Back in November/December 2014 – long before I started this blog – Ross and I went on a Eurotrip. We spent six blissful weeks touring Western Europe by train, hitting many of the postcard cities: Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice. The highlight of our holiday (it was a holiday back then – we were living in Australia and I was still at university) was undoubtedly the three weeks we spent driving ourselves around Spain.
Almost two years later, in 2016, I decided to write a little blog post about our Spanish road trip. My motivation was pretty selfish: I was starting to forget the names of all the wonderful places we had been and wanted to revisit my photos. The post I wrote, Three Weeks in Spain: My Ultimate Road Trip Itinerary, is still the most popular post on Wander-Lush. I’m truly chuffed that so many people have found it helpful when planning their own road trip itinerary.
I get comments and emails every week from fellow travellers who are planning a similar trip and need some extra advice. Time and time again I get questions related to accommodation and car parking. In response, I thought I would put together this list of the 10 Airbnbs, 2 hotels and 1 yurt (yes, yurt) that we stayed in during our three-week road trip across Spain.
WOULD YOU LIKE A $50 AUD AIRBNB DISCOUNT? If you do decide to make a booking on Airbnb, click the link below and you’ll receive $50 AUD credit towards your first booking! (Conditions apply.)
UPDATE: Unfortunately this apartment has been withdrawn from Airbnb by the owner and is no longer available. Try searching the Urquinaona area for similar listings.
Airbnb, private room, price on request
We really loved this bright, well-decorated apartment in Barcelona. We got our very first glimpse of The Sagrada Familia from the balcony here – the panoramic views from the 7th floor are incredible! The apartment has several guest rooms so we ended up sharing a bathroom with a few others. The kitchen and washing machine was also available for use. The owners live on-site and from memory, they were both very kind and non-intrusive. The location of this apartment was ideal for us as first-time visitors to Barcelona – close to Urquinaona metro station and plenty of bars and restaurants.
Car parking: No. (We stayed here before we picked up our hire car.)
SOS DEL REY CATOLICO
Parador de Sos del Rey Católico, double room, from $100 USD/night
We wanted to stay in a Parador at least once during our trip, so we chose our first night on the road to treat ourselves. Sos Del Rey Catolico is a gorgeous little village about halfway between Barcelona and Bilbao. It was an ideal place to overnight, and the hotel itself was delightful. We ate a very memorable dinner at the restaurant here too (mostly memorable because of how big the portion sizes were).
Car parking: Yes – plenty of secure (outdoor) parking on site.
UPDATE: Unfortunately this apartment has been withdrawn from Airbnb by the owner and is no longer available. Try searching the Santutxu area for similar listings.
Airbnb, private apartment, price on request
This apartment was our one and only negative Airbnb experience in Spain. When we booked, the host promised us free parking on the premises – but there was no parking available. We had a tough time trying to communicate with the owner on account of our non-existent Spanish skills (no English spoken). We ended up parking on the street and having to go back and feed the meter throughout our stay – not ideal. The apartment itself was acceptable – not terribly clean, but not awful either. The listing has since been updated to reflect the parking situation.
Car parking: No. We parked in a metered space on a nearby street. Luckily the rates were reasonable and the second day of our stay was a Sunday, when parking is free. Generally speaking, there was plenty of parking in Bilbao.
Airbnb, private apartment, $106 AUD/night
For anyone who hasn’t done it, driving into Madrid is – uh – a little challenging. We were thoroughly stressed out by the time we arrived at this apartment, but totally blown away by the quality of the accommodation. A beautiful, spacious family home, it has two bedrooms, three beds and a huge living area. It was way too much space for just the two of us. The price is a little high, but for what you get, it’s not that bad given that it’s bang in the middle of the central Legazpi area of Madrid. The kitchen is well-equipped and includes a washing machine.
Car parking: Yes – secure garage parking on site. Parking in Madrid is very limited and traffic heavy, so we locked up the car and used public transport throughout our stay.
AC Hotel Ciudad de Toledo, double room, from $95 AUD/night
We couldn’t find an Airbnb with parking in Toledo, so we opted for a hotel instead. The AC is a good, budget-friendly choice, located just across the river from the old town.
Car parking: Yes – secure parking on site.
