Are you prepared to brave the open road and travel to some of Europe’s most magnificent locations? There are many itineraries for road trips in Europe, from meandering coastline routes and mountain passes to rolling farmland and historic cities.
There’s a road trip in Europe that is ideal for you, regardless of your travel preferences -adventure, leisure, or a combination of the two.
This blog article will showcase some of the top European road vacations with breathtaking scenery, deep cultural heritage, and amazing experiences. So pack your bags, fill up the tank and get ready for the best road trips in Europe!
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The advantages of road trips in Europe
There are several reasons why so many travelers dream about road trips in Europe. The independence and adaptability they provide are their key appeals. Instead of being constrained by an agenda or schedule, driving your car or renting a vehicle/campervan lets you decide your route and make stops whenever you choose. The ability to do this enables you to customize your roadtrip Europe vacation based on your interests and preferences, whether those involve seeing famous monuments and large cities or exploring tiny towns and country roads.
Another benefit of a European roadtrip is the chance to become fully immersed in local culture and discover a place’s genuine essence. You can take your time and take spontaneous decisions to find undiscovered jewels and off-the-beaten-path sights. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people, sample regional cuisine, and engage with the locals in a manner that would not be feasible on a standard tour.
Last but not least, European road trips are a budget-friendly way to travel, particularly if you want to stay in cheap hotels and pack your food and supplies. By combining the cost of fuel and other expenditures with other travelers, you can save more money.
Taking your pick from the best road trip destinations in Europe
There are countless beautiful destinations to travel by car in Europe, from the Mediterranean coast to the untamed Scottish Highlands. Enjoy the glamour of the French Riviera, the stunning fjords of Norway, and the peaks of the German Alps that are covered in snow. Discover Italy’s old towns, famous art, and delectable food, or the picturesque fishing villages and breathtaking national parks on Croatia’s shoreline. Every traveler can find the best road trip Europe thanks to the abundance of possibilities!
How do I plan a road trip around Europe?
Are you ready to travel around the old continent and experience everything it has to offer? While it may be fun to dream about the best road trips in Europe and gratifying to plan one, it’s crucial to do your homework and get ready in advance to enjoy a comfortable and pleasurable vacation. There are a few important things to take into account before your EU road trip, from picking the correct car and planning your route to collecting the required documentation and packing essentials. Continue reading for advice on how to plan the perfect road trip Europe!
Tips for choosing the right vehicle for your trip road trip Europe
Here are a few key factors to think about while picking the ideal car for your European road trip:
- Size and capacity. Consider how many passengers you’ll be taking on your trip and if you’ll need a car with enough trunk room for supplies and luggage. A small car might be appropriate for a couple or lone traveler, but a minivan or campervan might be more useful for a larger group.
- Terrain. An SUV or 4×4 may be a better option than a normal car if you want to travel on rocky or twisting mountain routes. On the other hand, a smaller, more fuel-efficient automobile can be more useful if you want to stick to main highways and city streets.
- Rental options. A broad variety of vehicles, including basic automobiles, high-end cars, campervans, and even motorcyclists, are available for hire across Europe. When choosing a rental business and car, keep in mind your demands and budget.
- Driving preferences. If you are an experienced driver, you could feel at ease driving a manual gearbox car on new roads and terrain. However, if an automatic gearbox would be more comfortable for you, make sure to mention it when making your rental.
The ideal car for your European road trip will ultimately rely on your particular tastes, financial situation, and itinerary. Spend some time considering your alternatives and pick a car that will meet your demands and make the journey as pleasurable as possible.
Planning the Europe road trip itinerary
A crucial step in organizing one of the best road trips Europe is making an itinerary. Here are some tips for creating an itinerary that will be successful:
- Select a route. Consider aspects like distance, driving duration, and the sort of terrain you’ll be traveling through when planning your key stops and destinations. Start with a general plan and leave some room for unforeseen turns and stops along the road.
- Calculate your time at each location. Take into account the size of the area and the number of attractions and activities you wish to experience. You might wish to plan on spending several days in major cities and well-known tourist locations to properly explore. A day or two may be plenty for smaller towns and villages.
- Take into account the distance and travel time between stops. Consider the distance you’ll need to drive as well as the sort of roads you’ll be using. Include rest, food, and sightseeing breaks along the journey. Aiming for shorter driving days is typically a smart idea, especially if you’re taking young children or a new vehicle.
