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Driving & Motoring

At 1,248 km in length, this huge highway from Cadiz to Barcelona was the longest road in Spain. It is colloquially known as the Spanish Route 66, and many have travelled the entire route and written blogs about their adventure.

Much has been written about the Osborne bulls, large black sherry advertisements which you may well have seen by the roadside all around Spain. Another, less well-known but equally classic, advertisement that has become a historic and cultural element is "Nitrato de Chile".

Enjoy a collection of Andalucia Road Trip Videos that have been sent to us. Starting in the delightfully vibrant Malaga, my gorgeous accomplice and I spent 2 weeks travelling around as much of Andalucia as we could squeeze in. Starting in Malaga we travelled to the breathtakingly romantic Ronda where we were blown away by its beauty and history.

You may have notice while driving around Andalucia a number of small, solid-looking, single-storey stone buildings beside the road, often with a distinctive station platform-style terrace in front, and often with large stone block castellated corners, pitched roof and two chimneys.

You may have noticed old concrete milestones by the side of Andalucian roads - local and national, not motorways. While most of these were replaced long ago by painted metal signs, a few still remain, reminders of a bygone age of road travel.

All the town of Andalucia are linked by national ( N-340) (Red Signage) or Andalucia ( A-346) (Green sinage) roads. There are still some smaller provincial roads (MA-2547) (Yellow signage) and even smaller comarcal roads (C-4568)(Green Signage).

All it takes is a drive across Spain to see the legendary brandy advertisement that has become a symbol of Spanish culture both here at home and abroad. The Osborne Bull is the black silhouette of bull that stands on hilltops and along the roadside in many – but not all – parts of Spain.

Lookout for specific speed limits. These will be signed but if you are driving across country you may forget the specific limit applies. Tunnels and underpass even on motorways will be limited to 80 or 100 km/h. Sharp bends will be signed, cross country roads passing through villages will be 50km/hr or road intersections 80km/hr.

The main motorways in Spain are generally well signed. However, if you are unfamiliar with Spanish geography, you’d best travel with a good road map. This is because signs will indicate the next large town or city but may not direct you to major cities until you are relatively close.

GPS works well throughout Andalucia, but there is no substitute for a good road map when it comes to planning out a journey or ensuring you can find alternative routes when construction blocks off the access seen on a GPS screen. A wide variety of road maps flood the market. However, the most highly recommended is the Michellin 446 of Southern Spain.

Almost all garages sell petrol at the maximum price permitted by the government. This can vary. As a general rule, most stations are self service. The exception is in some rural areas. Credit cards are universally accepted and tipping is not expected – regardless of what you might read in a guide book.

Spanish number plates are the new style number plates featuring the blue european logo on the left with E for Spain. The format for these is national and comprises four numbers followed by three letters. They are sequential on a national basis.

The National Traffic Authority in Spain is called the DGT – “Dirección General de Tráfico” and co-ordinates traffic across the country. The DGT’s website provides some information in English and is a good place to start looking for information about any official documents you would like to acquire, such as the Spanish point-based driver’s license.

All of the provincial capital cities of Andalucia are now linked by two lane fast motorways. The toll motorways are from Seville to Jerez (free of charge since the 1st of January 2020) and from Malaga to Marbella, from Marbella to Estepona and from Estepona to Sotogrande. The A-P46 Motorway from Malaga to Villanueva de Cauche on the A45 towards Antequera is also toll.

Motorcycle drivers must have the appropriate license and insurance at all times, and properly fitted helmets are compulsory on all bikes, even on small motorbikes under 50cc. These drivers are also required to follow all of the same rules set down for any other vehicle driver.

In addition to losing points from the point-based driving license, traffic law violators in Spain also receive fines. As a tourist or holidaymaker you will be asked to pay the fine on the spot. If you do not have the cash with you a traffic officer will accompany you to a cash point to withdraw the money, otherwise a friend or family member can bring themoney to you.

Depending on where you are coming from, drivers in Spain will seem either aggressive or polite! Visitors or new residents from countries where driving is more chaotic will probably be pleasantly surprised at the law and order on Spanish roads. However, those coming from North America or Northern European countries are often overwhelmed at first – particularly when they reach their first roundabout!

These are the most basic requirements for drivers on Spanish roads: Driving license, car document and insurance must be carried at all times. Seat belts are worn in front and back seats at all times. Blood alcohol levels must register less than 1.2mg/0.6ml of alcohol be in the blood. (This limit is lower than in many other countries and can be reached after consuming as little as one small glass of wine or beer).

In this section we have suggested some itineraries that you can use as a base for tours in Andalucia. These itineraries also link together many other information pages. As always the greatest problem is how to fit so much in a limited period of time and have a holiday as well rather than win an endurance award. You will need a good map.