Looking for the best European road trips? If you are looking for road trip ideas for your Europe bucket list, I have put together a list of the 25 of the best road trips in Europe suggested by my fellow travel bloggers.
(And make sure to check out my essential road trip packing list to make sure you have all your road trip essentials before you go!)
Best Road Trips in Europe
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Grossglockner High Alpine Road
By Anjali Chawla of Travel Melodies
Route: Bruck an der Großglocknerstraße – Heiligenblut am Großglockner
Distance: 48 km
Duration: 1 day
Best time to go: From early spring to early autumn (early May until late October)
• Hohe Tauern National Park
• Wild-& Erlebnispark Ferleiten
• Edelweißspitze (Biker’s Point)
• Fuschar Törl
A road trip through Grossglockner High Alpine Road is one of the best road trips in Europe or rather the world. One of the highest alpine roads in Europe, Grossglockner lets you whish-whoosh around 36 hairpin bends to climb about 3,000 feet in a distance of mere 48 km. You can imagine the adrenaline rush!
The road trip passes through Hohe Tauern National Park, the oldest national park in Austria and one of the largest national parks in Europe. You can’t help but ogle at the towering snow-covered mountains, whity-white glaciers, cascading waterfalls, verdant woods, glassy lakes, and exotic flora, and fauna.
As if that’s not enough, the road is sprinkled with awesome attractions that lure kids as well as adults. From museums to themed playgrounds to exhibitions to hiking trails – you can spend days here and not get bored!
One of the most exciting and breathtaking attractions on this road trip is Edelweißspitze that gives a 360-degree panoramic view including more than 30 mountains across the region. Kids will love to meet Herbert Haslinger and his little pets (alpine marmots) at Mankei-Wirt near Fuschar Törl.
Exploring the quaint village of Heiligenblut (where the road trip ends) is highly recommended.
Where to stay: Panoramahotel Lärchenhof or Chalet Hotel Senger
Iceland Ring Road
Cristina from Honest Travel Stories
Route: Reykjavik- Reykjavik
Distance: 1630 km
Duration: 10-14 days
Best time to go: Summer for best weather
I know, I know, everyone is SO into Iceland lately. But there are plenty of reasons why Iceland is one of the best European road trips you can take, and the only one I can think of that has something for everyone. You need at least 10 days to make this work, but it’s strongly advised to give it around 14 days so you can enjoy more and stress less.
Most people will start this amazing road trip to the Capital city of Reykjavik, as this is where most international flights arrive. From here or the Keflavik Airport, you just have to rent a car from the multitude of available options (have a car reserver before you land, as you won’t find an available one otherwise) and off you go!
As the weather can be very problematic in Iceland, it’s recommended that you do this road trip only in the Summer months. During Wintertime, some roads can be closed, and even the opened ones are very dangerous, as the wind and snow can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Read more useful tips on this post about our Iceland road trip.
If you also include a slight detour through the Golden circle (and you definitely should), the trip will be about 1630 km (1000 miles) long. The recommended duration of the trip is so big because the maximum limit on the Ring road is 55 mph, and you will also stop on the way to enjoy the beautiful places this country has to offer. Here are a few examples:
– you can dive or snorkel in the clearest water in the world at Silfra
– you can visit the so-called Diamond beach in Eastern Iceland
– you can see the beautiful puffins in Borgarfirði Eystri, near Höfn
– you can soak in the famous Blue Lagoon, or the more secluded Myvatn Nature Baths, the Blue Lagoon of the North
– you can visit what feels like a hundred waterfalls all around Iceland
Where to Stay:
Iceland offers some very interesting accommodation options, which can come in the form of farmhouses, luxury hotels, or family-owned guesthouses. The ones we tried ourselves and can recommend are as follows:
• Reykjavik: Hotel Ísland – Spa & Wellness Hotel
• Golden Ring area: Hotel Gullfoss
• Eastern Iceland: Hellisholar Cottages
• Northern Iceland: Icelandair Hotel Myvatn
The Cotswolds Road Trip
By Joanna from World In My Pocket
Route: Gloucester – Gloucester
Distance: 200 miles
Duration: 2-5 days
Best time to go: The best time of the year to do this road trip is in summer or early autumn, when the weather is still beautiful.
The Cotswolds are one of the most beautiful areas in England, which is best explored by car. A road trip in the Cotswolds can be as long or as short as you want, from one day to one week, depending on how many villages you want to see. As the area is quite large, for a weekend road trip it would be wise to choose either the South or the North of the Cotswolds. Both are filled with picturesque villages and gorgeous natural areas.
Some of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds are Bourton-on-the-water, Stow-in-the-Wold, Lower Slaughter and Broadway, which can be included in day one of the road trip.
For day two, you can choose to visit Nailsworth, Bibury, Castle Combe and the roman town of Cirencester. There are plenty of things to do in each village, most of them being famous for a different touristic attraction.
It is highly recommended to try the local cuisine, as most of the restaurants in the villages proud themselves in using locally sourced ingredients in their dishes.
Where to stay:
A good base for a road trip around the honey coloured limestone villages of the Cotswolds is Gloucester, where there are plenty of hotels at much more affordable rates than in the villages. One recommendation is the Hotel Ibis. Gloucester deserves half a day of exploration itself, with the main attraction being the cathedral which was used as a film set for Harry Potter.
by Nadine from Le Long Weekend
Route: Avignon – Avignon (round trip)
Distance: 360km approx
Duration: 7 days
Best time to go: Spring or early summer is best for weather and blooms.
