Wind in your hair, good company, a stack of food and drinks, a few books, endless roads ahead and loads of good vibes. Is there anything better? Mostly, road trips are my favourite way of travel. Sure, I also don’t mind a few relaxing days in a hotel here and there and I have had some awesome backpacking trips too, but there is just this amazing feeling of freedom while travelling with a car. especially if you have a camper van or a tent and no fixed plans. And considering the current pandemics situation when it is really more difficult to just pack up and fly somewhere, camping holidays are on the rise more than ever now. Therefore in this new post I present you 25 best European road trip ideas. From its north to its south, there’s something for everyone. I chose Europe because I know it best, though surely there are many other awesome options around the world. More about them some other time.
1. TUSCANY | wonderful culinary road trip cruising idyllic Italian landscapes
Fairytale vineyards, cypresses, winding roads, lovely tourist farms or so-called Agriturismo, romantic villages, rich history and cultural heritage, Mediterranean climate, coastline with small islands and of course excellent cuisine- yes, Tuscany is beautiful practically at any time of the year. You should calculate between 5 – 10 days for the road rip itinerary mentioned below.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Starting with a tour of museums and other sights of FLORENCE and continuing to the following places: PRATO, VINCI, PISTOIA, LUCCA, near which lies the famous bridge Ponte della Madalena, and PISA with world-famous sloping tower and cathedral square. Then along the coast to PIOMBINO from where we make a boat trip to the island of Elba. Followed by the popular TERME SATURNIA, the ancient PIENZA and the picturesque VAL D´ORCIA valley, MONTEPULCIANO, the second largest Tuscan city SIENA, the medieval city of the SAN GIMINIANO towers and the wine-growing region of CHIANTI.
2. ICELAND | circular road trip on the Ring Road
Volcanoes, geysers, thermal pools and rivers, cliffs, countless waterfalls, hills, lakes, wild horses, sleepy fishing villages, glaciers, ever-changing weather and hard-to-pronounce city names – all this and more is Iceland! One of the best places for a road trip with a rented car, but there are also slightly more expensive ferry connections from mainland Europe for those who wish to visit with their own vehicle. For the so-called Ring Road loop itinerary below, 10-14 days is ideal, but of course even better if you have 3 weeks.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: The start and end of this road trip is in the interesting Icelandic capital REYKJAVIK, with its famous church, harbor and other attractions. Close by you can pamper yourself in dreamy blue thermal pools in BLUE LAGOON and then on to the SNAEFELLSNESS peninsula with beautiful cliffs, basalt walls, churches, seal colonies, past the volcano GRABROK and on to HVAMMSTANGI seal museum. Also stop in the interesting GLAUMBAER open-air museum. Across a truly unique landscape dotted with lonely wooden houses, flocks of sheep and horses, snow-capped hills, flowering meadows and lakes you reach the second largest island in Iceland, AKUREYRI. Visit GODAFOSS waterfall and the whaling capital HUSAVIK, then on to the wild TJÖRNES peninsula, DETTIFOSS waterfalls, KRAFLA volcano, MYVATN lake and HVERFJALL volcano. Followed by the beautiful VATNAJÖKULL National Park, with a mighty glacier and the famous the lagoon, which can be reached by amphibious vehicle. Also visit the glacial museum in HÖFN and an interesting black volcanic beach with pieces of ice near the lagoon. Continue to VIK and DYRHOLAEY with beautiful cliffs, volcanic beaches and colonies of Nordic birds, SKOGAFOSS and SELJALANDSFOSS waterfalls, and before returning to the capital, check out the world-famous GEYZERS, GULLFOSS waterfall and THINGVELLIR National Park. You can of course change the direction of the trip and explore the island in the reverse circle.MORE ABOUT ICELAND
3. ANDALUSIA | Southern Spain road trip
Flamenco, tapas, sangria, beautiful coastline, idyllic white villages, the influence of Arab cultures, olive groves, beautiful landscape, favorable climate and rich history make the south of Spain immensely attractive in all seasons. You will need around 10 – 14 days to complete this road trip and you can start by flying in to one of the larger cities on the way.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Starting by exploring SEVILLE, the Andalusian capital, famous for its beautiful cathedral and royal palace, parks and architecturally interesting squares. We continue to CORDOBA, known for its cathedral with strong Arab influence and lush Alcazar gardens. Further along the foothills of the SIERRA NEVADA hills, to the beautiful GRANADA with the unique Arab fortress of ALHAMBRA and other sights. Time for the beaches and the COSTA DEL SOL coast, where you can visit the port city of MALAGA, from where you can make a trip to the interesting CAMINITO DEL REY. Stop in beloved MARBELLA, around which there is a bunch of white villages, the so-called PUEBLOS BLACOS – visit ZAHARA DE LA SIERRA or a beautiful town built on top of a rock, RONDA. Another very special village is JUZCAR, where all the facades of the houses are painted blue. Take another trip to nearby GIBRALTAR and slowly return to SEVILLE, stopping at ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA. A road trip through Andalusia can of course start and end on any part of the said route.
