2 great road trips in Spain

2 great road trips spainHead to Spain to see the highlights of sunny Andalucía or the historic cities and towns north of Madrid. All the best bits of Andalucía, southern Spain

870 miles – Two weeks
Fly into Málaga, pick up a hire car and drive east along the coast. An obvious place to stop for a day on the beach is Nerja : there are some quieter sands off the coast road towards Herradura.

You could spend months hiking in the Sierra Nevada national park, so if you can spare a few days, do. One of the white villages in the foothills of the Alpujarras would make for a magical base for hiking. Bubion has incredible views, and Casa la Sevillana B&B, where doubles cost from €55.

Dominated by 10th century fortifications, Almería is an attractive port that still has a north African feel, and there’s a new movie museum, Casa del Cine. The beaches of the Cabo de Gata are gorgeous, sweeping and almost deserted.

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Then head on to Murcia, which many say has the best tapas in the land. Tour and chomp around the cathedral and bishop’s palace, trying squid, mussels, and cazo (spiced hake), and enjoy the Moorish architecture.

Córdoba is another attractive Arabic city. Established in 1908, the Bodegas Campos is a recommended restaurant for dishes such as tiny fried fish with gazpacho or Iberian pig’s cheek casserole.

Colourful Seville is the place for art, architecture, flamenco and late-night fun in the cobbled streets. The grand finale is Granada, for the Alhambra, free tapas and Granadina guitar music. Cortijo del Marques, has stunning doubles from €90 a night.

Historic villages and sites: Castille-Leon, north-west Spain

578 miles – One week minimum
Pick up a car in Madrid, and drive to Segovia, a stunning walled town with a Roman aqueduct, and fortress. Try the suckling pig, a local speciality, at the Parador Hotel. Avila is a Unesco-protected city with medieval fortifications.

Head to Salamanca, a lively university city easily explored on foot, with good nightlife. Nearby Hacienda Zorita is a wine resort in a converted monastery, with rooms from €147(chicretreats.com).

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After seeing the Renaissance buildings of Valladolid, its National Sculpture Museum and Cervantes’ house, enjoy a lunch of suckling lamb, then relax at Playa de las Morenas on the river Pisuerga. Just over an hour away is Burgos, with a famous cathedral, a lovely Old Quarter, and Teodoro, an 1860s hat shop. For tapas and wine for €1.50, try La Favorita.

Fossil fanatics will like the archeological site at the caves of the Sierra de Atapuerca and the Museum of Human Evolution. Hikers should head for the Sierra de la Demanda. There are villages and churches, lots of routes – and a dinosaur museum.

Lastly, Soria has Romanesque architecture and a beautiful square. Stay at La Posada de Numancia (doubles from €70) and admire its antiques.

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