The Mediterranean climate, culinary pleasures, and rich cultural heritage lure thousands of tourists to Spain every year. Madrid, like no other city, is the best point to begin your journey in Spain. Although not a coastal city, Madrid makes it up with its history dating back to the Middle Ages. The Spanish capital is known for its diverse, ultra-modern buildings neighbouring with historical monuments, which are waiting for your arrival.
Madrid has a lot on offer for different tastes and ages, from culinary highlights to temperamental Flamenco, the city has it all. However, if you are looking to discover the Spanish capital city thoroughly, a car hire in Madrid will be your best choice to meet the challenge.
Driving in Madrid can be challenging at times, therefore, for the first day of your trip, we recommend using public transportation and sightseeing on foot. Once you are ready to leave Madrid, pick up your car hire from numerous downtown locations or Madrid Airport and begin your road trip through Central Spain. Read about driving regulations in Spain to familiarise yourself with the local traffic rules.
Outside of the metropolis you will encounter endless golden wheat fields and hidden interesting spots. After the bustling nightlife and art galleries in Madrid, this route takes you up north to the romantic city of Segovia with fairy-tale like architecture and delicious regional dishes. The next stop on the route is Ávila, a city with intact medieval walls. A UNESCO heritage site, Avila is also home to numerous old churches and thus also called the Town of Stones and Saints. The last part of the Central Spain Road trip leads to the historic city of Toledo.
Make the most of your road trip with a car hire in Spain from Auto Europe. Explore what the country has to offer with the flexibility of a rental car. Contact our reservation team for the best deals and let us be your travel partner on your Central Spain road trip.
Begin your journey with a road trip to Madrid, the most lively city in the country. World famous museums and legendary nightlife are the best start to your journey. Art fans will have plenty of museums and galleries to choose from. Museo del Prado, for example, has an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings and graphics from all over the world. The museum also exhibits important works of famous Spanish artists like Goya, Velásquez or El Greco. The works of other great artists such as Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró are on display in Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, where you will also be able to see Guernica - Pablo Picasso's master piece, inspired by the bombing of Gernika. Another highlight, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, presents an overview of art from the 13th to the early 20th century, including names such as Rubens, Dali, Van Gogh, and Hopper.
Madrid will also delight architecture enthusiasts. The city is an open-air gallery of historic buildings and squares. The impressive Royal Palace of Madrid, dating back to the 18th century is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Used only for the state ceremonies, the palace is open to public and provides a glimpse of the Royal Armoury of Madrid, or the Royal Pharmacy from the 16th century. The Plaza Mayor, a large square in the centre of Madrid, saw the turbulent times of the Spanish Inquisition, it was the scene of executions and events such as bull fights and street markets. Today, as a major tourist attraction it is the starting point of the most sightseeing tours and has an ample selection of old and traditional shops and cafes.
Take a break from sightseeing and take a relaxing stroll in Retiro Park, or rent a rowing boat and have a little boat trip over the lake in the park. Colourful matadors, bull fights and iconic images of Spain come to life at Plaza de Toros Las Ventas, perhaps the most famous bull ring in the world. September is a good time to visit Madrid as prices are lower and you can avoid tourists crowds and watch Real Madrid play at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. After a day full of sightseeing, you would like to take in the bustling nightlife of Madrid in its fantastic clubs and bars. For a traditional nightout, we recommend a flamenco show at Las Tablas and a Sherry glass in La Venencia. Should you feel like dancing instead, pay a visit to cocktail-lounge Museo Chicote with live DJ music. If you would like to learn more about Madrid, visit the city during its famous festivals. Fiesta de San Isidro with parades, bull fights and traditional dancing on the streets takes place in May and the flamenco festival, Suma Flamenca, is held in early summer.
Madrid is a place where dining is celebrated and the local restaurants entice you with delicious meals. The city also has numerous shops selling regional delicacies and wine such as Casa Gonzalez or Mercado de San Miguel with various sorts of cheese and traditional tapas. Speaking of which, tapas bar hoping is a popular way of spending time in Spain and Madrid is no different. Tortilla de patatas in Juanalaloca, croquetas in Casa Julio and the original Andalusian jamón in Bocaito are the best tapas you can have in Madrid. You should not miss out on the squid sandwiches at the Plaza Mayor. We also recommend paying a visit to Casa Alberto for a hearty meal, the place serves traditional octopus dishes or deep fried peppers stuffed with oxtail. Spend a romantic dinner at El Caldero and get the perfect paella. If you dare to meet the crowds of tourists and high prices, head to Sobrino de Botín, where Ernest Hemingway used to hang out.Vegetarians are welcomed to Viva La Vida with a large selection of meals.
Should you be travelling on a budget, check in at Cat's Hostel, offering large rooms at competitive prices. The hostel is situated in a 17th century castle with a patio and two bars. Another budget option that is popular with students is the Los Amigos Sol Backpacker hostel with a friendly atmosphere. If you are ready to spend more on your accommodation, try Hotel Liabeny or Hotel Preciados offering modern business class rooms. The extraordinary Hotel Lope de Vega rooms were inspired by the 17th century Spanish writer. Thanks to a car hire in Madrid you will be flexible, whichever location you choose for your accommodation in the Spanish capital city.