4. POLAND | a longer road trip in one of the most affordable EU countries
Poland may not seem like an attractive destination for a road trip to many at first glance, but believe me, in this diverse, historically rich and affordable country, there is so much beauty and things to see and experience. Ou can arrive with your own car or fly to Warsaw or Gdansk, for example, and rent a vehicle. I recommend 10-14 days of time to complete the road trip described below.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: We start in the south of the country near the border with Slovakia, in ZAKOPANE, a popular center for skiing, hiking (for example, you can climb to the top of Mount Rysy and visit lake Morskie oko), cycling and other sports. Onwards to the beautiful KRAKOW, near which we see the former concentration camp AUSCHWITZ and WIELICZKA MINE. On the way to the Polish capital WARSAW, we can stop at the interesting BLEDOVA DESERT and the pilgrimage town of CZESTOCHOWA. We can also stop at one of the most romantic Polish villages, ZALIPIE. Followed by a tour of the BIALOWIEŽA National Park, along the border with Belarus, then towards the coast in the north of the country, to the charming city of GDANSK. Along the sandy beaches of the BALTIC SEA to LEBA where we visit extremely interesting dunes in the SLOWINSKI NATIONAL PARK. Before driving back home make sure to also stop in the architecturally interesting towns of SZCZECIN and WROCLAW, famous for the statues of dwarfs.
5. PELOPONNES | historically interesting part of Greece with wonderful beaches and villages
Greece is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and, in addition to many islands, also offers excellent opportunities for road trips on its mainland and peninsulas. In this road trip proposal, we visit the historically interesting Peloponnese, which also offers excellent beaches and coastline, natural attractions, tranquil villages and, of course, delicious cuisine. You can get here via some equally interesting Balkan countries, by taking a ferry from Italy, or you fly to Athens and rent a car there. You need 10-14 days for this circular route around the Peloponnese.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: If you fly to ATHENS, take a day or two to explore the city and then continue to the famous CORINTH CANAL, which connects mainland Greece with the Peloponnese. On the way to the romantic town of NAFPLIO, where we also see an interesting fortress, we stop at the world-famous MYKENE and EPIDAVROS with an ancient theater. Followed by MONEMVASIA, a charming coastal medieval town with many taverns, charming houses and of course the beach. A little further on you can drive to a smaller island of ELAFONISOS with beautiful white sandy beaches, then continue past an impressive Dimitrios shipwreck to GYTHIO with pastel-colored cottages and excellent seafood restaurants. Onwards to DIROS CAVES, the towns of KARDAMILI and KALAMATA, then POLYLIMNIO waterfalls, villages of KORONI and METHONI, popular PILOS and the beautiful bay of VOIDOKILIA. We continue to the ancient OLYMPIA, the lagoon PROKOPOU and the port of PATRAS. From here you can either return to Athens, take a ferry to other countries or islands or drive back north throug Albania.
6. “BENELUX” | road trip to Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg
Tulips, windmills, great beer, chocolate, cheese delicacies, endless white sandy beaches, tasty French fries, islands, water canals, palaces and much more. The “Benelux” name represents three countries, namely Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, great destinations for an approximately 10-day long road trip. You can start your journey in any larger city mentioned below or come with your own vehicle.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Let´s start witth the interesting city of LUXEMBOURG, featuring a beautiful castle and charming streets. Continue to the Belgian capital BRUSSELS, where we stumble upon beautiful palaces, gardens, monuments, museums, galleries and the world-famous ATOMIUM. Slightly to the north, we stop in the second largest city in Belgium, ANTWERPEN, continue to GENT and the architecturally beautiful BRUGES, also called the Venice of the north. Make a few stopa on the nearby sandy beaches before crossing to the south of the NETHERLANDS. Follow the coast to ROTTERDAM and the UNESCO wind mills in KINDERDIJK and continue to the capital of cheese GOUDA, the royal HAGUE and the popular coastal town of SCHEVENINGEN. Another nice stop on the coast is NOORDWIJK and make sure you do not miss a visit to the KEUKENHOF tulip park followed by a slow scenic drive past the colorful fields around LISSE. We are almost in the capital AMSTERDAM, where an abundance of museums, parks, water canals, beautiful architecture, the red light district and much more await us. A little further north stop at ZAANSE SCHANS with gorgeous windmills and another cheese heaven, the town of EDAM. Then off to explore TEXEL ISLAND, where we turn back towards the south. Definitely stop in GIETHOORN, where you can cruise the beautiful water canals with a rented boat and also visit UTTRECHT before heading home.MORE ABOUT NETHERLANDS
7. PROVENCE | Southern France road trip
Endless fields of fragrant lavender, romantic villages, markets selling local delicacies, beautiful architecture and Roman remains, magical canyons and lakes, luxurious Cote d’Azur and Mediterranean climate, all this and more is beautiful Provence, one of the most beautiful and interesting parts of France. About 10 days are ideal for this road trip which can start in Marseille or any other city at the coast or elsewhere.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Assuming you start by driving in from Italy, you can first do a quick tour of one of the smallest and richest countries, the kingdom of MONACO before continuuing to the prestigious NICE and CANNES. After a short break on the coast, we turn inland, stopping in the world capital of perfumes, GRASSE and exploring the largest canyon in Europe, GORGES DU VERDON, on foot, by canoe or kayak. The next stops are the town of ROUSSILLON, known for its typical colorful okra houses, COUSTELLET with the Lavender Museum, the beautiful SENANQUE MONASTERY and the village of GORDES. After arriving in medieval AVIGNON with its palace and famous bridge, we continue to ORANGE with a wonderful legacy of Roman architecture, also known for honey, truffles and olive oil. All wine lovers must visit one of the wine cellars in the world-famous wine-growing region CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE. Followed by a mandatory stop at the Roman aqueduct PONT DU GARDE, the city of painter Van Gogh and the center of Roman Provence – ARLES and the nearby swampy nature park CAMARGUE. On the way back we visit more picturesque Provencal places, like SAINT-REMY-DE-PROVENCE, LES-BAUX-DE-PROVENCE and AIX-EN-PROVENCE, busy port city MARSEILLE, luxury SAINT-TROPEZ and the rest of the Cote d’Azur.
