If you’ve always dreamt of taking a drive down America’s route 66, but don’t want to travel so far from home, then a road trip along Spain’s famous road N-340 could well prove a fascinating alternative. Ideal for people living in Spain who don’t want to leave the country, or for people visiting Spain who want to see the country in a different way, N-340 is a four-lane highway that crosses Southern Spain and offers a road trip that you’ll never forget. Here are some of the highlights and adventures you can have if you choose to take this exciting trip this summer:
The Perfect Route
The N-340 weaves from Barcelona to Cadiz, taking on a host of cities and sites on the way. Whilst you can enjoy the journey in either direction, most travelers prefer to journey from the most northerly to the most southerly cities on the route. Here are our suggestions for what to do, and what to see:
- Start your journey in Barcelona, where you can indulge in the vibrant nightlife, enjoy the weirdly wonderful works of Antoni Gaudi, follow the Picasso trail (the artist lived in the city), and if you’re a football fan you can visit Barcelona FC’s Camp Nou.
- From here drive along the coast, being sure to appreciate the sea views, until you reach Valencia. This is the third largest city in the country, and the city’s cathedral shouldn’t be missed: it is thought that the Holy Grail can be found here. Valencia is known for its state-of-the-art, science and culture park, and the futuristic-looking aquarium, which is home to both sharks and dolphins, is also well worth exploration
- When you’ve had your fill of culture in Valencia, you will follow the road inland, through some of Murcia’s smaller and more picturesque villages. Your final stop on this portion of your journey is Almeria. What you do here will depend on the time of year you choose to visit: in the winter you should head straight to the Sierra Nevada mountains and hit the ski slopes, whilst in the summer the same mountains are the perfect place for hiking and enjoying the incredible views.
- Once you’ve had your fill of the mountains, the rest of the drive is nothing but pure joy, with views of the Mediterranean to your left-hand side for much of the journey. The next major city that you will hit is Malaga, which is the perfect place to spend a couple of days relaxing and unwinding. The most famous sites in Malaga are the cathedral and the Picasso Museum, which houses some of the great man’s works, and explores his early life. Don’t forget to allow time to enjoy some of the city’s famous tapas, and sustain yourself for the rest of your journey!
- From Malaga you’ll head towards Benalmadena. Rejoin the N-340 then exit at Junction 22, following the road to the coast. The jewel in the crown of this town is its harbour, which is as picturesque as any you would find in the world. Other attractions to enjoy in Benalmadena are the Buddhist temple, the old town, and the regular traditional street markets.
- After your stay in Benalmadena you’ll rejoin the N-340 and head to Marbella, taking the time to stop and enjoy the views, beaches, laid back culture (and lunch!) in Elviria, or Fuengirola. Marbella is famed for its ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’: big yachts, high heels and big hair are the order of the day here! Explore the cobbled old town to experience authentic Marbella before heading to the harbour front of Puerto Banus for a taste of how the other half live. Like all of the places on this route, you could spend a day or a week in Marbella! But when you’re ready to leave, your next stop will be Gibraltar.
- Not technically on the N-340, Gibraltar is the mountainous island in the sea to the left of the road! Leave your car on the mainland and head across to the island on foot: you can take a walking tour of the island, but to enter and exit Gibraltar you will need to have your passport with you. On the island explore the wildlife: Gibraltar is the only place in Spain where monkeys are still native.
- When you’re ready to get back on the road again, your last stop will be the city of Cadiz. This is the oldest city in Spain and is famed for its fort, its sea food, and its taverns. Soak in the culture, relax on the beach, on congratulate yourself for reaching the end of an incredible journey.
The length of your journey is up to you; driving the road without stopping would take approximately 12.5 hours, but the more stops you make, and the more time you have to enjoy each stop, the better your experience will be.
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