How do I plan a self drive tour in Spain & Portugal?
- Discover the Subtropical Madeira Island and Portugal Mainland Vacation
- South of Galicia Self-Drive Wine, Food & Nature Tour
- Green Spain: From Galicia to the Basque Country staying in Paradores
- Exploring UNESCO Heritage Cities of Salamanca, Segovia & Avila
- Self-driven Albarino Wine Tour of the Rias Baixas of Galicia, a Land of Seafood and Fine White Wines
- Exploring Andalusia in Depth Self Drive
- Explore Madrid, Barcelona & Wine Regiones (Cava and DO Rioja) ending in Bilbao
- Lisbon, its surroundings and exploring the Pousadas of Northern Portugal
- Cascais and Algarve Beach and Relax Vacation
What are self drive tours?
A self drive tour offers the convenience of pre-planned travel and, at the same time, the freedom to experience a new place your way. You will only be in charge of things like deciding what to do each day, where to go, what time to start, etc.
With self drive tours, the priority is given to the places visited (which you can choose!) and they are perfect for those who enjoy a bit of independence when traveling. Another advantage of Self drive tours is that you can explore places at your own pace and focus on what really interests you. Since there is no group to join you can spend more time at those places that you find more interesting than others.
Self Drive tour prices generally include transportation and accommodation, which we arrange for you.
What is the best road trip in Spain? We will give you our best recommendations and suggestions of road trip tours but, if you go for a self drive tour, you will be running the show and you will be the one deciding what to do and when.
Spain & Portugal have many destinations to choose from for Self Drive Tours here are some suggestions.
Spain is made up of 17 autonomous regions and no less than 50 provinces. The choices in Spain are endless if you are into self guided travel or road trip holidays so sometimes it´s difficult to decide which region or part of Spain to visit: the north, the south, the Main cities (Barcelona & Madrid), etc.
Andalucia covers most of the southern area. This is possibly the first region that comes to mind when we think of Spain: whitewashed villages, flamenco, fiestas, toros, siesta, etc. In Andalucia, we can also find popular cities like Seville, Marbella, Malaga, Cordoba or Granada.
The North of Spain is also known as Green Spain due to the green color of its lush vegetation and forests, you will enjoy the beautiful scenery in these road trip tours. It comprises 4 different regions: Galicia, Asturias, Basque Country and Cantabria. This part of Spain is full of beaches, natural parks, culture, nature walks, etc, and it´s famous for its amazing gastronomy and products.
One of the regions of Green Spain is Galicia, a Celtic land located in the north-west of Spain, right above Portugal. It has a 1500km coastline with a high number of Rias or coastal inlets which create sandy and beautiful beaches. The capital is Santiago de Compostela and it´s also the end of the Way of St.James or Camino Pilgrimage which receives thousands of tourists every year with open hands. If you are interested in walking the Camino, you can check our Camino tours or our last post where we explain more about the Camino and the different options it offers. There are many other cities worth visiting in Galicia, like A Coruña or Vigo. The latter is located in the Rias Baixas Area, a wine area known for the production of Albariño white wine.
Portugal, on the other hand, is divided into 18 districts. Lisbon is one of them and it´s as well the stunning capital of Portugal. It´s located on the estuary of the Tagus River and it embraces its history and heritage. Close to Lisbon, we can find fantastic places like Sintra (you can´t miss Sintra if you visit Lisbon), Belem, Cascais, Obidos, etc.
The south of Portugal, known as the Algarve, is a fantastic holiday destination. Here we can find beautiful beaches, historic towns, fresh seafood, a buzzing nightlife... If you are thinking about a beach-focussed vacation in Portugal, this is the place for you.
If you want to explore beyond mainland Portugal, you can consider visiting the Madeira Islands. The Madeira Islands is a fantastic archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 600km from the coast of Africa. It´s a perfect place to visit at any time of the year as it has beautiful weather all year round. Hiking is the main activity of the island but you can do many other things like surfing, trying the local delicacies such as bolo do caco or scabbard fish with fried bananas, enjoy the white sand beaches, immerse in the local culture, etc. You decide.
Here are our 9 Ideas for Self Drive Tours in Spain & Portugal:
1. Discover the Subtropical Madeira Island and Portugal Mainland Vacation
Madeira has been a holiday destination since the end of the 19th century. Blessed with a spectacular volcanic landscape and subtropical climate, the island boasts more repeat visitors than any other part of Portugal.On this vacation, you will also get a chance to explore Lisbon, the vibrant capital of Portugal. From here you will tour the surrounding villages of the Targus Valley, like Sintra with it´s National Palace, the medieval walled city of Obidos, etc...
On this self drive trip, you will get to discover both the coast of Galicia and the inland part of Galicia. You will visit many wineries, learn about the wine-making process, take a boat ride, discover fantastic places and history and even cross a bridge into Northern Portugal´s Vinho Verde wine region.