8. DENMARK | circular road trip through the land of the Vikings
Long white sandy beaches, on some of which you can also drive with your car, delicious Smørrebrød sandwiches, abandoned lighthouses, spacious meadows, the mysterious history of the Vikings, hygge, fun local people who speak fluent English, tidy and affordable campsites, Legoland and one of my favorite European capitals, Copenhagen. Denmark might not be the cheapest destination, also because the trip includes quite a few bridges and ferries, but believe me, it will not disappoint you. For a circular route with your own vehicle or a rented one, I recommend at least 10 days.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Coming in from the German island of Fehmarn, you take a ferry which takes you to Denmark (Puttgarden – Rodbyhavn). On the way to COPENHAGEN, where I recommend renting a bicycle and taking a day train trip to the Swedish city called Malmo, it is also worth visiting MON ISLAND and its beautiful white cliffs. Continue to the historic city of ROSKILDE, ODENSE (the birthplace of H.C. Andersen), past the UNESCO JELLINSTENENE stone site and Billund, where LEGOLAND is located and AARHUS, Denmark’s second largest city with lots of interesting museums. Passing AALBORG along the coast you reach the far north of Denmark, the town and cape SKAGEN. Here you turn back south, with stops at the RABJERG MILE dunes, RUBJERK KNUDE lighthouse, FURREBY bunkers and LOKKEN beach, in THY NATIONAL PARK and old fishing town with great water sports possibilities, KLITMOLLER. Also visit ESBJERG with interesting gigantic sculptures and RIBE, one of the oldest Danish towns before spending the last days elaxing on the beautiful island of ROMO, just beofre the border with Germany.MORE ABOUT DENMARK
9. PORTUGAL | great road trip from north to south
Mild climate, excellent cuisine, charming architecture, dreamy beaches, centuries-old vineyards and more and more. Portugal simply does not disappoint at any time of the year and there is something for everybody. You can fly into Porto, Lisbon or other coastal towns and rent a car or come with your own – for the road trip described below it will take you around 14 days. The roads are great and the country offers a great mix of vibrant cities and tranquil scenery. Also a great destination for families with children and all water sports enthusiasts.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Let´s take the fairytale PORTO with its many bridges and beautiful architecture along the Douro river as a sarting point. Continuing to the beautiful wine region called DOURO VALLEY, where we can sleep in traditional QUINTAS and treat ourselves to a tasting of Port wine. Hikers and nature lovers should not miss the SERRA DE ESTRELLA National Park, on the way to COIMBRA toen and FATIMA pilgrimage center. Later on admire the huge waves in the coastal town of NAZARE, visit the beautiful village of OBIDOS, the coastal PENICHE, SINTRA and last but not least the vibrant capital LISBON. A little further east we can visit EVORA, further south there is another beautiful beach called COMPORTA, and the extremely interesting old fishing village CARRASQUEIRA. Along the wild Atlantic coast we reach ALGARVE COAST, where we find some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. It is impossible to list them all here, but perhaps I can mention a couple of the most famous and stunning places: PRAIA DA MARINHA, BENAGIL, PRAIA DA BORDEIRA, a beautiful cape with the lighthouse CABO DE SAO VICENTE, SAGRES, LAGOS, ALBUFEIRA and FARO. If you flew in to Porto at the beginning, it is best if you can fly home from here, there are quite a few international airports in the south of the country.MORE ABOUT PORTUGAL
10. SCANDINAVIA | a longer circular road trip through Norway, Finland and Sweden
On this road trip we visit Norway, the northern part of Finland and Sweden, and if you have enough time, you can stop somewhere along the way in Denmark. The main goal is to reach Nordkap, one of the northernmost points in Europe. Fjords, lakes, glaciers, archipelagos, hills, dreamy lagoons, charming northern towns, vast forests, wild camping, unspoiled nature and the “eternal” summer sun attract many nature lovers. In addition, contrary to expectations, such a trip can also be very affordable. If you like to drive and you have no problem hurrying up a bit, you can complete the lower route in just over 2 weeks, but I definitely recommend it for a whole month or even longer.