This summer, we visited Camping Cypsela in Spain. This resort is on the Costa Brava, the East coast of Spain not too far from Girona. We travelled to Spain via ferry, meaning that we arrived in Santander on the West coast of Spain and had a long drive across the country to reach our destination.
Our total drive from coast to coast across Spain would have been seven to seven and half hours, without breaks. So its not a super long road trip, but still took some planning to make sure it went smoothly. This was our first road trip outside of the UK, and I feel a medium length drive like this was ideal to ease us into it gently. We may go for a longer route in future with more stops to explore.
With this distance, you can do it in one day if you’re prepared to make shorter stops and drive later into the evening (As we did on our way there) or you can take a more relaxed pace, and get a hotel half way as we did on our way back, staying in Zaragoza which was mid-way on our route.
While driving long distances in Spain, we would recommend to pay the tolls and use the toll roads (autopista) this will cut time off your journey and save you from spending time in traffic. While driving, you will see non toll routes running adjacent that are full of lorries and trucks but the Autopista is clear and allows you to go quickly.
There are also plenty of service stations to stop at, and the quality of these was pretty good in all the places we stopped. Some have indoor play for kids, some have an outdoor playground, and they all tend to have food available and toilets of course.
Above is the service station at Sobradiel, in the province of Zaragoza, and here is a quick video of Alfés service station which is in Catalonia.
On the trip back when we stayed over night at Zaragoza to break our journey, we stayed in Hotel Diagonal Plaza which has suites that are ideal for families with multiple children. Our suite was very large with a good sized master bedroom and bathroom plus a large living room which can sleep 3 kids.
The few pictures I took of the suite are not great, but you can get an idea of the size and style. We would definitely recommend this hotel if you’re in the area. The exchange rate between Euros and pounds also made it very reasonably priced, and you can get a buffet breakfast in the morning with everything you would expect – cereals, fruits, baked goods (the Spanish seem to offer doughnuts within this – which excited my kids quite a lot!) and hot breakfast items.
While staying around Zaragoza, here are a few of the places you may want to visit before setting off on your travels again.
Aljafería Palace (Palacio de la Aljafería)
This palace dates back to Islamic Spain, and the rules of Abu Jaffar Al-Muqtadir in the 11th century. To go inside the palace, you must buy a ticket (and there were queues when we visited) but you are free to take a walk around the perimeter of the castle without buying a ticket. If you do go inside, you can see the inner court and the beautiful structures within the palace
Pont Del Diable
This bridge, also known as Sant Bartomeu Bridge, is an old Roman Aqueduct from the reign of Augustus (27 BC–14 AD) which crosses the river Llobregat between two municipalities within Catalonia. The bridge is for pedestrians only and is 27 metres high.
You access the bridge from within a parkland area, and can walk across. I am not a fan of heights, so I stayed and watched from below but the kids and their dad enjoyed exploring this. We have a video of the walk across that I will upload and share soon. The bridge is free to explore and to cross, so if you’re looking for cost effective ways to entertain the children and expose them to some history while road tripping in Spain, or staying within this area, then it’s worth a visit.
While road tripping in Spain, you will also get great views of the mountains and the sea, so there are lots of things to look out for while in the car and plenty of gorgeous scenery to enjoy to make the time pass by more quickly.
If you do need some ideas to keep the kids occupied in the car, between stops, then why not try some of these free road trip printables.
Summer Road Trip Ideas from Around the World
I’ve joined together with Playground Park Bench and a group of bloggers from around the world to share our summer road trips with you in the Best Road Trips Around the Globe series. You can check out each one below, arranged by country.
Bar Harbor, Maine at Playground Parkbench
DC to NY Baseball Trip at Sunny Day Family
Indianapolis, Indiana at Mom Inspired Life
Upstate NY / Finger Lakes at My Joy-Filled Life
Sandusky/Put in Bay at Something 2 Offer
Venice and Santa Monica Beach at Rhythms of Play
Charlotte NC at Beauty in the Mess
Newport, RI at Be Fed Again
Martin County, FL at Word Traveling
Philadelphia, PA at The Fraggle Momma
Cross-Country RV Trip at On Parenting
Frankfort, Michigan at Purposeful Homemaking
Northumberland, England at Peakle Pie
Scotland at Witty Hoots
North Norfolk Coast at Travelled So Far
Melbourne Australia at Every Bed of Roses
Grand Bend Beach and Bayfield at HEN Family
Algonquin Park, Ontario at Kitchen Counter Chronicles
Niagara Falls (New York & Ontario) at I Choose Joy
Santander to Girona at In The Playroom