- Research accommodation. Look for accommodation options in each location, such as hotels, inns, hostels, and Airbnb rentals. Think about your preferences and budget before booking.
- Create a packing list. Make a list of the things you’ll need to carry based on the locations and activities on your schedule, including clothes, toiletries, and any essential equipment or supplies (e.g. camping gear, swimsuits, sunscreen).
You’ll be on the right track to planning a beautiful itinerary for your road trip holiday Europe if you consider these recommendations!
Prepare the paperwork
Preparing the required paperwork is a big part of getting ready to travel Europe by car. Here are some things to think about:
- Driver’s license. You might need to get an international driving permit depending on your country of origin and the country you’ll be visiting. You can drive in foreign nations that are parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic with an International Driving Permit (IDP), which is a translation of your domestic driver’s license. If you need an IDP, check with your local motor vehicle department and give yourself plenty of time to obtain this document before your trip.
- Insurance. Make sure that your rental car is adequately covered by insurance. It’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider to see if you already have coverage as most rental businesses provide insurance as an optional add-on. It’s a good idea to check with your credit card company as well because some of them provide rental vehicle insurance as a reward.
- Other important documents. Bring a copy of your rental car contract together with your passport and any additional paperwork you may need, such as a visa or travel authorization.
By attending to these details in advance, you’ll be well-equipped to leave on the best road trips in Europe without any unforeseen hiccups.
Best road trip destinations Europe
If you want to experience some of the best trips in Europe by car, then check out my slow travel suggestions below. Learn how to fully explore all a destination has to offer, away from the main tourist sites.
Of course, you’ll want to choose your moment wisely, as an EU roadtrip in the snow can be quite a different experience from 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 carry luggage around with you or plan things out meticulously, as a car offers much more freedom than any other form of travel.
1. The glamourous Côte d’Azur – road trip from Nice to Cannes and Monte Carlo
An amazing way to enjoy the glamour and beauty of the Mediterranean coast is by going on one of the best road trips in Europe: around the French Riviera. Awe-inspiring vistas abound, from the mesmerizing views of the Mediterranean Sea to the famous buildings and luxurious boats.
Nice will be the starting point for your Côte d’Azur road trip. Don’t forget to stop at the famous Promenade des Anglais, a seven-kilometer stretch of road that runs beside the Mediterranean Sea, as you travel through the city. Relax while soaking up the sun, take a stroll, or just sit and take in the scenery.
Next, continue your European roadtrip by traveling to Cannes, the famous film capital of the globe. Visit the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, where the Cannes Film Festival is held annually. Then take a walk through the narrow alleys of the old town, home to a delightful market and several charming bistros, or go to the famous Croisette, the promenade dotted with upscale stores and hotels.
Finally, travel to Monte Carlo in Monaco, the principality renowned for its upscale shopping and casinos. You can try your luck at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, admire the scenery from the Jardin Exotique de Monaco, or just have a drink at one of the numerous cafés and people-watch.
A European roadtrip to see the French Riviera by car is an experience you won’t forget, full of beautiful scenery, luxury, and glam. Bring your camera to record all of the wonderful moments!
2. The romantic Italian Lakes – a road trip across the Dolomites
The best way to appreciate northern Italy’s natural beauty and charm is to take a European roadtrip across the Dolomite and Italian Lakes region. This area is full of gorgeous scenery and quaint villages, from the deep blue waters of Lake Como to the jagged peaks of the Dolomites.
On one of the best road trips in Europe, your tour starts in Como, a picturesque town on Lake Como’s shoreline. You will be treated to breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains as you travel down the winding roads. Be sure to visit Bellagio, the Pearl of Lake Como, and stroll through its quaint alleys, bustling markets, and stunning parks.
The Dolomite mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its beautiful peaks and breathtaking views, is the next stop. You will be rewarded with views of soaring peaks and pristine streams as you navigate the winding mountain roads. Visit Cortina d’Ampezzo, a well-liked ski resort with breathtaking vistas and buzzing nightlife.
Visit the charming village of Canazei, which is situated at the base of the Marmolada mountain, while you continue traveling. Go on a light hike across the stunning mountain environment or explore the attractive streets and local food here.
Driving around the Italian Lakes 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 this beautiful land’s scenery makes it one of the best road trips in Europe.
3. The heart of Norway – a dramatic road trip across the fjords
On a road trip to Europe across the breathtaking fjords, you’ll see Norway’s unspoiled beauty and charming ruggedness. This tour is will be a remarkable adventure, from the quaint city of Bergen to the spectacular vistas of the Geirangerfjord.