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: From Danish HIRTSHALS we arrive to Norwegian KRISTIANSAND with a ferry and continue towards STAVANGER, where we can enjoy a couple of top hikes along the LYSEFJORD, such as PREIKESTOLEN, KJERAGBOLTEN and interesting wooden staircase in FLORLI. On the way to the beautiful BERGEN we also conquer TROLLTUNGA, and continue pass VOSS and VIK to the longest and deepest fjord in Europe, SOGNEFJORD. Next up is the largest glacier in continental Europe, JOSTEDALSBREEN and the amazing GEIRANGERFJORD, followed by the famous mountain pass called TROLLSTIGEN and the beautiful panoramic ATLANTIC ROAD. If you have enough time take a ferry to the laid back VEGA archipelago, otherwise continue pass SVARTISEN glacier to the charming LOFOTEN ISLANDS with a ferry frm BODO. White sandy beaches and many opportunities for hiking and whale watching you cross the Lofoten and end up in ANDENES from where you continue to TROMSO. Then it´s straight up to NORDKAP and back south through Finnish LAPLAND, past INARI lake, LEVI ski resort and ROVANIEMI to the Swedish town of LULEA. Along the coast towards STOCKHOLM and the associated archipelago, then onwards towards MALMO with stops along the many lakes and places KALMAR, ALES STENAR and YSTADT.MORE ABOUT NORWAY
11. NORTHERN SPAIN, SOUTHERN FRANCE & ANDORA | circular 3-countries road trip
The north of Spain with the south of France and Andorra is also a great choice for a road trip, which we start with a car, for example in Bordeaux, France or Barcelona, Spain, or anywhere else along this route. We visit one of the best wine-making regions, a beautiful coastline where surfing and other water shorts are possible, idyllic villages, hilly Pyrenees, desert landscapes and more and more. We need 2-3 weeks for the itinerary mentioned below.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: We start in BARCELONA and continue towards the impressive MONTSERRAT monastery and on to SARAGOSA. Here the landscape is already quite arid, and we experience the peak in an extremely interesting semi-desert with rock formations called BARDENAS REALES. Later we visit the capital of bullfighting, PAMPLONA and continue to the coast, to the beautiful SANTANDER, BILBAO and DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, where we cross the border over to FRANCE. Followed by a drive along the Atlantic to the great city of BORDEAUX with stops in BIARRITZ, BAYONNE and visit the highest dunes in Europe, DUNE DU PILAT. Near Bordeaux, we stop in SAINT-EMILION, a paradise for all wine lovers, and continue back down to TOULUSE. From here we set off to explore the Pyrenees and visit another of the smallest European countries, ANDORRA. Before returning to Barcelona, we stop in the Spanish tourist seaside town of LLORET DE MAR.
12. THE BALKANS | road trip through ex-Yugoslav countries and Albania
The Balkan countries are another great option for road trips which can be done all yer round. The suggested route below takes us from Slovenia via Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina (BIH) to Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and via Serbia back home. I recommend 3 weeks for this trip. These countries offer a holiday on beautiful beaches as well as hiking adventures, a lot of historical meat, canyons and water sports opportunities, of course, excellent cuisine and much more. All in all, it is also still quite affordable.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Assuming you fly into LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA, you should take a few days to check out the main attractions of Slovenia, like lake BLED, POSTOJNA cave, SOCA river valley and PIRAN, before continuing to CROATIA. Make your first stop at PLITVICE LAKES and the nearby UNA NATIONAL PARK across the border in BIH. Followed by the historically important town of JAJCE with Pliva lakes, TRAVNIK town, where you can get excellent čevapi and the capital SARAJEVO. Then on to MOSTAR, MEDJUGORJE and POČITELJ, and DUBROVNIK in Croatia. In MONTENEGRO explore KOTOR bay and the LOVĆEN NP, then head north to a more hilly part – in the DURMITOR NP, around ŽABLJAK and the river TARA. Back to the coast, to SKADAR LAKE, BUDVA, SV. ŠTEFAN and ULCINJ. Hiking enthusiasts should not miss the north of ALBANIA, the adrenaline ride to THETH (only for offroad cars) and the hike to VALBONA. You can take a car ferry on the scenic LAKE KOMANI to VALBONA and do a couple of hikes from there. Past the capital TIRANA back to the south, to the interesting Unesco town of BERAT, through the canyon of the river DRINOS to GJIROKASTRA and to the water source SYRI I KALTER. Albanian beaches are the most beautiful in the south, visit for example the remote bay of GJIPE or the more touristy KSAMIL. From here to LAKE OHRID in NORTHERN MACEDONIA and to the town of BITOLA. Visit MAVROVO NP, where numerous hikes are possible, and through the capital SKOPJE to the Serbian LESKOVAC, which is famous for its authentic culinary delicacies. If you have time, you can also visit KOSOVO. On the way to BELGRADE we visit interesting rock formations ĐAVOLJA VAROŠ, the monastery STUDENICA, the village RAJAC, the famous GUČA, the wine-growing region and the town KRAGUJEVAC, the archeological town FELIX ROMULIANA and the national park ĐERDAP with a beautiful gorge. If we have time, you can stop in Croatia´s capital city ZAGREB on the way back to Ljubljana.
