The words “road trip” are usually associated with the rocky stretches of the US or the stunning Australian coastline. But Europe’s road trips, engulfed with some of the world’s most #Picturesque scenery, are the real underdogs in the travelling world.
Amalfi coast drive, Italy
This thrillingly steep coastal road wrapped around Southern Italy’s mountainside is the perfect road trip for camera addicts. With its dramatic sea cliffs, endless bays and authentic fishing villages, the trip covers all corners for the perfect summer getaway. The #Road Trip includes stop offs at the colourful cliffside village of Positano and panoramic views from the hilltop of Ravello, in addition to a multitude of family-run restaurant offering traditional Italian cuisine.
Widely considered as Italy’s most scenic coastline, the journey was deemed by UNESCO as “an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values.”
Romantic Road, Germany
Following a trail of fairy tale castles, Romanic Road is located in the Southern provinces of Bavaria and Baden-Wiirtemberg. The road is 220 miles long, covering 28 red-roofed villages. Stop-offs include the historic cities of Würzburg, Aungsburg, the medieval walled towns of Rothenburg ob de Tauber, Dinkelsbuhl and the journey ends with the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Alps.
The road was created in 1950 following the end of World War 2, when Germany was desperate to rebuild its tourism industry. The first visitors were friends and families of the American soldiers stationed in large bases in Bavaria, but the #Route soon became widely popular attracting visitors worldwide.
Route des Grandes Apes (Great Alpine Road), Switzerland and France
This high-altitude route takes you from lake Geneva to the shores of the Mediterranean, passing through the French Alps. The spectacular mountain road is 684km long and includes 16 passes that are among the highest in the Alps. The road trip offers spectacular landscape and hidden valleys immersed with local culture and cuisine. Road trippers that undergo the journey will follow in the steps of the Tour de France, which covers parts of the same route.
The best time to travel the route is between June and October, when the snow has melted and travellers can appreciate the beautiful national parks that the road trip has to offer.
Ring Road, Iceland
Complete with natural hot springs, erupting geysers and heated blue lagoons, the scenes of Iceland’s ring road are not far from those found on a postcard. Starting in Reykjavik, the route covers the entire perimeter of the country and connects the best towns and cities. The 830 miles of stunning scenery consists of stop offs at small local farming villages that provide accommodation for tourists, and advice on the next nearest attraction.
Popular destinations include the renowned Hallgrimskirkja church, the golden circle loop – where the Þingvellir national park is located, a double-tiered waterfall which ‘falls into the earth,’ and popular volcanic areas. The benefit of driving along the coast is that travellers can take advantage of whale watching tours and the country’s famous blue glaciers during their journey. Previous road trippers suggest leaving three to seven days to complete the route.
Basque Circuit, Spain
Consider investing in a retro camper van, complete with a surfboard tied to the roof, and you will fit right in on this coastal Spanish route. Ideal for beach lovers, the road begins in Bilbao – where nearby villages parade some of the worlds best surfing – and continues along to San Sebastian; famous for water-sports.
The road then swerves South through the wilderness of the Pyrenees to Pamplona. Hot spots include the Bay of Biscay, Biarritz’s boho beaches and lavish boulevards such as “the Pearl of the Aquitaine.” Travellers recommend a week to complete the route, to ensure there’s enough time to visit as many hidden treasures and beaches as possible.