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Top 10 Best Road Trips In Europe That You Have To Experience

9 Sep 2020

Many of us take for granted the opportunities that a car symbolises. With its daily usage devoted to the dull work commute, school runs, fulfilling general errands or grocery shopping trips, we forget that a car can be utilised in far more exciting contexts. A car also gives access to, well, the world! Road trips are famed for allowing adventurers the ability to witness landscapes close up, with the advantage of convenience and freedom. 

 
As a motor enthusiast, an adventurer, or someone who fancies the idea of a holiday with a twist, there is no better way to enhance a tour of Europe than by car. 
 
From the snaking turns of the Italian coastline to Germany’s straight, smooth any-speed-goes Autobahn, touring Europe by car allows you to satisfy an unquenchable thirst, if only temporarily, to explore the contrasting panoramas this continent has to offer. Let’s explore the top ten best road trips in Europe you have to experience!

France’s La Route des Grandes Alpes

Translated to ‘the route of the High Alps’, this road takes tourists on an awe-striking journey through the French mountainous region. The beauty of taking this journey by car is the freedom to stop as often as you please, which is especially beneficial for exploring the four national parks and sixteen mountain passes the route takes you through. In addition, you have the opportunity to stop off at Lake Geneva. 
 
La Route des Grandes Alpes is famed for taking motorists from mountain to sea; the 425-mile journey begins from Thonon-Les-Bains on the shores of Lac Léman and ends at Menton in the French Riviera. The twists and turns of this century-old road take you as high as 2,802m above sea level and allow you to witness the Alps from a perspective that is only made possible via car.   

‘Schwarzwald-Hochstraße’; Black Forest High Road B500, Germany

Any motorist worth their salt knows about the sleek, speedy German autobahn, but not so many know about the B500. This majestic route stretches through the mysterious Black Forest, dissects the Rhineland Plain, continues through the Vosges mountains, Alsace, which continue on to become the Swiss Alps.   
 
The 145-mile journey begins at the enchanting North-Germany resort town Baden-Baden (translated to ‘bathing’) and takes you all the way to the Southern Swiss border, Waldshut Tiengen. During the drive, you will be elevated 3385m above sea level, experience Lake Mummelsee (a glacial lake), visit Hohenzollern Castle (an absolute must) and find easy access to both the Porsche Museum and Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart. 
 
The B500 is one component to an all-encompassing holiday experience; along the way, there are many unique and charming places to stay, such as Baden-Baden itself, the Alsace region, and, after a small detour, the chance to explore Strasbourg for a couple of nights.  

‘Transfagarasan’; DN7C, Romania

Constructed in 1974, the DN7C takes you on a windy, spooky, enthralling ride through the Carpathian mountain range, AKA, Dracula territory. The Romanian example of road tripping combines drama with thrill in the most effective way; among pitch-black 800m long tunnels, some 80 hairpin curves and 500 precarious bridges, the DN7C deservedly ranks as one of the world’s best drives. 
 
Originally intended as a military road, the DN7C now receives endless visitors during the summer months (when it isn’t closed due to snow) all desperate to experience all the exclusive panoramas that the Carpathians have to provide. From Transylvania to Wallachia, the road is filled with endearing architecture of a time gone by.
 
This is just one of Romania’s high-altitude roads, reaching 2,042m above sea level at Pasul Bâlea (a pass located in the F?g?ra? Mountains, the highest of the Southern Carpathians). The 56-mile road provides the perfect example of why touring Europe by car should be way up there on anyone’s bucket list. 

Cruising The Amalfi Coast Of Italy

The Costiera Amalfitana, or Amalfi Coast, is a 37-mile stretch that takes you from Sorrento to Salerno. Though shorter in distance, it is just as charismatic. This trip can be broken up into segments to form a seven-day itinerary; in fact, this is encouraged in order to truly bask in the majestic Italian coastline.  
 