13. PARIZ, NORMANDY, BRETAGNE & LOIRE CASTLES | Northern France and Loire valley castles road trip
Depending on your time, you can start the circular road trip through northern France by exploring the capital Paris, where you rent a car in case you don´t come with your own vehicle. The Atlantic coast in this part of France is beautiful and wild, with interesting cliffs and rock formations, accompanied by excellent seafood and picturesque villages. Ending this road trip with driving past romantic castles and mansions along the Loire River.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: After enjoying the city life in PARIS, continue to ROUEN with the famous cathedral and stop at the house and gardens of the painter Monet in GIVERNY on the way. On to CAEN and towards the coast, where you visit some historical sites in BAYEUX and the so-called LANDING COAST area, near by there is also a nice MARAIS DU COTENTIN ET DU BESSIN nature park. Soon we arrive to the world famous town, MONT-ST.-MICHEL. Built on a rocky island, it can only be accessed at certain hours of the day due to the tides. Entering BRETAGNE, stop at the seaside town of SAINT MALO, continue to DINAN and along the coast to the interesting granite rocks at the COTE DE GRANIT ROSE. Further to BREST, QUIMPER, CARNAC and eventually NANTES. Continue along the river Loire, where you can visit a good number of castles – there will certainly be no time for all of them, but some the most beautiful and known ones are the following: AMBOISE, VILLANDRY, CHENONCEAU, CHEVERNY, BLOIS, CHAMBORD, CHAUMOND and BREZE. From here you drive back to Paris and head home.
14. BALTIC COUNTRIES | circular road trip through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia pleasantly surprised us with beautiful unspoiled nature, a good dose of Eastern-European vibes, good prices, great beaches and architecturally interesting cities. True, you may not find many world-famous sights there, but that’s what makes these places kind of mysterious, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to visit slightly less known destinations. In all three countries, we also had no problem with wild camping in our Defender, especially in Estonia, where this is a common practice. You can combine the visit with a road trip around Scandinavia as well. If you are not arriving with your own vehicle you can fly to Tallinn, Estonia and fly out from Vilnius, Lithuania. The itinerary below is a circular route for visitors arriving from Poland.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Through Poland you enter Lithuania and pass many lakes in rural landscapes before arriving to the country´s second largest city, the historic KAUNAS. Near the latter there is also an interesting LITHUANIAN OUTDOOR MUSEUM. Continue towards the beautiful BALTIC COAST and stop in KLAIPEDA to explore the unique, almost 100km long Unesco sand bank called CURONIAN SPIT, part of which lies in Russia. Next up is ŠIAULIAI town with the mysterious HILL OF CROSSES, after visiting we cross the border into LATVIA. On the way to the capital of RIGA, we stop in LIEPAJA and KULDIGA, in the beautiful swampy KEMERI NP and the lively JURMALA on the coast. Along the Baltic coast we reach ESTONIAN PÄRNU and continue to the beautiful island of SAAREMAA. Time for the capital TALLINN from where a day trip to Helsinki, Finland, with a ferry is possible. From Tallinn on to LAHEMAA NP and south to TARTU, where we visit the super science center AHHAA. Driving back to LATVIA, visitin GAUJA NP and CESIS town, past Riga to the RUNDALE CASTLE with beautiful gardens. From here on to the capital of LATVIA, VILNA, visiting the interesting castle TRAKAI nearby and slowly head back towards home.MORE ABOUT BALTIC COUNTRIES
15. SCOTLAND | road trip through northern Great Britain
A unique landscape in the north of the UK with beautiful cities, castles, lakes, national parks, rugged coastline and numerous islands, delicious whiskey and unique cuisine, mystical history, dreamy beaches and much more is ideal for a road trip trip. For the road trip mentioned below I recommend at least 10 days, and even better around 2 weeks.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: We start by exploring the beautiful capital of Scotland, EDINBURG, where we rent a car and continue past STIRLING and PERTH to the bird-nesting cliffs of FOWLSHEUGH on the east coast. Next up are DUNNOTAR castle, CAIRNGORMS NP, the town of AVIENMORE and INVERNESS, near which the world-famous lake LOCH NESS is located. Followed by APPLECROSS and the beautiful island called ISLE OF SKYE, for which we take at least 2 full days. Onwards to GLENFINNAN, GLENCOE and GLEN ETIVE, LOCH LOMOND & THE TROSSACH National Park and the city of GLASGOW and return to Edinburgh.
