My Perfect Spanish Road Trip (East Coast Version)

Friday, June 27, 2014

I am extremely guilty of being one of those people who loves to revisit places they’ve already been.
But when you love a place, the feeling of being dropped right back in where you belong is pretty irresistible. It’s part of the reason I’ve found myself so often back in Spain, not just exploring new cities but reliving others. I have so many road trips planned in my head (step right up Italy to Slovenia) but I would also love to spend a month driving round Spain with someone who doesn't know it like I do. Or, as I will split these posts up, do them in 1-2 weeks.

I love sharing familiar places with new faces so, if you have a month and a bit of cash spare some time soon (and I mean, who doesn’t?), Spain is the of the most diverse countries in Europe you could discover. From the sun soaked Catalonian East coast to the lush, rugged scenery of northern Galicia, I genuinely believe there is something for everyone. 

Fly into Girona - 1 day

I have chosen the smallish pretty town of Girona as a starting point as it’s often the cheapest place to fly to in Spain. It’s also a relatively quiet place to pick up the car and get accustomed to all that weird right hand side driving. Trust me, you only want to go round a roundabout the wrong way once.  And you really don’t want to do it in the middle of Barcelona. 

L'Estartit - 1 day

Rather conveniently, it is also only an hours drive from L’Estartit where I would head to first. I promise you they’re not paying me to say this – it is genuinely just some good clean fun. I'd spend a day/night here refreshing my diving skills and frolicking on the Medes Islands before heading onwards to Barcelona to really start the trip in earnest.

Barcelona - 3 days

I have been to Barcelona three times (including extremely recently) and would still go back again. Beach, architecture, a cool linguistic and cultural identity? Sold. Make sure you go for that pizza I recommended at Sports Bar near the Marina!

Sitges - 1 day

One thing I have never managed to do whilst in Catalonia is visit Sitges, which is supposed to be home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the Spanish coast. After 3 days walking round Barcelona, a relaxing day on the beach is well and truly deserved. 

Valencia - 2 days

Now it’s time to really test out your hire car and get to grips with your mph to kmph conversions. Roll those windows down, tune in Europa FM (the only bearable radio station in Spain) and take in those coastal views all the way down to Valencia. Valencia is a true home from home from me, having spent 6 months living there as an Erasmus student. While you’re there, the 3 things you must remembers are: Valenbisi everywhere, eat at Café Infinito at least once and avoid the Oceanografic if you’re not a fan of paying extortionate prices to watch sad dolphins. Can you tell I just watched Black Fish?

Denia/Javea - 1 day

Not far along the coast from Valencia's big, touristy beaches, you'll find some tranquility in the small towns of Denia and Javea. Our amazing camp site with pool and trips out to Javea for unbelievably beautiful pebbly white beaches are some of my absolute favourite memories of all our trips. Diving is also available in Javea too for all you water babies. It's a great place to relax and unwind and not do anything - the perfect way to round off your holiday.

If you're leaving the trip now, fly back from Valencia airport but, if not, it's onwards and downwards to Andalucia...

While I think about it, here are my top 3 Spanish road trip snacks:

1) Jamon Ruffles. Ok, so we can Ruffles in England but only the plain ones, not their delicious cousins, the ham variety. These are a total party in your mouth and the single most addictive crisp to ever be invented.

2) Ice cold cans of Aquarius. Aquarius is like a flat lemon flavour drink that they attempt to market as a sports drink but is really just pure sugary goodness in a can.

3) Tostadas. Prepackaged bags of crisp bread in garlic/tomato/herby flavours. You can buy them in Lidl too but it's just not the same when not accompanied by a delicious can of Aquarius.

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