Please sign in to post.

28 day trip to Spain via Paris

I'm planning my trip to Spain for next May. We will be arriving in Paris on May 11th where we will pick up a lease back Peugeot. This is the itinerary I am planning, any ideas or comments would be appreciated.

Paris - 3 days
Caen - 1 day
Bordeaux - 2 days
Santander, Spain 1 - day
Braganca, Portugal 2 - days
back into Spain
Sevilla, - 2 days
Cordoba, - 3 days
Granada, - 2 days
Madrid, - 3 days
Valencia - 2 days
Barcelona - 3 days
Back to Paris for our flight home via
Paris departing on June 8

Is there anything special that I should be aware of? I'm trying to keep my driving time between cities at a average of 4 hours. Don't want to spend all my time in a car! Is it possible to get some kind of pass/transponder for the toll roads in France and Spain or do they take credit/debit cards?

Posted by
5926 posts

In some respects this strikes me as quite inefficient.

If Spain is your destination, why drive there from Paris? If for some reason you need/want to start the trip in Paris, why not grab a cheap flight from Paris to a city in Spain, and go from there? Also, why drive all the way back (3 days?) from southern Spain to Paris? Why not fly open jaws (into Paris, and home from Madrid or Lisbon), or at least save the time/expense of driving back to Paris and catch a cheap flight?

The other thing that strikes me as problematic is that you seem to be headed for and conentrating mostly on the great (old) cities -- places where a car is just an expensive headache.

If I were doing a trip to these places (and I'm about to do one that's somewhat similar...) I'd fly between the longer distances, take trains to go between most of the cities, and only rent a car for those few, specific places where a car makes the most sense (there are places where a car is much more convenient -- Normandy, and parts of Portugal, for example -- but I don't think I see many of those on your list).

Now, for some folks there's some appeal to the long drive through the countryside - I get that (but you say you don't want to spend all your time in a car). But if your time is limited and you hope to cover a lot of ground and see a lot of cities, driving is often (usually?) not the best way to go IMHO. I may be missing some good reasons you've chosen to go that way, but if it were me, I'd take a step back and consider other, more efficient ways to get from one place to another, that involved less driving, and more trains (and maybe more flights).

Just my 2 eurocents.

Posted by
655 posts

Hi John...Regarding your itinerary: I think you can reduce Cordoba to one, or two days, and add that time to Madrid or consider a visit to Segovia or Toledo.

Regarding driving: You've probably planned this but be sure to lease a diesel auto. We have done quite a lot of driving in Spain (recently) and France (some time ago). We found very good highways and also that most of them were toll-free.

Posted by
1358 posts

Last time I drove the toll roads in France and Spain they accepted credit cards. If they dont, use your ATM card to buy local currency and use it on the roads.

Posted by
186 posts

Thanks for your replies. Just to clarify, when I said I didn't want to spend all my time in a car I meant for extended periods of time. I tried to limit my driving time to 4 hours between cities, as opposed to my longage truck driving days of 10-12 hour days. That gives my wife and I a chance to see the countryside, stop when we want to stop and arrive relatively untired. I want to spend a few days in Paris before heading out to Normandie then down into Spain. I hope to do some genealogical research in Cordoba, hence my 3 days there. Thank you all for the replies, it is appreciated very much.

Posted by
19 posts

Lots of driving in Spain is not a good use of your time - the roads are not sleek and speedy, so, for example. just driving to Cordoba and Granada takes most of our time. Have you thought about cheap flights or train? The Spanish train service is sleek, fast and on time! Your route has you spending most of your valuable travel time in the car, driving on less than optimal roads.

Posted by
4555 posts

"less than optimal roads." I'm not sure where you've driven in Spain, but many of the routes John mentions are covered by controlled-access four-lane divided highways as good as anything we have in North America. Madrid, for example, is connected to Barcelona, Cordoba, Sevilla, Lisbon, Valencia, Cadiz and Granada by expressways. Sevilla and Granada are connected by a similar road, while the Santander-Bilbao-San Sebastian area is connected to northern Portugal by a four-lane divided highway via Burgos, Valladolid, and Salamanca right through, with a few two-lane sections inside Portugal. Sevilla is also linked by four-lane highway to southern Portugal. While I agree that the train service along the AVE corridors is fast, it is also expensive. And a car is essential for exploring the out-of-the-way towns, especially in the mountainous north and south, where trains don't always run. IMHO this 28 day itinerary is too busy, and too much driving (eg. Santander won't be much more than an overnight stop...and you'll miss San Sebastian), but to do it, a car is definitely needed. And the roads won't be an issue.