You can choose to head to Majorca, Tenerife, Seville, Granada, Ibiza or Palma, but hasn’t it all been done before? Let’s get real. Even the off the path destinations aren’t really “off the beaten path” unless you’re absolutely winging the trip and following a roadmap to each and every little town along the way. Even the cities I’ve included in this small weekend road trip through Spain aren’t ‘a secret’, but they certainly have a little more local charm to them then your top 10 rated travel destinations in Spain. That’s not to say the popular cities aren’t beautiful, they are, (I’ve been to Malaga, Seville, and Menorca and they’re stunning cities), but there’s something special about a place when you feel like you’re not joining the crowds of other travelers through the narrow streets of the city, but venturing out on your own.
Global cities like Barcelona and Paris have actually limited the number of tourists coming into the city at one time to avoid tarnishing the local life and overcrowding.
You can read up on Barcelona’s new law to limiting tourists on CN Traveler.
So… why not check out a few new cities for a change? Here is a weekend road trip I recently planned back in November of 2017, and I’m excited to share it with you.
Taking a train is always my favorite way to get around a country, but when you’re traveling with 4-5 people, renting a car can often be an easy/affordable option (especially when you’re hoping to visit smaller towns around Spain).
Distance: 273 kilometers
Time: 2 hours and 55 minutes
Valladolid is a charming, yet modern little city in northwest Spain. While it is quite a popular destination for religious medieval sites, there’s so much more to do than visit the top 10 historical sites on TripAdvisor. Valladolid is a bright and urban university city, which means the nightlife is hot and the city is full of life on the weekends. My favorite part of visiting Valladolid was the tapas. I would suggest that when you’re visiting Valladolid, plan a route you would like to take to check out all the beautiful sites in the city, but make sure you mark a few tapas places to stop for a snack and a beer along the way.
When you’re ready to head onward to your next weekend road trip stop, it is only about 1 hour and 15 minutes until you will reach the beautiful city of Sevogia.
In just over an hour, you will arrive in the medieval city of Segovia, but before you actually enter the city, make sure you stop for a panoramic view just off the highway (see my photo below). Segovia is home to just over 50,000 people and well known for their Romanesque churches, the Gothic cathedral, and the amazing Aqueduct (all which definitely need to be checked out while you’re there). The old town is easy enough to explore in a day, but if you’d like to really roam the side streets and embrace the delicious tapas around the area, why not stay a night?
Ready to move onward? In about 1 hour and 40 minutes, you’ll be arriving in Toledo.
One thing is for sure, you won’t be the only one who thought about visiting Toledo, there are many day trips from Madrid where the people come by the busload and then there are about 84,000 locals living in Toledo too. However, don’t let that stop you from visiting Toledo, it is a magical little ancient city that sits on top of a hill overlooking the plains of central Spain. You can eat and drink your days away, you can go zip lining in the city, or you can explore the unique Christian, Arab and Jewish monuments around the old walled city.
From Toledo, you have a couple options: you can either continue your adventures further down South, head back to the Madrid Airport (about 55 minutes away) and head home, or switch up the route a bit and make a round trip out of it.
Alternative Round Route: Madrid – Toledo – Salamanca – Valladolid – Segovia – Madrid
If you have a few more days and would like to make it a “round road trip”, then add Salamanca and Madrid to your map. They are larger cities with more tourists, but they’re on the way and this route makes a perfect week-long road trip out of your Spanish adventures.
Distance: 639 kilometers
Time: 7 hours and 27 minutes
I would give you more information about Salamanca and Madrid, but I’ve not explored them enough to share more information with you. Why not check out the Salamanca Tourism Boards recommendation to “Salamanca in a Day” and RTW Girl’s post on “Spending 24 Hours in Madrid” (she’s great and you’ll love her posts)!
Looking for some more inspiration around Spain? Check out my posts on why you should give Menorca a visit (as an alternative to Majorca) and a photo montage on why you need to visit Andalusia!