the time, how to stay awake, how to fall asleep, not to mention how expensive gas is. (I ride a bike back home.)
I loved how having a car enabled us to visit places you can’t get to by public transportation, which in Canada, is pretty much anywhere outside of a major city.
One of the best parts about the actual driving aspect of the trip was that it gave me so much time to think to myself and have discussions with my passengers. Of our many conversations, one of my favourites (not that it’s a surprise), was brainstorming other great road trips.
Some of our ideas were taking an old car through Cuba, across the southern US states, the incredible Mongol rally and the one I want to talk about here: southern Spain.
I visited the south of Spain (or the Thouth of Thpain as some may pronounce it) in February 2013 and after a few years of having it on my ‘must visit soon’ list, I understood why so many people recommended it. From the food to the language to the culture, my senses were constantly full.
While my mom and I used the bus and train systems to get around, I think it would have been really cool to drive. This would have allowed us to stop in little villages and get a taste of the culture outside of the bustling urban centres.
Today I want to give you a taste of my ideal road trip through southern Spain were I to do it again.
My starting point is a little strange as my mom and I never actually went to here. From photos I have seen it is stunning and perfectly on the coast. I did a quick flight search and from London, it’s super cheap! I wish I had have figured that out before for my mom’s flight in. So, if Alicante is where you kick off the road trip, you can hire a car and simply head west.
Just 3 hours from Alicante you’ll find Granada. One of my favourite spots and a great place to escape the summer heat of southern Spain, it is also home to the famous Alhambra. There’s no point in convincing you to visit the Alhambra as it’s a non-negotiable. Just go. Here you’ll also find flamenco, tapa bars and beautifully narrow, winding streets. Check out the Granada Inn for a great place to stay.
While maybe not the top pick on some people’s list, I ended up in Malaga to visit a friend and loved the city. The beach is beautiful, there are lovely pedestrian streets and always something happening. It’s also a good option to fly into.
Continuing west you’ll find the one of kind Seville. This was the last stop on the Spain portion of my trip with my mom. It is home to an astounding cathedral, the grave of Christopher Columbus, more winding streets, tapa bars, the Plaza de Espana and more delicious food. We stayed in the cozy Sevilla Inn and found it a great city to walk around, check out shops and people watch. On a nice sunny day the people just pour out onto the street from the tapa bars and everyone is clearly having a great time.
Bonus: Lisbon & Gibraltar
If you had a bit more time and wanted to tack on a little extra to your road trip, there are two options I would recommend. From Malaga, Gibraltar is just a short journey away and can be done as a day trip. You can say you stepped foot in another country and have the rare opportunity to see one continent while standing in another. Yes, you can see Africa from Europe. You may also want to wrap up your trip in Lisbon, Portugal. Although it’s a bit of a mission to get there, I found the food and culture different from Spain and created a nice contrast between the two. The scenery was beautiful and it’s an excellent city to fly out of. It’s also home to one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed in: Good Morning Hostel.
There you have it: the makings of a road trip in the south of Spain. I’ve got a lot of new places to see around the world so it’s hard to visit places twice, but I think this might just have to happen some day.
Have you done a road trip in Spain? Or anywhere for that matter? Let me know in the comments below!