With 10 days and a rental car, you can explore several of Spain's regions to discover local highlights, hidden towns, beautiful nature, and local food and wine. The roads are easy to navigate and a road trip lets you explore in more depth and at your own pace.

We selected these five unique routes to help you explore Spain's varied regional highlights. You could head north or south from Madrid to see both the highlights and the lesser-known treasures of each. Or set out on a wild adventure in the Canary Islands, spending your days hiking, sailing, and whale watching. Read on for some unique approaches for your self-drive adventure.

Itinerary #1: Northern Spain Road Trip - Madrid to the Basque Country

This northern road trip is perfect for foodies and culture lovers eager to discover the cities and landscapes of Spain’s incredible Basque region. Taste your way through Madrid, explore pintxos in San Sebastian, and lose yourself in the iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

Wine tasting in Basque country
Wine tasting in the Basque region
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid, evening tapas tour Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour: Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Drive From Madrid to La Rioja La Rioja
Day 4 Full-Day Wine Tour of La Rioja Laguardia
Day 5 Drive to San Sebastian, Downtown Food Tour San Sebastian
Day 6 Walking Tour of San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 7 Day Trip to the Basque Countryside San Sebastian
Day 8 Drive to Bilbao (optional stop in Guernica) Bilbao
Day 9 City Tour of Bilbao & Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Day 10 Departure  

This itinerary is ideal for those looking to find a balance between an independent self-drive vacation and curated experiences with local guides. Travel at your own pace with optional stops and day trips along the route, then dive deep into the history and local flavors with knowledge of expert guides and wine tours.

Start in Madrid with an evening culinary tour to welcome you to Spain. Then head north through the Rioja region for wine tastings and vineyard tours. Enjoy the beach and local cuisine in San Sebastian, home to world-class eateries. Sample the best restaurants with a tapas crawl, then learn more about the history of the city with a guided tour. Discover the natural beauty and slower pace of the Basque region with a day trip into the idyllic countryside, including a farm tour and a sampling of local cheeses.

Finish in Bilbao and visit the iconic Guggenheim Museum, with its impressive modern and contemporary collection, housed in the impressive building designed by Frank Gehry. Learn more.

Itinerary #2: Southern Spain Road Trip - Madrid to Andalusia

Drive south from cosmopolitan Madrid to the heart of Andalusia, with stops in Seville, Granada, and Málaga. You’ll enjoy tapas excursions, guided tours, and hands-on classes, with local experts to show you the history, culture, and gems of the south.

Ronda sits atop a massive gorge
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid & Evening Tapas Tour Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour: Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Drive to Toledo and tour the City Toledo
Day 4 Drive to Córdoba, Guided City Tour Córdoba
Day 5 Drive from Córdoba to Seville - Tapas Tour Seville
Day 6 Half-Day City Tour of Seville Seville
Day 7 Drive to Ronda w/ a stop in Arcos de la Frontera Ronda
Day 8 To Granada via the Caminito del Rey Granada
Day 9 Private Tour of the Alhambra, Evening Ceramics Class Granada
Day 10 Picasso Museum in Málaga & Departure  

This itinerary includes more locally guided experiences than some of the others, helping you soak up everything you can about southern Spain. Your first two days in Madrid feature a tapas tour and a guided exploration of the capital. 

In addition to stops to iconic cities like Toledo, Córdoba, and Seville, you’ll also veer away from the crowds to spend time in smaller towns in the region. Stroll the cobblestone streets of Arcos de la Frontera, a white city with a storied Moorish heritage, and the jaw-dropping Ronda, a majestic enclave perched atop a gorge in Málaga. You can also hike the area’s towering cliffs and gorges on a thrilling trail at the Caminito del Rey.

You’ll spend your last full day immersed in the heritage and traditions of Granada. Enjoy a private tour of the UNESCO-protected Alhambra, the Moorish fortress that later served as Ferdinand and Isabella’s Royal Court. Take a private ceramic tile-painting class with a local artist before you end in Malaga, home to Picasso and the Picasso Museum. Learn more

Plan your trip to Spain
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Itinerary #3: Wild Canary Islands Road Trip - Madrid, Tenerife & La Gomera

This road trip in the Canary Islands is perfect for active travelers looking to discover incredible hikes, primordial landscapes, and remote adventures. Explore black sand beaches, panoramic vistas from volcanoes, and plenty of subtropical wilderness.

