On the road again: top European drives
If you’re planning a long weekend away or a summer holiday, a road trip is a great way to see Europe in all its glory. From the Italian coast to the Austrian Alps, we’ve put together stunning routes for your next travel adventure.
Loire Valley, France
We begin our list with a gentle route. Only a short trip from the French capital, Paris, is the enchanting Loire Valley. From ancient castles to sumptuous gastronomy, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the perfect destination for a romantic drive for two or a fairy tale adventure with your family.
There are plenty of routes for you to take, whether you choose to start in the sophisticated cities of Nandes, Angers or Tours. To get a true flavour of the region, stop off at one of the many enchanting chateaux or spectacular vineyards.
For a hair-raising experience, set your sights on the Trollstigen mountain pass or ‘Troll Route’. This mountain road in Åndalsnes is not only one of Norway’s most dramatic drives, it is one of the most thrilling mountain roads in the world.
The twisting and spiraling tarmac climbs a 1:12 gradient and offers both drivers and passengers stunning views of the Norwegian fjords. Depending on snowfall, you can begin your thrilling road trip from Åndalsnes or Valldalen and pass through the Reinheimen National Park.
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
Southern Italy is a magnet for visitors seeking a European road trip. With colourful towns, craggy cliffs and verdant woodland, you won’t be disappointed when hopping along this sun-kissed coastline.
A long weekend is all you need to take in the region’s culture and beauty, stopping off at some of the coastal gems and fishing villages. Our favourites are Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi.
Route 500, Germany
Why not explore Germany’s legendary Black Forest? This forested mountain range is the land of the cuckoo clock, traditional wooden houses and irresistible Black Forest cake.
Feldberg to Waldkirch is around 45 miles long and offers awe-inspiring views across the Rhineland Plain to the Vosges mountains in Alsace. On a clear day you may be lucky enough to see the Swiss Alps in the distance.
The Transfᾰgᾰrᾰşan, Romania
Hailed the world’s best driving road by presenter Jeremy Clarkson, this Scalextric-like route is a dream for any car fanatic. The speedway can be found in the middle of Romania’s mountain range and was the idea of Romania’s communist-era leader, Nicolae Ceausescu.
With a smooth stretch of tarmac that features tunnels, viaducts, bridges and hair-pin bends, the highway is a wonderful feat of engineering and gives you the feeling of zooming round a racetrack.
Algarve region, Portugal
If you’re looking for a fantastic mix of blue Mediterranean Sea, honeycomb beaches and limestone cliffs, Portugal’s craggy Algarve region is a great option for a memorable drive. You’ll find white-washed fishing villages and pleasant spots for sunbathing along the way. Plus, there are many tourist-friendly towns for you to explore, including Faro, Albufeira and Carvoeiro.
This area of Portugal is beautiful in both summer and winter, but if you’re keen on stopping off for a swim, the warmer months will be the best time for you to visit.
Goldeck Panoramic Road, Austria
It’s true… the hills are alive in Austria. Yet instead of skipping through the Alps, Julie Andrews-style, you can gaze upon the panoramic peaks from the comfort of your car.
From mid-May to mid-October, the Goldeck route is open for vehicles to meander across. With 10 loops, nine miles of road and an altitude of 1895m, this drive is an unforgettable way to see Lake Millstatt and the Millstätter Alpe.
Before you get behind the wheel…
When road-tripping in Europe, make sure you’re properly covered. If you have a Swinton Classic or Premier policy you can get full cover abroad for up to 90 days, single trip 30 days. Plus, read our top tips on everything from car hire to the rules of the road in our Driving Abroad guides.