Although road trips are often associated with American culture, Europe can certainly not be overlooked for its unforgettable scenic drives. What makes European road trips so unique is that you can travel through several countries with even a limited amount of vacation time at your disposal. Whichever of these road trip ideas you like the most, you’ll be sure to find diverse cultures, abundant traditions, and nonstop thrills. These are six of the most unforgettable European road trips you’ll ever take.
Amalfi Coast: Italyli
Italy’s Amalfi Coast has one of the most romantic coastlines that you’ll find anywhere in Europe. Although you can also take a coach trip or a bus from Sorrento, you won’t get the full experience of the region unless you’re behind the wheel. Expect to find sandy coves as you turn around the bends and head down to Positano to see the colorful villas lining the picturesque mountainside. The best towns to visit along this drive are Amalfi, Positano, and Ravello. UNESCO actually named the Amalfi Coast an outstanding example of Mediterranean landscape and gave it a place on the World Heritage List.
Photo credit: Uljana Egli via Flickr
Fjords of Norway: Bergen to Trondheim
The route from Bergen to Trondheim allows road trippers to experience Norway’s coastal landscape and the world-famous fjords. After departing from Bergen, you’ll pass through quaint villages and across the Sognefjord, the longest fjord in the country. Follow the National Tourist Routes along tranquil rivers and waterfalls to climb the steep mountainside, and set up a tent to camp anywhere that’s not on private property. This is a great way to travel inexpensively and immerse yourself in nature. Some of the best stops along the way are the Nidaros Cathedral, the Briksdalsbre Glacier, the Bryggen Wharf houses, and Mount Fløyen.
Antrim Coast Road: Northern Ireland
Discover the beauty and culture of Northern Ireland by taking a road trip along the Antrim Coast Road, affectionately called A2. This road follows the scenic coastline of County Antrim, mostly a single lane in each direction that connects many other major roadways. There are three designated areas of outstanding beauty: the Causeway Coast, the Causeway Coast and Glens which includes Rathlin, and the dramatic cliffs of Binevenagh. The most popular route starts in Belfast and reaches its peak at Giant’s Causeway before heading down to Londonderry. Many drivers stop off at Cushendun and Bushmills along the way to explore the glens and castles.
Romantic Road: Germany
Follow in the footsteps of history and tradition as you travel Germany’s Romantic Road, which was created in 1950 to rebuild the nation’s tourism industry after World War II. You can see the historic cities of Augsburg and Würzburg, the medieval towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl, the Neuschwanstein Castle, and finally the Alps along this route. This is a perfect journey to explore on your own and leave the tour groups behind. Make some time to get out of the car and get some exercise along the walking trails through the Tauber Valley vineyards, and stop in as many small villages as your schedule allows.
Ring Road: Iceland
Although Iceland might not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a road trip, its landscapes are perfectly suited for a scenic driving journey. The Ring Road, also known as Route 1 extends 1,830 miles, encircling Iceland and stopping in all the major towns along the way. This road trip is best completed in at least seven days because it is a vast destination with mountains, waterfalls, and glaciers scattered across the country. This is a great plan to take your Iceland adventure beyond Reykjavik and visit the sparsely populated villages and hike through the gorgeous landscape. Just make sure to watch out for sheep that wander onto the road and pack layers of clothing for Iceland’s unpredictable weather.
Photo credit: Moyan Brenn via Flickr
Great Alpine Road: France
France’s Great Alpine Road stretches 425 miles through the French Alps, from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean. Travelers have been driving this route since the early 1900s, when it gave people besides mountain climbers access to some of the most beautiful mountain passes in Europe. This route starts in Thonon-les-Baines at the shore of Lake Geneva and travels down to Menton, passing by quaint French villages, the beautiful Dard Waterfall, Vanoise National Park, and many historical sites.
Without a doubt, some places in Europe are easier for driving than others. To set your driving journey up for success, read through our tips at 55 Ways to Enjoy a Long Car Ride and An Introduction to Road Trips around the World.