• Hilltop villages
• Lavender Fields
• Roman ruins
• Historical & cultural city attractions
When visiting Provence, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you realise how much there is to see and do. This road trip takes in some of the best sights, on a circular tour starting and finishing in Avignon (which you can reach easily via TGV from Paris). Although, as you’re not covering too much distance per day, you could also stay in one or two places and do this 7 day Provence itinerary as a series of day trips instead. You’ll start in Avignon, before driving to the antiques capital of L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue. From there, you can take a side trip to Fontaine de Vaucluse before continuing onto Gordes. From Gordes, other hilltop villages are within a few minutes drive, such as Roussillon (don’t miss the Ochre trail) and Lacoste. Driving the length of the Luberon will put you on course for the Valensole Plateau, which is where you’ll find the most beautiful lavender fields in summer. But even if you’re not visiting at peak flowering season, you’ll still appreciate the beautiful villages, dramatic scenery of the Verdon Gorge, and seeing the star of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Head south to visit the museums and markets of Aix-en-Provence, before taking a side trip to Cassis, or continuing to Arles & the Camargue. Between the wild horses and flamingoes of the Camargue, and the understated grandeur of Arles, you’ll want to stay awhile. Head back to Avignon where you can take a side trip to the Pont du Gard to round up your trip.
Where to stay:
• Avignon: Les Jardins de Baracane
• Gordes: La Bastide
• Moustiers-Sainte-Marie: Hôtel de la Ferme Rose
• Aix-en-Provence: La Maison d’Aix
• Arles: Le Cloître
Sao Miguel Road Trip (Azores)
by Megan Starr from Megan and Aram
Route: Ponta Delgada -Ponta Delgada
Distance: 200-300 kilometers depending on where you opt to stay
Duration: 4 days
Best time to go: Summer (or shoulder season)
One of the best road trips in Europe is an Azores road trip of Sao Miguel, the main and largest island in the archipelago. The best way to cover Sao Miguel island is to use Ponta Delgada, the capital city, as a starting and ending point. You can easily circumnavigate the island in four days (you can do it quicker, but you will miss several sights that should be on your Azores itinerary).
In total, you will drive around 300 kilometers to see all of the main sights on this road trip if you decide to base yourself in Ponta Delgada. It will be a bit over half of that if you decide to stay in each location overnight. However, you can cut a few out if the weather does not cooperate or if you wish to do something different. The best time to take a road trip on Sao Miguel is during the summer months. The island’s remote location lends itself to winter storms and rain, but the summer is usually pretty ideal, particularly during the earlier part of the season.
Here are some of the sights you should ensure you see on your four days:
• Day 1 Western Sao Miguel: Sete Cidades, Mosteiros sea stacks, Capelas (stay in Capelas as Sao Vicente Lodge)
• Day 2 Central Sao Miguel: Pineapple Plantation, Lagoa, Our Lady of Peace Chapel (stay in Furnas at the Furnas Boutique Hotel)
• Day 3 Eastern Sao Miguel: Furnas, Parque Terra Nostra (stay in Ponta Delgada at Grand Hotel Acores Atlantico)
• Day 4 Ponta Delgada: city sights and Vila Franco do Campo
There are many fantastic road trips in Europe but the Azores offers scenery that can not be found anywhere else in Europe- and for that reason alone, it should be at the top of your road trip bucket list!
Where to stay:
• Sao Vicente Lodge:
• Furnas Boutique Hotels:
• Grand Hotel Acores Atlantico
Dolomites Italy Road Trip
by Kriszti from She Wanders Abroad
Route: Ortisei – Cortina d’Ampezzo
Distance: 300 km (+300-700 km depending on which airport you arrive to if you’re flying to Italy)Duration: 5 days
Best time to go: from end of May to end of September
• Alpe di Siusi
• Val di Funes
• Seceda ridgeline
• Lago di Braies
• Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Covering more than 140,000 hectares, the beautiful mountain range of the Dolomites is one of the most iconic places in Italy. Going on a road trip in the Dolomites is undoubtedly the best way to discover the area! You can either bring your own car or rent a car at the airport – you can fly to either Venice, Milan or Innsbruck.
Start your road trip in the beautiful little town of Ortisei, which is the perfect base to explore the surrounding area. There are many interesting sights to discover around Ortisei so it’s best to stay for at least 3 nights. You can visit the picturesque little church of Santa Maddalena in Val di Funes, spend the day in the famous alpine meadows at Alpe di Siusi or go for a hike on the Seceda ridgeline, just to name a few.
After Ortisei, head over to Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is one of the most popular towns in the Dolomites. Spending 2 nights in Cortina d’Ampezzo will give you enough time to explore the town and visit some of the most iconic places in the Dolomites, such as Lago di Braies or Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Where to stay: Hotel Angelo Engel, Ortisei (3 nights), Hotel Villa Alpina, Cortina d’Ampezzo (2 nights)
The Scottish Highlands
By Lucy from On the Luce
Distance: 565 km
Duration: 5 days
Best time to go: The Scottish Highlands are beautiful in the autumn as the leaves change colour, and you’ll also miss the worst of both the summer crowds and midges.
