Driving from UK to Spain

Travel Forums Europe Driving from UK to Spain

1. Posted by scunningham1 (Budding Member 4 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Hi guys

We were initially planning to drive to Italy from the UK, however changed our minds to Spain.

Could people recommend various places from UK to Spain to stop off, also where would everybody recommend for our base in Spain?

We are going for two weeks end of August.

Thanks 😊

Post 2 was removed by a moderator
3. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 984 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

August is a big holiday month. You will be driving through France to get to Spain of course. The main route would take you through Paris and Bourdeaux. As to where you want to base yourself - depends on what you want to do. If you want the beach, you should probably go to the coast - Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Santander etc. Barcelona and the Santander would be the closest.

4. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1071 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

A good first stop would be Rouen visiting the Cathedral painted many times by Monet. There is a very nice Beaux Arts Museum and for sheer beauty, don’t miss the Abbey of Saint-Ouen. There is a very famous Tour du Gros-Horloge that you almost can’t miss if you are walking around the Old Town. By the spot where Joan of Arc was burned there is the stunning modern Eglise Jeanne d'Arc. The church is very open and modern but the stained glass inside is old. It’s nice because it is low enough that you can really get a good look at it. There are historic Rouen scenes in stained glass, fun because they didn’t have photography then so you have an idea of what the city really looked like.

Next I’d go a little off route and visit Chartres if you haven’t been there. The Cathedral and its stained glass are famous and wonderful, but there are other churches that are quite grand, a nice small Beaux Arts behind the Cathedral and a Stained Glass Museum. The tourist office is across the street from the Cathedral and they will give you a free walking map. There’s a lovely walk along the Eure River with stunning views of the Cathedral and lovely old houses.

Next you’ll be close to château country so why not stop and visit at least two. You can easily do Villandry and Azay-le-Rideau in one day and see two beautiful and quite different chteaux. If you wanted one more, Chenonceau with its gallery over the river Cher is justly famous.

Bordeaux would be a great stop on the way. Visit the very modern City of Wine, the Cathedral, the Mirror Fountain and the Beaux Arts for a lovely trip. There are also wineries in the area you might enjoy if you have time.

You’ll head into Basque country below Bordeaux and when you get into Spain, try to stop in Bilbao to visit the Guggenheim Museum. Even if you don’t go in, the building and sculptures outside are worth the trip.

From there I have no idea where you want to go in Spain so if you’d like to share that, you may get more suggestions here.

Have a good trip.

5. Posted by Teoni (Respected Member 705 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

Spain is not such a small country and two weeks including the return trip isn't that much time, so it would be useful to know how far into Spain you are willing to travel. Do you want to go all the way to the Portugese border or do you want to not go too far from the French border? San Sebastian and Santander are nice places to visit. I would also recommend Ribadesella if you like beaches, it also has interesting architecture, a cave with Paleolithic paintings and a decent set of Castro ruins. Barcelona would be feasible if you are looking to experience Catalonian culture. I would also check out Pampalona, it is actually quite an interesting city even without the festivities. If you do have time think about driving through the Pyrenees. There are some very scenic driving roads around those mountains.

6. Posted by scunningham1 (Budding Member 4 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

Thank you for all your suggestions.
We think we’ve narrowed it down to Valencia, we are going to aim to spend 10 days in Valencia taking two days either side to drive.
On the way through France, does anybody have any tips on where is best to stay for the night?

On the way back we are looking to stay somewhere else too.

Hopefully get some more tips now :)

7. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1071 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

Quoting scunningham1

On the way through France, does anybody have any tips on where is best to stay for the night?

On the way back we are looking to stay somewhere else too. :)

Assuming you want to zip through France in one or two days, my reply above gives several suggestions. Just look on a map and decide which stop would be most convenient. Most online maps will give you a timeline for the trip so if you know when you will start (ferry landing time), you should be able to figure out where you can go in the time you have that day.

8. Posted by Keep Smiling (Respected Member 20 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

Firstly, congratulations on your choice of the Valencia region. My preference is for the Costa del Azahar in the north (busy in August with Spaniards rather than foreigners) and the Costa Blanca in the south (always busy with tourists!).

It's been a while since I worked in France and holidayed there with family, but it's sure to be hot and resorts will be crowded in August as French people tend to take their own vacations at that time. Many cities are likely to be full of foreign visitors instead at that time. Some shops may be closed while the owners are on holiday.

15 August is Assumption Day and a public holiday in France. Towns may be unusually busy - full car parks, restaurants and queues for attractions.

Avoid the autoroutes driving south on Fridays and Saturdays. Avoid them coming north on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you're not accustomed to driving abroad, stick a note on your windscreen to remind you to drive on the right! Also, I hope there'll be more than one person doing all the driving - distances are long and autoroutes are monotonous.

While travelling through France, I enjoy staying at bed & breakfasts rather than hotels - more welcoming, less expensive and a great insight into local living. Gites de France has an English website for information and booking. The b&bs are not always near town centres, which is good as car parking there can be awkward.

As 'Beausoleil' says you'll need to work out where you'll be, depending on your start time. Look for places in the surrounding towns and villages. Ideally, choose a b&b or hotel that can provide an evening meal too, saving you time and the trouble of having to find a restaurant with a vacant table. Book your stay in advance - or be sure to find rooms well before 5.00pm or you may end up sleeping in your car!

9. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1071 posts) 7w 1 Star this if you like it!

Another possibility for accommodation is the Logis de France chain of small family-owned hotels. They are often in historic buildings and are run by family members who treat you as family. We love them. They come in all price ranges and most have an excellent restaurant attached. Click here for the Logis de Francee web site in English

As mentioned, be sure to check about parking. Most of the Logis do have parking but it's always worth a check. Many are in the center of the town and do have parking and those are gems.