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Spain’s ten best drives


There are some fantastic driving routes in this land of big scenery, big horizons and big surprises – here’s our choice of Spain’s best drives.

Alt Empordà Track the coastline in northern Costa Brava as you take in Greek and Roman ruins at Empúries and Salvador Dalí’s former home outside the picturesque town of Cadaqués.

Cañón de Río Sil Gaze upon Galicia’s most arresting landscape along this dramatic canyon that is also home to one of the country’s foremost wine-producing regions.

The Cincó Villas Lose yourself in small-town Aragón on the 80km drive linking the historic “five towns,” from Tauste to Sos del Rey Católico.

El Escorial to Ávila The most scenic route out of Madrid province, an hour’s drive from Felipe II’s colossal monastery and over the hills to the historic walled city of Ávila.

Gipuzkoa Head inland from San Sebastián and immerse yourself in Basque culture at Tolosa’s lively carnival and historic Oñati, with its distinctive casas torres.

Inland from Calpe It’s the juxtaposition between hedonistic sun-and-sand and quiet, rural inland Valencia that marks this leisurely 55km excursion, from Calpe to Alcoy.

Puerto de las Palomas to Zahara de la Sierra One of the most dramatic descents in Andalucía starts from the “Pass of the Doves” and corkscrews dizzily downwards to the ancient Moorish village of Zahara, with spectacular views across the sierras.

Sierra de la Demanda Mountain monasteries, verdant valleys and bare upland vistas on the two-hour drive (LR113) from La Rioja to the Castilla y León heartland.

Through the Valle de Jerte Track the Río Jerte for 70km (N110 out of Plasencia towards Barco de Ávila) on one of the most picturesque drives in Spain – carpeted in cherry blossom every spring.

Vielha to Esterri d’Aneau Snowy peaks, thickly forested slopes and, above all, utter mountain stillness – this 42km drive over the Bonaigua Pass (2072m) is pure Pyrenees.

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