• Driving through wild, unspoilt mountain scenery
• Exploring the sights of Skye, from the Fairy Pools to the Old Man of Storr
• Visiting the iconic island castle of Eilean Donan
• Taking a boat trip on Loch Lomond
• Tasting local whisky tasting
Enjoy the highlights of the Scottish Highlands on this five-day road trip, taking you though mountains, moorland, lochs and islands. Start off in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, and head west along the high road through rugged mountain scenery along the road to Kyle of Lochalsh, where you cross the bridge to the Isle of Skye.
Base yourself in Sligachan in the centre of the island for two nights, with a full day to explore the island. Head to the north-east to do a circuit of some of Skye’s most famous spots, including the Old Man of Storr, hiking at the Quiraing and visiting the lush green Fairy Glen. Or head west to the crystal clear Fairy Pool waterfalls and the Talisker whisky distillery.
From Skye drive towards Fort William, stopping off at the beautiful island castle of Eilean Donan Castle and the Glenfinnan viaduct, made famous in the Harry Potter films. Spend the night along the mountains in Glencoe before travelling south to the coastal town of Oban, known for its seafood, where you can take a boat trip to Mull or Staffa, or taste more whisky at the local distillery.
Finally travel back inland past Loch Etive and on to Arrochar on the banks of Loch Lomond for a boat trip on the lake. Then follow the road south to Glasgow where your trip ends in Scotland’s city of art and culture, with museums, galleries and some great restaurants to explore.
Where to stay:
• Isle of Skye: Sligachan Hotel, a cosy historic hotel next to the Cuillins and Loch Sligachan
• Glencoe: Clachaig Inn, a traditional inn surrounded by Glencoe’s mountains
• Oban: The Perle Oban Hotel, with a relaxing spa and views out over the harbour
• Glasgow: Abode Glasgow, a 19th century townhouse at the heart of the city
Route des Grands Crus (Burgundy, France)
by Elisa from France Bucket List
Route: Dijon to Beaune
Duration: minimum of 3 days
Distance: 80 km
• Beaune, with its beautiful Hospices
• The magnificent château Clos du Vougeot –headquarters of the prestigious wine brotherhood Chevaliers du Tastevin
• Dijon, home to the dukes of Burgundy
The Route des Grands Crus in Burgundy explores one of the world’s best wine regions, and it is the first wine route inaugurated in France. This road trip is perfect for people who like history, sightseeing, good food, and wine. Along the way, you will also see magnificent Burgundy vineyards worth a stop for some snaps.
Where to stay: For the first night in Dijon, the Grand Hotel La Cloche is a good option, conveniently located to Dijon’s main attractions. For the night in Beaune, Hostellerie Cèdre & Spa always has excellent reviews.
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
By Emily from Wander-Lush
Route: Tivat-Herceg Novi
Duration: 5-7 days
Best time to go: Spring or fall shoulder season is the best time to visit the Bay of Kotor if you want to avoid the cruise ship summer crowds.
• The UNESCO-Listed Old Town in Kotor
• Lovcen National Park
• Our Lady of the Rocks island off the coast of Perast
The Balkan nation of Montenegro offers some of the best road trip routes in all of Europe. None is better than the Bay of Kotor, a one-way or loop drive along the country’s most stunning stretch of Adriatic coastline.
The perfect Montenegro itinerary revolves around the bay and its historic port cities. And if you need a change of scenery, the country is small enough that you can easily make detours into the national parks and hills beyond the coast for a spot of hiking.
The UNESCO-Listed walled city of Kotor, enriched by the Venetians, is a highlight of Montenegro and a mandatory stop on your itinerary. While there, hike up to the fortress for a view before exploring the winding streets. Drive the Kotor Serpentine – a scenic road of hairpin bends – up to Lovcen National Park to visit the Mausoleum of Njegoš.
A boat trip to Our Lady of the Rocks off the coast of Perat – the most charming town on the bay – is another must, as is the mysterious private island at Sveti Stefan. Visit Risan to see the preserved Roman mosaics. Stop off at any of the multitude of beaches and coves on the northern part of the bay for swimming before finishing in the vibrant city of Herceg Novi, located near the border with Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Where to stay:
• Villa Ivana Apartments in Kotor
• Hotel Conte in Perast
• Villa Margot in Herceg Novi
Romantic Road (Germany)
by LeAnna Brown from WanderinGermany.com
Route: Würzburg- Füssen (Neuschwanstein Castle)
Distance: 413 km
Duration: Approximately 3-4 days
Best time to go: Autumn is a real treat in Bavaria. Seeing the changing foliage in the countryside makes this road trip seem almost magical. Another benefit of doing the Romantic Road in the fall is that there are slightly fewer tourists than in busier summer months.
• Dinkelsbühl isn’t on a ton of tourists’ itineraries, so it is the perfect medieval town to stop into to get a more local taste of Germany without too many crowds. The half timbered houses couldn’t be more picturesque Germany!
• Augsburg is the oldest city in Bavaria and a real treat for history and architecture lovers alike
• Rothenburg is arguably one of the most photographed villages in Germany. The quaint cobblestoned streets are an absolute fairytale!
• Neuschwanstein Castle just might be one of the most famous castles in the world. As touristy as it may be, it is worth a stop for every traveler in Bavaria!
While there are over 20 “stops” on the Romantic road, many of them are worthy of just a quick drive through (and of course a stop at any given moment’s notice if something looks alluring, charming, or quaint!) Many people try to perfectly plan out their route, how long to stay in each town, and what to do where, but the allure of this particular road trip is that some towns don’t really have anything “to do” in them (they are just classic, German villages that are beautiful), so you get to choose what looks appealing to you! Stop at a Backerei in one town f
or a sweet treat, have lunch at a cafe in another, and choose one further along to just wander for a bit in. While there is nothing spectacularly “Romantic” about this road trip, it is fun to simply “Choose your own adventure.”