16. HUNGARY, SLOVAKIA, CZECH REP. & AUSTRIA | circular road trip through eastern Europen countries
On this road trip you get to make a circle around four countries, each with plenty of historically and architecturally interesting places, national parks with opportunities for hiking and sports activities, lakes, spas, castles, interesting cuisine and more. You also visit all the capital cities which are also good starting points if you ned to fly in and rent a car. I recommend 2-3 weeks for this route.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Let´s start this trip at LAKE BALATON in HUNGARY, where on warm days, in addition to exploring the surroundings, culinary pampering and bargain shopping, we can take some time to swim and relax at the lake before continuing to the capital, BUDAPEST. Hungary is also famous for its many natural thermal springs, so you can visit excellent spas in several cities, for example the Salt hill or beautiful spas in SODOMB, located in the wine-growing region of EGER, and a little further the famous spa MISKOLC-TAPOLCA. Followed by a tour of the underground caves in the beautiful AGGTELEKI National Park and across the border to SLOVAKIA. Here we first stop at the castle SPIŠSKY HRAD and continue among the beautiful hills in the TATRA mountains. Further east we stop in ČIČMANY and see the open-air museum, then over to the CZECH REPUBLIC, first to the town of BRNO. On the way to the capital PRAGUE, we stop in the Gothic KUTNA GORA and continue to the beautiful spa town of KARLOVY VARY. Here we turn towards the capital of beer brewing, PILSEN. Don´t miss the ŠUMAVA National Park and the picturesque ČEŠKY KRUMLOV, then across the border to AUSTRIA, to the town of LINZ. Drive to VIENNA, from where we can take a day boat trip on the Danube to the Slovak capital, BRATISLAVA, which is located right next to the Austrian border. You can also visit GRAZ and return to Balaton lake via Slovenia.
17. TURKEY | longer circular road trip from Istanbul
I am also adding Turkey to the list, although a big part of it technically belongs to Asia. For the road trip below, I recommend 2 weeks if you are flying to Istanbul and renting a car there. From the lovely coast to the mighty mountains and the vast interior of the country, Turkey offers a whole bunch of cultural, natural and historical sights, and is still quite an affordable destination.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: If you haven’t visited ISTANBUL yet, I suggest you spent a few days there at the beginning of the trip and get to know the Turkish culture, cuisine and customs, then continue past the capital city ANKARA to the massive salt lake TUZ. Followed by beautiful CAPADOKIA, where most visitors opt for a morning balloon ride over the spectacular rocky scenery. Continuing south, to the coast, to ALANYA, ANTALYA and further to the west. Here are some of the most beautiful beaches, such as the ones in CIRALI, KAPUTAS, PATARA, FETHIYA and IZTUZ, as well as in the famous MARMARIS and BODRUM. From Bodrum we leave the coast and visit the world-famous PAMUKKALE from where we slowly return to ISTANBUL.
18. GERMANY | 3-week road trip from south to north and back
Germany may seem uninteresting to many at first glance, and I admit being one of them in the past. But living here for the past 10 years made me completely change my mind. From lush forests, great shores along the North and Baltic Seas, countless castles, vibrant metropolitan cities, national parks, mountains, lakes, islands, rich history, diverse cuisine, wine-making landscapes, many amusement parks for young and old, and much more. Germany is pretty big and for a shorter road trip you can of course only choose one part of the country. Below, however, I present one longer circular trip, ideal for 3 weeks.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Arriving from Austria we make the first stop at CHIEMSEE lake and continue to the capital of Bavaria, MUNICH. Followed by NÜRNBERG, BAMBERG and on to DRESDEN. A little further east, at the border with the Czech Republic, there is one of the best national parks in the country, called SÄCHISCHE SCHWEIZ. Make a quick detour to the increasingly modern LEIPZIG and explore the mysterious SPREEWALD forest by boat just before visiting the German capital, BERLIN. Take a trip to nearby POTSDAM and head north to MECKLENBURGISCHE SEENPLATTE National Park with its thousands of lakes perfect for kayaking. Arriving to the stunning BALTIC COAST, there are plenty of amazing corners but you will not have time for everything. Therefore choose one or two islands and some stops along the way, for example USEDOM island on the border with Poland, the beautiful RÜGEN island and the VORPOMMERSCHE BODDENLANDSCHAFT national park. Stop in ROSTOCK, nearby SCHWERIN with a beautiful castle, WISMAR and LÜBECK, then along the coast up to FLENSBURG on the border with Denmark. Switching to the NORTH SEA COAST, spend a day or two on SYLT, the most luxurious German island and do a day trip to another one of the smaller North Frisian islands. The only place where you can drive a bit along the beach is ST.PETER-ORDING, and then hit HAMBURG with nearbycharming LÜNEBURG. From here drive along the North Sea coast past BREMEN, CUXHAVEN and EASTERN FRISIAN ISLANDS, where you must do a hike the muddy Wadden Sea (i.e. WATTWANDERUNG), then head south towards the cities of DUSSELDORF, COLOGNE and BONN. Visit KOBLENZ and the ancient TRIER, do a wine tasting along the river MOSEL, check out FRANKFURT, HEIDELBERG and drive the GERMAN ROMANTIC ROAD, starting in WÜRZBURG and ending at the fairytale castle NEUSSCHWANSTEIN. Head back to Munich and return home.
