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Driving north to south spain

Driving north to south spain

Old Dec 22nd 2015, 5:14 pm
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Smile Driving north to south spain

Hi Ayamonte Club members
We are new to this site and was wondering if any members have driven from UK to Ayamonte?
We have an apartment on Costa Esuri and would like to explore driving from Santander or Bilbao taking a few days to see other parts of spain while driving south.
If anyone can help us with routes, stop overs etc please can you let us know. We intend to do this around April/May time next year.
Kind Regards
Deb & Kev
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 6:59 am
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Originally Posted by X1ock View Post
Hi Ayamonte Club members
We are new to this site and was wondering if any members have driven from UK to Ayamonte?
We have an apartment on Costa Esuri and would like to explore driving from Santander or Bilbao taking a few days to see other parts of spain while driving south.
If anyone can help us with routes, stop overs etc please can you let us know. We intend to do this around April/May time next year.
Kind Regards
Deb & Kev
We live in Bizkaia province & although I'd always recommend seeing the Basque country to people, it depends on how much time you have. I'd suggest Donosti (San Sebastian) & possibly Getaria or Zarautz, to sample the beach, surfers & pintxos; they're all on the coast. We live near Amboto (1300m) which is a good climb to do.
Bilbao obviously has the Guggenheim, but I reckon it's better from the outside. (I dislike 'modern' art!). Has a good atmosphere in Plaza Nueva & casco viejo (siete calles).
La Rioja might be worth visiting, especially Laguardia & possibly Elciego.
Problem then is to get you further south-west means taking the A1 dual carriageway (so toll free) to Burgos, fairly boring scenery, & then the A62 towards Palencia & Valladolid. In Burgos province, Oña & Frias are worth looking at.
South of Santander you have the A67 dual carriageway with the Picos de Europa on your left.
In Valladolid province you have historic castles such as:
Medina del Campo, Coca, Peñafiel, Turegano, etc.
Salamanca is worth a stopover; Avila is also worth seeing.
Then south you have the Sierra de Gredos with mountains such as Almanzor (2600m) a good 1/2 day's climb but well waymarked with stones. Candeleda is a pretty town.
Depending on when you come, you could enquire about the cherry blossom in the 'Valle de Jerte' for which there is a website.
Trujillo is quite nice, as is Olivenza, which used to belong to Portugal.

I'll leave anything further south to others who might know that area better than me.
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 9:46 am
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Hi Deb & Kev
Have done the trip a couple of times. In my opinion Santander is the best port to arrive at as easiest to access motorway south and well sign posted.
Head for Salamanca ( approx 3 hrs) for overnight stop, the Parador is great and a short stroll into the fabulous square or stay at one of the hotels on outskirts close to the motorway ( can't remember names , but google it).
Next morning continue on motorway ( route de la Plata) towards Seville then pick up motorway to Huelva and on to Ayamonte ( 6 hrs ish).
Its an easy drive ,all motorway and very little traffic. Have varied the drive back by staying in Caceres& Placencia and if feeling adventurous you can miss out the Seville bit of the motorway and head north from Huelva up through the mountains. A lot longer but very picturesque.
Use AA or Michelin route finders to plan trip, they also offer hotel options I think.
Bon Voyage
Fiberite
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Originally Posted by Retired in Euskadi View Post
We live in Bizkaia province & although I'd always recommend seeing the Basque country to people, it depends on how much time you have. I'd suggest Donosti (San Sebastian) & possibly Getaria or Zarautz, to sample the beach, surfers & pintxos; they're all on the coast. We live near Amboto (1300m) which is a good climb to do.
Bilbao obviously has the Guggenheim, but I reckon it's better from the outside. (I dislike 'modern' art!). Has a good atmosphere in Plaza Nueva & casco viejo (siete calles).
La Rioja might be worth visiting, especially Laguardia & possibly Elciego.
Problem then is to get you further south-west means taking the A1 dual carriageway (so toll free) to Burgos, fairly boring scenery, & then the A62 towards Palencia & Valladolid. In Burgos province, Oña & Frias are worth looking at.
South of Santander you have the A67 dual carriageway with the Picos de Europa on your left.
In Valladolid province you have historic castles such as:
Medina del Campo, Coca, Peñafiel, Turegano, etc.
Salamanca is worth a stopover; Avila is also worth seeing.
Then south you have the Sierra de Gredos with mountains such as Almanzor (2600m) a good 1/2 day's climb but well waymarked with stones. Candeleda is a pretty town.
Depending on when you come, you could enquire about the cherry blossom in the 'Valle de Jerte' for which there is a website.
Trujillo is quite nice, as is Olivenza, which used to belong to Portugal.