Your journey starts in Bergen, a city known for its scenic port and quaint wooden buildings. Visit the vibrant fish market, wander through the lovely Bryggen neighborhood, and see the old Bergenhus Fortress as you explore the city.
Next, proceed to Alesund, a stunning city situated on the Norwegian Sea coast. You will be treated to breathtaking views of the fjords and the surrounding mountains as you navigate the twisting roads. Visit Alesund’s Jugendstilsenteret, an Art Nouveau-inspired museum devoted to the history and architecture of the city.
Arrive in the Geirangerfjord, a magnificent fjord renowned for its beautiful waterfalls and panoramic vistas. You will be treated to vistas of the towering hills and glistening waterways as you travel along the twisting roads. Don’t forget to take a break at the magnificent Seven Sisters Waterfall and Friaren Waterfall.
Overall, a Norway road trip to see the fjords is a genuinely unique experience that is full of scenic splendor and little communities. Plan your itinerary now and discover everything this breathtaking area has to offer!
4. The German Alps and the Black Forest – an adventurous road trip in Bavaria
Travel Europe by car through the Black Forest and German Alps for some of the continent’s most magnificent natural vistas. Starting in Munich, the state of Bavaria’s capital, you’ll see fairytale-like Bavarian castles like Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau before continuing into the Bavarian Alps to discover the glistening lakes and charming mountain towns.
You’ll be treated to breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and lush green woods as you travel through the German Alps. Pull over to go on a mountain trek or you can just sit back and take it all in from the safety of your automobile. To sample regional beers and delectable Bavarian fare, take a break and visit one of the many charming Bavarian villages.
Another must-visit destination on your road trip is the Black Forest, in southwestern Germany. The area is well-known for its thick forests, sweeping hills, and charming towns. Go for a drive through the Black Forest, stopping along the route to admire the quaint towns and villages. Don’t forget to sample some of the area’s famous Black Forest Cake, made of layers of chocolate cake, whipped cream, and cherries.
Taking a road trip through the German Alps and the Black Forest will take you through some of Europe’s most stunning and endearing locales. One of the best road trips in Europe, it offers much to see and do, whether you’re a fan of nature, a history buff, or just trying to unwind and rest.
5. The Croatian Coast – a road trip from Dubrovnik to Plitvice Lakes National Park
A road trip down the Croatian coast takes you through some of Europe’s most stunning and historic towns. Start your European roadtrip in Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic and UNESCO World Heritage site. There, you will see the city’s historic fortifications, narrow alleyways, and breathtaking beaches.
Then travel north to Split, which has a vibrant cultural history and a beautiful position on the Adriatic Sea. Diocletian’s Palace in Split is one of the best-preserved Roman palaces in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Additionally, visit the Split Archaeological Museum, which has a collection of prehistoric objects from the area.
Continue traveling north to the Plitvice Lakes National Park after you visit Split. This breathtaking park, encircled by thick woods and high mountains, is home to several waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes. Unwind and take in the stunning views during a light trek around the park.
In general, a road trip on the Croatian coast is a tour through some of the most beautiful and fabled areas in Europe. You’ll find lots of things to see and do on this EU roadtrip.
6. The wild Scottish Highlands – a road trip from Edinburgh to the Isla of Skye
A Scottish Highlands road trip is a journey through some of the most breathtaking and rugged landscapes in Europe. The region is known for its rolling hills, rugged coastlines, and picturesque lochs (lakes). It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, biking, and fishing.
You’ll start in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, a historic city with a rich cultural heritage. It is home to numerous landmarks, including Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and the Scott Monument.
After visiting Edinburgh, you’ll make your way to Glasgow. Scotland’s largest city is known for its vibrant arts scene and is home to fascinating museums and galleries.
Off Scotland’s west coast sits the rocky Isle of Skye. The Old Man of Storr, a mountain that dominates the island’s environment, and the Quiraing, a collection of spectacular cliffs and valleys, are just a couple of the breathtaking sights that can be seen there. The island is also home to a variety of little communities, each of which has a distinct personality.
A road trip across the Scottish Highlands is an amazing adventure. In this stunning and diverse region, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, whether they are interested in history, culture, or outdoor adventures.
7. The charm of Portugal’s coastal route – road trip from Porto to Lisbon & Albufeira
Travel through some of the most magnificent scenery in Portugal on the coastal road between Porto and Lisbon. As you travel along the twisting roads, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, with its beautiful seas and craggy shoreline. You’ll drive through lovely cities and old villages along the road, each with its distinct personality.
