For many drivers, Europe is the ultimate motoring Mecca. Located right on Britain’s doorstep, there you will find an abundance of excellent roads, twisting through scenic villages and bustling cities alike.
Venture away from these populated areas and you will find yourself surrounded by lakes, forests and mountains.
This variety of driving environments is why so many Brits jump in their motors to head abroad every year. Thinking of a road trip but overwhelmed by the possible journeys? Read on to discover our top five, but first things first – planning.
How to plan…
While it may seem like the most boring part of a trip, good planning is essential and can make or break your adventure. You don’t want to find yourself stood by the side of a French motorway wishing you’d taken out foreign breakdown cover, or stranded in Italy with not enough fuel money to make it home.
Ok, so these may be the worst-case scenarios, and realistically bad planning will probably only lead to a few wrong turns, but none-the-less it’s stress that can be avoided by an hour of prep.
So what do you need to consider? There’s the obvious – destination, waypoints and routes, as well as money for petrol, food and accommodation.
Then there’s the less obvious. Make sure that your car is in perfect working order before you set off. An issue abroad is guaranteed to cost more to fix than it would at home, and a language barrier could cause problems at the garage. Taking out foreign breakdown cover is advised for the ultimate peace of mind. But check with your insurance first – you may already have it! Loading up with road trip snacks will save you money in the long run, as roadside shops and service stations often charge a lot more than your local supermarket will.
Finally, make sure you have adequate entertainment for the many miles you will be covering. Music, games and films can keep passengers relaxed and spirits high!
So, now you’re prepared, where should you go?
Different destinations suit different people. When travelling with children, a road trip with multiple stops is advised. However, if you’re on a budget, certain countries are cheaper than others. And if you’re a culture lover, then where better to head than a historic town surrounded by vineyards? Ultimately, where you go is up to you. But here are our suggestions…
1. Paris to Berlin
This is the perfect trip for culture lovers. Take a week to cover the 700-odd miles between the two and explore places including France’s Champagne region, Luxembourg and Trier along the way. This is an immersive road trip to really experience Europe’s history.
2. To the Basque and beyond.
For all the surfers and beach bums among us, the Basque is the perfect road trip destination. A ferry to Bilbao begins this adventure, followed by many miles up the Atlantic coast to San Sebastian. Here you will find miles of golden sand beaches and incredible food. Continue through the Pyrenees to Hossegor and enjoy the never-ending swell before heading to Bordeaux to sample the region’s renowned wine.
3. The Arctic Fjords
An often under-appreciated road trip, the fjords of Norway offer some of the most stunning scenery in Europe. Begin your trip in Bergen, Norway and head past the fjords to Voss. A quick ferry across the Sognefjord will take you to the Fjäland valleys, where incredible glaciers and snowy mountain peaks will leave you in awe. This is a great road trip for families as endless sights and scenery will keep the kids entertained.
4. To the East! Bucharest, Transylvania, Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna
This is possibly the ultimate road trip for students. After setting off from Budapest, head through the Carpithian mountains to Transylvania and visit Bran Castle – rumour suggests this was once the home of Dracula himself. Head along the Transfagarasan mountain road, past age old cities before continuing to Budapest, where you can explore the city’s famous culture. After a brief stop in Bratislava, finish your trip in Vienna’s famous coffee houses.
5. For the drivers among us: Germany’s Alpine passes
Few roads are as fabled as Germany’s mountain passes. From nail-bitingly narrow switchbacks to long straights through the valleys, these roads are some of the best Europe has to offer. Begin your trip in Lindau before heading eastward to the Breitachklamm gorge. A visit to the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle – which inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle – is a must, as is a trip to the medieval town of Bad Tölz. Finally, pass by the ice caves of Werfen on the way to Salzburg.
Have you been on an epic Euro road trip recently? Let us know about it in the comments below.
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.