Slow the down and wander outside of Madrid. Wander slowly through the small towns that are easily accessible through day road trips from Madrid.
Road trip! Ok, some tips. Just because the car rental is super cheap watch out! They are jerks. Hidden fees will creep up on you like $200 insurance, gas, extra hours and no changes to time, date to when you pick up or drop off the car. They don’t take AMEX either, so you can’t use the AMEX car rental insurance. Most cars are small and are manual drive. We had to reserve three cars! But just like goldilocks the third one fit.
Tip two, make sure to purchase the GPS or have GPS on your phone to use Google maps to get out of city. It can be a bit complicated with several highway transitions. We got lost a couple of times and it took us several roundabouts before we got out of the city.
Tip three, the highways are free in Spain but there are tolls in Portugal. There are two lanes at the tools, one for a “fast pass” that residents use as a charge master box on the front on their cars. For tourists, you will need to take a ticket at the toll. You keep the ticket until you arrive at the next toll both where you can pay with cash or card. Tolls can be anywhere between 3-16 EU. DON’T use the “fast pass” lane, if you don’t have one. You will be charged around $60. We were! ☹
Ok, enough with logistics.
But as you leave Madrid, you start to really appreciate the Spanish landscape. Dry plains and windy mountains, olive groves, bull farms, and small villages laced with small villas with a central medieval cathedral. Every town has a picturesque square and charm to explore.
Wander the backcountry of Spain!