The orography of Spain is rugged and diverse, and allows for trips along mountain roads with spectacular views.
The first paved roads in Spain were built by the Romans during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, around 218 BC to the 5th century AD One of the best-known Roman roads in Spain is the Via Augusta (also known as Via Herculea or Via Exterior), which it went from the Pyrenees, in the north, to Cádiz, in the south, for a total of around 1,500 kilometres.
However, in the context of modern road paving, a key milestone would be the creation of Plano Peña, in honor of the then Minister of Public Works, José Luis de Arrese, also known as Conde de Peña, in 1940. road development aimed at modernizing the Spanish road network after the Civil War and included the paving of numerous existing and newly built roads.
Although Spain now has an extensive network of motorways and expressways, these ancient roads, heirs to the Roman ones, offer the possibility of traveling at leisure, enjoying incomparable landscapes. These are the five most emblematic mountain roads in Spain.
Sa Calobra road, Mallorca
This asphalt serpent (calobra means snake), born in 1933 from the imagination of the Italian-Spanish engineer Antonio Parietti, was designed to connect the monastery of Lluc to the port of Sa Calobra. In it, the curves intertwine like a slipknot, a sinuous dance between the mountain and the sea. Unconventionally, the road was designed with tourists in mind.
Photo: Marco Verch
Highway GC-60 from Maspalomas to Tejera, Gran Canaria
The GC-60 motorway offers breathtaking panoramic views at every turn, be it the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean or the verdant cliffs and mountains of Gran Canaria. One of the highlights of this tour is Roque Nublo, an iconic island rock formation that seems to defy gravity.
Montes de Málaga Highway A-7000, Malaga
The A-7000 is located within Parque Natural de los Montes de Málaga and was built in the 1930s as part of a recovery effort after the area was devastated by deforestation in previous centuries. Along the way, typical Mediterranean forest species can be seen, such as stone pine, resin pine and Aleppo pine, with which this territory was repopulated to avoid the recurrent floods in the city of Málaga.
A-366 Highway, Coin to Ronda, Malaga
This road runs from Coin to the mythical city of Ronda, in the province of Málaga, one of the most picturesque in Spain. Driving this stretch of road is a real treat for the senses, with impressive panoramic views over the Sierra de las Nieves and the vast expanse of the Mediterranean.
N-110 Highway, Valle del Jerte, Cáceres
The N-110 winds along the course of the River Jerte, and at every turn you can discover impressive views of green mountains, dotted with the famous cherry trees that bloom every spring. .Built in the 20th century, the N-110 was designed to link various regions in northern and central Spain, from Soria to Plasencia.
These routes are more than paths, they are testimonies of our history, a hymn to engineering and the landscape that surrounds us. It’s a constant reminder that highways may be the fastest way, but not always the best.
Quo Science Trips section sponsored by hyundai