Published on March 1st, 2016 | by Daniel Nikulin1
Top 10 European Road Trips
One of the best ways to experience Europe is by car, and the prime time for a good old fashion road trip is about to begin! Here are ten beautiful road trips we recommend taking, and why you need to experience them for yourself. So get ready to roll down your windows, turn up the volume on your favourite road trip songs, and take in the beauty of all that these European countries have to offer.
1. Lake District – North England
A National Park, Cumbria’s acclaimed Lake District is a breath of fresh air and encompasses some of England’s very best scenery. Quaint settlements, still blue lakes and fertile farmland dot the pristine countryside where over 23 million day visitors flock annually. Bring a picnic, cycle, fish for char or stroll and swoon over the picturesque towns of Keswick, Windermere and Ambleside.
Getting there: 1.5hrs drive from Manchester or 5hrs from London
2. Amalfi Coast – Italy
The stunning rugged coastline of medieval cliff-side fishing villages, lemon groves and agriturismos have made Campania’s famed Amalfi Coast one of the world’s most beloved road trips. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its breathtaking Mediterranean landscapes, the drive is as challenging as it is rewarding, with two-lane winding mountain roads and plenty of blind turns. Start in Salerno and stop in Ravello, Amalfi, Positano, Minori & Maiori and the island of Capri, before finishing up in Sorrento.
Getting there: 1hr from Naples or 3.5hrs from Rome
3. Autobahn – Germany
Every year, car buffs and lovers of speed make the pilgrimage to put the pedal-to-the-metal on some of the world’s fastest motorways. Germany’s Autobahn is the national controlled-access highway system spanning almost 13,000kms, making it one of the world’s longest too. Over half of the network is speed-limit free, where only a suggested limit of 130kms/hr is posted. Rent the latest BMW and watch your mirrors for the luxury car parade, as the Autobahn reminds everyone that sometimes, you don’t even need a destination.
Getting there: throughout Germany – Fly to Germany, any city!
4. Dalmatian Coast – Croatia
As the pine forests of the Dinaric Alps make way to olive groves, hidden coves and countless pretty inlets of shimmering Adriatic blue, it suddenly hits you that this may be Europe’s most enchanting stretch of coastline. Over a thousand islands and islets dot the horizon, many accessible by boat, all with idyllic beaches and those inhabited, with fantastic rental accommodations fitting every budget. National Parks, gorgeous lakes and charming ancient towns are all well represented here, without the summer crowds most of coastal Europe gets. The walled-city of Dubrovnik is a must.
Getting there: Fly to Dubrovnik or Split and you’re there!
5. Provence – Southern France
Surreal lavender fields, timeless hilltop villages and some of the world’s most cherished wineries are all synonymous with France’s most explored and enjoyed regions. Sip your way from Montpellier through Arles, Avignon and Salon-de-Provence, taste Marseille’s bouillabaisse and visit its souk-style markets for other local delicacies. Marvel at Camargue’s wild horses and pink flamingos or follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh and Cezanne, fawning over the Cyprus-lined rolling hill landscapes that have made them famous. Bon appetit!
6. Basque Circuit – Northern Spain
The gastro-eccentric Basque country of Northern Spain is pure foodie heaven, easily challenging both France and Italy’s best eats. As good as the region tastes, there’s art, surfing, a film festival and one of the world’s best city beaches too. Begin in Bilbao and take-in the cutting edge design of the Guggenheim Museum. Head west along the Bay of Biscayne for some great surf breaks (around Santander) or back east to San Sebastian and its magnificent crescent-shaped beach, annual International Film Festival and to-die-for pintxos (tapas).
Getting there: fly into Bilbao or San Sebastian and you’re there! Madrid is a 5hr drive.
7. Romantic Road – Germany
Originally travelled by the Romans 2,000 years ago, this historic trade route through Bavaria in south-central Germany is a story-book step back-in-time. Red-roofed villages disturb the otherwise lush green scenery, with Baroque churches, typical wineries, fairy-tale castles and medieval cobble stone streets. The magical 355km trip can be happily broken up with frequent stops to sample hearty German fare, incredible local beer and of course, those sweeping countryside vistas.
Getting there: fly into Frankfurt or Munich – the route runs between them.
8. Atlantic Road – Norway
This jaw-dropping adventure showcases Norway’s majestic mountain ranges, flawless forests, 10,000 year-old fjords and towering waterfalls that barrel into crystal clear lakes. The air is otherworldly fresh up here and the short summer season simply can’t be beat. Grab a car in Bergen and head north. En route to Trondheim you’ll drive through the world’s longest road tunnel, past fast flowing white-water rivers and ancient glaciers. Norwegian law permits camping in any public space so drive and stop wherever you see fit. Just set up your tent and enjoy.
Getting there: fly into Bergen or Oslo – Bergen is 7hrs drive from Oslo
9. North Coast 500 – Scotland
The North Coast 500 may sound like a stock-car race but you’ll want to slow down and savour this newly built passage through the Highlands. Snake your way between mammoth hills of weather-beaten grasses, past sandy dunes and empty beaches, deep freshwater lochs and some of the most picturesque Scottish wilderness, forming a loop around the entire northern tip of the country. If you’re into spooky ruins of ancient villages, stately castles and grazing Shetland ponies, then this is the trip for you.
Getting there: fly into Glasgow or Edinburgh – Inverness is 3.5hrs from either
10. Causeway Coastal Route – Ireland
True Irish charm unfolds around you as you leave the bustle of Belfast on this ultra-scenic 315km drive. Discover striking sandstone towers, cliffs of swarming seabirds, magnificent castles and multi-green glens (valleys) and always, warm Irish hospitality with every inviting stop. Sample the fruits of the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery in Bushmills and be humbled by the dramatic Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and iconic symbol of the region.
Getting there: fly into Belfast and head north-west to Londonderry