19. BULGARIA & NORTHERN GREECE | the best of Bulgaria and Greek Halkidiki peninsula
Another great combination for a more affordable road trip where you can enjoy the sea and beautiful beaches, historically and architecturally interesting cities and natural parks with many opportunities for various activities. We need 2-3 weeks for the route described below.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: The first stop is just behind the border with Serbia, in the town of BELOGRADCHIK with a fortress and interesting rock formations, from where we continue to the BOLGARIAN capital, SOFIA. Continue to VELIKO TARNOVO with the nearby archeological town NIKOPOLIS AD ISTRUM, IVANOVO with many orthodox churches and RUŠE right next to the border with Romania. Continue towards the BLACK SEA coast to the popular coastal city VARNA, to the towns of BURGAS and SOZOPOL. Visit the second largest Bulgarian town PLOVDIV, from where you can turn to the historic town of HISAR. Dedicate a few days to the beautiful RILA and PIRIN National Park with its famous BANSKO ski center. Cross the border into GREECE and head in the direction of THESSALONIKI before reaching HALKIDIKI peninsula. Halkidiki actually exists of three smaller peninsulas, also called three fingers. In addition to some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece in general, we are also enchanted by the holy mountain ATHOS and towns of POLYGYROS, ARISTOTLE PARK, OLYNTHOS, SYKIA and EDESSA. Return back home on the shortest route through Northern Macedonia and Serbia with short stops.
20. NORTHERN ITALY | road trip to the best Italian lakes and famous cities
Italy is always a great choice for a shorter road trip, as there is simply so much to see in this big and diverse country. In this road trip suggestion we stay in the northern parts of the country where we visit some of the most known cities and best lakes Italy has to offer. You can start the trip in either Venice, Milan, Bergamo or other cities on the way. The route is also feasible in just one week, but it will be even better if you have about 10 days of time.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: We start with a short stop at LIGNANO SABBIADORO beach and continue to explore charming VENICE. Those who enjoy more natural sights can visit the delta of the river Po just a little further south, otherwise a visit to PADOVA and romantic VERONA follows. Soon after we reach the first lake, the beautiful LAKE GARDA, with great opportunities for swimming, cycling and other activities. It is a great one to visit as a family with kids too. Make sure to stop in BRESCIA and BERGAMO, before reaching the world known lake LAGO DI COMO. Here we find a whole bunch of attractive little towns, which are most easily used by ferry or tourist boat connections on the lake. Finally, we visit LAGO MAGGIORE with its many islands and villas with amazing gardens and continue to the metropolitan MILAN. From Milan we drive back home, or fly out of the country.
21. LIECHTENSTEIN & SWITZERLAND | circular road trip for nature lovers
Snowy mountains, green valleys, lakes, cheese and chocolate and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. Switzerland is a perfect destination for everybody who loves nature and outdoors but also doesn´t mind visiting a couple of modern cities offering great sights and culinary delicacies. True, it is among the more expensive countries but if you are camping and exploring with your own vehicle it can still be affordable. I recommend about 10 days for the road trip suggestion below.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: We start in ZÜRICH where we can either fly to and rent a car or we come with our own – if possible through one of the smallest European countries, LIECHTENSTEIN, where you can stop in VADUZ and explore the landscape around. From Zurich continue to BERN and nearby INTERLAKEN, which lies between two b eautiful lakes. Drive to GRINDELWALD and admire the surrounding 4000m and higher mountains, among which the most famous are MÖNCH and JUNGFRAU. Past the spectacular GLACIER 3000 suspension bridge, we continue to the luxurious LAKE GENEVA and LAUSANNE city (if you are coming from France this is a good place to enter Switzerland), and continue to the beautiful ZERMATT, where you take the gondola to the heart just under the famous MATTERHORN mountain. From here we can return to ZURICH and see LUZERN along the way, or continue towards one of the most prominent resorts, ST. MORITZ, from where it is easy to cross the border to Italy.
22. FINLAND IN THE WINTER | amazing winter road trip around Lapland
That’s right, the ideal time for a road trip is usually spring, summer or autumn, but some parts of Europe are actually th most magical in the winter. And Finland is definitely one of these. We also made a real winter road trip around the north of Finland once, visiting Lapland combined with a few days in Helsinki. Aurora borealis, reindeer, husky rides, ice hotels, fishing on icy lakes, winter sports, sauna, Santa’s village, exotic cuisine and more – snowy Finland is simply top! Below is an itinerary for a 10-14 day road trip.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: You can start your journey in the Finnish capital HELSINKI and continue by flying or taking the train up north to ROVANIEMI, where you start your road trip through LAPLAND. Visit the ARCTICUM Museum and the famous SANTA´S VILLAGE, where you also cross the line of the ARCTIC CIRCLE, and then on to the capital of gold prospecting, TANKAVAARA. A little further north SAARISELKÄ is a good base for many activities such as adrenaline rides with huskies and reindeer, cross-country skiing, observing the aurora borealis and more. You can also stay at the world famous KAKSLAUTANEN igloos nearby. Followed by a drive to INARI lake and IVARO town along the Russian-Norwegian border, where you can try ice fishing and learn about the indigenous SAMI people, before heading to the Finnish ski capital, LEVI. On the way back to Rovaniemi, you can spend the night or just stop at the impressive ARCTIC HOTEL, which is rebuilt every year using only big chunks of ice.