While many people are scared of driving in Germany, rest assured, it’s not as intimidating as most people think. On the backroads of Bavaria, you’ll be treated to stunning countrysides, quaint villages, and get a real taste of Germany, despite this being one of the most “popular” driving routes in the country.
Where to stay: Technically, you can stay anywhere along the route. However, Augsburg is a good middle point to stop at and there is plenty of accommodation in Rothenburg (although that is often more expensive). Staying in Füssen for your final night is definitely worthwhile so that you can spend an entire day at Neuschwanstein at the end of your road trip.
Romania Road Trip
by Sean Lau from LivingOutLau
Route: From Bucharest To Cluj-Napoa or Vice Versa
Distance: 450 kilometers separates Bucharest from Cluj-Napoca but you will be taken mini side trips
Duration: 14 days
Best time to go: Autumn when the colorful foliage will bring out the idyllic Romanian countryside!
• Bran Castle: Also known as Dracula’s Castle, Bran Castle is the most popular attraction in Romania
• Trasfagarasan Highway: Deemed the best driving road in the world by the UK television series “Top Gear”
• Sibiu: One of the seven medieval Saxon walled citadels, Sibiu teeming culture earned its spot as the European Capital of Culture in 2007.
• Peles Castle: The most lavish castle in Romania situated in the mountains of Romania!
A Romania road trip is perfect for travelers that enjoy lush landscapes, vibrant historical cities, and exploring off the beaten path. Travelers will have the opportunity to explore the famed region of Transylvania, a region known for its Saxon walled-citadels, jaw-dropping nature, and mysterious castles. Starting in Bucharest (where it is cheapest to fly to), travelers will cross the famed Carpathian Mountains to arrive at Brasov, make their way to Sibiu, and finally finish off at Cluj-Napoca, the capital of Transylvania. Along the way, you will stay in the big cities and use them as a base to explore the nearby attractions, giving you the flexibility to explore places that are rather inaccessible if you don’t have a car.
Don’t miss Bran Castle, the alleged Dracula’s Castle. Visitors will learn the history of Vlad the Impaler and how the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker, took inspiration and created the horrific character Dracula.
When you are tired of castles, drive up the Transfagarsan Highway. Deemed as the best driving road in the world by Top Gear, the Transfagarsan Highway is one of the main reasons why people rent a car in Romania!
Lastly, explore the numerous Saxon walled-citadels such as Sibiu, Brasov, Sighisoara, and Cluj. These cities are filled with historical buildings, beautiful architecture, and rich history!
Where to stay: Road trippers should stay in Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu, and Cluj-Napoca along the way
Highlights of the Czech Republic
by Megan J. Anderson from Packing up the Pieces
Route: Prague – Prague
Distance: 883 km
Duration: 7 Days
When to go: This road trip can be done anytime of the year, but since this road trip includes a wine region, it’s best to take this road trip in the summer or the fall, during harvest season.
• Pilsen and the interesting Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour
• Český Krumlov: the Czech Republic’s most iconic fairytale village
• Mikulov: the gateway to the South Moravian Wine Region
• Olomouc and its famous stinky cheese
This diverse 7 day road trip is the perfect sampling of the Czech Republic. While most people only visit the picturesque bohemian city of Prague, this road trip includes a visit to the birthplace of pilsen beer and pit-stops in adorable villages with inviting town squares. Along the route, appreciate beautiful castles and chateaus and multiple historic UNESCO sights, including one of Europe’s most well preserved Jewish neighborhoods.
The highlight of the road trip is visiting the South Moravian Wine Region near Mikulov. From here, bike through rolling hills, sip wine at cellars, and even visit a palace. Next, head towards the Czech Republic’s 6th largest city, Olomouc. Brave souls should try the distinct culinary specialty, stinky cheese. The countryside around Olomouc offers some hidden gems including the beloved Bouzov Castle. On the way back to Prague, don’t miss the bizarre Chapel of the Bones and the centerpiece chandelier made from the remains of human bones. All the details on this epic road trip can be found here.
Where to stay:
• Pilsen: Pension City for free city parking
• Český Krumlov: Ubytování Na Hřišti
• Mikulov: Pension Crhan for epic views
• Olomouc: Ubytovna Marie for simple and budget rooms
Algarve road trip
by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers
Route: Tavira to Sagres
Distance: 140 km
Duration: 10 days
Best time to go: All year round is perfect for an Algarve road trip, but if you want to go swimming, go between June and October.
• Ria Formosa
• Benagil Cave
• Ponta da Piedade
Start your Algarve road trip with a couple of days in Tavira, taking in the beauty of this fisherman town. Head out to Ria Ria Formosa Natural Park. You can either take the shuttle train out to the anchor cemetery or you can walk. Make sure you go on a boat trip to all the astounding islands in this beautiful nature reserve. Continue to Albufeira where you can go kayaking along the cliffs or just chill at the beach. Stay a night or two before continuing to Carvoeiro. From here you can hike along the cliffs all the way to Marinha beach, or you can just take the trip to the world famous Benagil Cave. Your final stop is Lagos. From here you can visit Ponta da Piedade with its astounding cliff formations and head to the western-most tip of Europe and walk along the jaw-dropping Sagres cliffs. Go for a boat trip, learn stand up paddle board or surf, or go scuba diving. This corner of the Algarve is made for water sports all year round.
