MADRID – Spain is marked by a turbulent history, and offers traces of a wide variety of cultures and even more variety in landscapes. A perfect way to explore the country is therefore via special routes like Spain’s ‘Route 66’.
You can travel along the routes of historical celebrities such as El Cid or Washington Irving. Or follow routes linked to products such as wine, raisins, or olive oil. Furthermore, the country is dotted with Vias Verdes, disused railway lines that have been transformed into walking and cycling routes. Choose a pilgrimage route, such as the Camino de Santiago, or travel via the Ruta de la Plata (the Silver Route) from north to south.
The route we want to highlight in this article is via the N-VI. This is a 600-kilometer route that starts at the iconic Km 0 point on the Puerta del Sol in the heart of Madrid and ends at the majestic Torre de Hércules in A Coruña. Colloquially called the “Route 66 of Spain”, this route invites travellers to discover the beauty of Spain uniquely. The startup Ruta N-VI has even developed a passport that allows you to explore the route and collect stamps at five of the twenty selected locations along the way.
Origin of the Ruta N-VI
The idea for the Ruta N-VI arose six years ago during a trip on the famous Route 66 in the United States. The way how this road trip inspires Americans and how they appreciate every detail, no matter how small, impressed the founders of Ruta N-VI . They decided to create a similar experience in Spain, starting with the N-VI, because it started in their home area and also offers an incredible variety of landscapes.
The N-VI Route
The Spanish ‘Route 66’ stretches from the heart of the city at km 0 in the bustling city of Madrid to the Atlantic coast of A Coruña. Along the way, you will pass various landscapes, including mountains, vast plains, and rolling, green valleys. Numerous special villages cross your path and the journey is filled with culinary highlights, breathtaking natural beauty, and fascinating sights.
How to explore the Ruta N-VI
There are several ways to explore the Ruta N-VI. You can choose to follow the route independently, where you will receive a passport that you must have stamped at five of the official stamp posts along the way. You will also receive a personalised guide in PDF format with information about the stamp locations and a specific route map in GPX format for cyclists. If you prefer an organised trip, you can contact Ruta N-VI to create a tailor-made package, including departure date, number of days, stages, and vehicle type.
Highlights of the Ruta N-VI
The Ruta N-VI offers numerous highlights for travellers. The gastronomy and wine are undeniable strong points, with numerous bodegas along the route. Nature lovers will enjoy the diverse and sometimes unknown natural areas along the way. Among these are the Roman-transformed landscape of Las Medulas and the lagoons of Villafáfila. In addition, there are museums, monuments, and even some strange sights, such as abandoned villages and junkyards.
Supporting local businesses
A special aspect of the Ruta N-VI is the support for local businesses along the route. Therefore, Ruta N-VI aims to revive abandoned roadside bars and support the rise of typical shops with local products in remote areas. Furthermore, they want to transform old Red Cross posts into interpretation centres for the route. By exploring the route, you will contribute to the preservation of these local businesses and help revive this historic road.
Torre de Hercules
From Puerta del Sol in Madrid, the route leads past Tordesillas, Benavente, Astorga and Lugo. The final destination is the coastal town of La Coruña. The Torre de Hércules in A Coruña offers a perfect ending after travelling the Ruta N-VI from Madrid. This centuries-old lighthouse is the oldest working lighthouse in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the hill on which you find the lighthouse, you have a panoramic view of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.