View from La Gomera
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Madrid Madrid
Day 2 Flight from Madrid to Tenerife La Laguna
Day 3 Anaga National Park La Laguna
Day 4 Buenavista del Norte, Masca & Santiago del Teide Santiago del Teide
Day 5 Mount Teide Santiago del Teide
Day 6 La Gomera Playa de Santiago
Day 7 Sail La Gomera's Coast Playa de Santiago
Day 8 Garajonay National Park Playa de Santiago
Day 9 Depart for Madrid Madrid
Day 10 Depart Spain from Madrid  

After a couple of days in Madrid, fly to Tenerife with its UNESCO-designed National Parks, incredible coastlines, and thrilling hiking trails. This itinerary is great for active travelers eager to explore all manner of terrain and wildlife, particularly the island’s laurel forests, holdovers from prehistoric times. 

Ferry over to La Gomera, the smallest of the Canaries, and often overlooked by other travelers. Hike through the islands dense island’s biodiversity or sail around the coast on a guided yacht trip. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Off-the-Beaten-Path Road Trip - Madrid, La Mancha, & Extremadura

This unique itinerary will show you lesser-visited towns and wine regions that you may recognize, such as the home of Manchego cheese, and wines like Grenache and Tempranillo. This itinerary is all about getting to know Spain’s many layers and stories. 

La Mancha's iconic windmills
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid - Evening Tapas Tour Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour - Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Pick up Rental Car - Drive to Toledo - City Tour Toledo
Day 4 Drive From Toledo to Valdepeñas - Explore La Mancha Valdepeñas area
Day 5 Wine Tour of La Mancha Valdepeñas area
Day 6 Drive From La Mancha to Mérida - Guided City Tour Mérida
Day 7 Drive from Mérida to Cáceres - Tour Old Town Cáceres
Day 8 Drive to Trujillo - Guided Tour Trujillo
Day 9 Drive to Madrid - Stop at Monfragüe National Park Madrid
Day 10 Departure from Madrid  

Start in Madrid with a few days to experience its many flavors with help from local guides. 

Continue to La Mancha, and spend a few days in the region best known for its famed fictional resident, Don Quixote. La Mancha is also home to Manchego cheese and incredible wines like Grenache and Tempranillo. You’ll also explore cities that might be lesser-known in modern times but were well-regarded during the ancient Roman empire; discover Mérida, Cáceres, and Trujillo with an expert guide, then head into the verdant Monfragüe National Park for a photo safari. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Spanish Road Trip - Madrid, Leon, & Santiago de Compostela  

This road trip takes you northwest from Madrid through León to Galicia with fantastic stops in wine country, a spectacular river valley, and some beach time on the warm white sands of the Cíes Islands

The white sands of Rodas Beach, Cíes Islands
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid - Evening Tapas Tour Madrid
Day 2 Madrid's Highlights, Prado Museum, & Food Tour Madrid
Day 3 Drive From Madrid to Ribera del Duero Peñafiel
Day 4 Drive to León - City Tour León
Day 5 Drive From León to Ribeira Sacra - Stop in Astorga Monforte de Lemos area
Day 6 Boat Tour of Ribeira Sacra - Drive to Vigo Vigo
Day 7 Day Trip to the Cíes Islands Vigo
Day 8 Drive From Vigo to Santiago on the Camellia Route Santiago de Compostela
Day 9 Santiago de Compostela - Cooking Class & City Tour Santiago de Compostela
Day 10 Depart Spain  

Taste your way through the capital’s famous tapas scene and explore the world-class masterpieces at the Prado Museum before hitting the road nearing northwest. Drive through medieval towns and gothic castles to Peñafiel, a romantic wine-making region you can explore at your own pace. 

With the help of a local guide, discover the gems of León, from relics of ancient Roman and medieval empires the gothic Catedral de León to Casa Botines, an architectural masterpiece designed by beloved Spanish modernist Antoni Gaudí. 

Changing gears, enjoy a relaxing boat tour in the verdant river valley of the Ribeira Sacra region, best paired with a flight or two of the area's fine wines. Day trip through Galicia’s unique landscapes like Rias Bajas (Spanish fjords) and the Cíes Islands. 

Your final destination is Santiago de Compostela, the final stop for pilgrims walking the sacred Camino de Santiago route; here you’ll enjoy the Galician cuisine, which you’ll learn to recreate with a cooking class. Learn more.