Spain is a country of contrast and often unjustly reputed as a haven for holidaymakers seeking competitive tanning, cheap lager and meals from photo-board menus. But escape the coastal concentration of package tour masses and head inland where an unspoilt, wild and tranquil reward awaits.
Our crossing into Spain was through the rarely visited Northern regions of Asturias and Cantabria. We headed south towards Leon and into the breathtakingly beautiful Picos de Europa National Park where dramatic, jagged limestone peaks form a backdrop to canyons and ravines.
We meandered our way along the Rio Sil, a magnificent drive skirting turquoise blue reservoirs and forested hillsides, again rarely passing other vehicles.
Venturing North from Algeciras on the Costa de la Luz we entered the Parque Natural Los Alcornocales. Visited mainly for its atypical Andalusian whitewashed hillside villages, this rolling countryside of flower meadows, oak woodland with roaming deer and waterfalls is a hidden gem.