Where to stay:
• Tavira: Formosa Guest House
• Albufeira: Hotel Sol e Mar Albufeira
• Carvoeiro: Monte Santo Resort
• Lagos: The Salty Lodge
The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Allan Wilson from It’s Sometimes Sunny in Bangor
Route: Malin Head (Donegal) to Mizen Head (Cork)
Distance: 2,500 km
Duration: 1-2 weeks
Best Time to go: Between June and September
• Slieve League,
• Downpatrick Head,
• The Cliffs of Moher,
• Loophead Lighthouse,
• Killarney National Park
The Wild Atlantic Way spans the entire western coast of Ireland from north to south (or vice versa) between the most southwesterly point at Mizen Head in County Cork and Malin Head in County Donegal. It is a road trip that can be covered in under a week but it also passes destinations worth staying a day or 3 such as Galway, Limerick and Killarney, so it’s best not to rush. There are also other inland attractions like the Benbulben, the Burren and it even takes in the road trip route of the Ring Kerry. Most people will start out from Ireland’s capital of Dublin which is eastern and fairly central. So logistically its best to start the Wild Atlantic Way from Northern Ireland where Londonderry is mere minutes and the capital city of Belfast is just a 1hr30mins drive to the beginning of the road trip in County Donegal.
Where to Stay: Rathmullan House (Donegal), Abbeyglen Castle (Galway), Hotel Doolin (Clare), Great Southern Killarney (Kerry)
Rhonda Krause From Travel Yes Please
Route: Dublin -Dublin
Total Distance: 1,695 km (approximately)
Recommended Duration: 14 days
Best Time to Go: Late spring and early autumn are the best times to do a road trip in Ireland if you’re looking for fewer crowds, lower prices, and mild weather.
• Discovering ancient, historic sites like the Rock of Cashel, Glendalough monastic settlement, and the Bru na Boinne tombs.
• Admiring scenic parks and landscapes, including the Cliffs of Moher, Burren National Park, and Killarney National Park.
• Exploring Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands, by bike.
• Taking in beautiful coastal views on the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula.
• Visiting some of Northern Ireland’s most famous sites like the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and the Dark Hedges.
This two week Ireland road trip delivers travellers to some of Ireland’s most intriguing historic sites and stunning natural wonders as it circles around the island.
After departing from Dublin, drive through the Wicklow mountains on route to Kilkenny, making a stop at the Glendalough monastic site to see the round tower and Celtic crosses in the cemetery.
From Kilkenny, start heading towards Kinsale, leaving plenty of time to visit the Rock of Cashel and Blarney Castle on the way. After Kinsale, spend a day enjoying some outdoor activities in Killarney National Park. Next up, drive the famous Ring of Kerry, making a scenic detour onto the Skellig Ring. Follow this up by driving another of Ireland’s scenic routes, the Dingle Peninsula.
Continuing north up the western side of the island, use Doolin as a base for visiting Burren National Park and the Cliffs of Moher. Next, head to Galway and make a day trip to the fascinating island of Inishmore.
Next up, make the long drive to Derry in Northern Ireland. In the morning, head to the coast to see the Giant’s Causeway and nearby attractions before returning to the Republic of Ireland (or spending the night in Belfast, for a shorter day of driving).
Back in the Republic, visit the Neolithic necropolis of Bru na Boinne then drive to Dublin to end your trip.
Where to Stay: Rathmullan House (Donegal), Abbeyglen Castle (Galway), Hotel Doolin (Clare), Great Southern Killarney (Kerry)
Andalucia Road trip
by Linn Haglund of Andalucia Hiking
Route: Malaga-Granada-Cordoba-Seville-Ronda-Malaga (round trip)
Total Distance Covered: 730 km
Recommended Duration of road trip: 10-14 days
Best time to go: The best time for an Andalucia road trip is between mid-September and June when it’s not too hot.
• El Torcal de Antequera
• Alhambra in Granada
• The Mosque of Cordoba
• El Alcazar in Seville
• Puente Nuevo in Ronda
A classic road trip through Andalucia which takes you through all the most iconic places. Start early from Malaga and head to El Torcal de Antequera for a walk through some of the most unique karst landscape in Europe. You can go for lunch in the nearby white village of Antequera before heading to Granada for the night. In Granada, there are several things to do, so spending 3-4 days would be preferable. One day goes to explore the spectacular Moorish palace and gardens of Alhambra. Spend a day or two wandering around Granada old town, and head up to Sierra Nevada for a day. In the autumn, you can hike up to the second highest peak in Sierra Nevada, Pico de Veleta. In the winter months, you can go skiing down the same peak. Continue your road trip to Cordoba where you can soak in the Moorish history for a day or two before heading to Andalucia’s capital city of Seville. 3-4 days is recommended to see all the main attractions like El Alcazar, the Cathedral, La Giralda, and Plaza de España. Make time for tapas and salsa too. On the way back to Malaga, make a stop in Ronda for a night to soak in the dramatic landscape this hilltop town is sitting on.
Where to stay:
• Granada: Hospes Palacio de los Patos
• Cordoba: H10 Palacio Colomera
• Seville: Hotel Alfonso XIII
• Ronda: Hotel Don Miguel
Royal Castles Road Trip
by Elisa from World in Paris
Duration: 3 days
Distance: 240 km
Best time to go: During the shoulder seasons (spring or fall) when there are lesser crowds, and the gardens show their best colors.