Throughout this drive, you play witness to Italy at its most raw and most authentic; the route blends traditional infrastructure and climactic views of the Italian landscape to form a comprehensive Mediterranean spectacle. The route is pinpointed by gorgeous coastal locations such as Ravello, Amalfi, Duomo di Sant'Andrea and Valle dei Mulini (all of which deserving of investigation). The Amalfi Coast, as part of your tour of Europe by car, is as daring as it is captivating; the narrow winding roads make the route… somewhat… challenging, but you are greeted with visual compensation around every tight corner. 
 

Take A Trip Across The Portuguese Estoril Coast Drive 

Unlike the other examples we have delved through, the Estoril Coastal Drive emphasises a more hedonistic approach to your European road trip. While you drift along the rugged shoreline of Portugal, you’ll experience panoramic beach views and extraordinary natural wonders, such as the gorgeous Sinta-Cascais National Park. 
 
While Faro, Lisbon and The Algarve gain the most attention from visitors, the Estoril Coast Drive gives them a run for their money. This scenic route offers a hybrid of ocean vistas and lush green forests. Enjoy a relaxing cruise along the route. Enjoy the chance to frolic on the Praia de Rainha and Guincho beaches, savour the freshest fish at Cascais bay, and visit Europe’s most westerly point at Cabo da Roca. Moving on along the route and into the Sinta-Cascais National Park, you get a glimpse into Portugal’s rich culture and history; the area is sprinkled with striking villas and ancient palaces, and crammed with points of interest. This includes Pena Palace, which is labelled as one of Portugal’s seven wonders.        

Norway’s Atlantic Road

While you have so far skirted the coast, the Atlantic Road allows European road-trippers the opportunity to travel directly over-water. The 5-mile road itself is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Furthermore, in 2005, it was voted Norway’s ‘Engineering Feat Of The Century’. 
 
It has an almost fairytale vibe to it as the structure of the road is split between eight bridges that leap-frog across several stepping-stones in the form of small islands and inlets. The road connects Averøy to the mainland. From the start of your journey from Bud all the way to Kristiansund, you are greeted with one all-encompassing experience stuffed with coastal scenery, culture and history. From a gleaming summer’s day at one end to entering a thick northwesterly form-spraying storm at the other, the contrast between all-weathers makes the Atlantic Road incredibly distinctive with a kind of mischievous charm. In any sense, it is a must-drive on a European road trip.    

The Icelandic Ring Road, Route 1

Along the route, you are awarded the benefit of visiting the city of Reykjavik, enjoying the Golden Circle sightseeing tour, and access to the awe-striking Snæfellsnes Peninsular. If you’re lucky, you may even be blessed with a glimpse of the aurora borealis as you roam along the route.  
 
Route 1 is nothing less than exceptional. With a vista that consists of volcanoes, icebergs, waterfalls and the enigmatic Northern Lights, you will view Iceland in the most breathtaking light. It is encouraged that you take on a self-drive experience by means of a 4x4; the frosty terrain and spontaneous snowstorms, though beguiling, are also incredibly hazardous. In addition, having access to a vehicle that is more robust and hardy against terrain changes exposes you to bubbling geothermal springs, glistening rainbows, rare Icelandic horses, monstrous Alpine glaciers, looming waterfalls and mountainous landscapes over and over again.  
 
The Ring Road encircles the entire country, covering a worthy 800 miles. While this is do-able within a very drive-heavy day, it is preferable to allow plenty of time to explore and enjoy the full Route 1 while unearthing the Pandora’s Box of intrigue that is Iceland.  

North Coast 500 in Scotland

Britain itself presents a plethora of driving pleasures when enjoying a tour of Europe by car. The Scottish Highlands provide incredibly stunning views, so it goes without saying that the circular 500-mile North Coast 500 manages to combine both the mysticism and romance that canvasses the peak of the United Kingdom.  
 
Inevitably, you are invited to enjoy the route over the course of days to truly relish the scenery and points of interest. This road trip is crammed with castle ruins, smugglers’ caves, emerald lochs and a handful of Scottish distilleries that you may explore at your leisure as you meander along the Scottish isle. 
 