I'll leave anything further south to others who might know that area better than me.
Hi Euskadi
Many thanks for replying, we appreciate all your information this is a good start and will give us lots to look at.
Kind regards D&K
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Originally Posted by Fiberite View Post
Hi Deb & Kev
Have done the trip a couple of times. In my opinion Santander is the best port to arrive at as easiest to access motorway south and well sign posted.
Head for Salamanca ( approx 3 hrs) for overnight stop, the Parador is great and a short stroll into the fabulous square or stay at one of the hotels on outskirts close to the motorway ( can't remember names , but google it).
Next morning continue on motorway ( route de la Plata) towards Seville then pick up motorway to Huelva and on to Ayamonte ( 6 hrs ish).
Its an easy drive ,all motorway and very little traffic. Have varied the drive back by staying in Caceres& Placencia and if feeling adventurous you can miss out the Seville bit of the motorway and head north from Huelva up through the mountains. A lot longer but very picturesque.
Use AA or Michelin route finders to plan trip, they also offer hotel options I think.
Bon Voyage
Fiberite
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 2:01 pm
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Originally Posted by Fiberite View Post
Hi Deb & Kev
Have done the trip a couple of times. In my opinion Santander is the best port to arrive at as easiest to access motorway south and well sign posted.
Head for Salamanca ( approx 3 hrs) for overnight stop, the Parador is great and a short stroll into the fabulous square or stay at one of the hotels on outskirts close to the motorway ( can't remember names , but google it).
Next morning continue on motorway ( route de la Plata) towards Seville then pick up motorway to Huelva and on to Ayamonte ( 6 hrs ish).
Its an easy drive ,all motorway and very little traffic. Have varied the drive back by staying in Caceres& Placencia and if feeling adventurous you can miss out the Seville bit of the motorway and head north from Huelva up through the mountains. A lot longer but very picturesque.
Use AA or Michelin route finders to plan trip, they also offer hotel options I think.
Bon Voyage
Fiberite
Hi Fiberite
Many thanks for replying we will certainly look into all your options.
Really appreciate your help
Kind regards
D&K
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

X1ock:
forgot to mention; Burgos cathedral is worth visiting if you haven't seen it before.
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 4:27 pm
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

We will also be doing this trip in April/May 2016, having done the longer trip from Calais to Ayamonte, and back to Caen earlier this year. The best advice I can give you is to use the option on your SatNav that says "Avoid Tolls & Motorways". We did this, and got to appreciate some lovely parts of both France and Spain that go by all too fast from the Motorways.
It takes longer, but who cares ? you're on holiday !
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Originally Posted by Retired in Euskadi View Post
X1ock:
forgot to mention; Burgos cathedral is worth visiting if you haven't seen it before.
Many thanks again 👍
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 8:22 pm
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Originally Posted by BobD View Post
We will also be doing this trip in April/May 2016, having done the longer trip from Calais to Ayamonte, and back to Caen earlier this year. The best advice I can give you is to use the option on your SatNav that says "Avoid Tolls & Motorways". We did this, and got to appreciate some lovely parts of both France and Spain that go by all too fast from the Motorways.
It takes longer, but who cares ? you're on holiday !
Good tip many thanks, might pass you on route!
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Old Dec 28th 2015, 6:49 am
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Have done the trip a number of times and tried to mix up the routes to see a bit of Spain. Actually Bilboa is just as easy to access the motorway routes from as Santander, in fact better if you are going to Madrid or the more easterly stopovers.
  • Madrid is only 4-5 hours from the ports as is well worth an overnight stay. The metro system is good so you can find an hotel nearer the ring roads and metro into town so you don't have to enjoy the delights of Madrid traffic . Although if you are driving through Madrid it is not too daunting as there are long tunnels under Madrid which bypass the centre.
  • Toledo is an hour or so south of Madrid and is a delightful city well worth the effort. It is a city enclosed by a wall and is great for walking around once you have found a decent hotel with parking.
  • For a slightly longer trip we drove across to Santiago de Compostella and then down to Porto for 2 overnights stops. Quite an easy trip and you see a whole different aspect of Spain and a bit of Portugal.
  • Santander itself. If your ferry arrives in the evening and you don't want to rush off onto the motorway network to reach an overnight stop then stay in Santander.
  • Valladolid. We have stayed there on the way back to the port and have thought that it would warrant a longer visit.
  • Segovia - is famous for its suckling pig and ancient tourist sites. As an ancient tourist myself it always appeals!
  • As others have said, Salamanca is always a must see. It is a good midway stopover and there is always something to visit or see. The old university is a marvel. There are good super/hypermarkets on the outskirts to top up on the supplies you will need when you arrive.
  • We stayed once in Merida - after an early morning arrival in Santander it is within stopover distance. A real delight of a small town with a plethora of Roman ruins. We stopped in an hotel in the Playa Major which had a small pool on the roof so that you could view the goings on with a relaxing drink and a refreshing dip. Very decadent.
  • I have also driven over to the med coast and stopped over in Valencia, but that is a bit of a trek and I would only recommend if you want to make multiple overnight stops on the way down.
  • We once took the ferry to Gijon and overnighted in Zamora - I cant remember much about that town though, within an easy drive of Santander is Palencia which has a couple of good overnight hotels.
  • It is also perfectly possible to do the complete trip down to CE in one go - it is 1000kmsish (depending on which port) and motorway all the way (non toll for the majority of the journey) - especially if you have 2 or more drivers. 7-8 hours driving plus meal/comfort breaks.
  • Have always thought that a visit to the Rioja vineyards and bodegas would be nice so might try that next time
The world (or at least Spain) is your lobster once you arrive with your car. Happy journeying.

