We love a good road trip. The freedom of driving between point A and B with no time constraints or rules is, in our opinion, the best way to travel. Also, having a vehicle allows you to venture from the tourist trail and discover places off the beaten track.
Europe is the perfect place for a road trip: relaxed borders, varying cultures and stunning scenery make the continent the perfect place for an adventurous road trip. Here we’ve listed three of our favourites in no particular order. It’s not to say that these are the best, just the ones that we love, and ones that we need to do!
Grossglockner Hochalpentrasse, Austria
The High Alpine pass that runs through the Austrian Alps is one of the most impressive mountain passes in the world. Reaching altitudes above 2,500m, the route includes views of glaciers, alpine lakes and much more as it weaves through Austria’s largest Nationa Park. Be careful though- the pass has a total of 36 hairpin bends on the relatively short 48km stretch.
Catch the channel tunnel from London then drive across France and Germany into the Austrian Alps. Visit during the summer for the best driving conditions, when the alpine meadows are in bloom. And if the driving isn’t enough for you, indulge in some culture: the Alpine Pass is stooped in history.
Atlantic Coast, Portugal
The Atlantic coast of Portugal stretches 1,800km from Moledo in the North, down to the Algarve Coastline in the South. Battered by the relentless weather which drives in from the ocean, this stretch of coast is staggeringly beautiful. Quaint coves, rugged sea stacks and weathered cliffs are plentiful along this wild shore. Coupled with some of the best surf in Europe, if not the world, this road trip is a must do. As well as surfing, you can enjoy kite surfing, mountain biking and an abundance of coastal walks along this stretch.
Catch a ferry from Southhampton to San Sebastian in Spain and then drive across the border into Portugal. Late summer, early autumn is the best time to visit as the temperatures drop, the crowds disperse and the swell grows.
Route One, Iceland
Iceland has fast become the adventure capital of the world. Ubiquitous images of Skogafoss, wild ponies and dramatic fjords fill our Instagram feed. And for good reason. The land of fire and ice is home to the most impressive landscapes, making it a photographers dream destination. The main road which runs around the circumference of the island- Route One- is the only main road. Hire a car and circumnavigate the island to experience all this tiny nation has to offer.
Image from: The Land of Fire and Ice: A Photo Essay
Weather conditions can be quite harsh in Iceland. During the winter months, there is little to no daylight. So if you’re planning to visit, it’s best to visit during the spring or summer. Taking your own car on the ferry is extremely expensive so it’s best to hire a car when you get there. And if you’re planning on venturing off the main road, we suggest hiring a 4×4 as the roads are quite rough. You could even sleep in the back of your car to save money on hotels- they’re very expensive.
The above three trips are just suggestions. You can find adventure in any European country, you just need to know where to find it. There are also lots of great road trips to keep you busy in the UK if you can’t find the time to go overseas. But no matter where your road trip takes you, make sure your car is in good working order. Take it to get checked over by professionals at somewhere like Kwikfit if you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for.