Taking a short trek outside of Ullapool gives you access to vast panoramic views across to Skye and the Outer Hebrides. Meanwhile, you can take an A-road south of Wick to discover the eerie Grey Cairns of Camster; which is formed by two of the oldest stone monuments in Scotland – a pair of Neolithic tombs that are drenched in over 5,000 years of history. If tight dark spaces are your bag, you can still crawl inside for an interactive view from inside the tombs’ carcass. 
 
Along the route, you will find that no matter the weather, you are generally pelted with wet and wind, so weatherproof attire and hiking boots are advised. A flask of Scottish whisky is encouraged, to keep warm during the stopovers that will encompass wet walks through the Highlands.  

Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria

For road-tripping aficionados, the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse in Austria is an absolute. Another example of European Alpine road driving, but with a totally Austrian vibe. Picture rolling hills and mountains as far as the eye can see, a reminiscent backdrop of the opening scenes of The Sound Of Music.
 
However, driving this route is nowhere near as serene. Instead, while you cruise your way through the Hohe Tauern National Park, you will be challenged by a series of almost 40 hairpin bends to navigate. The excitement of the driving experience that takes you 2,504m above sea level is enhanced by the seemingly infinite mountain ranges, an evolving landscape of either flower-, pine-, or snow-clad hills, impending and threatening rock cliff faces, luscious meadows, bustling life drawn to the lakes, the icy view of glaciers, all the way to the sky-puncturing peaks of the Alps. This ought to keep your passengers happy, too. 
 
While enjoying the 30-mile route from Bruck in the state of Salzburg to Heiligenblut, Carinthia, have a mooch through the Alpine Nature Show museum. Here, you are presented with an approach to global warming through Austria’s natural ecosystems. 

Capital To Capital Road Trip; Paris To Berlin

During this road trip, you have the benefit of enjoying two marvellous cities, each forming the epi-centre of history for each prospective country. In addition, you will revel in the enchanting sights the route has on display. The road is just over 700-miles, and boy is it worth every fuel stop. You should definitely spread this one up over the course of days, at least. 
 
Starting in Paris, the road glides through the idyllic hills of Champagne and Reims to the charming capital of Luxembourg City. Enjoy a stop-off here to visit the many fairytale castles the country has to offer. Onwards, head to Trier, Germany’s oldest city, to visit ancient Roman baths and basilicas that appear to have escaped the destruction induced by time. 
 
Carry on to Bacharach in Riesling wine country, where you would be foolish not to sample something from one of the three exceptional vineyard sites of the area. Meander through Heidelberg for riverside streets and Renaissance architecture. Leapfrog to Nuremberg, the second-largest Bavarian city, for rich German heritage and Rotbier (the city’s own speciality red beer). When the hangover wears off, zip off for a day or two in Leipzig for history spread across centuries, classical music and a spot of Leipziger Lerche (famous pastry treat). 
 
Your penultimate stop-off in Dresden allows you to experience a restored town following WWII bombings. Finally, the last leg of this European road trip takes you into the beating heart of one of the continent’s coolest, most creative cities; Berlin. One of the highlights of this example of a European tour by car is the stark contrast between the glamour of Paris to the grittiness of Berlin, and the immense history and remarkable beauty experienced at every stop along the way. (*As a side note, in France, you are legally obligated to carry safety equipment in your car, and also, always be prepared to pay for tolls along the route). 

Meanwhile, Enjoying Your Day-To-Day Road Trips...

While a European tour by car opens up a wealth of opportunity to embrace the continent in a totally unique way, it is equally important that your car delivers during its day-to-day usage. Ultimately, you want a vehicle that can tackle its intended purpose with ease; from daily commutes to family camping trips each weekend. Additionally, you need access to a vehicle that evolves as your needs do. 
 
This is where leasing comes in incredibly beneficial. While you have access to the latest and greatest car functionality (by means of the leasing process), you also have the opportunity to have the most suitable vehicle to accomplish your needs; the short lease cycle means that the car you choose will always be the most appropriate until it’s time to change. Click here to view the best leasing deals in the market in one place; on the cars2buy website.