Taking a day road trip in Europe is something that many people dream of but only a few experience. If you have a chance to head overseas and get behind the wheel of a steel machine, what belongs on your bucket list?
This continent features varied landscapes, from the fjords of Norway to the sunswept beaches of southern France. There’s something for everyone, and Europe’s relatively small size makes it possible to traverse multiple countries in a single day.
Are you ready to formulate your European road trip itinerary and hit the road after disembarking from the plane? Here are the best places to take a drive in Europe.
1. The Romantische-Straße, Germany
Germany is known for its autobahns, where you can fulfill your need for speed. Even though these roads are must-sees and much safer than many American highways despite their lack of speed limits, you should take in some of the nation’s beauty, too.
The so-called “romantic road” is one of the biggest tourist attractions for motor enthusiasts worldwide. Are you planning an extended visit? While German citizens pay a subsidy for health care to the government, you might want to protect yourself with travel insurance to cover any needs that may arise during your journey. While you’ll still pay much less than you would Stateside without it, you can still incur unexpected fees that could put you in a financial pinch.
2. Col de La Bonette, France
If you want to tour this breathtaking road, you have to plan for the summer months. This climb through the French Alps remains closed from November through May because of inclement weather. However, you’ll experience the journey of a lifetime once the snows clear. Athletic sorts can tackle this beast by bike, but most mere mortals prefer motor power.
The lower levels of the climb feature a thunderous waterfall – so slow down as you take those twists and turns with your mouth agape. The scenery changes as you climb, from rich green pastures to gray stony slopes.
3. The A93, Scotland
The A93 is the Old Military Road, located near Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands. However, another thoroughfare runs adjacent to the wildlands, meaning this route sees relatively little traffic, making it more convenient for your driving pleasure.
You’ll enjoy stunning views of area peaks as you traverse the countryside. Stop at Braemar to enjoy tea and scones at the Bothy, or continue down the road to the Queen’s Scottish retreat. Continue north to the heart of Scottish whisky country, where you’ll want to surrender your keys and kick back for a nip or two.
4. Ring of Kerry, Ireland
If you want a picture-perfect view of Ireland’s rolling green hills, the Ring of Kerry is the drive for you. It deserves a spot on any day road trip in Europe for the fresh air alone.
You can visit the colorful towns of Sneem, Kenmore, and Waterville for tastes of local flavor. Stay past nightfall, too, as this region is home to only one of three International Dark Sky Gold Tier Reserves. You’ll view the Milky Way nearly as it appeared to your ancestors before light pollution mucked up the view.
5. Stelvio Pass, Italy
Stelvio Pass is considered one of the best driving roads in the world for drivers who seek a challenge. It rose to fame in 2008 with the TV show “Top Gear” and has remained a popular destination for Lamborghinis and Aston Martins ever since.
This road is the highest paved one in the eastern Alps, and you’ll witness spectacular views for much of it. However, you’ll have to keep your eyes on the road as you race through 60 hairpin turns.
6. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Head south for the next stop on your European road trip itinerary and bring your appetite. The Amalfi Coast is scattered with colorful seaside towns where you can enjoy some of the best Mediterranean cuisine anywhere. Feel good about chowing down, too – many experts consider this diet to be among the healthiest in the world. Many foodies consider Minori a veritable Mecca of fine eats.
There’s much more to do here than drive and eat, too. Why not extend your stay at one of the many luxury hotels in the region and take advantage of hiking and beachside relaxation?
Related: 5 Best Places to Travel in Australia
7. The N-340, Spain
If you love history, Andalusia, Spain, is the place for you. You’ll find no shortage of medieval hilltop towns and Moorish heritage sites, accompanied by flamenco dancers and fabulous food and artwork.
You might want to tour these historic sites on foot if you’re a history buff. However, you can also go back in time by taking the N-340, which hardly sees traffic. Despite – or maybe because of – its low car count, the surrounding deserts were filming locations for some of the pivotal scenes in “Game of Thrones.”
8. Route 1, Iceland
If you want to add Iceland to your European road trip itinerary, Route 1 is the highway to drive. It’s also known as “Ring Road,” which follows the country’s coastline for a complete tour.
Most folks begin their drive in Reykjavik, although the official “kilometer zero” is in Skeiðarársandur. You’ll travel over 800 miles, passing sights like a waterfall and volcanic lake.
9. Furka Pass, Switzerland
Furka Pass is only 70 kilometers long, or approximately 43 miles. However, it’s famous as the location where Sean Connery chased villains in his Aston Martin as James Bond in “Goldfinger.”
You’ll recognize this windy route from countless vehicle commercials. Breathtaking scenery awaits after every hairpin, and you’ll pass multiple small villages where you can stop for a taste of local flavor.
10. Trollstigen, Norway
If you want to race through 11 hairpin turns, Trollstigen in Norway is the drive for you. Add this drive to your day road trip in Europe when you want a challenge.
However, you’ll have to go during the right time of the year. This route also closes in the winter, thanks to the region’s heavy snow and ice. Architecture fans will marvel at the designated viewpoints on the plateau, complete with a reflection pool.
Best European Road Trip Itinerary and Day Road Trips
You’re among the lucky few if you get to take a day road trip in Europe. Where will your adventures take you? Consider adding these 10 drives to your European road trip itinerary. You’ll thrive on the challenge and return with a lifetime of memories!
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