2. South of Galicia Self-Drive Wine, Food & Nature Tour
3. Green Spain: From Galicia to the Basque Country staying in Paradores
Explore Green Spain starting in Galicia´s capital Santiago de Compostela and ending in the Basque city of Bilbao, home of the famous Guggenheim Museum. On this self drive holiday, you will experience the charm of Northern Spain´s Paradores...
4. Exploring UNESCO Heritage Cities of Salamanca, Segovia & Avila
A self drive tour visiting Avila´s Roman Walls, Salamanca´s Plaza Mayor, Segovia´s fine Roman Aqueduct and Alcazar. Cities worthy of their title...UNESCO Mankind Heritage.
Each one of the 3 cities, Avila, Salamanca, and Segovia responds to the requirements that the Convencion para la Proteccion del Patrimonio Mundial (Convention for the World Heritage Protection) imposed to consider any space Patrimonio de la Humanidad (Mankind Heritage).
5. Self-driven Albarino Wine Tour of the Rias Baixas of Galicia, a Land of Seafood and Fine White Wines
Explore Galicia´s Rias Baixas an exceptionally indented coastline, with creeks and hidden coves at every turn, a scattering of inlets lying close inshore, and an alternating pattern of cliffs and beaches. In this Forgotten Celtic region of Northwestern Spain nature alone is not at play however. The imprint of different cultures, from the era of the Celts right down to the Modern Ages is also clearly identifiable as part of Galician culture. From Celtic Castros (Hill-forts) to the Dolmens left here by the region´s first inhabitants, the ability to work stone with the enviable expertise and craft of the master mason never seems to have been a secret in these parts.
There is much to be enjoyed including its famous Albariño wines accompanied by rich local cuisine.
6. Exploring Andalusia in Depth Self Drive
You will start and end the trip in Sevilla, the heart of Andalucia. With a car rental you will visit at your own pace many villages and cities like: Sevilla, Jerez, Ronda, Granada, Cordoba etc... Plus you will have time to relax on the beautiful beaches of Marbella or play a round of golf on one of the many courses in the Costa del Sol.
7. Explore Madrid, Barcelona & Wine Regiones (Cava and DO Rioja)ending in Bilbao
Starting off in Madrid, the city that never sleeps and rich in art and monuments. Spend time visiting the museums, shopping and of course to go out at night for tapas and wines.
From Madrid you will take the high-speed train over to Barcelona, the cosmopolitan and modernist city of Spain. Here you will admire the works of Antonio Gaudi and walk along the famous street La Rambla. On the outskirts of Barcelona, you will have time to visit a Cava winery in the heart of the wine region D.O. Cava.
Then driving through Aragon you will make a stop in Zaragoza while en-route to the wine region of D.O. La Rioja.
Continuing on you will drive up to the Cantabrian coast stopping en-route to visit the old quarter and Cathedral of Burgos and then arriving in the noble village of Santillana del Mar in Cantabria. Then you will visit Bilbao with its world-renowned Guggenheim museum and follow further along the coast to San Sebastian.
Ending the trip you will drive back to Barcelona making a stop in Pamplona en-route.
8. Lisbon, its surroundings and exploring the Pousadas of Northern Portugal
Portuguese charm and style at its best! This self drive tour starts and ends in Lisbon. First of all you will have time to visit the surrounding coastline, with historic monumental villages like Sintra.
Then make you way up to Northern Portugal staying overnights in Regional and Historic Pousadas all with their own charm and character. In Porto, you will have the chance to visit some of the famous Port wine lodges in Vilanova de Gaia.
On the way back down to Lisbon after touring around the North you will have time to stop and visit towns and cities like Coimbra, Obidos, etc...
9. Cascais and Algarve Beach and Relax Vacation
On this self drive trip instead of staying in the hustle and bustle of a big city we have planned for you to stay in beach towns within a distance of the big cities to visit for the day if you wish.
Start off by arriving in Lisbon then drive to the coast where you will stay in a luxurious hotel right on the beachfront of Cascais.
For the 2nd half of your self drive vacation you will get a chance to sit of the marvelous beaches of the Algarve region.
Have you made up your mind yet on the best road trip in Spain & Portugal?
If you opt for a self drive tour and car rental holidays after reading this you won´t regret and you will be able to immerse yourself in some non-touristy or off-the-beaten-path activities that sometimes guided tours cannot provide for a big group.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for then drop us a line, because apart from all these self drive tours we have many other options that would suit your needs better, or we can customize a trip just for you with one of our tour specialists.
All of the above recommended Self Drive Tours in Spain & Portugal and even more self guided travel and the best self drive tours can be found in our Self Drive Tours Collection.
Apart from the self drive tours or road trip tours we have suggested you can browse thru eatourspecialist.com for many other types of tours and experiences in Spain & Portugal. You could even ask one of our travel specialists to create a tailor-made tour just for you!