• Château de Fontainebleau and its gardens
• Château de Versailles and its gardens
• Château de Pierrefonds.
The Royal Castles road trip explores some of the best castles near Paris, and it is great for people who love history, sightseeing, and fairytale castles. This road trip starts and ends in Paris, it takes three days, and it covers Château de Fontainebleau, Château de Versailles, and Château de Pierrefonds with nights in Versailles and Paris. You can also visit Paris after the road trip. The visit to Château de Fontainebleau and Château de Pierrefonds is very straightforward, but Versailles is bigger, and a bit of planning is necessary. If you wonder what to see in Versailles in one day or what tickets to buy, this Versailles guide has everything you need to know for a wonderful day trip to Versailles.
Where to stay:
For your stay in Paris, Handsome Hotel by Elegancia is super comfortable and situated close to the main sights. For your stay in Versailles, Hotel des Lys always has the best ratings.
Northern Sicily road trip
Giulia from Travelling Sunglasses
Route: Palermo -Catania
Distance: 330 km
Duration: 6 days/5 nights
Best time to go: from April to October, but careful with the heat in August
• The Arab-Norman architecture in Palermo and Cefalù
• The beaches in Palermo and Cefalù
• Hiking on Mount Etna
• The old town of Taormina, the Ancient Theatre and Isola Bella
The Italian island of Sicily has enough cities, history, beaches and food to keep you for a whole month. If you have just a few days, a road trip to Northern Sicily is perfect to sample some of the best places in Sicily: interesting history and architecture in the capital as well as in smaller towns, beautiful beaches and sea, and the exciting Mount Etna.
Start with a couple of days in Palermo, where you can discover the buildings of the Arab-Norman UNESCO heritage property: the mosaics of the Palatine Chapel and Monreale Cathedral are impressive.
Continue with the seaside city of Cefalù, to the East, with its picturesque old town, crisscrossed by narrow alleys leading to an iconic beach: perfect to relax, enjoy the local cuisine and experience the Sicilian way of life.
Reach Taormina, on the East side of the island: perched on a cliff overlooking the pretty island and beach of Isola Bella, Taormina is a classy town of boutiques and panoramic terraces, none better than the iconic Ancient Theater with its view of Mount Etna.
Devote one day to hiking on Mount Etna or reaching its summit by cable car: this active volcano offers stunning views of black rocks, resilient trees and bushes, until the glimmering sea.
Finish in Catania, which boasts a baroque architecture exemplified in the Cathedral and other important buildings of the old town, as well as an old fortress and a Roman amphitheater. Read more about this Sicily itinerary here.
Where to stay:
• In Palermo, stay at Hotel Del Centro
• In Cefalù, stay at Retro Rooms Cefalù
• In Taormina, stay at Hotel Condor Taormina
Balkan Road Trip Highlights
Mayuri from ToSomePlaceNew
Route: Zagreb Croatia – Dubrovnik Croatia
Distance: 670 kms (one way)
Duration: 7 days
Best time to go: Early summer, autumn
One of the amazing European road trips to take is to the Balkans. On this Balkans itinerary, you can explore some of the popular destinations like Zagreb and Dubrovnik in Croatia, and then visit Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro.
• Zagreb: Arrive in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia. Explore the city centre of Zagreb, admire the Zagreb Cathedral, St Mark’s Church, Museum of Broken Relationships and dine out.
• Mostar: Next day start for Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina. Zagreb to Mostar is about 5 hours drive, without stopping anywhere. The route passes through Split, and it is a good option to stop for the night. In Split, there are tons of things to check out starting at the old town Split and beaches. From Split to Mostar is only a 2 hour drive away. In Mostar, fall in love with the Stari Most in Old town, and learn about its history, and how the town is shaping up after the 1992 Siege. Also visit the Crooked Bridge, pretty bazaars and cafes, Mostar Peace Tower and the war exhibitions.
• Stay in Mostar for a day or two, and then head to the Kravice waterfalls, located enroute to Croatia. Mostar to Kravice is only 45 minutes away, making it a perfect stop before arriving in Dubrovnik. (Stay in Kriva Cuprija Hotel)
• In Dubrovnik, visit the historic city walls. Opt for a walking tour in the old town and visit the city highlights like the Rector’s Palace, Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik Cathedral, Saint Franciscan Monastery, Placa, to name a few. (Stay in Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik)
• From Dubrovnik, make your way to Kotor Bay in Montenegro. Dubrovnik to Kotor is only 2 hours away, this is perfect for a day trip (to conclude the road trip in 5 to 7 days). Kotor is a coastal town in Montenegro, and it is filled with Adriatica charm with orange rooftops and the stunning blue waters.
Great Balkan Road Trip
by Phil from JOURNICATION Travel Blog
Route: Sarajevo – Athens
Distance: ~ 1.200 km
Duration: at least 21 days
Best time to go: early summer (not yet too hot) or early autumn
• Mostar: One of the travel hotspots of the Balkans, the famous Stari Most (old bridge) of Mostar is a stunning construction over the Neretva river
• Dubrovnik: This medieval beauty on the Adriatic should definitely be on your bucket list – whether you are into Game of Thrones or not. The mighty city walls surrounding the old town are unique and worth a visit
• Bay of Kotor: The southernmost fjord of Europe is a real gem on the coast of Montenegro. Stunning landscape and breathtaking view from the Venetian fortress San Giovanni wait for you!
