If you’re looking to experience the most of Europe, then a road trip that allows for “slow travel” and the freedom to fully explore all a destination has to offer – away from the main tourist sites – is perhaps your best option.
Of course, you’ll want to choose your time wisely, as a road trip in the snow can be quite a different experience to the summer road trip experience. The beauty of a road trip is that once you have found affordable car hire you don’t need to cart luggage around with you or plan things out meticulously, as a car offers much more freedom than any other form of travel.
1. The Italian Lakes (Italy)
The Italian Lakes, known as Lake Garda and Lake Como host some of the most beautiful areas in Italy. In particular, driving around the lake and heading toward the Dolomite mountain range can be an incredible experience. Of course, there isn’t quite as much to do as in popular cities like Rome, but the natural scenery of this beautiful land makes it a great place to drive around.
2. Porto to Lisbon (Portugal)
In Portugal, the coastal route from Porto to Lisbon is breathtakingly beautiful; as is the route from Lisbon to Albufeira. You could combine the two, if you have time, as Portugal is the perfect place for slow travel and the entire coastal route is beautiful.
The laidback lifestyle is akin to that you might find in Spain, yet there’s a sense of more efficiency and aspiration – it’s not laid back to the point that people are sleepy, it’s laidback to the point that people get on and enjoy life.
The scene on this coastal route here is pretty chilled out, though cities like Lisbon are comparable with Barcelona in terms of their vibrancy and attractions.
3. Canary Islands (Spain)
The Canary Islands are found just off the coast of Morocco, yet they belong to Spain and have a distinctively Spanish feel to them. The people here are very easy going and friendly, to the point you don’t tend to find speed cameras or traffic wardens – in fact, there aren’t even any yellow lines in most part of the islands… which reflects the laidback lifestyle on offer.
The great thing about the Canary Islands, is that they have a brilliant climate throughout the year – even in winter you can expect sunny days with temperatures around twenty degrees and the summer’s never get too hot as the islands benefit from strong coastal breezes.
When it comes to the most epic drives, consider driving up Mt Teide, on the island of Tenerife as this ear-popping journey has you wind your way up Spain’s tallest mountain; to the point you drive through clouds to get to the top, and once at the top, it’s as if you are driving on the moon. It’s perhaps the most enjoyable and beautiful drive in Europe.
That said, on the neighboring island of Lanzarote, you can drive through the impressive lava fields and find yourself at a remote volcanic beach. Similarly, if you’re more into the surf lifestyle you’ll want to head to Fuerteventura and bask in the chilled out vibe this island has to offer.