Europe has a lot to offer if you like the right mix of scenic routes, gorgeous landscapes, rich history, world-famous art pieces, spellbinding architecture, and fine restaurants. And one of the excellent ways to enjoy all these would be to take a road trip. In this post, we look into some of the best road trip ideas for a perfect European holiday.
If you love to drive, enjoy scenic routes, believe in taking in all the little details in person, and get yourself immersed in the local culture and experience along the way, with your partner as a small group of family or friends, then a road trip is perfect for you. Road trips will not only allow you to achieve all these but also you will end up saving a little more this way. So why not plan a road trip across Europe and explore one of the ideas below?
After enjoying the canals and cafes of Amsterdam, you can then start your road trip towards Bruges, the capital of Flanders in North Belgium. From Amsterdam, you can drive towards the city located on the North Sea, The Hague. Otherwise known as Den Haag in Dutch, the Hague has numerous museums and famous landmarks, the Dutch Parliament, and the 16th-century Noordeinde Palace, the king’s workplace. The city is also home to the United Nations International Court of Justice, headquartered in the Peace Palace, and the International Criminal Court.
From the Hague, you will come across the city of Middelburg that was discovered in the 9th century and was a crucial trading port at one point. It is an exciting city to visit with its alleys, beautiful canal houses, and a city hall of late-Gothic architecture. Finally, from Middelburg, you can be on your way and reach Bruges. Spend a couple of days there amidst its rich historical background as it is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the northern part of Europe.
Tuscany is a unique region that offers food and wine-lovers a special treat. Driving around this romantic region of Italy is the ideal way to explore the bistros, eateries, cafes, and vineyards the area is known for. It enables you to take in the iconic Tuscan countryside at an unhurried pace and offers stunning pastoral vistas almost throughout the region. Check out an earlier post about our experience when we last visited this region.
It is also one of the least expensive ways to travel and enjoy Tuscany – you can see and do a great deal without breaking the bank while enjoying an unforgettable road trip experience. You will typically start and end in Florence. Your round-trip driving itinerary through Arrezzo, Sienna, Pisa, San Gimignano, among others, and you will get a peek into the unique communities which make up the heart of this renowned region.
Everyone knows Athens, the birthplace of democracy. It is one of the best cities to visit in Greece, both for its ancient treasures and its modern offerings.
From there, you can drive out on your way to Delphi, an essential religious sanctuary in ancient Greece, as it served as the home to the famous oracle of Apollo. On your way to Delphi, you can go south first through the coastal roads and head towards Sounion located at the Attic peninsula. While at Sounion, do not miss the Temple of Poseidon’s gorgeous sunset before driving north towards Mycenae, an archaeological site near Mykines in Argolis and known in Greek mythology as the city of Agamemnon.
If a calming seaside view is what you are aiming for, a great option will be staying at Náfplio, and Italian-looking town, which was the first capital of modern Greece. Otherwise, you can just keep driving until you reach Mystra, an archaeological site and Byzantine city in the Peloponnese in modern Greece. From there, you will cross Olympia, and you will then reach Delphi, where you can take in its beauty.
After enjoying the beautiful Catalan city of Barcelona, its art, architecture, cuisine, and so much more, a road trip down the Mediterranean coast to the region of Andalusia and end up in the beautiful city of Malaga, the birthplace of famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Moving south along the coast and enjoying the Mediterranean views, you will reach Tarragona, a city famed for the Roman ruins it contains. You can visit the Amphitheater and the tombs while you are there, and explore the medieval town and its beaches while trying out some of its restaurants.
From Tarragona, you continue with your drive, passing through the coastal town of Peñíscola, also known for its beaches and its historic old town. From there, you then head towards Valencia, also known for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures. You can decide to stay and explore this city or head out with your journey and finally reach Malaga.
Edinburgh is the hilly capital of Scotland. It is a city full of rich history, culture, art, and architecture, and is especially well-known for the Edinburgh International Book Festival and other festivals. After immersing in the past and culture of the city, you can start driving across the gorgeous mountains in the Scottish Highlands.
As you head northwest, you will be introduced to beautiful streams, scenic hills, and lush greenery until you reach Fort William, a town in the western Scottish Highlands, on the shores of Loch Linnhe. Before reaching Fort William, you will witness Kelpies and Helix Park, where you can feast your eyes on the most significant horse sculptures ever. You will also be able to see the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. From here, you can head straight for Inverness, a city in the Scottish Highlands that attracts visitors from all over because of its natural landscapes, quaint towns, medieval ruins, and prehistoric sites.
Paris, as the world’s most visited capital, boasts its many monuments – from the iconic Eiffel Tower to the lofty Notre-Dame cathedral and the majestic Arc de Triomphe. After feasting yourself on this enchanting city, you can head out and explore the hills of Reims and Champagne and go to the little country of Luxembourg.
After seeing Luxembourg’s castles and other interesting sights, you can move on to the oldest city in Germany, Trier, and see ancient Roman architecture. You can also stop at the wine country of Riesling and then move through Heidelberg and Nuremberg before going to Leipzig. Leipzig will give you a healthy dose of cake and classical music, and you will also be able to learn about the Cold War. From there, head to Dresden, after which you will reach Berlin.
You can start this road trip from Braga, a city in the far north of Portugal, northeast of Porto. It is a city known for its religious heritage and events. A couple of attractions you can explore here are Bom Jesus do Monte (one of the most beautiful monuments of Northern Portugal) and Guimarães Castle (which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site).
Heading east from Braga, the valleys and vineyards of Penafiel and Amarante will crop up before you go ahead to witness Figueira da Foz’s stunning white beaches. On your way, you will stumble upon Lisbon, the bustling capital of Portugal. If you want to proceed to Morocco from Lisbon, the most feasible option would be to fly there, unless you want to head to Spain for driving/ferry options.
Vienna is Austria’s capital and is along the Danube River. Its legacy has been shaped by its famous residents which including Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud. Being the capital, Vienna has plenty of activities for you to indulge in, such as art, music, food and wine, concerts, and much more. Meanwhile, Graz is the second-largest city of Austria and is one of the best-preserved historic towns in Europe.
Not only is Vienna to Graz an alluring road trip, but it also takes barely three hours to cover the distance. On your way to Graz, you can see the peaceful countryside, and within a short time, you will find yourself at your destination. Graz allows you to explore further beautiful palaces, castles, hills, and vineyards.
During these times of COVID-19 restrictions, everyone has all started to get a case of ‘cabin fever.’ As limits begin to ease and counties/cities start to re-open, planning for our on-hold vacations can now commence.
While taking a flight or the train might be a faster way to travel, a lot of people are still wary of these modes of transport. As such, touring Europe by car as a couple or with a small group of family and friends an excellent way to enjoy this storied continent.
If you got the time to spare, then you need to look up these picturesque European road trips. From cafes and quaint markets to quiet mountains and colorful sunsets, there are a plethora of visuals for you to enjoy. To be able to enjoy these (and other European road trip itineraries), check out our recommended resource below and find the best rates for your road trip plans.
If you have any experience or insight in any of the European road trips and would like to share them, kindly leave your comments below.
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