A tale of two parts
So why another Spanish Road trip?
Well the 2014 road trip was an unmitigated success, we loved it, each destination on that trip left us with wonderful memories, tweaked our senses an opened our minds.
Also, the time of year. September at home, the nights are getting longer and autumn is starting to take hold. So it's the right time to seek some final warmth of the year.
Another issue was that this trip would need to be organised at the last moment. The cause, we were not sure when we'd be hitting the road because Janis's departure date had to be confirmed.
However the main reason there was so much more of this great country to explore. We only had to look at a map and there were places like Cordoba, Segovia, Caceres, Burgos - in fact our Pinterest Board was bulging at the seams.
So where do you start?
As with every trip it starts with how long are we going for. Although for this trip we had greater scope, as this was now our work. We had a number of choices,
Okay for me option 3 was never going to happen. I chose my car for these kind of road trips, so it was going to be used. If you're using your own car, I have drafted up a basic set of checks to hopefully help take some of the stress out.
Option 1, means I lose a chance of exploring France, I'll be just heading through at pace, and the return journey in mid-October is potentially impacted by poor weather.
So it looks like it's the ferry then - well that's a good place to start.
We would normally choose 2 weeks sandwiched within 2 weekends just for neatness. However, remember that this may not be the most cost-effective option. After checking on the Brittany Ferries web-site we opted for a Wednesday departure, and return a little over 3 weeks later on a Sunday.
Now to start planning the Stopovers
We arrive in Bilbao, and depart from Santander. One of the lessons we learnt from our 2014 trip was how surprisingly nice Santander was, and how we could easily have spent another night there. So we have booked 2 nights in Bilbao to make sure we don't miss out on this fascinating city. We also have a single night in Santander, which will give us a full day to revisit the town we just fleeting explored in 2014.
Another 'pin' was Cordoba. Again a city awash with the relics of different cultures, and another Spanish UNESCO World Heritage site.
We wanted to explore the lush northern territory of Spain. Possible Oviedo, Santiago de Compostela or even Ourense. However, conscious this is late September, we have limited ourselves to just two days in Oviedo before turning south. I think I feel another road trip through Spain & Portugal coming on at some point in the future, but's let finish this one first.
A helpful guide
There are so many incredible places to discover in Spain and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Eyewitness books, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
So a few pins in the board
With a few 'pins' I can think about a route to help sketch out the framework. These basic rules of planning a road trip which I use give me some guiding factors on distances & times. If I stick to these I should be okay.
The draft route is along the northern Spanish coast from Bilbao to Gijon, before heading inland to Oviedo. From Oviedo. A slightly longer run to Segovia, but where from Segovia? We could head to either Cordoba, or Seville, our existing 'pins' Cordoba is the obvious choice, but it will be another long day in the saddle. If we pick Seville, then I'll select a mid-point location too. Researching the region and we select Caceres. I'll make sure I check out Merida & Zafra too whilst on the touring days.
Caceres to Seville with 3 nights in a city we know. That will be our 'down' day where we'll just relax - okay that may be wandering the streets, but we'll avoid the usual mini-marathon.
From Seville to Cordoba taking a scenic route. A few nights in this exciting city - plenty to discover here.
Now it gets interesting
It is now the return leg, 70% of the nights are allocated so where do we want to go? Well there's Úbeda & Baeza. We passed through there on the last tour and they looked great - so why not.
We are now planning on heading north(ish), the obvious choice is Madrid, but there are other options, we can save Madrid for a mini-break. We then discovered Cuenca - this looked an interesting place.
So this left us with one stop on the route back to Santander. Our short list contained Burgos, Logroño or Pamplona. After researching we opted for Logroño, but I plan to see Burgos & Pamplona on the trip.
So that's it
We have all our locations locked in, we distributed the nights between them, and we are ready to start booking the accommodation.
Over to Janis