Find out more about the best trip through Spain: Zaragoza – Madrid, Madrid – Toledo, Barcelona – Zaragoza, etc…
Spain is rich in both historical monuments and natural landscapes that vary vastly from one corner of the country to the next. Organizing a trip across Spain in car, bus or train is a great way to discover all that the country has to offer. One important route through Spain that will give you a good glimpse of different regions and cities starts in Barcelona and passes through the heart of Spain, through Zaragoza, Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba and Seville, before reaching Cadiz. This one week route through Spain will take you from the northeast corner of the Iberian Peninsula to the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest.
Stage 1: Barcelona - Zaragoza
The first day of your trip through Spain starts in the metropolitan coastal city of Barcelona and ends in Zaragoza, a distance of about 305 km (189 mi). Depart Barcelona on the AP-7 freeway and change to AP-2 once you pass the town of Llorenç del Penedés. The AP-2 will take us south of Lerida, the only Catalan capital without access to the sea. During this part of your journey through Spain you will experience the characteristic Los Monegros landscapes of the Autonomous Community of Aragon, of which Zaragoza is the capital. The region seems more like a dry steppe landscape from Eastern Europe than one from the Iberian Peninsula. Upon leaving this area, you will arrive in the city of Zaragoza. While in Zaragoza, be sure to visit the Basilica of the Virgen del Pilar, the patron saint of Spain. In 2008, the city of Zaragoza hosted a world Expo dedicated to water, which brought important regeneration and modernization to the city.
Stage 2: Zaragoza - Madrid
Today's trip through Spain covers 322 km (200 miles) and takes you to the Spanish capital: Madrid. The entire journey will be on the A-2 freeway, which connects both cities. A great place to stop is about halfway through the ride in the small town of Arcos del Jalón. Here you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Soria Mountains in the eastern region of Castile and Leon. The region boasts numerous rivers and streams from the Douro and Ebro Rivers, which contribute to the rich landscape. Resuming the journey across Spain on the A-2, you will soon pass through the city of Guadalajara before arriving in Madrid.
Madrid, the largest city in Spain, offers a wide variety of things to do and see. However, we highly recommend taking a walk through the old quarters, known as The Madrid of the Austrians, and visiting one of Madrid's world class museums such as the Prado or Reina Sofia.
Stage 3: Madrid - Toledo
Toledo is less than an hour from Madrid by car, about 74 km (46 mi). This famous city is full of wonderful places to discover. Visit the Santo Tome Church where you can view one of the El Greco's most famous masterpieces: The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Additionally, Toledo is famous for its steelmaking and has historically been the main producer of swords. Today, swords to suit anyone's taste can still be purchased in the many artisan shops throughout Toledo. We also recommend a visit to The Synagogue of El Transito, a true monument to Judaism in Spain.
Stage 4: Toledo - Cordoba
This approximately 4 hour stage takes you through Spain's Castille-La Mancha region. Today's journey will take you through the Valdepeñas wine region and the Tablas de Daimiel National Park, one of the most important wetland areas and aquifers in Spain as well as an outstanding place for observing migrating birds. After this you will enter into Andalusia, passing through the towns of La Carolina, Linares and Andujar as you make your way to Cordoba, the capital city of the Muslim Caliphate during the Middle Ages.
Once you reach Cordoba, we recommend getting lost in the city's amazing narrow streets and the Great Mosque of Cordoba is a must see.
Stage 5: Cordoba - Seville
This stage of your journey through Spain is a bit shorter, just 144 km (89 mi) to Seville. If you're not in much of a hurry, take the time to visit one of Andalusia's famous white villages: La Carlota, Ecija or Carmona. After a leisurely stop, continue on to the beautiful city of Seville, a cheerful and bright city with much to see and do. Visit some of Seville's emblematic landmarks such as the Cathedral, the Giralda bell tower, or the Golden Military Watchtower. In the past, Seville flourished and thrived and today there is much to do and see. Much of this is due to its many years as the home of Spain's House of Trade when the city regulated trade between Spain and its American colonies.
Stage 6 (The last day): Seville - Cadiz
Depart from Seville following the coast along the AP-4, a 123 km (76 mi) segment through Andalusian territory. This part of the route through Spain will take you through Jerez de la Frontera, world famous for its sherry wine. On a good day in Jerez you may start to notice the Atlantic Ocean breeze. Continue traveling and you will soon arrive in Cadiz, where you can delight in the city's beautiful bay.
The privileged strategic position of Cadiz as the gateway to the Mediterranean has made the city a point of both settlements and wars. Cadiz, originally founded by the Phoenicians, has played an important role throughout history. The city used to engage in trade with the Tartessos, has been home to Roman, Byzantine and Arab settlements, was the departure city of many of the Spanish conquistadores of the New World (including Christopher Columbus) and is where the Cadiz Constitution of 1812 was written during the War of Independence between France and Spain. The Constitution, known simply as “La Pepa” was passed by Parliament on March 19, 1812. The name “La Pepa” comes from the fact that March 19th is San Jose Day, and “Pepe/Pepa” are common nicknames for people whose names include “Jose”.
Now that you are in Cadiz, we recommend that you take advantage of her magnificent beaches while dining on typical fried fish and cold wine.
We hope you enjoy your trip through Spain!