This road stretches from the southwestern corner, the city of Cadiz, very close to northern Africa, to the north coast at the city of Bilbao. It passes through Spain’s capital, Madrid, near the geographical center of the country and location of milepost zero, from which all distances in Spain are measured. Some of the country’s most important tourist attractions are found along this route. I have listed these major sights below in order as you travel from south to north across the country. A photo album will follow this post, shortly.
Cadiz – This south coast city is used frequently as a gateway into Africa, since it is so close, just across the Strait of Gibraltor. However, the city itself offers a number of tourist attractions, most of which are related to its Moorish heritage.
Jerez de la Frontera – Here is a community which is world famous for two things. First, it is the sherry capital of the world. While in town, be sure to visit a sherry bodega (vineyard) to sample and to appreciate the time and effort which goes into the production of this fine beverage. Secondly, this town is the practice location for the world-famous Lippenzaner horses. Try to catch a practice while you are here.
Seville – Seville is the capital and major city of Andalusia, Spain’s southwesternmost province and the area of greatest Moorish influence. The city is famous for its great Cathedral, one of the largest in all of Europe.
Cordoba – This great city used to be one of the most populous in Europe. Its mosque-turned-cathedral has some of the most interesting architecture in all of Spain. It is a great walking city because much of the centro is pedestrian-only (see my Walking Tour of Cordoba, soon to be posted).
Consuegra – The plains of La Mancha were made famous by the novel, Don Quixote, by Cervantes. Here is an opportunity to see some of the windmills so central to the story which look out over these plains.
Aranjuez – This summer palace just outside of Madrid offered a refuge for Spanish royalty outside the hustle and bustle of the capital city. The palace and its grounds are now open to tourists. that in
Toledo – A short detour from E-5 brings access to this elegant, walled, Medieval city which is famous for its beautiful Cathedral and its native son, the painter, El Greco whose work is featured throughout the city.
Madrid – Spain’s capital city has graceful, dignified architecture, world-class museums, some of the best bull-fighting in all of Spain, and wonderful squares that invite people-watching and relaxation.
Burgos – This stop on the pilgrim path across northern Spain is noted for its significant religious buildings, including its wonderful Cathedral and several monasteries.
Bilbao – The northern coastal, industrial city of Bilbao became an instant favorite on the tourist scene in 1997 when the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened to the public and wowed the crowds with its unusual Frank Gehry design.