Last edited by MikeJ; Dec 28th 2015 at 6:58 am.
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Old Dec 28th 2015, 9:03 am
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Done Spain to Scotland and back on a TDM and Sprint ST 955i plus by car many times. Using some of the routes already mentioned. If you can make a little holiday out of it then there is lots of choice for you.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 6:22 am
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Hi MikeJ
Wow! Loads of info so thank you very much, all replies received have been really useful.
In the new year we will be plotting our route definitely using some of your experiences.
Just one more if you don't mind is regarding our car, do we need certain requirements when driving abroad, we have driven on a day trip to France etc but never this far. Any tips you can give would be really helpful.
Thanks again and a Happy New Year to all
D&K
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 11:16 am
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Default Re: Driving north to south spain

Originally Posted by X1ock View Post
Hi MikeJWow! Loads of info so thank you very much, all replies received have been really useful.In the new year we will be plotting our route definitely using some of your experiences.Just one more if you don't mind is regarding our car, do we need certain requirements when driving abroad, we have driven on a day trip to France etc but never this far. Any tips you can give would be really helpful.Thanks again and a Happy New Year to allD&K
This site lists all the legal requirements:
Driving in Spain | RAC
It's a good idea to contact your Insurance Company before you go, to see if they offer a "green card". If you have Comprehensive Insurance, this will get you covered in the EU at that level, rather than the normal third party (depending on your Insurance Company). You may need to pay a premium for this (I don't with Prudential).
It's also a good idea to have European Breakdown Insurance - you can get it for just the length of your visit from some specialist providers (I used QDOS - Google them)
The other essential I found was to buy a windscreen internal sun mask for when out of the car (you can get cheap ones from the Chinese shops). Never used it in the UK, but wouldn't have been without it in the hot sun of April/May in Spain.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 2:08 pm
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Smile Re: Driving north to south spain

Originally Posted by X1ock View Post
Hi Ayamonte Club members
We are new to this site and was wondering if any members have driven from UK to Ayamonte?
We have an apartment on Costa Esuri and would like to explore driving from Santander or Bilbao taking a few days to see other parts of spain while driving south.
If anyone can help us with routes, stop overs etc please can you let us know. We intend to do this around April/May time next year.
Kind Regards
Deb & Kev
Hola, welcome to the Ayamonte thread some of us have been here for years and can be a bit grumpy but what you have met so far are the best.

We have been travelling north to south and back since 2006 and have tried a multitude of routes. Our first trip was on the old P&O Pride of Bilbao "ice breaker" and my wife was ill in both directions. Since then we have used Brittany Ferries both Pont Avon and our favourite Cap Finistaire and most times it has been a great crossing. The three northern ports Gijon, Santander and Bibao have great connections to the motorways so if you want a rapid trip you can do it in the day but that would be a waste and exhausting. We normally land in Santander and that puts us on the Rute de la Plata which goes back to the Romans or maybe the Phonecians for exporting silver.

The major Spanish towns that figure throughout Spain from the Moors to date all seem to lie on your route. We have explored the major Cathedral cities of Burgos, Vallodolid , Salamanca and Caceries and they are all worth a day. Merida I am told has the best Roman remains in Europe but we have not managed a stopover yet but we will.
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