You can even expand your road vacation to include the Lisbon to Albufeira route if you have the time. This coastline is renowned for its lovely beaches and quaint fishing towns. Here, you’ll pass through beautiful seaside towns with enchanting streets and old-world architecture, such as Cascais and Sintra.
Portugal is a fantastic destination for slow travel. It’s simple to take your time and appreciate the experience because of the relaxed pace of life and breathtaking natural beauty. There is always something new and intriguing to discover, whether you’re strolling through the narrow alleyways of Porto’s historic district or lazing in the sun on a sandy beach in Albufeira.
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.
8. In the Land of Eternal Spring- a coastline road trip in the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are found just off the coast of Morocco. However, they belong to Spain and have a distinctively Spanish feel to them. The people here are very easygoing and friendly, to the point you don’t tend to find speed cameras or traffic wardens. There aren’t even any yellow lines in most parts 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 summers 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. This ear-popping journey takes you up Spain’s tallest mountain. You drive through clouds to get to the top, and once there, 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 to a remote volcanic beach during one of the best road trips in Europe. 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.
9. Magical Romania – a road trip on Transfăgărășan and Transalpina
Romania is the ideal destination for road trips in Europe thanks to its diversified scenery and rich cultural history. You’ll be exposed to a variety of experiences as you go across the nation, from the energetic metropolitan life of Bucharest to the breathtaking natural splendor of the Carpathian Mountains.
Start with a visit to Bucharest, the capital. The Stavropoleos Church and the Palace of the Parliament, two historically significant sites, coexist here among more contemporary buildings. Don’t miss a stop in the Old Town, famous for its thriving nightlife with a variety of pubs, clubs, and restaurants open until sunrise.
From Bucharest, you will head north to the Carpathian Mountains along the Transfăgărășan, one of the most beautiful roads in Europe. This road will take you to Transylvania, a magnificent region known for its rich history and cultural legacy. There are several old castles in Transylvania, such as Bran Castle – often called Dracula’s Castle. The city of Sibiu with its charming alleys and old houses with suspicious eyes on the rooftops is another stop on your trip.
After discovering Sibiu and (hopefully more of) Transylvania, return to southern Romania on Transalpina. The highest mountain route in Romania, this meandering road provides breathtaking views.
From Bucharest to Transylvania and back, this road trip through Romania is a memorable adventure and, for me, the best roadtrip Europe, because it’s in my home country so it’s close to my heart.
10. Mythical Iceland – a road trip along the Golden Circle
Iceland’s Golden Circle is a well-known path that passes through some of the nation’s most spectacular scenery. For those wishing to maximize their time in Iceland, the 300-kilometer route is the ideal choice because it can be driven in a single day.
The Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the highlights of the Golden Circle. The oldest still-existing parliament in the world is housed on the Thingvellir Plain, which is situated in the center of the park. In addition, the park is home to a variety of hiking paths with breathtaking vistas of the surroundings.
Another must-visit destination in the Golden Circle is the Geysir Geothermal Area, which gives the region its name because of its powerful geysers and hot springs. Strokkur, the most well-known geyser in the region, erupts every few minutes, sending a plume of steam and water into the air.
The Gullfoss Waterfall, one of Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls, is the last destination on this Golden Circle road trip. The waterfall’s tremendous roar can be heard for miles as it plunges into a deep valley. There are several places from which you can see the waterfall, and each one provides a different angle on this marvel of nature.
Everyone should visit Iceland’s Golden Circle. This well-traveled road offers everything, from seeing the historical and cultural attractions at Thingvellir National Park to admiring the forceful geysers at the Geysir Geothermal Area. Your journey to Iceland will be filled with priceless memories thanks to the magnificent Gullfoss Waterfall, which serves as the trip’s spectacular climax. Don’t pass up the chance to explore everything that Iceland has to offer!
Tips for making the most of your EU road trip
Congratulations! You’ve prepared your travel itinerary, reserved your lodging, and packed your luggage. It’s time to go on the road and enjoy your European road trip to the fullest. There are a few other things you can do to guarantee a smooth and pleasurable vacation, even if the journey itself is frequently half the pleasure. The following advice will help you get the most out of your European road vacation, from locating unusual lodging choices and activities to sampling regional cuisine and remaining safe on the road.
