Road Types: Do You Know the Differences?

In Spain there are more than 25 million drivers, people who travel every day on all types of roads that exist in our country. Because it is clear that not all routes are the same and that you have to adapt to them. Logically, the speed limit will be different and there will also be some vehicles that cannot drive directly on others. We are going to review all the roads to distinguish them and circulate correctly on each of them.


Motorways are probably the type of road best known to the general public because they are among the busiest. They are fast roads that have several lanes in both directions. There are some that are toll roads, known as toll roads. They do not have crossings or access to adjoining properties to preserve safety and high speeds. Hence, there are some vehicles that cannot access them, such as animal-drawn vehicles, bicycles, mopeds and vehicles for people with reduced mobility.


In line with highways and with similar characteristics, highways are the other fast roads in our country. Their main difference is that they cannot be paid for and also that they have to have separate lanes for each direction of traffic. Other issues are that they cannot be crossed by other roads at the same level or that there is limited access to adjoining properties.

They are marked with the letter A (or AP in the case of tolls) and their signs have a blue background and white letters. They are usually straight or have smooth curves, hence their high level of safety and their speed limit is 120 km/ h.

national highways

National highways or conventional highways are those that are marked by the letter N, with panels with white letters on a red background. They have a single road in which there are two lanes, being able to add a third in unevenness to lighten the slow traffic. They are two-way and, by law, have a shoulder of between 1.5 and 2.5 metres. In this case, the maximum speed is limited to 90 km/h.

regional roads

In the case of regional roads , as their name suggests, they are those that depend directly on each Autonomous Community. They are identified with an orange indicative panel with letters CL and the road code in black. They are prepared to support high traffic within the community, they can travel many kilometers and sometimes they can be doubled as highways.

county roads

Regional roads , also known as second-level regional roads, are those indicated by a green panel with the letters CM in white. They serve to unite populations with each other or serve as a link between other areas with the first level highways and with the highways of the state network. They are not long nor are they prepared to have high traffic.

local roads

Second - level local or regional roads are marked by a yellow panel with the letters CR in black. They are the smallest, as they serve to unite populations or give access to some places that are more isolated or that are of interest. They can depend both on Autonomous Communities, as well as on Provincial Councils, City Councils or other local corporations.

Highways or roads with European itinerary

They are those roads that are within the European itinerary . They can be highways, highways or national roads; and are indicated by a small panel at the top with a green background containing an alphanumeric code beginning with the prefix E (for Europe) and the number assigned to the road.