Road trip through northern Spain

Road trip through northern Spain

Snow-capped mountain peaks, rugged coastline, photogenic fishing villages and vibrant cities not to mention dreamy beaches and the culinary delights to be found here. A road trip through northern Spain is incredibly diverse and a particularly beautiful experience. From surfing in clear water to hiking to snow-capped mountain peaks. It’s all possible here. If you are looking for a diverse explored travel destination for a road trip, then Northern Spain is the place to be!

In this article we share our Northern Spain route, most beautiful places, useful tips, best travel time and, of course, the cost for a road trip through Northern Spain.

northern spain
northern spain road trip tips
road trip north spain
northern spain road trip

Best travel route through Northern Spain

Grab your bus or RV and go! A bit of an itinerary is nice, but try to plan as little as possible. After all, a road trip never goes as planned. Still want a little handholding during your trip? Then take a quick look at our Northern Spain itinerary.

Northern Spain route overview

  • Day 1 – 3 – Southwest France – start your trip just before the border of northern Spain to first enjoy a few days of French Surfers Existence
  • Day 4 – Hondarribia – a place to stay overnight with spectacular views and for absolutely nothing, nope, nada
  • Day 5 – 7 -. San Sebastian – FOOD HEAVEN! Do I need to say more?
  • Day 8 – 10 – Itxaspe – Beautiful surroundings. High GOT content.
  • Day 11 – Bilbao – The capital of northern Spain, so a must-visit
  • Day 12 – Santander – a beautiful luxury city with a camper spot in the middle of the city
  • Day 13 – 18 -. San Vicente – San Vicente has everything: beautiful beaches, nice town, beautiful surroundings and mountains of the Picos in the background.
  • Day 19 – 20 -. Potes – the perfect starting point for your road trip through the Picos
  • Day 21 – 24 -. Picos de Europa – take off your hiking boots
  • Day 25 – Faro Cabo Busto – beautiful place to stay overnight with breathtaking views of Spain’s rugged coastline.
  • Day 26 – 27 – RIbadeo – Visit the impressive beach Praia das Catedrais here.
  • Day 28 – 29 – Santiago de Compostela – one of the most visited cities in Galicia

A few destinations you could possibly add to your itinerary are Zarautz, Oviedo and Gijon.

northern spain route

What to do in Northern Spain

  • Brave the mountains of Picos de Europa. In the Picos you will find numerous hiking trails for all levels. The most popular route is the 12 km Cares gorge.
  • Go SURFEN! Visit San Vicente and book a surf lesson at Meron Surf School. Fat tip!
  • Visit San Sebastian and eat as much as you can.
  • Soak up culture in Bilbao
  • Start your journey through the Picos at the charming village of Potes
  • Receive Pilgrims with a warm welcome in Santiago de Compostela
  • Go wild camping on a cliff
  • Enjoy lots of sunset picnics

Also read the article“10x must do in northern Spain” >>

northern spain
northern spain road trip tips
road trip north spain

Best time to travel to Northern Spain

The best time to travel for a road trip through northern Spain is from June to September. In the winter months it can be quite rainy here, but in the high season the weather here is really lovely. It won’t get 30+ here anytime soon, but the sun almost always shines in the summer. During the high season, it can be a bit busier. Especially many Spaniards go camping in northern Spain on weekends and in the summer.

Because Northern Spain is relatively undiscovered, it is still pretty doable in high season, but if you have the chance and want to enjoy a lot of peace and nature we recommend visiting Northern Spain in June or September.

northern spain
northern spain road trip tips
road trip north spain

Which budget do i need in Northern Spain?

And now for the part you always yearn for, little knee-jerk ;p, MONEY! After all, what exactly does a road trip through northern Spain cost? On average, we spent between 40 – 60 euros per day. So max 30 euros per person per day. But this can be done much cheaper. In fact, we go out for dinner or drinks somewhere almost every day. In addition, at this time we did not yet have solar panels so we often had to camp at campgrounds or RV sites, because we still work a lot on the road and the laptop is necessary then.