How to find affordable accommodation in Europe
Making the most of your road trip in Europe may depend in large part on choosing the appropriate lodging. Here are some ideas for locating distinctive and reasonably priced options:
- Camping areas. In Europe, camping is a well-liked and cost-effective choice for roadtrippers. There are many different types of campgrounds, ranging from simple locations with a few amenities to full-service locations with showers, laundries, and leisure areas. Tents, trailers, and campervans may all be rented at several campgrounds.
- Hostels. With shared dormitory-style accommodations at a fraction of the price of a hotel, hostels are an excellent choice for visitors on a tight budget. In addition to offering extra amenities like communal kitchens, lounges, and common spaces, many hostels also have private rooms accessible.
- Booking.com or Airbnb rentals. Private homes, flats, and even full houses can all be rented through this well-known website. If you want more room and solitude or if you want to get a feel for local life in a residential area, this might be a terrific alternative. Before making a reservation, be sure to extensively research the area and read reviews to guarantee a relaxing and secure stay.
Whatever type of accommodation you select for your roadtrip Europe make sure to book early, especially during busy travel times.
Ideas for activities to do along the way
The options for an enjoyable road trip in Europe are endless and will rely on your interests and the locations you stop at. Here are some suggestions to get you going:
- Hiking. Europe has a wide variety of stunning scenery, including woods, lakes, and beaches in addition to rolling hills and mountains. Utilize the chance to get outside and go exploring on foot, whether you’re taking on a strenuous mountain walk or ambling around a picturesque hamlet.
- Visiting cultural landmarks. Europe is full of history and culture, and there are a ton of monuments and sites to see on the route around. You’ll have lots of opportunities to study and be inspired, from historic ruins and castles to museums and art galleries.
- Trying the local cuisine. A road trip isn’t complete unless you sample the regional fare and libations. There are numerous delectable dishes and beverages to try, ranging from savory pastries and robust stews to refreshing beers and wines. To experience the finest that the area has to offer, make sure to check out neighborhood markets, eateries, and cafés.
- Relaxing at the beach. If you’re going along the coast, take advantage of the opportunity to visit a beach. The beach can be a fantastic location to unwind and recharge, whether you’re soaking up the sun, swimming in the water, or just taking in the scenery.
- Exploring hidden gems. Don’t be scared to go off the beaten path and find the undiscovered attractions along the route. You never know what you’ll come upon, from charming towns and marketplaces to breathtaking landscapes and surprising sights.
You’ll have a more memorable and fun EU roadtrip if you have an open mind and are willing to try new things.
How to stay safe and avoid common mishaps
When planning a road trip in Europe, safety is a crucial factor, especially if you’re visiting a place where you aren’t familiar with the language, traditions, or driving laws. Here are some pointers to keep you safe and steer clear of typical pitfalls:
- Drive on the right unless you’re in Cyprus or across the English Channel. Make careful to get used to driving on the right side of the road when you come to mainland Europe if you are from a nation where you normally drive on the left. It may take some getting used to, so go slowly and be cautious until you adjust to the change.
- Know the local traffic laws. Every nation has its own set of traffic laws, so be sure to do your study on the particular restrictions for the countries you’ll be visiting to avoid being pulled over or getting in an accident.
- Use GPS navigation for unknown roads and signage. If you are unfamiliar with a country’s road signs and markings, spend some time studying the map or use a GPS gadget to guide you. To comprehend traffic signs and directions, think about installing a translation app or getting a GPS with voice guidance in the local tongue.
- Take frequent breaks and stay alert when driving. It’s crucial to remain focused and awake, especially on lengthy journeys. When necessary, take breaks to stretch, rest, and grab a bite to eat. You’ll be able to continue the rest of your adventure feeling rested and motivated as a result.
You’ll stay safe and steer clear of frequent mistakes on your road trip holidays Europe by paying attention to these pointers and employing common sense.
Discover the wonders of Europe by road
Europe is a large and diverse continent with beautiful scenery and cultural gems just waiting to be explored. There are countless options for a wonderful road trip, from the rocky beaches and charming villages of the French Riviera to the rolling hills and ancient castles of the German countryside.
Driving gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore at your leisure and to completely immerse yourself in the local culture. You can also travel to places that are off the main path and might not be reachable by public transit.
So why not plan the perfect road trip to Europe? Bring some friends along, pack your luggage, and hit the road to see the richness and beauty of the incredible old continent. You will gather a lifetime of memories and adventures thanks to this trip!