Home Uncategorized 20 Epic European Road Trips That will Blow Your Mind

20 Epic European Road Trips That will Blow Your Mind

by Roberto
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Europe may be a relatively small continent, but there is no shortage of roads crossing its very varied landscape. Roads mean road tripping, and Europe certainly has you covered on this. There is a vast range of driving experiences throughout the 51 countries of the continent. The epic road trips of Europe pass mountains, stunning coastlines, charming cities and towns, and historical sites. Of course, we can’t cover them all, but with the aid of some of the continent’s best travel bloggers, we have brought you what we believe to be the best European Road Trips. If your preferred means of road trip is by car, bus or even bike, we’ve got something for you. Read on and get planning, as these trips are real bucket list experiences.

The Best European Road Trips

Europe Road Trips – The Causeway Coastal Route

Ireland has more than its fair share of excellent road trips. One that deserves its place on any list is the Causeway Coastal Route, a 212 km route that traces its way from Belfast to Derry, past some truly sensational scenery.

The coastal road trip itinerary can be completed in a day for those in a rush, but in honesty, it’s not a place to rush. At a minimum, two days should be spent exploring its many facets, while you could easily spend four or five here. At each end, Belfast and Derry are two very different cities, with both having played a significant part in the Troubles that afflicted Northern Ireland for several decades.

Beginning your trip by leaving Belfast, the attractions don’t really kick in until the coast beckons at Carrickfergus, and its foreboding castle. From there they come thick and fast, as you can see why Game of Thrones picked this area for much of its sets. Fans of the show will have to see the Dark Hedges, Cushenden caves and especially Dunluce Castle. It has one of the most haunting settings on the whole of the island.

The road itself is as much as an attraction following a route that opens up fantastic views of headlands and beaches. With a never-ending list of castles, national parks and attractions, those days on the road can be spent busy.

The north coast is where you’ll be looking to spend most of your time. Unmissable is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and the opportunity to test your fear of heights. All roads do ultimately lead to the Giants Causeway, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, that hardly needs an introduction. Every epic road trip needs its centerpiece and this geological phenomenon will not disappoint.

If you are planning on driving in Ireland, then my driving guide includes travel tips on driving on the left, car rentals, meeting random animals in the road, and a host of other unique Irish problems.

Road Trips Europe – The Ring of Kerry

At the other end of Ireland, in a county known as the kingdom by its locals, is another similar road trip. The Ring of Kerry is an 179 km loop through what is certainly the most beautiful part of Ireland. It’s a route that by rights needs four days to truly appreciate, but you can do the Ring of Kerry in as little as a two day road trip.

This epic European road begins in Killarney, and providing you haven’t enjoyed the town a little too much (it has a roaring nightlife), you should set out early. You will spend the first day just exploring around here, its lakes are the setting of the Killarney National Park, Muckross Abbey and House, and Ross Castle. No visit to Killarney is complete without a trip on a jaunting car with their talkative Jarveys.

On Day two we hit the road properly, as our road trip route climbs above the lakes. Take a walk to Torc Waterfall one of Ireland’s best hiking trails, before marvelling at the views from Ladies View and Molls Gap. The coastal town of Kenmare makes a good base for those looking to spend plenty of time on the Ring.

The next stage of this Ireland road trip travels through an area of coastal views and ancient ruins. For those that the weather plays fair with a visit to Skellig Michael is a must. Luke Skywalker retired here, so it has to be good.

There’s more still to the Ring of Kerry, as its wild side takes a back seat, and the return part of the loop passes through beautiful towns such as Waterville, Cahirciveen and Killorglin. There’s plenty of opportunity to stop and appreciate the Atlantic too, as Derrynane and Rossbeigh are some of the country’s best beaches.

The Ring of Kerry can be driven as part of the Wild Atlantic Way, which is a 2500 km route up the entire west of Ireland.

Road Trips Europe - The Ring of Kerry and Derrynane Beach

Iceland Ring Road

Contributed by Gary from changeofplan.co.uk

If you are looking for a circular road trip with an epic difference then look no further than Iceland. Most travellers arrive in Iceland through the international airport at Keflavik, just west of the island’s capital city, Reykjavik.

Assuming a clockwise navigation, you could divert west traversing a peninsula leading to the magnificent Snæfellsjökull, or slightly further north, head into the Western Fjörds.  Avoiding these options to save time could make your first stop the town of Akureyi. With all amenities and plentiful accommodation, it is an excellent base to explore some of the highlights in Northern Iceland.  Similarly, the Eastern fjörds are serviced by Egilsstaðir, the largest town in the region.  On the southern section, there are many options for accommodation compared to the rest of Iceland, from Höfn in the east across to Vik toward the west.

The whole Route 1 road trip takes you on a very special journey, passing lava fields, snow-capped mountains, geysers, thermal rivers, and glaciers to name but a few of the amazing sights.  Single carriageway roads dominate and you can travel long distances observing just a handful of other travellers.

Many of the attractions you can enjoy on the Route 1 circuit are natural wonders.  To the north,  Husavik and whale watching trips contrast against the traditional attractions like Goðafoss waterfall and the geothermal mud pools at Hverir.  You can enjoy hiking the East fjörds taking in the delightfully picturesque port town of Seydisfjordur or seal spotting on a coastal hike near Husey where you could meet their famous horses.  

Many highlights can be found on the southern section of Route 1.  For photographers, there is the spectacular headland at Stokksnes and the further west you enter ‘glacier’ country with Hoffellsjökull offering a less crowded experience than popular glacial tours.  The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon offers boat trips among the icebergs, with the delights of Diamond Beach a short walk away.  

As you head back toward Reykjavik, you have some amazing attractions, with Seljalandsfoss waterfall offering the opportunity to walk behind the wall of falling water.  Before arriving back in the capital, which is a destination in its own right, you can take a short hike to the Reykjadalur Thermal hot springs and bathe in the glorious heat of the thermal pools.  Whilst similar to the Blue Lagoon, it offers you a less ‘touristy’ experience.

