When you have the same old commute to work every day, with the same drab buildings, it can be tempting to just drive off on an adventure. Of course, we all have bills to pay so we can’t actually drive off, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan your next holiday to be a spectacular road trip. In fact, after reading about these 5 stunning European road trips, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t embark on the road trip of a lifetime years ago. Simply rent a one-way car rental, which means you can drop your car off at the end of your trip, even in a different country. Let’s explore some of Europe’s best routes for a road trip that will be sure to offer a memorable experience:
Romantic Road, Germany
Just like the name suggests, Romantic Road in Germany is perfect for couples as it not only encompasses metropolitan cities with delicious restaurants, but it also includes romantic walks through picturesque vineyards – perfect for a honeymoon or anniversary. The route itself takes around 7 days to enjoy fully, starting in Frankfurt and ending in Munich. Along the way you can visit Würzburg, famous for being the home to the prince-bishops as well as many fine wineries including Baroque Juliusspital, which was once a home for the sick before it was converted. Other highlights across the tour include visiting Nordlingen where you can cycle around the Reis, which is a basin-like depression that was formed by a meteor strike, and visiting the fairy-tale Neuschwanstein castle.
Dordogne River Valley Road, France
Travelling from Clermont-Ferrand to Bordeaux, a road trip through the Dordogne River Valley is filled with stunning greenery, award-winning vineyards and dotted with magnificent castles and chateaus. Indeed, the Dordogne is known as the valley of 1000 castles, some of which you can even stay in en route. Other key attractions in the Dordogne include spending the day in Tulle, famous for its lace production, this historic town with its cobbled streets hosts many art festivals throughout the year. Moving on from Tulle, Bergerac is next on your road trip itinerary, which is the wine lover’s paradise. In fact, you might want to spend a few days here sampling the local wine, kayaking in the river and visiting theChateau de Monbazillac. End your road trip in the beautiful city of Bordeaux; known as ‘Little Paris’, this lively city is perfect for nights out as well as many delicious world restaurants.
Almafi Coast, Italy
Almafi Coast is Italy’s most scenic coastal route, filled with mountains, beaches and villages – all perfect for exploring and stopping off on your Italian road trip. Beginning in Salerno, take the coastal route to pass pretty villages such as Vietrisul Mare (famed for its ceramics) before taking in the spectacular views of the coast such as Capo d’Orso, and the Roman ruins of Minori. Moving onto Ravello, one of Italy’s most romantic towns, you could spend a few days enjoying the sleepy lanes and shops of this sloped town. Another worthwhile stop along the way is Praiano and Postiano, where the GrottadelloSmeraldo has a magical cave with emerald waters that is a must to visit. Beware, if you do travel the Italian coast, that these roads are narrow and unforgiving. Plus, the Italian drivers are known for their fast driving, so Almafi Coast is perfect for confident drivers, but less so if you prefer an easier drive.
Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria
What could be a better European road trip than one that takes you through the Alps? Which is exactly why the Grossglockner High Alpine Road is such a popular route for those exploring Europe by car, especially since the 65km route gives you such spectacular views of Grossglockner Mountain. Driving through High Tauern – Austria’s largest National Park – you’ll be surrounded by picturesque views of the mountains contained in the Alps as well as meadows filled with, often rare, plants and animals. There are plenty of stops along the drive, of which Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe visitor centre is an absolute must. Not only will you see plenty of stunning views, but the visitor centre has restaurants perfect for refuelling and is the starting point for many hiking routes, including the Pasterzen glacier. Beware that the route is usually only open between May and October, so plan your trip accordingly.
Trollstigen National Tourist Route, Norway
Formidable landscapes mixed with stunning modern architecture, the Trollstigen National Tourist Route is a drive that will take your breath away. Known as the Golden Route, this drive starts in Alesund, within the Sunnmøre district, here you’ll travel 11km up to the top of Trollstigen, a name which is Norse for Troll Ladder. At the top, you’ll be 852m from sea level, overlooking a stunning glacier. Here you’ll be able to take in the views from the vantage of Trollstigen Visitor Centre, including the Stigfossen waterfall. If you’re looking to stay in the vicinity, the Juvet Landscape Hotel won Norway’s top architecture prize back in 2012, where the use of glass makes you feel like you’re staying outdoors.