23. ROMANIA, MOLDOVA & UKRAINE | longer road trip through lesser known places in eastern Europe
Unique mountain passes and winding roads, mysterious castles, Dracula, excellent wine cellars, hilly landscape, beaches and three great countries for all who like less touristy countries and rather unknown places. In addition, the mentioned destinations are also among the most affordable in Europe, and I recommend 3 weeks for the entire road trip mentioned below.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Via Hungary we arrive to CLUJ-NAPOCA, visit an interesting salt mine in TURDA and continue to SIGHISIORO with a beautiful historic city center, Unesco citadel and the birthplace of Count Dracula. Later on we drive along one of the most scenic roads in the world, TRANSFAGARAŠ and continue to BRAŠOV before reaching Romania´s capital, BUCHAREST. Another quick jump to the Black Sea coast and we cross the border to the lesser known country of MOLDOVA. On the way to the capital CHISINAU, we stop at the largest wine cellar in the world, MILESTII MICI, and continue towrds the north of the country. Stop at the monasteries of CURCHI, TIPOVA and SAHARNA, on to the town of SOROCA and across the border to UKRAINE, first to KAMJANEZ-PODILSKYJ with the famous castle. Continue to the historic CHOTYN, the attractive towns of CZERNOWITZ and WERCHOWYNA and the hilly ski resort of BUKOWEL, YAREMCHE and KOLOMEA with a unique museum of Easter eggs. Here we end our exploration of the UKRAINIAN CARPATHIANS and return home via Hungary, but we can also continue the journey to the city of LVIV or other neighbouring countries.
24. IRELAND | shorter circular road trip from Dublin
The prickly green landscape, mighty cliffs, ruins of mysterious stone castles, whiskey tastings, vibrant colorful villages, moody weather and fun Irish locals make a circular road trip trip around this interesting island something special. We start and end in the fascinating capital, Dublin, from where we visit the most important sights with a rented car in 7-10 days.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: From DUBLIN, where you will definitely not be bored for a day or two, continue to the interesting KILKENNY and on to one of the most famous historical sites in Ireland, ROCK OF CASHEL, the seat of the former royal rulers. Onwards to CORK and KINSALE, one of the most colorful towns with many restaurants, to the town of KILLARNEY next to the eponymous national park. Here we make a circle along the so-called RING OF KERRY, one of the most popular roads in Ireland leading through beautiful rugged landscape, between cliffs, along wild coast and meadow hills. In between we can also hop over to the islet of SKELLIG MICHAEL. After it is time to explore the DINGLE peninsula and drive to the world-famous CLIFS OF MOHER cliffs, which stretch almost 15km along the coast and are one of the largest attractions in Ireland. Continue to GALWAY and on to NORTHERN IRELAND, where we see DUNLUCE CASTLE and the interesting GIANT CAUSEWAY coastline with its characteristic hexagonal rock formations. Nearby is also the famous short road with a mighty tree-lined avenue called THE DARK HEDGES. Head on to BELFAST and complete the circle by driving back to DUBLIN.
25. MEDITERRANEAN AND ATLANTIC ISLANDS | shorter road trips on the islands
The last suggestion is actually a bit different, as there are several destinations, specifically islands in the Mediterranean, which are also ideal for shorter road trips and I therefore include them in this post. It is fairly easy to visit some of them with your own car, while others are better or easier eachable by flights, followed by renting a car upon arrival. The first category definitely includes French CORSICA, Italian SARDINIA and SICILY, all three can be reached by ferry from mainland Italy or France. There are also many ferry connections from Italy to Greece, but for example to CRETE, which is ideal for a road trip due to its size, it is already easier to get to by plane. Another great destination is CYPRUS or, for example, a little smaller MALTA, Spanish MALLORCA, Portuguese MADEIRA, and of course ll of the Spanish CANARY ISLANDS.
Thank you for such a wonderful article!
Do you have in mind some kind of a road trip, that may START in Belgrade, Serbia and then to include Italy + France + Croatia
For 2-3 weeks?
Shall be of a greatest help
Hi Tim, thank you!
3 weeks would definitely be better, especially if you want to end this trip in Belgrade as well?
You could drive to Zagreb in Croatia and continue along the coast to Zadar (on the way you can stop anywhere at the coast, at Krka NP, you can take the ferry to Pag island and then drive on the island south towards the bridge which leads back to mainland). Zadar is a wonderful city too. You can take a ferry from Zadar to Ancona in Italy – from here it´s not far to Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre… And then you cross the border to France, stop in Monte Carlo and the coastal towns in Provence plus a little bit of the countryside (especially if you´re there in the summer when the lavander blooms), then I think you need to pretty much drive back with maybe a night in Venice. Could work 🙂
I hope this helps 🙂