A complete circuit of the island using Iceland’s Route 1 is approximately 1320km (820 miles), and dependent on your pace and itinerary, you could expect it to take between 7-10 days.

Iceland Ring Road. One of Europes best road trips.

Southwest France Road Trip

Contributor:  Hannah from https://nouvelleaquitainetravel.com/

A road trip through the Southwest of France will take you from ancient pilgrimage sites to wine country, along the wild Atlantic Coast, and into the Basque Country on the border of Spain.  Unlike the saturated Mediterranean coast, the Southwest is a veritable feast of lesser-known sites and gorgeous road trip stops.

Start your journey in Bordeaux.  With a decent-sized international airport, Bordeaux benefits from good transport links and all the major hire-car companies.  Stop awhile in Bordeaux and St Emilion to partake in some wine education.  There is even a wine museum in Bordeaux, with a rooftop tasting room.

From Bordeaux, head inland along the Dordogne River valley.  The villages along this lush valley are steeped in religious history.  Some even form part of an old pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  Stop at Brantôme and Périgueux to see ancient cathedrals and stunning architecture.  In the city of Périgueux there is a church designed by the same architect responsible for Sacre Cœur in Montmartre, Paris.

Spend some time exploring the Valley of the Five Châteaux in the Dordogne.  There are 5 castles within a few square miles, a remarkably concentrated area of medieval history.  Set aside 2-3 days to explore this part of the Dordogne.

Head south towards the Pyrenees mountains.  If history is your preference, then I suggest you visit Lourdes.  This pilgrimage town is said to have healing waters, and The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a spectacular cathedral.  If you want to see more of the Pyrenees, take a ride on the Train of Artouste, the highest narrow-gauge train in Europe.

After all this history and castle-hunting, you’ll be needing some sea air and nature.  Indulge in the glitz of Biarritz, chocolate in Bayonne, and the wild beaches of the Atlantic coast.  Finish your road trip of the Southwest of France by climbing the massive sand dune, the Dune of Pilat.

This route is approximately 2000 km and should take around 2-weeks.  If you have longer, you can add La Rochelle, Royan, and Ile de Ré to your itinerary.  While many flock to the glamourous Mediterranean coast; the Southwest has just as many quaint towns, beautiful ports and dynamic landscapes to explore.

Southwest France Road Trip- one of the 20 most epic road trips in europe

The North Coast 500 of Scotland

By Clazz from An Orcadian Abroad

There are a lot of fantastic road trips in Scotland, but the one everybody’s talking about is just as good as everyone says it is: the North Coast 500. As the name implies, it takes in a 500-mile loop of the north coast of Scotland, exploring rugged landscapes and beautiful beaches that you can have all to yourself. Part of the attraction is the remote location, and there is something magical about the truly wild nature that the route takes you to.

Most people start and end in Inverness, or incorporate it into a larger Scotland road trip, and being a loop it’s easy to tackle it either clockwise or anti-clockwise. The North Coast 500 sure packs in a lot too, and I’d recommend around a week to complete it (though people have been known to do it in two or three days, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this!).

Some of the best stops on the North Coast 500 road trip include the now infamous Bealach Na Ba (translated to “pass of the cattle” – a steep, winding single track road), Ullapool, Achmelvich Beach, Smoo Cave, John O’ Groats with the nearby Duncansby Stacks, and Dunrobin Castle. In truth, there are endless viewpoints, castles, beaches, waterfalls, and even islands to visit on the route, along with world-class seafood and excellent wildlife from deer to dolphins. In the summer, you might spot puffins and even whales!

Assynt offers some of the best hiking in the country, while the very northwest coast of Sutherland rustles up some of the best beaches like Sandwood Bay and Ceannabeinne Beach. Wester Ross is full of even more great scenery around Torridon and Loch Maree, and the Black Isle is often overlooked but may just be your best chance to spot dolphins at Chanonry Point! Caithness puts you into neolithic territory, exploring cairns dating back thousands of years, and this can be continued with a trip to Orkney, a popular addition to the NC500 route.

The North Coast 500 covers some of Scotland’s most remote places, which means that many of the roads are single track which can be a challenge for drivers who haven’t driven on them before, and journeys are regularly delayed by road obstructions such as sheep and Highland cows. As with many road trips, this makes the NC500 as much about the journey as the destinations, which is just part of what makes it so great.

the North Coast 500 Scotland

Outlandish Scotland Tour

Contributed by Sabine who can be found on Twitter @ararewoman

For fans of the series Outlander following the books by Diana Gabeldon you may want to explore Scotland on a fan tour to see the filming locations of the series.

Most of the locations are concentrated around the area of Glasgow and Edinburgh and usually within a days reach so you can start your journey either from Edinburgh or from Glasgow changing hotels only once. The cities are well connected by train or bus which is approximately 1hr 20 min drive.

In Glasgow visit John Street near George Square, Glasgow Cathedral, the cloisters at Glasgow University, Dowanhill Street, and Kelvingrove Park that served as Boston. Don’t forget St Andrew’s in the Square that on top of being used for Outlander filming was used by Bonnie Prince Charly as camp in 1745. You can find a lot of Outlander filming references in the locations by now that explain the sets. Or ask the friendly staff who are usually really excited about telling you the details.

Your first day tour takes you to Cumbernaud film studios, Ivy Cottage, Doune Castle and Drummond Castle and back to Glasgow. The second day tour will take you 2 hrs drive further north to see Kinloch Rannoch or Craigh na Dun, then return via Glencoe and Finnich Glen.

Day 3 will bring you to your next hotel in Edinburgh via Fannyside Mill, Calendar House, Bo’ness and Linlithgow Palace. (16)

Enjoy day 4 in Edinburgh strolling along the Royal Mile discovering Holyrood Palace, Bakehouse Close, Signet Library, Tweeddale Court and The World’s End pub.

