More than 60 million tourists flock to Spain every year. However, most of them will not venture out far from the urban area and thus miss the opportunity to discover more of this impressive and beautiful country. In the Catalan countryside you can admire Roman ruins, picturesque villages and world-class wineries, all of which can easily be missed out on during a package holiday. Enjoy the Mediterranean flair of the east coast of Spain on a road trip through Catalonia and Valencia - relaxed and easy with your private car hire in Spain with Auto Europe!
Your journey begins in Barcelona, a centre of culture, known for its delicious Catalan cuisine, the vibrant art scene and interesting architecture. For the full exploration of this vast avant-garde city you'd need weeks, if not months. Some could find the sheer size of the urban landscape a bit too overwhelming. In this case, you can get in your car any time and drive to the picturesque Spanish countryside, to discover all the places that you would certainly miss out on a group tour. See, for example, the rolling hills of Tarragona and the same port city, which is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and has a variety of medieval sites to offer. Then head to Valencia, where culinary traditions have found a permanent place in the history. The last stop of your trip is the lively port city of Alicante
Between the extensive and labyrinthine streets of Barcelona and the pristine beaches of Alicante are more than 310 miles, but do not be discouraged. With a comfortable luxury car hire in Spain, you will easily overcome this distance. Car hire from Auto Europe is always convenient, flexible and easy to book! Enjoy your road trip to Catalonia as well as the road trip to Valencia with our rental cars!
Start your road trip in Barcelona. In Catalonia's cultural centre, the modern architecture of adventurous and experimental Antoni Gaudí is probably the best known city landmark. The most famous work of Gaudí which has not been finished yet is the magnificent Basilica de la Sagrada Família, included in most of the tours.
Throughout the city there are the other works of the famous architect from the turn of the century. To see all of them you would need at least one whole day and the most convenient way is, of course, car hire in Barcelona! The serpentine walls of La Pedrera (or Casa Milà), the colorful facade of Casa Batllo and brilliant mosaics in the Guell Park - all these works reflect Gaudí's playful view of Barcelona. The Casa Amatller, and Casa Lleó Morera are highly recommended for Gaudi's admirers. Art lovers can rejoice as Barcelona is abundant with legendary art pieces including the works of Pablo Picasso, the pioneer of Cubism. The Museo Picasso is housed in the palaces of La Ribera and presents an extensive collection of paintings of this great 20th-century artist. The tourist information office at Plaça de Catalunya also offers guided tours through the streets of Picasso's childhood.
Other attractions include the Boqueria Market and the Opera House Gran Teatre, and the world famous La Rambla. In the narrow streets of Barri Gotic (The Gothic Quarter), the oldest district in Barcelona, there is the Museu d'Història de Barcelona. Sports enthusiasts can visit Montjuïc, a hilly area outside the centre. During the Summer Olympics in 1992, this was the Olympic village. In addition, the Renaissance fortress Castell de Montjuïc is also worth seeing as well as many nearby museums. Visit, for example, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Fundació Joan Miró and CaixaForum.
Barcelona is famous for its everyday hustle and bustle and in the festival season the city gets even more lively. In midsummer, Dia de Sant Joan is celebrated with rich colours, while the end of September brings about the festival de la Mercè, which is even more colourful. Wine connoisseurs will get an insight into the Cava culture in Sant Sadurní or in Vilafranca de Penedès. This sparkling drink is Spain's equivalent of champagne and is honoured accordingly. Your rental car in Barcelona will take you to all these places of interest whenever you want.
Catalanese cuisine is appreciated mainly because of the use of varied fresh ingredients. Thanks to Barcelona's coastline, you can also find particularly tasty seafood on the restaurants' menus. If you want to save some money, you should stay away from places with high tourist traffic like La Rambla. If you are in the area and want to have a quick meal, try the menu at the Elisabets restaurant, which is offered at a fixed price, or the always popular tapas at the Pinotxo bar. True gourmets go to La Ribera, where you will find one tempting tapas bar after another. Start with the Sagardi or Taller de Tapas bar. Traditional paella is available at Xiringuito d'Escribà, where you can enjoy the sea view while dining. Alternatively, take the El Suquet de l'Almirall.
If you like to go shopping, Rey Juan Carlos near the Avinguda Diagonal offers an ideal location. The rooms are elegant and the in-house garden provides a cosy and appealing ambience in the exterior of the hotel. The massive Princesa Sofia Gran Hotel is not only centrally located but it also has a range of comfortable facilities. Hesperia Tower is an ultra-modern hotel. Banys Orientals, on the other hand, offers a very good price-performance ratio - optimal for those on a budget!
Even if your travel plan for your stay in Spain was originally centred around the big cities, Spanish idyllic villages will easily convince you to change your itinerary. On the second day, continue your road trip in Tarragona. This old port is situated between Barcelona and Valencia and is surrounded by the province of the same name, where the charm of the ancient times meets with the Mediterranean modernity. Many Gothic and medieval sights can be admired here. For example, stroll along Montblanc, a city wall from the 14th century, where St. George sang a dragon after a famous European legend. You can learn more about the religious history in one of the medieval monasteries of the region. The well-preserved Monestir de Santes Creus or the grandiose Monestir de Poblet is worth more than just a glance.