• Ohrid: The cosy city on Lake Ohrid surprises with lots of historic buildings, the iconic church of St. John of Kaneo and a relaxed beach-town atmosphere.
• Berat: When traveling the Balkans, make sure you don’t miss out Berat in the heart of Albania, “city of the 1.000 windows”.
• Athens: World-famous historical sights like the Acropolis, the Roman and Greek Agora or the Olympic Stadium wait for you. And if it gets too busy in the center district Plaka, think of day trips to the many island around.
The great Balkan Road Trip itinerary leads from Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina to Mostar and Dubrovnik. Don’t miss out on the natural beauty of North Montenegro, the Riviera and – if you like it more off the beaten track – a tour through the Republic of Kosovo. Let Skopje and the close by Matka Canyon surprise you before heading to Ohrid and the Albanian capital Tirana. If the weather is nice, Albania has many stunning beaches – not yet as crowded as in Croatia or Greece. The end to the Road trip is the world-famous city Athens with sooo many sights and great activities.
Alsace Wine Route
by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
Route: Strasbourg – south of Colmar
Distance: 170 (in km)
Duration: allow 3 to 4 days minimum
Best time to go: April to September is the best time in terms of weather. Christmas is also a popular time to visit the region.
• With plenty of things to do in Strasbourg, and that being the starting point of road trip, a visit to Strasbourg Cathedral is a must. Take a boat tour, and walk around Petite-France, one of the most photographed locations in Strasbourg.
• Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, Bergheim are beautiful towns in the middle of Alsace wine region that are located close by. A great place to walk around admiring the half timbered colourful houses and pretty windowsills adoring the flowers in summer.
• If there’s one place that is a must-visit in the entire Alsace wine route, that would be Colmar. The renaissance building, half timbered houses, cobblestone streets and the little Venice are well deserved visit!
Alsace wine region is one of the most popular and most romantic road trips in France. The wine route runs from Strasbourg to Colmar spanning over 170kms, peppered with postcard perfect villages, towns and wine yards. Since Alsace region is located between France and Germany border, the cultural blend is evident in the region’s food, culture and architecture.
Soak into Alsatian culture, taste their local flavours, sample the wines, go on wine tours and explore the storybook towns. While there are 120 towns spread across this route, some of the best Alsacian towns that are worth visiting include Obernai, Ribeauville, Riquewihr, Kayserberg, Eguisheim, apart from Strasbourg and Colmar.
Alsace wine route is certainly one of the road trips that can be done any time of the year. While spring and summer you can enjoy the colourful frames, Christmas is also quite popular time to visit the region when the small towns turn into magical winter wonderlands.
Where to stay: We recommend staying in Strasbourg for 2 nights, followed by a night stay in Riquewihr or Ribeauville, last night stay at Colmar.
Switzerland Road Trip
by Cosette, from KarsTravels
Route: Santa Maria Val Mustair – Affoltern im Emmental
Distance: 449 kilometers
Duration: 4 days
Best time to go: Spring and Summer, some passes and highlights are closed in winter time.
• Parc Naziunal Svizzer: the only Swiss national park, with 21 hiking routes and stunning views all around.• Chur: the self-proclaimed oldest city of Switzerland with museums, an old town and a beautiful cathedral.
• 3 Passes tour: a 120 kilometer long tour over the Süstenpass, Grimselpass and the Furkapass. For views on glaciers, mountain lakes and snow capped mountains.
• Brienz: a city on the Brienzersee, famous for its violins and wood carving tradition.
• Emmentaler Schaukäserei: see how the famous Emmentaler cheese is made.
For this 4 Days in Switzerland cross Switzerland at the border with Italy to the border with France, from high towering snow capped mountains to lush green rolling hills. It’s all-in this road trip. Start at Santa Maria Val Mustair and drive to St. Moritz, visit Parc Naziunal Svizzer on the first day. The next day continue on to Disentis on the river Rhine. Stop at Parc Ela and Chur along the way. The third day drive, the 3 Passes tour and the last day admire Brienz, Interlaken and Thun. Ending your trip with a visit to the Emmentaler Schaukäserei.
Where to stay:
• St. Moritz: TCS camping St. Moritz, surrounded by mountains and lots of outdoor activity options.
• Disentis: TCS camping Disentis, a lake with a play area in the middle of the campsite.
• Wassen: Hotel Gerig, a fantastic restaurant and great rooms.
Yorkshire Dales to the North Yorkshire Coast road trip
Sinead from Map Made Memories
Route: Ingleton to Robin Hood’s Bay via York and The North York Moors
Distance: 189 kms, plus detours
Duration: 4 days minimum
Best time to go: Spring or Summer; there is so much to see and do outdoors you will need dry, light days.
Highlights: hiking in the Yorkshire Dales, exploring historic York, finding a fossil on the dramatic North Yorks coastline
Start your Yorkshire road trip in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales in the market town of Ingleton. Tour the longest show cave in England (White Scar Cave), walk the scenic Ingleton waterfall trail or climb Ingleborough which is one of Yorkshire’s highest peaks. Drive through the rolling Dales to the hamlet of Malham to marvel at Malham Cove, a 230-foot-high natural stone amphitheatre (featured in the Harry Potter movies) plus nearby Gordale Scar gorge. Leave your car behind and take advantage of the fantastic hiking opportunities in this area. Continue to the historic city of York, to visit York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe, walk the city’s medieval walls (the longest city walls in England) or explore one of the York’s grand historic houses or excellent museums. From York, head across the windswept Yorkshire Moors stopping to take a walk in The Hole of Horcum (a 400-foot-deep natural amphitheatre) or the beautiful Dalby Forest. Enjoy a traditional fish and chip dinner in charming Whitby, famous as the landing place for Dracula in Bram Stoker’s gothic novel or stretch your legs on the North Yorks Coastal path. Drive to nearby Robin Hoods Bay, a small, coastal car free village and wander the cobbled lanes of Robin Hood’s Bay or hunt for Jurassic era fossils on the beach.