Your next day tour will take you to Hopetown House and Midhope Castle that is Lallybroich. Continue to Blackness Castle before crossing the Firth of Forth to get to Culross to see the palace, the market and West Kirk.

Day 6 start very early for the 3 hr drive to Culloden battlefield monument. Visit the museum and return via Dysart Harbour and Aberdour Castle.

The next day start early to see the Highland Folk Museum 2 hr drive from Edinburgh and return via Tibbermore Church near Perth to Falkland. Stroll the streets and visit Falkland Palace before returning to Edinburgh.

A trip south on day 8 takes you to Glencourse House where you can see the wedding chapel. On the way back stop at Roslin Glen Country Park and Craigmillar Castle.

As some of the sites aren’t regularly open to the public you best contact them in advance for your planning. Coordinates and contact details can be found on one of the Outlander filming location sites.

You can add in usual tourist attractions and extend your journey. If you don’t want to drive yourself there are also tour companies offering guided trips for your convenience. Any queries contact @ararewoman via Twitter.

Outlander road trip in Scotland follows the shows sets

European Road Trip – Dolomites

Contributed by Patrick Kenny, who tweets at Beyond The Last Blue Mountain (@beyond_last) / Twitter, and is soon to publish his book about travelling in Central Asia, including a focus on orientalism and prejudice in historic travel writing of the region.

It’s a sonata, the atmosphere among the limestone crags of the Dolomites: the air is crisp, the scent of wildflowers flirts around the hills, and the world around you expands out in mighty high-definition.

Tectonic plates carved the cliffs and valleys – considered a World Heritage site – but humans have left their mark too; most importantly, they’ve marked out ribbons of tarmac that make this area of northern Italy a perfect road-trip destination for a five-to-ten day trip that will take you about 600km.

Assuming you’re heading north from Venice or Verona (where car rental is normally cheaper than in the mountains), you can wind your way up into the Alps. The town of Trento is worth a visit for its historic centre, equipped with cathedral, castle, and piazzas dripping with espressos and Aperol.

Further into the mountains, you’ll reach Bolzano, the provincial capital of South Tyrol. It’s not small, but the winding streets, pastel-painted houses, and looming hills give it a charming, provincial atmosphere. There is plenty to see here: the dramatic Castel Roncolo, Ötzi, the regions oldest resident, preserved in ice for over 5,000 years, or the serene churches and monasteries. Plenty of places to stay too – Hotel Figl and Hotel Greif are particularly comfortable.

After a night or two, drive east, stopping at the stunning Lago di Carezza before reaching the dramatic hairpin bends at Passo Pordoi. You can also take the cable car from here for even more spectacular views of the cliff-faces that hem the Italian peninsula.

Double-back slightly and head north-west. Ortisei is the next charming town and an excellent base for some of the world-class hiking in the area and the via ferratas: exhilarating rock climbs that wind their way up the mountain faces. There is plenty of lovely chalet-style accommodation; Hotel Dolomiti Madonna is an affordable and well-located option.

Continue north and then cut eastward to visit some of the smaller villages and hamlets of the area including Ranui, with the famous church of San Giovanni, set in the rolling meadows. Any of the towns along the SS49 are good options to stay in; drive along until you find one that takes your fancy. San Lorenzo di Sebato is a convenient spot and the Gasthof Traube a pleasant hotel.

Begin to turn south and, on your way, a must-do is the hike around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, three vast and trunkless legs of stone that have become an enduring image of the Dolomites. A little further and you reach Cortina D’Ampezzo, yet another beautiful town wedged between the folding landscape. As ever, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation, but Hotel Villa Gaia is particularly nice.

Finally, follow the roads back towards Venice, probably the most well-connected airport in the region, turning your back on some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe.

The Amalfi Coast Road Trip

By Kasia from amongstromans.com

Considered one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world, the Amalfi Coast is a road tripper’s paradise. This iconic drive takes visitors through a winding, narrow road that snakes between terraced cliffs filled with lemon groves and wedding cake-like towns that seem to be carved out of the hills.

The Amalfi Drive, officially known as SS163, offers 38 km (24 miles) of stunning coastline views. Nestled between the port city of Salerno and the jagged coast of Sorrento, the drive is an experience for the senses. Neither town is officially part of the Amalfi Coast, but both are great starting points for accessing this stunning drive.

There are 13 small villages and towns that make up the Amalfi Coast. They are nestled along the cliffs and a rugged shoreline that overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea. While most visitors visit the well-known towns of Amalfi, Positano and Ravello, there is also plenty of charm in the lesser-known towns.

The Amalfi Coast is a culinary, cultural and visual feast for the senses. Lemon groves, vineyards, and fishing are staples here. Visitors can indulge in local specialties ranging from Limoncello, wine, and great pasta and fish dishes. The area is famous for local ceramics and fabrics, which can be bought all over the coast.

The Amalfi Coast is also a great place for hiking. Its famous “Sentiero degli Dei” (The Path of the Gods) offers unapparelled views of the area and the nearby island of Capri. If you need some water therapy, there are many beaches along the way where you can relax under cheerful umbrellas and soak up some sun.

The Amalfi Coast can be done as a continuous drive (one way or return), but you’ll get more out of the experience by stopping along the way. There are occasional viewpoints where you can pull over, but the road is very narrow and can get very busy. There is one lane in each direction and endless steep curves that disappear around every corner. Caution should always be exercised while driving and when pulling over.

Parking is available, but it is also limited. There is a large parking garage in Amalfi, which is a great spot for a break. From Amalfi, you can access ferries to the nearby islands and hop between the other towns. Parking is about €5/hr in the parking garage, less on the streets if available.

