Roadtrip: Málaga to Porto Vincent Urban and Alex Tank on the road in Portugal and Spain

At the end of 2015, my friend Alex Tank and I explored Spain and Portugal on behalf of Mercedes-Benz to shoot a video with the new C-Class Coupé. You can watch the video "The Next Chapter: Beyond the road with the new C-Class Coupé." below:
If you want to read more about our trip through Spain and Portugal and take a look behind the scenes, you can follow us here on the trip from Málaga to our final destination Porto.

Day 1: Flight from Munich to Málaga

We took the plane from Munich to Málaga on November 21st. Alex took a little nap on the flight - he probably knew that the next days were going to be exhausting.
Getting some rest on the three hours flight from Munich to Málaga.

Arrival in Málaga

Our travel companion for the next twelve days.
On the first day in Málaga we drove up to the Castillo de Gibralfaro for a good view on the city.
Málaga – the view from Castillo de Gibralfaro.

Day 2: El Torcal de Antequera – Granada – Cabo de Gata

Getting up early for the drive to El Torcal de Antequera, a nature reserve north of Málaga with impressive karst formations. We arrived just before sunset and made use of the blue hour, the best time to shoot. It was pretty cold and windy there, but the early bird totally paid off.
Getting up for the blue hour, just before sunrise - the perfect time for shooting. In Central Europe the time period of the blue hour varies from 30 to 50 minutes.
We continued on to Granada for breakfast and enjoyed the view on the impressive Alhambra. Next stop on the route: the national park Cabo de Gata. It expands over more than 30.000 hectares, is situated right on the coastline and is strangely ignored by most of the mass tourists. It looks really wild there.

Cabo de Gata.

Day 3: Cabo de Gata – Valencia

In the early morning we drove back to Cabo de Gata to shoot near a lighthouse.
Lighthouse at Cabo de Gata.
400 kilometers later we arrived in Valencia and randomly cruised through the streets to get a first impression of the city.

Day 4: Valencia

Valencia is the third largest city of Spain. We headed to the harbor and the beachfront first thing in the morning. Unfortunately the harbor was relatively inaccessible, but the beachfront was a good place to enjoy the sunset – it reminded me a little bit of L.A.
The beachfront of Valencia reminded me of L.A.
The old quarter Barrio del Carmen is right near the city center. From the tower El Miguelete (68 meters high) you have a perfect view over the city.

Barrio del Carmen.

The view on El Miguelete.

The view on the city from El Miguelete.

Night life in Valencia? Not this time, it is pretty quiet during the week in the city. More deceleration, less high live.

Day 5: Valencia - Madrid

First stop in the morning was the Arts and Science Center. It’s a pretty impressive complex with futuristic buildings, including a 3D cinema and the biggest aquarium in Europe. It rained, so we failed to shoot the reflections of the buildings in the water, but still managed to get some good shots.
The Pont de l'Assut de l'Or is a cable-stayed bridge. The pylon is 125 meters high and the highest point of the city.
What looks like an oversized helmet is actually an opera and is called Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia.
It felt like we have seen most of Valencia, so we headed on to Madrid and put Dietmar (that’s how we named the car) back on the road again.
On the road from Valencia to Madrid
Madrid is a real metropolitan city, you can tell straight away – the streets are always full of people. First stop after arrival: the Gate of Europe near Plaza de Castilla. The two high-rising towers belong to the most iconic architectural structures of the city.
The Gate of Europe near Plaza de Castilla.
In the evening we went to Estadio Vicente Calderón to watch the Champions League match of Atletico Madrid against Galatasaray Istanbul. Atletico won the match 2:0 and the atmosphere was great!

After the match we went out to enjoy the night in the Spanish capital.

Day 6: Madrid

For the first time on the trip we slept long, which felt really good. Later we went to the Parish Church of Santa Monica in Rivas Vaciamadrid, which is a little bit outside of the city. The church has a real unusual and very modern look.
The Parish Church of Santa Monica

Day 7: Madrid

In the early morning we wanted to film the empty streets of the city. That didn’t work out as planned, as the streets were pretty full of people – obviously it was a good night out. We went to Palacio Real instead and called a local friend to join us.
Santa María la Real de La Almudena.
Our goal for the evening: a hill from which you can overlook the city and it's high-towers .
At night we went out again to enjoy the nightlife.

Day 8: Madrid

On Saturday it was impossible to shoot anything – it was too crowded and too bright at the same time. We ended up strolling through the city.
When the light got better we stopped by at Retiro Park and went to the temple of Debod for the sunset view on the Palacio.

Retiro Park.

Temple of Debod.

The view from the temple of Debod to Palacio Real.

Day 9: Madrid – Salto de Aldeadávila

We left Madrid in the morning for the long four-hour drive to the border of Portugal. The landscape reminded us of the Pampas – only fields left and right, as far as the eye can see.
We stopped at the dam near Salto de Aldeadávila and went to a mountain called Mirador de Iberdrole from which you have a great view on the Douro river. It's right on the border of Spain and Portugal.
The view on the Douro River from our hotel.

Day 10: Douro valley – Porto

Another early bird for us: We left before sunrise to drive through the wine region of Douro valley. It was completely foggy, so we couldn’t see too much of the national park. But when we drove over a peak where it was minus two degrees Celsius on top, suddenly everything was full of white frost. The mood was incredible, as the sun came through just a little bit and created a really unique atmosphere.
Mystical atmosphere at Douro valley.
Driving on to Porto – we made it to the lighthouse just in time for sunset. The waves were supposed to be the best that day for the next few days to come.
You really need to pay attention to the waves – otherwise you'll get wet feet.
The old man and the sea.

Day 11: Porto

We got up early once more for sunrise and headed to the bridge Dom Luís I. It is a metal arch bridge over the Douro River which connects the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. From our position we had an amazing view over the bridge and on the city of Porto.
In the afternoon we randomly drove through the city, the industrial harbor and along the coastline. We found a nice landing stage to watch the sunset and some people fishing.

Day 12: Porto – Munich

The last day of the trip had arrived. We had to say goodbye to our loyal travel companion Dietmar – thank you for the good times we've spent together! On our last day we just strolled through the city and explored the little alleys of Porto like real tourists do.
Then it was about time to hit the airport. Our road trip through Spain and Portugal has come to an end. Now we are looking forward to some relaxed days at home before I am flying to the US for another road trip – the next one is always just around the corner. Thanks for following us on our trip through southwestern Europe!
Shot on Sony alpha 7s II

See you next time!

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Vincent Urban
Vincent Urban

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