The romantic Roman architecture of Segovia, made of sandstone and often decorated with terracotta, reminiscent of the rich history, have earned the city UNESCO World Heritage Site status. With a car hire in Segovia you will be able to explore the city at your own pace. Segovia is well worth a visit not only for its architecture - the city is set in picturesque mountainous terrain. With many Roman foundations remaining in the city, the El Acueducto is the highlight of Segovia and one of the best-preserved Roman constructions in Spain. The 90 feet high aqueduct from the 1st/2nd century, built without mortar, is still used to provide drinking water. Another place worth checking is the Gothic Segovia Cathedral located in the main square. The 19th century reconstruction of the medieval Alcázar reigning above the city is popular with tourists and displays a beautiful panorama. The modest Mourish architecture and many medieval churches make the walk along the city streets a truly unique experience.
Most of the city centre is a pedestrian zone and you will be able to see Segovia's attractions on foot. However, if you should like to visit attractions outside of the city, like the Romanesque Vera Cruz Church built by the Knights Templar in 13th century,a car hire in Spain will be your best travel option.
The road trip to Segovia cannot be completed without sampling the luscious local cuisine. The city has a range of restaurants where you can try genuine Spanish meals. Pay a visit to Mesón de Candido, popular with celebrities, or try Restaurante Casa Chapete, often frequented by the locals. Alternatively, there is an ample selection of tapas bars or home-style places. Get adventurous and try "Mystery Sampler" in Narizotas, or opt for delicious seafood in La Golondrina, serving fried octopus and squid with mushrooms.
Travellers are well catered for at Hotel Exe Casa de Los Linajes with modern and classy rooms, whereas the family-run Hospedaje el Gato, offers accommodation for a lower price, a friendly atmosphere, breakfast service and a tapas bar.
On the third day of your Central Spain road trip you are going to explore Avila, a charming medieval city with Mediterranean flair. Avila, a UNESCO world heritage site, is famous for its remarkably preserved 12th century city walls. The city is also home to numerous historical churches such as the royal Real Monasterio de Santo Tomás or the majestic Basilica de San Vicente. Pay a visit to the religious ruins stands - the Four Posts, with a fantastic view of the city walls. It is a perfect spot for taking photos of the medieval walls, so have your camera ready! Thanks to car hire in Avila, you will be able to see all the region has to offer. Should you be visiting the city during its famous hot summer, take a break from the sightseeing and cool down during a walk through the Grutas del Aguila, with its spectacular caves formations.
Visit Los Candiles for home cooking and sample the hot tomato and bread soup or a tender chuletón rib steak for a moderate price. Padel League serves more adventurous meals such as mushrooms croquettes and grilled octopus. There are also excellent fusion restaurants like Restaurante Toixos or trendy Soul Kitchen, set in the castle from the 16th century. And if you are in for a desert, keep your eyes open for yemas de Santa Teresa, a delicious lemon cupcake with vanilla sauce, named after the patron of the city.
Crown your road trip to Avila with a royal-like stay at the luxurious hotel Palacio de los Velada and enjoy the extraordinary accommodation. The hotel offers a range of amenities such as restaurant and bar in a breathtaking courtyard. Parador de Ávila is also centrally located and welcomes its guests with large rooms set in authentic medieval surroundings. If you are looking for a budget option, check in to Hotel las Leyendas with spacious stone rooms, offering the best value for money accommodation.
Toledo is an architectural mosaic of the region's rich history. The city boasts impressive traces of Roman, Visigoth, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian occupation. Begin your journey through the history of Toledo by visiting Toledo Cathedral - a true gem of catholic architecture with high-rising columns, stained glass windows, sacred paintings, and glistening gold works. Reach deeper in to Christian history and visit the Franciscan monastery San Juan de los Reyes. Toledo's Jewish quarter is abundant with attractions such as the synagogue from the 14th century and a Sephardic history museum. Take a walk through the labyrinth of city streets for an insight to Toledo's Moorish architecture. Enjoy the freedom in your travels thanks to car hire in Toledo and explore the reagion's attractions.
The road trip to Toledo leads from the the autonomous community Castile and León region, where you visited Segovia and Avila, to Castile-La Mancha. Both regions' cuisine is all about the meat. You will find everything from lamb to wild boar and partridge in Toledo's restaurants. Enjoy the three-course menu in Restaurante Los Cuatro Tiempos or take in the atmosphere of the past in palatial Restaurante Casón de los López de Toledo. Simple and hearty home cuisine defines the menu of Restaurante Mesón Palacios. The place is popular with both local people and tourists, sampling delicious bean soup with partridge. For vegetarian dishes with local flair book a table at a cosy La Abadia serving grilled vegetables or try Madre Tierra with healthy meals.
Finish off your road trip with a comfortable stay at Casa de Cisneros with wood-and stone-beamed rooms. The hotel's lobby features a glass porthole with a view of the buildings foundations placed on the top of the 11th century Islamic palace. Stay at the boutique hotel La Posada de Manolo and enjoy rooms decorated in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic styles. The digs of Parador de Toledo display a fascinating view of the Tajo gorge, the same that inspired El Greco.
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