A view taking in the Amalfi Coast

Málaga to Lisbon: Exploring the very best of Southern Spain and Portugal

Controbuted by Ryan from asinglestep.co.uk

With a busy international airport that offers consistently reasonable fares from across the UK, Málaga is the perfect gateway to explore Southern Spain and Portugal. A 14-day road trip between Málaga and Lisbon takes in outstanding natural beauty, stunning Moorish architecture, and incredibly historic cities dating back over 3,500 years. 

Your road trip starts in Málaga, where for the first couple of days of your trip you can explore the home of Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas. A short stay in the city has everything to offer, from a 1st Century AD Roman theatre, an 11th Century Moorish Alcazaba, and a series of excellent beaches. Before moving on from the city make sure to visit some of the museums, including the dedicated Picasso Museum, as well as some of the impressive architecture and local churches. 

On your way to Ronda, less than 2 hours from Málaga, the more adventurous travellers should stop off at the vertigo-inducing Caminito del Rey. Rising over 300ft above the El Chorro gorge, El Caminito has been dubbed the ‘world’s most dangerous walkway’ but has been reopened to the daring public since 2015. For the ultimate luxury once you arrive in Ronda, stay in the local Parador, located just on the famous Puente Nuevo, a bridge boasting an incredible feat of architecture that spans the 120-metre gorge splitting the city in two. Ronda also offers a range of Moorish architecture, from some of the best-preserved Arab baths to the Mondragón Palace, home of Abbel Mallek, who ruled briefly over what was Moorish Ronda’s golden age.

Your next week is split between the equally dreamy cities of Cádiz and Seville. The drive to and from Ronda is full of plenty of charm, climbing up and down the mountainous region that surrounds the city. Top picks in Cádiz include the hugely dominating and impressive Cathedral, offering panoramic views of the city from the Bell Tower; castles, towers, and theatres; a central market typically thriving with Spanish life; and El Populo, considered the oldest neighbourhood in Europe. 

In the searingly hot Seville (seriously, avoid visiting in August!) you can immerse yourself in the history, heritage, and culture of my favourite Spanish city. Don’t miss the iconic semi-circular Plaza de España, where you could be lucky enough to catch some free, authentic flamenco. Nearby, you also have the neighbouring Alcazar and the Cathedral that houses La Giralda, a 340ft bell tower incorporating the minaret of the original mosque that stood on the site. Food is certainly your friend in Seville, so make sure to wander around the Northern neighbourhoods of La Macarena and Alameda to find great tapas and drinks, before heading to the Metropol Parasol as the sun sets for enviously beautiful golden views across the city

On your way to Lisbon, your final destination, you have a number of choices for your penultimate stay. Plenty of options lie in Portugal’s Algarve, including favourites Faro, Portimão, and Lagos, as well as the sleepy former fishing village of Burgau. As you make the way down the Portuguese coast, make sure to stop off at Benagil Caves, one of the Algarve’s hottest and most spectacular attractions. 

You will finish your road trip in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. Spend your last few days exploring the famous old neighbourhood of Alfama; photographing the iconic yellow trams; gorging on the amazing food at the TimeOut Market; appreciating the grandeur of the town square; and even climbing up to one of the breathtaking viewpoints high above the city. And be sure to bring your walking shoes for Lisbon, it sure is hilly!

Take a road trip through the south of Spain and Portugal.

Unlocking the mysteries of Transylvania on a road trip

Contributed by Anda from TravelforaWhile.com

One of the best road trips to take in Eastern Europe is the one through Transylvania in Romania. It has it all, vibrant cities, beautiful nature, citadels, and Medieval towns. The ideal is to spend 5 to 7 days on the road to see as much as possible of this spectacular country.

If you’re flying in, the easiest is to start in Cluj-Napoca. The small airport here has connections to most of Europe and is 3 hours away from London.

Anyway, you can rent a car at the airport, or get a taxi and spend the first night or two in Cluj. This is the unofficial capital of Transylvania province and I’m sure you’ll love it. For such an old city, Cluj-Napoca has a very young and vibrant atmosphere. It hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, and it has a great food scene too.

Make sure to visit at least the beautiful cathedrals in the main piazzas, the Botanic Gardens, Cetatuia Park and to relax with a cocktail in Museum Square.

From Cluj, head south to Sighisoara, with a stop in Turda. Plan about 2,5 hours for the road and reserve a couple more hours to visit the salt mine in Turda. The mine will be a pleasant surprise, just remember to bring something warm even if you visit during the summer.

Sighisoara is a picturesque medieval citadel, still inhabited. Book your accommodation inside the citadel on the hill and explore the towers, the covered staircase, and also the church and the Evangelical Cemetery in the upper citadel. You will need to leave your car in the parking area just below the citadel.

The area around Sighisoara has a few fortified churches worth seeing. On the next day, on your 120 km way to Brasov, you can stray a few kilometers away to Viscri to see one of these fortified churches. This is the traditional Saxon village that the Prince of Wales fell in love with, and where he also bought a house. 

The next stop, Brasov is a medieval city at the gate to Transylvania. Visit the Council Square, the breathtaking Black Church, and the surviving towers here. 

On the next day, head to Sibiu, another Transylvanian jewel less than 150km away from Brasov. The roofs of the Old Town here have “eyes” that make the city quite unique. One other place you should visit in Sibiu is the open-air Astra Museum.

From Sibiu, you can head back to Cluj-Napoca, and visit Alba Iulia Citadel on your way. Alternatively, if you are heading to Bucharest, I suggest taking the highest and most spectacular way available, Transalpina road.

Brasov is one of the best stops on a Romania road trip

Living a fantasy on the German Fairytale Road

Contributed by Carina of BucketList2Life.com

If you are looking for a less touristy alternative for the German Romantic Road, try the Fairytale Road – especially if you are a lover of Grimms’ Fairy Tales. And who doesn’t love Snow WhiteCinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood? The German Fairytale Route leads through central and northern Germany for about 600 kilometres (370 mi). There are more than 60 Brothers Grimm and fairytale-themed stops along the way – you can explore as many of them as you like, but also venture off into your own adventures.

