On our April trip to Spain, we drove from Cartagena (disembarked a transatlantic cruise there) to Granada, Ronda and Grazalema, Seville, Cordoba, Baeza and Ubeda, Consuegra and Toledo, Segovia, Madrid, and Barcelona. We found that driving in general was no more difficult than in the US on freeways and country roads. By renting a compact car, we were able to see more farm country and orchards, the White Hill Towns area, and travel the back roads from Cordoba to Consuegra's windmills and Toledo. And what we saw was a beautiful, prosperous, modern country. As one would expect, entering any unfamiliar city and its old town area to access lodging and parking there is much more of a challenge. However, with a good GPS and some preplanning, it can be done. We expected we'd need extra time, make some wrong turns-and we did-but overall it was not more challenging than expected. We sought out lodging with parking included where we could, such as apartment rentals, as overnight parking is pricey. Because we've had experience driving in other countries around the world, driving for us was a more effective use of time and allowed us to see more of the country than we might have using public transportation. But we understand--not everyone's cup of sangria!
Thanks for posting this Marian. It reminded me of a trip I took some years ago. My then girlfriend and I took her car on the ferry from Plymouth to Santander, then drove across Spain via the Rioja region and Zaragoza to Barcelona, then up into Andorra, across the Pyrenees, up the western side of France and came home via a different ferry from Caen. We had no problems driving in Spain, although with a right hand drive car there were occasions when overtaking was a bit exciting. Also, arriving in Barcelona on a dark and rainy night in the rush hour and finding ourselves on a roundabout which seemed to have 5 lanes of traffic going around it and 10 exits, none of which was signposted for our campsite (and GPS was not available at that time)... well, let's just say that neither of us dealt with the stress in a particularly dignified manner!
When I was there in February, the main streets of Granada were torn up and it was really hard to drive because of the detours and poor temporary signage. Was that your experience, or have they finished the roadworks?
We drove from the freeway on the west into the Granada city center on specific streets from the hotel website to access the hotel and its parking garage just off Plaza Nueva on Cuesta Gomerez. Nothing along those streets was under construction nor any work along Gran Via de Colon as we left the city.
We had a similar experience in Spain last autumn. However we found the country not so prosperous as you would expect with an unemployment rate of 25%+. We were in Madrid and Andalucia. We plan a similar driving trip for Barcelona and the North. We wish the Spanish had a love for more street signs. DH