Drive From Barcelona to Santiago

Mar 23rd, 2002, 10:45 AM
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Drive From Barcelona to Santiago

Hi, we really want to drive during our 2 weeks in Northern Spain to see some out of the way villages but we are concerned about having to drive narrow, steep mountain roads. We're thinking about driving from Barcelona, Pyrenees/French Basque, Bilbao, Leon, and maybe San Sebastian if we have time. We would then take the train to Madrid and fly home. What are the roads like and do you think we are taking in too much. Any other suggestions on our itinerary would be appreciated. Thanks for your help.
Mar 23rd, 2002, 03:10 PM
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Can't advise, but topping, because this trip sounds great to me, and this is the kind of route doesn't get much attention on this forum.

Best wishes,

Mar 24th, 2002, 04:14 AM
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Hi Sue,
My daughter and family live in Sagunto and I have been there a couple of times. The first part of May I am going again only this time taking my husband. We also were thinking of driving from Barcelona to Sagunto. I understand that you can take the toll highway or the 'back roads'. I will send your message on to my daughter and see if she will answer your question for you. You will love Spain, just hope you can speak a little Spanish!
(feel free to e mail me if I can help with anything else)
Mar 24th, 2002, 05:29 AM
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Sorry Sue, miss-read Santiago for Sagunto...............too early in the morning!
Mar 24th, 2002, 10:22 AM
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As long as you stay on the main roads, you should have no trouble driving even thru the mountains. Roads are generally in good condition & drivers of trucks & buses very professional. Just remember to drive cautiously according to conditions, ie. if the road surface is wet or there are some narrow winding secondary roads.
There are several different routes between Barcelona & Santiago. One of which I can recommend for its scenery is along the coast from Bilbao into Asturias passing inland alongside the Picos de Europa. From Oviedo one can drop down to Leon & then to Santiago via Astorga.
Mar 24th, 2002, 06:07 PM
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or so it seems to me
Mar 27th, 2002, 08:56 AM
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I have driven in the Basque country, cantabria and Asturias. Any "A" highway (autopista) is going to be in very good shape and fairly easy to drive. Downside is high tolls (sometimes) and the scenery is not so great. "N" highways are smaller but still very good, and the regional roads are often the most scenic but slowest/hardest to drive. You are planning an ambitious but doable route, but make sure you get excellent maps (Michelin regional, for example, not Spain-wide general maps). I would combine faster Autopista travel where it makes sense with more scenic, leisurely driving in others.

As for roads and drivers, some of the smaller roads are truly windy and steep. Nevetheless, it's no worse than in some parts of Appalachia, for example. The scenery can be stunning and the small towns beuatiful.

Roads are generally in excellent condition, and truck drivers are very professional, signaling when it is OK to pass them. It goes without saying that a small, manual transmission vehicle is the best way to drive these roads.

With a little bit of awareness, common sense and good maps, driving is the best way to see this beautiful part of Spain.

Agree with coastal road Bilbao/Cantabria/Asturais. Picos de Europa also not to be missed.

Mar 27th, 2002, 03:21 PM
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Dear Sue:

Going east to west:

In Cantabria - the famous medieval town of Santillana del Mar (wonderful parador there, also). Altamira is nearby (though the waiting list to view tha cave art is several years long.)
In eastern Asturias ("El Oriente de Asturias") - if you have any interest in Spanish history - Cangas de Onis (the capital of the first Asturian kingdom) and of course, Covadonga in the Picos de Europa (where the Reconquista began). You get a lot of gorgeous mountain scenery along with the history.
- if you're taking the coastal road (N634) between Llanes and Ribadesella, there is a nice restaurant in Hontoria called La Chopera where you can try fabada and other Asturian specialties.
In western Asturias: the impossibly picturesque fishing village of Cudillero.

Mar 28th, 2002, 03:22 AM
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to the top
Mar 28th, 2002, 05:30 AM
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One note on Santillana de Mar: While the waiting list to view the original caves of Altamira is several years long, there is a brand new Museum with an exact reproduction of the caves just outside Santillana itself. It's a perfect reproduction down to the millimeter level, using the same techniques used by the original artists. There's also a state of the art museum with well-organized information on the Altamira caves and other prehistoric settlements in Cantabria. Guided tours of the cave reproductions (the only way you can see them) take about 20 minutes and are organized every 1/2 hour. For me, it was a must see and is a great day trip with Santillana itself. One note: both the museum and the town get incredibly crowded during summer weekends.
Apr 12th, 2004, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 17
For the trip from Barcelona to Oviedo, Ovido to Santiago, what kind of drive times could I estimate?
Saraht is offline  

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