The airport city Frankfurt am Main is the perfect vantage point. Explore its famous skyline before you head off to your first stop, Hanau, the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm. You’ll find a statue of the Grimms on the market square and once a year a Brothers Grimm Festival takes place in this town.

Drive further north to Steinau, where you can find the childhood home of the Brothers Grimm as well as a beautiful castle. Further along the way in Marburg, the student city of the Brothers Grimm, you can walk along the “Grimm-dich-Pfad” a fun trail of fairytale symbols that leads you through the whole city and to the castle, which you can reach by a free elevator.

The student city of Göttingen is the perfect place for a break along the way. Back in the day, the Brothers Grimm were university professors here. There are many hotels, restaurants, and bars. Explore the charming city center with its half-timbered houses and the famous statue of the Gänseliesel (Goose Girl). It’s the perfect vantage point for day trips – check out Sleeping Beauty‘s castle in Sababurg. The charming towns along the Weser river, like Witzenhausen (don’t miss the cherry blossom in spring), Hann. Münden with its over 700 half-timbered houses, and the baroque planned town Bad Karlshafen can be combined in a bike trip if you want to get out of the car for a bit. Additionally, you can retrace the life of another German storyteller, Wilhelm Busch, in this area. Visit the Wilhelm Busch Mill in Ebergötzen also called Max and Moritz Mill after his famous protagonists.

Drive further north through Hameln, the town and the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and Bremen, the town of the Town Musicians of Bremen. The German Fairytale Road ends in the northern German town of Buxtehude – the town of The Hare and the Hedgehog. End your road trip in the nearby airport city Hamburg, where you can enjoy German city life – don’t forget to check out the urban Gängeviertel full of street art.

This is the German road trip for you if you want to see off-the-beaten-path places in Germany, beautiful historic half-timbered old towns, castles, mills, and the countryside with its rivers and rolling hills, but also two of Germany’s most vibrant cities.

One of the colourful half-timbered houses along Germany's fairytale road
Hisilicon Balong

European road trip through Spain’s Costa Brava:

Contributed by Ignacio of tangoandrakija.com

Sitges –- Barcelona – Badalona – Blanes – Lloret de Mar – Tossa de Mar – Girona – Cadaques

Total distance 250km

Costa Brava is a beautiful coastal region in Catalonia, Spain characteristic by stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and charming little towns.

If you are around Barcelona any time between spring and autumn there is no excuse to not make this scenic and relaxing road trip.

Assuming you are starting your road trip from Barcelona, you can rent a car there and start your trip going a little bit backwards in order to visit one of the most beautiful coastal towns near Barcelona – Sitges.

Sitges is located some 25 km southwest of Barcelona so, you can reach it in less than half and hour.

Sitges is characteristic by its beautiful sandy beaches but also by its vivid nightlife all year round. It is worldwide known for its Film Festival dedicated to fantasy and horror films that is happening every year in early October. Also, it is known by its Carnival (happening in March) which includes public street parties and costume parades.

If you decide to sleepover in Sitges you can enjoy a night out and continue your road trip the next day.

From Sitges you will drive back towards Barcelona and continue your trip towards north.

Badalona is your next stop and it will take you some 40 minutes to reach it from Sitges.

Badalona is located just outside Barcelona and it has beautiful and not very crowded beach since it is popular mainly among locals. You can have a swim and some delicious tapas at some of the restaurants by the waterfront. Make sure to try some of the local seafood specialties such as fried calamari, marinated seashells or some delicious croquets.

Your next stop is Blanes and it will take you around 50 minutes to get there. Blanes is one of the most popular family summer destinations and it has some incredible beaches.

If you are up for some easy trekking you can walk up the San Juan hill to the castle from where you will have the most amazing panoramic views over Blanes and the coastline.

Blanes is one option for the next sleepover or you can move just around 6 km north to your next stop – Lloret de Mar and make a sleepover there.

Lloret de Mar is one of the most famous summer locations mostly for foreigners even though locals also like to spend their summer vacations there. It’s a typical Spanish coastal town with lots of bars and restaurants, plenty of amazing beaches (both with facilities and wild ones) and a variety of nightlife.

Some 20km further you will reach Tossa de Mar – an ancient fishermen’s village where you can visit the Old Town with ancient houses and medieval alleys and, of course, some of its incredible beaches.

If you had enough of the beaches (if that is even possible) you can visit on of the most beautiful Catalan cities – Girona. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, in Girona you can see some of the filming locations of the popular serial. Stroll down the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, kiss the lioness ass statue for good luck and cross some of the famous Girona bridges.

Sleeping over in Girona is a good idea if you want to get to know the city a little bit better.

Some 75 km from Girona is your next and final destination of this road trip – Cadaques which is said to be “a pearl of Costa Brava”. Here you can visit Salvador Dali’s museum and house where he lived and created his works. Besides that, you have a nice beach and plenty of amazing restaurants to try all the delicious local food.

The city of Girona in Spain

The Tunnel of Love in Ukraine

Contributed by Francesco from Strayidler.com.

Bonuses are always welcome. Am I wrong? Even if you travel by public transport, you can sometimes find yourself in front of pleasant surprises.

Ever heard of the “Tunnel of Love”, in Klevan, Ukraine? It is an apparent vegetal tunnel, developed on a short railway segment, almost entirely straight. The tunnel was created by the passage of trains and has become a tourist attraction, on which it is possible to walk. But beware: the route is still active, even if few trains pass through it and they travel rather slowly.

Excuse me, Stray: “On a road trip post, you talk about trains!?” Yes. Because, to get there, I took two buses and walked for 20-30 minutes.

