10 Best Road Trips In Europe

From a Norwegian drive into the Atlantic Ocean to a romantic rendezvous in an old German town, you need to get these European road trips on your bucket list

A Guide To The Best Road Trips In Europe

What comes to mind when you think of Europe? For some, it’s exploration. For others, it’s the culture. For certain people, in the UK, its separation. But, enough about politics. With this guide to European road trips, exiting from this amazing continent will be the last thing on your mind. You’ll just want to drive around this brilliant landmass, and keep driving until you can drive no more.

Put that road trip in America on the back burner, and prepare to go pedal to the metal all over Europe. You might fancy a thrilling trip down the Autobahns of Germany, or be in the mood for a mission to the Italian coast. There is just simply so many driving adventures to be had when you go continental, and we’ve got ten of the best ones on our list below.

Grab a pew, buckle up, and get ready to get back into Europe.

Ring Road (Iceland)

Pictured: Iceland’s Ring Road in summer

Route: Iceland Ring Road
Distance: 828 miles (1,332 km)
Duration: 5-7 days (recommended)

The wondrous landscape of Iceland makes for an unforgettable travel experience. A road trip on the Ring Road here gives you the chance to see everything the country has to offer. In no particular order, this includes: volcanoes, icebergs, waterfalls, and the magical northern lights if you’re lucky enough to witness them. This route circles the entire land of fire and ice, and serves up 800 miles of Icelandic adventure.

The Ring Road, otherwise known as Route 1, happens to be the country’s main road.  98% of it is paved, so you’ll have a smooth driving experience as you drive to must-visit places like the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Vik, and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

Whether you drive clockwise or counterclockwise, you’ll get to see the stunning sights all the same. The real hard decision to make will be whether to take this journey on in the summer or winter.

Do you want a road trip dominated by the midnight sun? Or is your dream to see the glorious glaciers with a wintery backdrop? Be careful driving in winter, of course, as conditions can change dramatically and become pretty hazardous if you’re not careful. No matter the season, Iceland’s Ring Road is a European road trip you must take on at least once in your life.

 Romantic Road (Germany)

Route: Romantic Road
Distance: 256 miles (411 km)
Duration: 1-2 days (recommended)

We hate to say it, but get ready to fall in love with the Romantic Road. This touring route was devised after World War II as a way of attracting visitors to the country, and stimulating the country’s tourism sector. Even today, it remains one of the most popular road trips Europe has to offer. It offers up over 250 miles of landscape to explore between Füssen and Würzburg.

Highlights of the route include Augsburg, Landsberg, and Nördlingen. At times on this drive, it will probably feel like you’re transcending back through time as you pass old cathedrals and castles deeply rooted in German history.

Whatever you do on the Romantic Road, make sure you travel to Plonlein in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This place will capture every inch of your attention with its half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. Also in this area is a strange doll and toy museum. It features over 1,000 dolls and toys, some of which are more than 200 years old.

 Amalfi Coast (Italy)

Route: Amalfi
Distance: 25 miles (40 km)
Duration: 1 day (recommended)

This one is short but oh so sweet drive featuring the Amalfi Coast, and a grand Italian driving adventure that’s just 25 miles in length. This incredible stretch of road hugs the cliffs of the Tyrrhenian Sea, providing captivating coastline views that will have you mesmerised while you drive.

This might just be one of the most picturesque road trips Europe has to offer. If it isn’t on your bucket list by now, then it should be.

Bordeaux to Bilbao (France to Spain)

Route: Bordeaux to Bilbao
Distance: 207 miles (334 km)
Duration: 1-3 days (recommended)

From Bordeaux to Bilbao isn’t the name of a new James Bond film. Instead, it’s one of Europe’s best continental excursions – especially if you’re a surfer.

Starting in France’s Bordeaux, you’ll get stuck into the culture in these parts as you make your way to the Cap Ferret peninsula. This location is swimming with seafood stalls and wooden fishing boats ready to take you on a nautical experience.

If you thought you were done by the seaside, then think again because once en route to the south, you’ll stumble across Hossegor. This surfer’s paradise sits on Europe’s longest uninterrupted stretch of sand. A little bit further down from Hossegor is Biarritz, another great surfing destination.

All this, and we haven’t even touched down in Spain yet. When you get to San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque Country  be sure to enjoy the local cuisines and pintxo bars dominating the area. From this point, you’ll be an hour or so away from Bilbao and the world famous Guggenheim Museum.

North Coast 500 (Scotland)

Route: Inverness Castle (start and finish)
Distance: 516 miles (830 km)
Duration: 1-4 days (recommended)

It’s not like you needed us telling you, but Scotland really is beautiful. Have a look at our Scotland issue if you don’t believe us. One of the best road trips to be had in the UK comes in the form of the North Coast 500. All you need to do is get yourself to Inverness and invest some time in the land of the brave.