In total, our road trip through northern Spain cost 1860 euros. About 64 euros per day. Most of which was spent on gasoline and eating out. These costs were as follows:

UItals 1 month Roadtrip through northern Spain

  • Gasoline and toll roads: 428 euros (23%)
  • Dining Out: 595 (32%)
  • Groceries (19%): 353 euros
  • Camping (20%): 372 euros
  • Sightseeing (3%): 56 euros
  • Other (3%): 56 euros

Overview costs in northern Spain

  • Campsites: 5 – 20 euros (also you have huge amount of beautiful wild camping spots)
  • Beer: 1.80 – 2.50
  • Lunch: 10 – 15 euros (for 2 people)
  • Dinner: 25 – 50 euros (for 2 people)
  • Coffee: 1 -2 euros
  • Gasoline: 1.10 – 1.50 (yes really spot on)
  • Groceries: 7.50 (for 2 people)

Budget per day northern Spain

  • Budget Van Lifer – Lots of wild camping, eating at the camper, quiet road trips – 10 – 20 euros per day per person
  • Semi Wild Van Lifers – Combination of wild camping and campsites, occasional eating out, quiet road trips – 20 – 30 euros per day
  • Flash Van Lifers – Lots of campgrounds standing, often eating out, enjoying beer, long distances and toll roads – 30 – 45 euros per day

The best spots are often free.

northern spain road trip

Practical information about Northern Spain

  • You can find the best places to stand via the app Park4night.and of course via via. We love the variety of wild camping, mini campsites, farm stands and RV sites.
  • Wild camping is not officially allowed in Spain, but in many places it is tolerated. Always leave your place tidy, though. Oh and wild urination like to duck into the bushes for a while. Popular wild camping spots sometimes look and smell more like a public restroom than a nice place to stand ;p.
  • Want to do the occasional load of laundry or crank the RV to electricity, but often find campsites too expensive. Then the ACSI discount card is for you. This allows you to pitch in the early and late season for a bargain.
  • If, like us, you are not so handy with cars then become a member of the ANWB or something similar. REALLY DO! We have had so many breakdowns. It’s just really nice when someone can help you in situations like this. In addition, the garages were selected by the ANWB and would like to maintain this position. So no crazy haggling or unfair prices. At least that has been our experience.
  • Download a translate app or even better learn Spanish. In northern spain we encountered few people who could speak good english.
  • Fueling in Spain is SPOT-CHOICE. So nice and empty your tank until you cross the border. And if you need to fill up in Spain, don’t do it along the highway.
  • Is the dog going with you? Then make sure you have the proper vaccinations, chip, deworming pills and passport. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian beforehand. Also read the article “roadtripping with the dog”
  • The same obligations apply in the car as in the Netherlands. So bring safety jacket and warning triangle!
  • Avoid toll roads! Travel nice and slow and take mostly inland roads, that way you’ll see something. Toll roads in Spain are bruisingly expensive anyway.
northern spain
northern spain road trip tips
road trip north spain
northern spain

What are nice places to stay in Northern Spain?

Northern Spain offers numerous lodging tips. From luxury hotels, beautiful wild camping spots, campsites to staying with families.

The best places to wildcamp & free motorhome sites in northern Spain

  • Camping in nature at Hondarribia
  • Camping on the rugged coastline: Faro Cabo Busto
  • Motorhome site Santander

The most beautiful camping spots and campsites in northern Spain

  • Camping Itxaspe
  • Motorhome site Santiago de Compostela
  • Motorhome site Bilbao
  • Parking San Vicente
  • Camping Potes
  • Motorhome site Posada de Valdeón

Also read the article “campsites in northern Spain

northern spain road trip tips
road trip north spain

The most beautiful accommodations in northern Spain

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