But let’s go in order: the first stop was from Kyiv to Rivne, a city of almost two hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants. 

Crossing the road in front of Rivne station, you can take a minibus (I think they are called marshrutka), to get to Klevan. And from there, as already mentioned, you can walk to the Tunnel of Love.

Which is definitely a remarkable destination, great as an intermediate stop between Kyiv and the city of Lviv. But I’d be lying if I concealed how interesting it was to get there.

For example, trying to communicate, when taking a marshrutka and then sharing the journey with the locals, observing their interaction, obviously without understanding half a word. But you can try to learn reading Cyrillic, if you like.

And then walking through Klevan, a little in the countryside, a little in the city. Children are now used to seeing tourists. But nevertheless remain curious, with their splendid ability to read infinite universes from your clumsy movements.

And then I went back to Rivne to spend the evening. Waiting for the next leg of my itinerary. Boring stop? Far from it. I loved walking the streets of the center, from the square with the theater in Soviet architecture to its churches, to the park decorated with sculptures and people, honoring their well-deserved summer. Lively restaurants, long summer light, minibuses with different numbers overlapping at the main stop. It’s a party, it’s a party on the stage of my memories.

So, I know you expected it! I won’t leave a photo of the Tunnel of Love (they can be found at will); it is of Rivne that I want to leave a fleeting impression.

I miss Ukraine: that is where my last day of summer has remained since 2019.

Images of a road trip through Ukraine

Exploring Austria – Salzburg to Innsbruck via Hallstatt

Contributed by Elena from the TravelByExample.com

Western regions of Austria are famous for mountainous landscapes, ski resorts and rich historical heritage. Road trip from Salzburg to Innsbruck via Hallstatt is a perfect road trip for those who appreciate a mix of nature and scenery with cities sightseeing.

Start your trip at Salzburg – the city known for its historical heritage and for being the birthplace of Mozart. Spend at least one day exploring Salzburg as there are many sights to see. Read One day in Salzburg for the detailed itinerary and top attractions of the city.

From Salzburg drive to the iconic Austrian village of Hallstatt. It’s an easy 1-hour drive and you can make a stop at either Attersee, Fuschlsee or Wolfgangsee lake along the route. The lakes have clear turquoise water and you can stop for a swim if you’re travelling in summer or for a hike during colder months.

Hallstatt is a picturesque Austrian village located on the shore of a lake and surrounded by mountains. The village is a very popular tourist destination. You will find it less crowded in the evenings and early mornings. So, stay a night there and leave it the following morning before most tourists will arrive.

Short drive from Hallstatt is 5 Fingers Lookout. It has breathtaking views of Hallstatt Lake and the surrounding Alps. Nearby you can also visit the Mammut cave or take a guided tour of Dachstein Giant Ice Cave.

From Hallstatt drive to Innsbruck. It’s about a 3.5 hour drive (if driving within Austria, without going through Germany) and there are few stops you can make on the route. Eisriesenwelt – a natural limestone and ice cave. Krimml Waterfalls – the highest waterfall in Austria. Achen Lake – picturesque alpine lake with turquoise waters. Zillertal – with its beautiful mountain scenery and many hiking trails.

Spend a night in Innsbruck – the capital of Tyrol region – and explore its top attractions the following day. Innsbruck’s old town center – Altstadt – has many historical landmarks and beautiful architecture. Make sure to ride Hungerburgbahn funicular to enjoy the sweeping views of Innsbruck city from the top. Don’t forget to visit the famous Bergisel Ski Jump that is opened for visitors all year round.

Total distance of the road from Salzburg to Innsbruck via Hallstatt (with several stopovers on the way) is 350-400km.

Total duration is 4 days (3 nights at Salzburg, Hallstatt and Innsbruck). Perfect for a long weekend road trip!

Halstatts stunning lakeside setting

From Agrigento to Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Contributed by Lisa from FollowingtheRiviera.com

The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, road trips, and day trips in Sicily are vast and varied. The drive from Agrigento to Palermo can be interesting, or monotonous, depending on the route. According to Google Maps, the quickest time is approximately 2 hours, which will most likely include the highways (autostrada). Choose this route, but don’t be surprised if there’s not much to write home about. However, take a longer, yet more scenic route, and there’ll be memories, and photos, to look back on for years.

Starting at Agrigento, most visitors come here for one thing: to visit the Valley of the Kings (Valle dei Templi). The archaeological site’s fascinating, but gets busy quickly and can be difficult to enjoy beneath the blazing Sicilian sun. Saying that, arrive early to beat the crowds and the heat.

Around 25 minutes from the Valley of the Kings are the striking Scala dei Turchi. Translated as ‘Turkish stairs’, this white sedimentary rocky cliff is popular with locals and visitors. If there’s time to spare, head to the beach and enjoy the views and warm waters.

Another interesting city to pass by is Mazara del Vallo. It’s one of the southernmost cities in Italy, with the tip of Tunisia just across the Mediterranean Sea. Once ruled by Arab, Greeks, Romans and Byzantines, its unique influences are reflected in the architecture and food. While here, book a table at La Bettola and be sure to try the traditional fish couscous.

Torre Bonera Green Resort is a great choice for staying near Mazara del Vallo. It’s around a 20-minute drive, but the boutique-style hotel makes a relaxing getaway in the Sicilian countryside.

To see a surreal site with a tragic backstory on this side of Sicily, consider stopping by Gibellina. A devastating earthquake in 1968 completely destroyed the entire town, and most of its residents. Today, the former town of Gibellina is an open-air museum. Completely covered in concrete, aside from the streets that were once there, it’s a place like no other in Sicily. It goes without saying that being respectful in Gibellina is a given. Don’t follow the lead of some visitors, who climbed on top of the concrete and began taking selfies.  