Experiencing some fine Scottish scenery will be on the agenda when you reach the world-famous Loch Ness. Just be careful because you never know what’s lurking in the waters of the most voluminous lake in the UK.

Another highlight on this 500 mile plus extravaganza is Ullapool. This picturesque village is at the heart of one of the least spoilt natural environments in the UK.

The North Coast 500 is undoubtedly spectacular, but it isn’t the only breathtaking road trip in the UK. For more on what the country has to offer drivers, be sure to check out our guide to the best road trips in the UK.

 The Alps (Austria/Switzerland)

Route: The Alps (Vienna to Geneva)
Distance: 617 miles (992 km)
Duration: 1-4 days (recommended)

You came looking for a road trip in Europe, and this one will take you between two of the most beautiful locations Europe has to offer. This tour of the Alps takes you from Vienna in Austria all the way to Geneva in Switzerland. On it, you’ll head past dainty alpine villages on the foothills of big, picturesque, mountains. It’s easily one of the continent’s most blissful journeys.

If you don’t have a camera already, then we strongly suggest you purchase one before setting your eyes on this trip. We predict plenty of pitstops for pictures as you take in all of the scenery and sights.

Starting in the Austrian capital will give you the chance to see Hofburg Palace and the Sigmund Freud Museum. From here, the itinerary takes you to stupendous Salzburg. After this, Saint Moritz – a place where you can get in some classic alpine skiing and check out the legendary Cresta Run.

This 617-mile trip will be completed when you reach Geneva. Here you can do everything from exploring Lake Geneva, to finding out what makes the world tick with a trip into the city.

Lake Bled to Piran (Slovenia)

Route: Lake Bled to Piran
Distance: 106 miles (171 km)
Duration: 1-2 days (recommended)

We liked the Alps so much we have decided to stay there. However, this time we are in a very different part of it. This a road trip that will take you from the iconic Lake Bled to the pretty resort town of Piran on the Slovenian coast. All you have to do is grab a mode of transport and let the road do the rest. If you follow this route without stopping, you can go straight through Slovenia’s karst region before arriving in Piran at around the two-hour mark.

Do us a favour. Take a glance at that picture of Lake Bled above, and try telling us you don’t want to be there right now.

Atlantic Road  (Norway)

Route: Atlantic Road
Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
Duration: 1 day (recommended)

Breathtaking – Astonishing – Norwegian.

A rather minuscule route awaits you in Norway on the Atlantic Road. What it lacks in size though, it makes up for by being one of the most amazing roads on the entire planet.

Atlanterhavsveien is the official name for this road in Norway. It cuts through many small islands in the Møre og Romsdal county. This surprisingly toll-free road presents you with the opportunity to catch a glance at the striking Norwegian coastal landscape. Luckily for you, the road has plenty of designated outlook points where you can exit your car to make a real connection with the scenery. One upload of this road to Instagram, and you’ll be on the highway to social media trendsetter.

Transfagarasan (Romania) 

Route: Transfagarasan
Distance: 56 miles (90 km)
Duration: 1-2 days (recommended)

The Transfagarasan road trip is one you will most definitely want to roam onto. Get ready to travel up the Curtea de Arges and take in the stunning Romanian views that await you. Although relatively short at around the 56-mile range, this road trip is an extremely pleasant one. It offers up many chances for you to take in the truly breathtaking landscape on offer in these parts.

Transfagarasan is overflowing with forests and gothic castles that will entice you from every direction. This is a road trip you will want to repeat over and over again. It’s a gorgeous drive, and the experience will be even more memorable with a couple of friends in the backseat.

Sagres to Khasan (Portugal/Russia)

Route: Sagres to Khasan
Distance:  8,726 miles (14,043 km)
Duration: Give yourself plenty of time (it’s a long one)

We wanted to give you a curveball for the last road trip so we are partially taking you out of Europe for this journey. Khasan isn’t considered to be in the European part of Russia but you’ll just have to let us off the hook because, let’s face it, what an epic drive this would be.

Sagres in Portugal to Khasan in Russia is considered to be the longest continuous direct driving route in the world (no ferries involved).

Can you imagine taking on this mammoth road trip? The number of stops you’d make for fuel is ghastly and, undoubtedly, very expensive. However, if you’re willing to do it then by all means do it with all your heart.

How long is this drive? It’s about 8,726 miles or approximately six days and 19 hours of non-stop driving time. If you take on the journey, then you’ll snake up through Spain, France, Germany, Poland, and Belarus before eventually making it into Russia.

Good luck, and be sure to send us a postcard along the way.

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