Where to stay:
• The Lister Arms, Malham Cove
• Dean’s Court Hotel, York
• The Bay Hotel, Robin Hood’s Bay
The French Riviera
Amber of Thessaloniki Local
Route: Genoa, Italy-Marseille, France
Distance: About 500 km, with a little off-route exploration
Duration: 3 days
Best time to go: The Mediterranean coast has mild enough weather to make this trip a pleasure nearly any month of the year. It’s a popular route, and Summer does find the roads more crowded. However, that’s also the season when the colors are most intense and the breezes smell the sweetest.
- Menton, the first town you come to in France, is enchanting. Super low-key elegance, great architecture, and much more tasteful than next-door Monaco. Everyone seems to have a small dog. Perfect for retirement.
- Monaco of course is a must-see. But If you’re looking for Grace-Kelly era glamour (via Alfred Hitchcock), don’t hold your breath. It’s now sadly overbuilt with abundant money but scant good taste. But glimpses of old Monaco still enchant, and the whole place must be seen to be believed – overwhelming.
- Nice is achingly beautiful, with Art Nouveau mansions as you enter the city and a long luscious beach. The town is all Provencal charm, with comfortable cafes to sip on a pastis.
- Cannes is a scene. Not as charming as Nice or Menton, but a drive by the Hotel Carlton, where all the stars stay during the film festival, will thrill the cinephile in you. Cannes is immaculate – even a stray discarded cigarette draws a heavy fine.
- Marseille is gritty, authentic, and compelling – a busy port city. The Notre Dame de la Garde, the Cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary who has kept generations safe at sea, captures the seafaring soul of the city.
The French Riviera is a dream destination for many reasons. Many of these are related to the cultural attractions along the way – the famously enchanting villages and sophisticated Mediterannean cities. But it’s the topography itself that is the star here, making for an extremely compelling road trip destination for people who love to drive. The generally well-paved roads hug the glamorous, curvy shoreline for a constantly changing view that reveals the character of the place. Moreover, the roads take you right through the heart of some of the Riviera’s most fabulous towns. This is literally one of the most inspiring stretches of landscape in the world, immortalized by a generation of famous painters. Taking some scenic detours inland will expose you to the landscapes and street scenes painted by van Gogh and Cezanne (the latter from Aix-en-Provence), while the coast attracted Matisse, Gauguin, and Chagall. Along with the southern Italian coast and Sicily, this is one of the most glamorous coastal road trips in Europe.
Where to Stay:
In Genoa, the quiet seaside neighborhood of Nervi has an unusual place to stay – the Villa Bonera. You may have to share a bath, but the painted ceilings of the aristocratic villa, centuries old, are plenty of compensation. Very quirky and memorable.
En route, Cannes makes a very convenient base for driving around the area. The Hotel PLM was very no frills but also very clean and in an ideal location in the center.
Northumberland Road Trip
Shobha George from Epic England Travel
Route: Newcastle upon Tyne-Berwick upon Tweed
Distance: 110 miles
Duration: 1 day
If you love history and castles, you must visit Northumberland in the North of England. Northumberland has the most castles of any county in England because of its prime position on the border with Scotland. England and Scotland had been at war for hundreds of years until the unification of the two crowns with the ascension of King James 1 as the joint ruler of both kingdoms. Even then, the border wasn’t fully secure.
We suggest you start in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, famous for its Victorian era buildings. You know you are nearby when you see the giant statue Angel of the North on the A1 motorway. You will end your trip at the pretty city of Berwick upon Tweed, the most northerly of England’s cities, which is approximately 110 miles away.
Instead of bombing straight up the coast of England in your car and seeing the great castles of the Northumberland Coast such as Bambergh Castle and Alnwick Castle, we suggest you make some inland detours as well. Things to see in Northumberland include:
• Hadrian’s Wall which Emperor Hadrian had built in AD 122 to keep the raiders from Scotland from invading the Northern part of the Roman Empire.
• Nearby Roman ruins such as Housesteads Roman Fort and Museum are fascinating to explore and involves hiking through the beautiful Northumberland National Park to visit.
• Alnwick Castle is a must-visit for fans of Harry Potter because it was the setting for Hogwarts in the movies.
• Chillingham Castle runs ghost tours because it is known as the most haunted castle in England
• Lindisfarne Island is known as the Holy Island because it was home to a renowned monastery founded in 635 AD. The credit for destroying Lindisfarne Abbey goes to the Vikings.
Northumberland is gorgeous because it is also the least densely populated county in England. Miles of countryside, empty beaches and ruined castles are the norm.
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to take an European road trip.
Have you done a road trip in Europe? What do you think are the best road trips in Europe?
More European Road Trip Inspiration
Need more inspiration for traveling to Europe? Check out some of our other articles about the best places to visit in Europe:
- Most Beautiful Cities in Europe You Need to Visit
- Underrated Cities in Europe
- Fairytale Towns in Europe You Need to See
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