Two-day road trip from Agrigento to Palermo: Distance in total: 299km / 4hrs 

The Valley of Temples in Agrigento Sicily

Chasing the Midnight Sun

Where: Northern Norway, Finland

Start / Finish: Tromsø, Norway

Distance: 2,276km / 1,414 miles

Duration: Between 5 and 8 days

The Norwegian city of Tromsø is the gateway to the Arctic. 350km north of the Arctic Circle, and the departure point for many polar expeditions, it’s a modern city with a vibrant arts and culture scene, and the surrounding mountains and islands draw outdoor lovers.

The drive to Kautokeino weaves past stunning coastal mountains, before turning inland and crossing the border into Finnish Lapland, before crossing back to Norway. Look for reindeer herding structures, including wooden corrals used in the seasonal round-up, and animals grazing by the roadside.

Kautokeino and Karasjok are the cultural centres of northern Sápmi, the region traditionally inhabited by the Sámi, and give an insight into the life of reindeer herders. The route continues northeast, tracing the Finnish border for a while, to Tana Bru, then eastward onto the Varanger peninsula.

Vardø is the easternmost town in Norway, located further east than Istanbul. It’s also notable for street art on many of the old buildings. Varanger is a birdwatcher’s paradise, and there’s a chance of spotting Arctic foxes and hares.

Returning westward, the route winds across the tundra of the Finmarksvidda, before going north to Honningsvåg, the northernmost town in Norway. The ideal base to visit Nordkapp, it can be busy with cruise passengers, but go at midnight, especially in May and August, to be treated to incredible sunset skies, and have the place mostly to yourself.

Next stop is Hammerfest, a historic town with a great museum, with the grand name of The Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society. Join as a member for exclusive stickers and pins only available to the select few that have made the journey north.

From Hammerfest turn south, over the Finmarksvidda to Alta, where more than 6,000 petroglyphs, or rock carvings, dating between 4200BCE and 500 BCE, are protected as a UNESCO world heritage site. The route heads back towards Tromsø along the coast, with sensational views across the fjord to the striking Lyngen Alps.

The route starts in Tromsø, however Alta, Hammerfest, and Vadsø are all served by the Hurtigruten coastal ferry and have airports, so could be alternative departure points.

Midnight sun occurs in Finnmark between the second week of May and the end of September. Around the solstice, the sun will circle high in the sky, but at the beginning and end of the period, you can watch the sun set on the northern horizon, appear to touch the Arctic Ocean, then rise again.

Don’t miss: Arctic Cathedral, Tromsø; Sami Centre for Contemporary Art, Karasjok; Steilneset Memorial, Vardø; views from the Nordkapp plateau, near Honningsvåg; The Royal and Ancient Society of Polar Bears, Hammerfest; Alta petroglyphs.

Photo Journal: Stormbound in Skudeneshavn, Norway


The midnight sun in Norway.

Europe road trip – Montenegro

Shared by Cassie from cassiethehag.com.

There’s nothing like a road trip through Montenegro to see the best Europe has to offer. Combining charming old towns, excellent cultural attractions, and truly next-level mountain scenery, there is every chance of making unforgettable memories here.

It’s easiest to begin and end your road trip in historical Kotor or capital city Podgorica. Rent a car with a reputable company and drop it off at either city once you’ve finished your trip. There are a few different routes to choose from, whether you want to stick to the coastal roads, trace the footsteps of historical figures through the many Montenegrin old towns, or feel inspired to take on the mountains. The below recommendations combine a mix of all three and will take around seven days to complete. 

Beginning in Podgorica, enjoy nearby Lake Skadar National Park. Don’t miss the famous ‘bend lake’ viewpoint, marked on google maps as the Crnojevic River lookout point. On day two, head to Durmitor National Park. You won’t want to rush your time here – from the 2423m high Bobotuv Kok mountain to the stunning glacier lake Crno Jezero (‘Black Lake’), the scenery is wonderful. Durdevica Tara Bridge and Tara Canyon are definitely worth a stop. There are lots of outdoor activities here, including rafting below or ziplining above the canyon, which is actually the largest canyon in Europe.

Finally, spend more time relaxing and enjoying historical architecture by visiting Kotor, Sveti Stefan, and Budva. These are popular beach destinations in the Summer but are worth visiting for the cultural attractions at any time of year. A side trip from Kotor to Lovcen National Park is also worth it for the fantastic Mausoleum of Petar Njegos, views over Kotor… and the hair-raising cliffside road of 25 hairpin bends. Drive carefully in Montenegro – you’ll be glad you did.

Montenegro is a small country that is big on views

Provence Road Trip

Written by Lannie from Lanniesfoodandtravel.com.

A road trip through Provence in the south of France is a combination of idyllic and surreal.  Of course, there are villages with extensive lavender fields and cypress trees.  But there’s so much more!  Art, Roman history, and unmatched natural beauty. Although it was a little confusing to me at first, Provence is not a specific village and refers to the whole region.

The road trip begins in Avignon, Provence’s main city – a 6.5-hour drive south from Paris or 2.5-hours from Lyon. 5 days would be perfect for this road trip, which can be broken up into different sections. 

  • Luberon – less than 1 hour west of Avignon, Luberon is a Natural Regional Park which encompasses forests, scrublands, vineyards, and rocky areas.  The main commune of Gordes, sits atop a giant calcareous rock, reminiscent of Minas Tirith from LOTR!  A hidden gem is Roussillon, tinted orange due to the ochre deposits in the clay.  Talk a walk in the Ochre Path to visit an old ochre quarry.  Don’t miss Sénanque Abbey, a picturesque Cistercian abbey from 1148, known for their lavender fields (blooms in July and August).
  • Saint Remy de Provence – located 45 minutes southwest from Luberon.  Mostly known for the Saint-Paul Asylum, where Van Gogh spent one year between 1889 – 1890.  Also, visit the ancient and wealthy Roman city of Glanum, founded in the 6th century BC but abandoned in 260 AD.  If art is your thing, I’d suggest a trip 15 minutes to south to visit Carrières de Lumières (The Quarries of Light) – a digital art installation nestled inside a giant limestone quarry.
  • Continue on your journey to Arles, only 30 minutes away. Van Gogh spent 1888 -1889 in Arles, prolifically painting his most famous works, and (sadly) where he cut off his ear.  The Van Gogh self-guided walking tour is incredible and takes you to the places behind the paintings. Outside of Van Gogh, the Arles Amphitheatre is the main landmark in town – built in 90 AD and previously held up to 20,000 excited, Roman fans of chariot races and bloody gladiator fights.  In its long history, it housed an entire town with over 200 houses inside!  If you’re in Arles on Wednesdays and Saturdays, check out the open-air markets, with fresh produce and spices galore.

