Access to Spain by land is by crossing the Pyrenees from France and Andorra or from British territory in the form of the isthmus of Gibraltar. With the advent of the European Union there are no restrictions on the frontiers of member states, i.e. France and Portugal, indeed most, if not all, border checkpoints have been demolished – or converted to bars and shops! But there are passport and customs controls in Andorra, the latter stops and frequently searches every vehicle that passes for contraband – note also that the mountain passes are also monitored, with many road checks on the minor roads leading down from them. Political tension between Spain and the United Kingdom over the sovereignty of Gibraltar can rise suddenly, especially over environmental issues such as waste leaks, especially from Royal Navy vessels, and at these times there can be serious delays at the frontier, with consequences for riders continuing on to Morocco via the via ferry crossing to Tangier.

Spain's major cities trunk road network - NB E.U. wide route numbers

Destinations for ferry crossing are related to Spain’s three seaboards: from Britain across the Bay of Biscay to Bilbao from Portsmouth and to Santander from both Portsmouth and Plymouth; and to Gijón from France at Saint Nazaire, the Atlantic coast from Tarifa for Morocco (Tangier) and Cádiz to the Canary Islands of Lanzarote (Arrecife), Gran Canaria (Las Palmas), Santa Cruz de La Palma and Santa Cruz de Tenerrife, and the Mediterranean for North Africa, including both Morocco and Spain’s enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, as well as Italy and the Balearic Islands. Working southwards down the Mediterranean coast the ports are:

  • Barcelona for Italy (Civitavecchia, Genoa and Livorno, plus Sardinia at Porto Torres), Morocco (Tangier) and the Balearic Islands Mallorca (Alcúdia and Palma), Minorca (Ciudalella and Mahon) and Ibiza (Ibiza city).
  • Valencia, for Italy (Tangier, Livorno and Mallorca (Palma), Minorca (Mahon) and Ibiza (San Antonio), as well as Italy (Livorno) and Morocco (Tangier).
  • Denia for Formentera, Mallorca (Palma), Minorca (Mahon) and Ibiza (San Antonio).
  • Almeria crossings go to Algeria (Ghazaouet and Oran), Morocco (Nador, Tangier) and Melilla.
  • Malaga for Melilla.
  • Algeciras to Ceuta.
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