UPDATE: Unfortunately this apartment has been withdrawn from Airbnb by the owner and is no longer available. Try searching the Ciutat Vella area for similar listings.
Airbnb, private loft apartment, price on request
We had a very comfortable stay at this cool, modern loft apartment in the centre of Valencia. We chose it because the host provided free bicycles (and Valencia is definitely a bike-friendly city) – I’m not sure if this is still the case, you would need to inquire. The apartment is self-contained and well-equipped – there’s even a juicer in the kitchen so you can bring home some of those amazing oranges from the market and make your own juice.
Car parking: Yes – off site.
Airbnb, private room, $39 AUD/night
This apartment is absolutely gorgeous and just the kind of place you want to stay in historic Cartagena. Original furniture, restored artwork and enclosed balconettes make it really special. The listing is for a private room, but our host ended up heading out on the night we stayed, so we had the whole place to ourselves. She kindly provided us with breakfast supplies for the morning.
Car parking: Yes – off site. Our host met us outside and guided us to a parking lot where we left the car (free of charge) for the duration of our stay. We noticed that most street parking in Cartagena is metered.
LANJARON (LAS ALPUJARRAS)
Armonia Alpujarra, private yurt (yes, yurt!), price on request
I have no idea how we found Armonia Alpujarra online, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sleep in a yurt in the mountains. The Israeli couple who own the property run yoga and meditation retreats, but they also rent out their two yurts for short-term stays. We chose the big yurt because it has a fireplace (very important given how cold it can get in the Sierra Nevada mountains in November). It was cosy, and waking up in the middle of nowhere surrounded by frosted olive trees was a really unique experience.
Car parking: Yes, on site. Private car is really the only way to get around Las Alpujarras and street parking is plentiful in all the villages.
Airbnb, private apartment, $99 AUD/night
There’s one reason tourists come to Granada, and that’s to see the Alhambra. We were initially a bit unsure about the location of this apartment (in the suburbs a fair way from town and the Alhambra) – that was until we went out for a stroll and saw the view from the end of the street. Turns out, tourists trek up this very hill just to see the sunset over the Alhambra. This apartment is located just footsteps away from the best vantage point in the whole city – the views really made our stay. The apartment itself has a good kitchen, a pool, and sleeps up to four people.
Car parking: Yes – plentiful street parking. We left the car and got around Granada by bus.
UPDATE: Unfortunately this particular suite has been withdrawn from Airbnb by the owners – try another one of their listings instead.
Airbnb, private rooftop suite, price on request
Cordoba is a very special city, and staying in this gorgeous Andalusian manor house made our stay that much more memorable. The rooftop suite sits on top of a two-storey house, with incredible views over the city from the private rooftop terrace. Access is via a private door so we never had to worry about disturbing our hosts. Not that they would have minded – the couple behind this listing are some of the most thoughtful Airbnb hosts we’ve ever had. They even gave us a customised city map with their favourite restaurants and sights marked out. Barrio de Santa Marina is in Cordoba’s historic centre, so everything is located within walking distance.
Car parking: Yes. Parking is difficult to come across on Cordoba’s narrow streets, so the private outdoor lot is another big draw card for this listing. Our host met us on the street and guided us to the secure carpark, which is located close to the apartment.
Airbnb, private apartment, $53 AUD/night
If you’re looking for a simple, modern, self-contained apartment in the heart of Seville, this listing is for you. The bed is a fold-out and the space is quite small, so it’s best suited to singles or couples. The hosts own a few properties in the same building and are very professional in the way they manage their listings. Fully equipped kitchen and washing machine included.
Car parking: We checked into this apartment after returning our rental car, but other guests have reported finding on-street parking with help from the host.
All information and prices quoted correct at the time of writing (August 1, 2017). For up-to-date prices and availability on all Airbnb listings, simply enter your travel dates on the relevant listing’s page. If a particular property is unavailable for your dates, try searching nearby using the map.
New to Airbnb? Check out this helpful how-to guide by Along Dusty Roads. Don’t forget, if you decide to join Airbnb and book a stay in Spain (or elsewhere), you can use the code below to receive $50 AUD off your booking! (Conditions apply.)
Accommodation is just one piece of the puzzle – my tried-and-tested three-week road trip itinerary for Spain will help you plan your route, activities and stop overs, and offers some handy tips for car hire and driving in Spain.