If you want to continue south on your Provence road trip, head to the seaside city of Marseilles – famous for the Chateau D’If prison, which housed the fictional Count of Monte Cristo. Or take a boat trip to the Calanques National Park for stunning emerald bays set against towering limestone cliffs.

If you’re heading back up to Avignon, detour to Nimes to the Pont du Gard roman aqueduct – the highest and best preserved Roman aqueduct bridge!  It’s absolutely stunning!

Provence- one of the finest European road trips
The best named shop in all of Provence

The Best Road Trips In Europe – Tuscany!

Contributed by John from johnrieber.com

Driving through Italy’s famed Tuscany wine region is not only easy but spectacularly beautiful as well. The trip begins when you fly into Florence, either into their smaller airport or a larger one nearby in the city of Pisa – which allows you to get a picture of the leaning tower while there.

Rental cars are easy to secure from either location, and you can use Florence as a home base for your adventures because everything is so close.  

For example, the trip from Florence to the medieval town of Siena is just over a one hour drive of 53 miles, taking the RA3 highway.

Siena is known for its medieval brick buildings. There’s a fan-shaped central square known as the Piazza del Campo, which is the site of the Palazzo Pubblico, their gothic town hall.

There is plentiful parking on the outskirts of the ancient part of town.

One of the joys of driving in Tuscany is that there is so much to see within an hour’s drive of Florence…and by taking smaller roads you will discover more of the region’s medieval villages, such as San Gimignano, which is only 41 miles from Florence.

“San G” is known as the “town of fine towers”, as the walled medieval village is home to a dozen walled towers, which look like a miniature version of Manhattan’s skyline.  These were originally built to provide protection for local families from marauding enemies.

If you want a taste of the town’s past, you can stay in one of the small hotels, which offer up a unique style that celebrates their history.

From there, you can drive to the Castello di Verrazzano in only 45 minutes.  This is a classic Tuscan winery.  In fact, the Verrazzano bridge in New York City, connecting Brooklyn to Staten Island, has a brick that came from this estate. 

The winery offers tastings and tours, and lunches are also served on site.  The ornate estate sits high on a hill and offers up incredible views of the surrounding vineyards as well.

Everything is easy to navigate in this part of the country.  To get from San Gimignano to the winery, you just take the RA3 to the SP94 and then the SP92 and you are there.

Finally, the beautiful town of Cortona is just 61 miles from Florence, easy to get to using the A1 highway until you get to the SR-71 for the remainder of the trip.

Cortona has the Etruscan Academy Museum, which has an Archaeological Park with ancient city fortifications and examples of Roman roads as well.

Driving through this part of Italy will take you back in time for some delicious adventures.

Tuscany - a dream road trip in Europe

The Best Road Trips In Europe – Serbia by bike

Contributed by Lauren from theplanetedit.com

Serbia is a fantastic place for a road trip, and what better way to hit the road than by bicycle? The world is at its best when there’s nothing between it and you, and this rings particularly true for Serbia. The warm Serbian breeze, the fantastic scenery of the Djerdap National Park and the character of the local towns are best experienced on two wheels.

The EuroVelo 6 bicycle route spans from France to Romania, traversing 10 countries across the European continent. The section that runs through Serbia, though, is one of the best. The Serbian EuroVelo 6 follows the Danube River for over 665km from the Croatian border near Backa Palanka to the Bulgarian border near Negotin, hitting highlights such as Novi Sad, Belgrade, Golubac and the Djerdap National Park on the way.

Between the cities and major towns, the EuroVelo 6 bike path will take you along gorgeous mountain roads, through rolling countryside and along the Danube River, where you might spot wild otters playing along the banks.

The absolute highlight of your Serbian road trip, though, will be when you cycle through the Djerdap National Park. The scenery is astonishing and you’ll be awestruck by the gorges and river.

Another highlight of a road trip through Serbia is the warm hospitality of the local people. After a long day of cycling, a lovely campsite is always much looked forward to. With that being said, the following campsites are excellent for bicycle tourists and can be found along the Serbian EuroVelo 6:

My Memento Rooms and Camping: Situated just 20km east of Novi Sad near a town called Cortanovci, this campground is situated in a lovely garden, with flowers and fruit trees.

Camp & Guesthouse for Cyclists & Adventurers “Urban Guerrilla”: Situated in the lovely town of Negotin, this campground is one of the most talked-about on the cycle trail in Serbia. The host is a lovely man named Bojan who goes above and beyond to make you feel at home, and is a fountain of knowledge on cycling in the area.

Camping Asin: Camping Asin is run by a wonderful lady called Milena. She has an infectious, positive energy and kindly welcomes guests with a cold, homemade juice and fresh watermelon.

The EuroVelo 6 bike path is well sign-posted and easy to follow, so you’ll be able to relax as you cycle. Completing this road trip through Serbia should take about 2 weeks for a competent cyclist.

Serbia is a magnificent country to road trip by bke.

Will you be adding any of these Epic European Road Trips to your bucket list? Let me know your European road trip favourite in the comments below.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any money, it will help keep this site going and me travelling. Thank you for your support.

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