Driving is one of my favourite means of travel. It allows you to truly explore the world around you and immerse yourself in the city, county, or even country you are in. One of my fondest memories of travelling by car is when we drove through France and Spain. The drive through France though, that was especially scenic – by far my top road trip experience thus far and therefore number one on my list of Europe’s top road trips. We are currently planning our next road trip to Portugal so my road trips are certainly on my mind.
That, and knowing that the end of summer is near, has me thinking less of beach days and more of road trips throughout Europe. With so many desirable destinations it can be difficult to decide on which truly are some of the best in Europe. That’s why KwikFit created a great guide with some of Europe’s top road trips and I’ll be sharing it with you in this post.
Grossglockner, Hochalpenstrasse, Austria
The iconic Austrian Alps are a favourite destination for many and definitely one of Europe’s top road trips. If you’re like me and you don’t mind making the trek upwards and onwards then making the drive up and reaching a height of over 2,500m may just be your thing. The 48km (just under 30 miles) stretch of land is a relatively short drive. It’s one you can drive through in about an hour, but boasts some of the most scenic sights in Europe. From majestic mountain peaks to tranquil lakes, there’s so much to see.
Best Vehicle for the Job: A small, light car that can keep up with steep mountain inclines
Best Time to Travel: late Spring or early Summer
Road Trip Tip: There’s a toll of 35€ for cars and 25€ for motorcycles, so be prepared to pay for the experience!
Great Place to Stay: MoaAlm Mountain Retreat, Glossgockner
Route 500, Germany
Nestled in the iconic German Black Forest route 500 is a favourite for motorcyclists. Mummelsee is a must see location as legend says that it’s inhabited by a mermaid! Legend or not, it still sounds like a great pit stop to make as you explore Route 500. Another thing to do is stop for a traditional cuckoo clock at House of 1000 Clocks.
Best Vehicle for the Job: Motorcycles are usually a favourite on Route 500 but aren’t essential
Best Time to Travel: Summer and Autumn are preferable as the roads are generally safer
Road Trip Tip: Motorcycles are banned in certain areas of the Route 500 so check your journey beforehand!
Great Place to Stay: Leonardo Royal Hotel, Baden-Baden
Trollstigen, or Trolls Path in English, is one of Europe’s most winding roads and boasts of a 10 incline. Your gift for making it through the roads is a spectacular view of the Stigfossen Waterfall. Stigfossen falls more than 1,000 metres down the face of the mountain. Trollstigen attracts more than 2,000 cars every summer since it opened in 1936.
Best Vehicle for the Job: A smaller car with a good 4-wheel drive system
Best Time to Travel: Summer is a perfect time, especially as the road is closed through late autumn and all of the winter
Road Trip Tip: Driver and cyclists both enjoy the Trolls Path so keep a look out for cyclists if you’re in a car and vice versa
Great Place to Stay: Andalsnes Vandrerhjem, Setnes
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
The Emerald Isle boasts of green countryside and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world which is why it had to be on the list of Europe’s top road trips. The route offers quintessentially Irish views. Begin the journey in Killarney and take the N72 to Killorglin, then join the N70 Kenmare.
Best Vehicle for the Job: Any will do the job, but consider swapping out your winter tyres for summer tyres that can perform well on wet or dry surfaces
Best Time to Travel: Summer is a perfect time to travel as the days are longer, but any other seasons would also be good as you can avoid the tourist trap
Road Trip Tip: Carry a paper map to ensure you know how to get around if you lose signal and also travel anticlockwise around the Ring of Kerry to avoid traffic issues
Great Place to Stay: Hawthorn House, Kenmare
Route One, Iceland
Iceland is the land of volcanoes and geysers and the very famous Blue Lagoon. It’s a must-have on any travel aficionado’s bucket list. One of the special things about this road trip route is that it allows you to not only see the sights but also stop off and experience them. Don’t forget to take advantage of the photo ops and share on Instagram.
Best Vehicle for the Job: A 4-wheel drive is the best car for the job as it can be your ally come rain or shine
Best Time to Travel: July and August are the best times to take on the trip for the best weather conditions
Road Trip Tip: Petrol stations are few and far between so fill up when you can but remember to bring your plastic as that is the preferred payment method
Great Place to Stay: Anita’s Guest House, Grindavik
Spoleto to Norcia, Italy
If opting for sun and a more tranquil journey then head over to the Mediterranean and visit Italy. The drive from Spoleto to Norcia, in the province of Perugia, is one of the iconic Italian road trip routes. From olive sampling to postcard-perfect stone towns you can experience so much within the 4-7 hours that it should take you to get from one place to another.
Best Vehicle for the Job: A car with an automatic transmission will make the ride easier on the driver and more enjoyable for all
Best Time to Travel: Late May or early June is the best time to see the region blanketed in blooms
Road Trip Tip: Pack your gloves! Expect snow and ice as you’ll end up climbing 1,452m high when you reach the Castelluccio Village which is en route
Great Place to Stay: Il Casale Degli Amici, Norcia