Spain by road
Travelling west of Santander, the region ofAsturias is breathtakingly beautiful. It is possibleto stick to the coastal route on the E70(which becomes the A8 for periods of the trip),but much better to travel inland and witness theregion’s exhilarating scenery. With beaches thatrival any other on the northern Spanish coast,and mountains in the Picos de Europa that reachpeaks of more 2,600 metres just 20 kilometresfrom the seaside, it is still an undiscovered treasure.Mountain walking,climbing and fellrunning all catered for here. The area is also famousfor cabrales, a blue cheese that locals sayrivals stilton. It is possible to visit the factorieswhere the cheese is made, and the caves in themountains where it is stored for months until it isjust right. The village of Arenas de Cabrales isgood starting point, and easily accessible fromthe coastal road. The capital Oviedo is also worthexploring for its rich medieval and religious architectureand (turismoviedo.es).
The variety offered by northern Spainmeans that driving is oneof the best ways of visiting.By sticking to the mainroads, largely the E70 andA8, the journey can bedone quickly and withoutmissing the main centres. Aweek is easily enough time.But if you have a littlelonger, the real joy of this trip is turning off on to the minor roads, which giveeven the driver opportunity to take in the magnificent views and stunningscenery. It also means thatacross the trip, visitors willcontinually happen on the small fishing villages, or in Asturias the mountainhamlets, which dot thenorthern Spanish coastalregions.