The centre of Tarragona will also take you back to the ancient times. The Roman ruins at the Museu d'Història de Tarragona and the Museu Nacional Arqueològic da Tarragona will enchant you. Wine lovers will find a wonderful landscape full of vines in the immediate vicinity of the former one. If you want to taste the region's celebrated red wine Grenache, you have the choice of two picturesque locations, the Moorish fortress village Siurana and the Baroque ruins of Escaladei, which can be easily reached with your rental car in Tarragona. If your trip falls on October, there is a very special spectacle awaiting you. At this time, the famous Casteller festivals are held in Tarragona, where the locals compete at a contest for the highest human tower. Pick up a car hire in Tarragona for ultimate flexibility on your trip.
In the city, near the Roman amphitheatre, you can taste creative tapas in the Grotta. Blood sausage with apple sauce and hamburgers with deer meat and caramelised onions are just two examples of their unusual offer. In the extraordinarily stylish AQ, you can get experimental dishes in a chic ambience. A little further in the country is the El Call de Montblanc where you can dine while enjoying a touch of history. The menu is made up of a mixture of Catalan and Basque cuisine. The Cal Mosso is close to Santes Creus, and offers seasonal snacks. In Siurana you have the opportunity to have a look at the local wine market at El Balcó del Priorat.
The family-run Hostal Fonoli is located directly opposite Monestir de Poblet. The convenient location makes this hotel a convenient option for any traveller. If you are willing to pay more for your accommodation, we recommend booking a room at La Siuranella in Siurana or Cal Compte near Escaladei. In the first one, you can enjoy fantastic views from the balconies of the hotel, in the second you will stay in a renovated 18th century villa. Within the city limits, you will find cheap rooms at Pensió Forum. The small but colourful rooms have a nice view of the city square.
In the sprawling city of Valencia there is no shortage of activities. Whether you are interested in art and architecture, or just want to spend a family holiday, Valencia has something for every taste. A particularly child-friendly attraction is the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (the City of Arts and Sciences). On a total of 350,000 square metres, this complex is not only an aquarium and a planetarium, but also an interactive science museum and a concert hall.
Park your car hire in Valencia and treat yourself with a leisurely stroll. During a pleasant walk through Barrio del Carmen, you will have a chance to take fantastic photos similar to a postcard motif. The architecture of this district shows many different influences. The Roman and Gothic styles can be seen here as well as buildings from the Renaissance or Baroque era. In the Cathedral, rumoured to be housing the Holy Grail, all these styles are united - it is absolutely worth seeing! From the Micalet bell tower of the cathedral you will also have a great panoramic view of the city. If you do not have enough of the extensive collections at the Montjuïc in Barcelona and want to see more artistic works, you can visit the Museo de Bellas Artes, where works by all famous Spanish artists such as El Greco, Goya, Velázquez, Murillo and Ribalta will be presented.
If your road trip to Valencia takes you there in the spring, don't miss Las Fallas de San José, a crazy week of fun: you will be enchanted by great bonfires, music will be played in the evening, and portraits of politicians and celebrities will be burned during a traditional ceremony. A must on any road trip in Valencia is Museo Fallero, where you can examine the remnants of the past celebrations.
The famous paella at La Pepica always attracts tourists and even some celebrities in the restaurant. If you prefer to enjoy popular seafood in a more quiet atmosphere, head to the rustic Los Arcos with your rental car in Valencia. La Alegria de la Huerta was previously only a seasonal hotspot, but now it is one of the absolute burners. On the menu you will find traditional local cuisine with a wide range of tapas, rice dishes and fresh fish. For a really sumptuous meal, visit Ca Sento.
At Ad Hoc you can spend the night in charming rooms at a good price. You can also save money in the centrally located accommodation Vincci Lys or at Pensión Paris. The stylish SH Inglés Boutique, housed in the former palace of the Dukes of Cardona, is more luxurious. Another luxurious alternative is Hotel Las Arenas Balneario Resort, where you can enjoy a fantastic sea view. The Westin Valencia is located in a convenient yet quiet location. The rooms are comfortable and meet the highest demands.
For those who would like to end their journey here, we recommend dropping off your car at Valencia Airport.
After the many curvy roads of Catalonia and Valencia you have travelled so far, you will continue your road trip to Alicante. This is also the end of your trip. You are welcome to drop your car hire off at Alicante Airport. Here you can relax at one of the wonderful beaches, enjoy the sun or go surfing. Playa del Postiguet is a very popular beach, but if you are looking for a little less crowded place, drive your car hire in Alicante to Playa de San Juan, a much better choice. The beach promenade Explanada de España presents you with the impressive beauty of the Spanish Costa Blanca and invites you to relax. The Castillo de Santa Bárbara should not be missed especially because of the great view of Alicante. Within the 16th century castle, you will also find the new Museo de la Ciudad de Alicante (MUSA), where you will learn more about the history of the city. In the meantime, pay a visit to Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Alicante (MACA). Before you book your hire car in Alicante, we recommend planning a trip to Guadalest. The spectacular mountain panorama will take your breath away.
Order a delicious paella made of rice, fresh fish and seafood at Piripi. At Mesón de Labradores, on the other hand, get inspired by an authentic river décor and tasty croquettes. The best tapas are served in elegant Dársena or Nou Manolín. For creative fusion cuisine, reserve a table at Don Carlos. Also the Mediterranean dishes in the cosy L'Atelier are highly recommended.
The stylish Amérigo, housed in a former Dominican monastery, offers modern rooms with minimalist furnishings. The staff of the hotel is regularly given top marks by the customers. Hotel Albahía is located directly at the sea front and invites you to relax in a Mediterranean flair. While you can save money in the trendy Les Monges Palace, the rooms at Sidi San Juan are slightly more expensive. If you are looking for an accommodation near a beach, you are at the right place at Melia'Alicante.
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