Regional Guide to Europe’s Best Road Trips
These nine diverse and dynamic countries – all featured in our Europe’s Best Trips guide – represent some of the top spots to hit the road in Europe. Discover what makes them so special and kick your trip planning into gear with our recommended road trips.
Few countries can rival Italy’s wealth of riches. Its historic cities boast iconic monuments and masterpieces at every turn, its food is imitated the world over and its landscape is a majestic patchwork of snowcapped peaks, plunging coastlines, lakes and remote valleys. And with many thrilling roads to explore, it offers plenty of epic driving.
Recommended trip: World Heritage wonders – 14 days, 870 km/540 miles
Start – Rome; finish – Venice
From Rome to Venice, this tour of Unesco World Heritage Sites takes in some of Italy’s greatest hits, including the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and some lesser-known treasures.
Iconic monuments, fabulous food, world-class wines – there are so many reasons to plan your very own French voyage. Whether you’re planning on cruising the corniches of the French Riviera, getting lost among the snowcapped mountains or tasting your way aroundChampagne’s hallowed vineyards, this is a nation that’s full of unforgettable routes that will plunge you straight into France’s heart and soul. There’s a trip for everyone here: family travellers, history buffs, culinary connoisseurs and outdoors adventurers. Buckle up and bon voyage – you’re in for quite a ride.
Recommended trip: Champagne taster – 3 days, 85 km/53 miles
Start – Reims; finish – Le Mesnil-sur-Oger
From musty cellars to vine-striped hillsides, this Champagne adventure whisks you through the heart of the region to explore the world’s favourite celebratory tipple. It’s time to quaff!
Great Britain overflows with unforgettable experiences and spectacular sights. There’s the grandeur of Scotland’s mountains, England’s quaint villages and country lanes, and the haunting beauty of the Welsh coast. You’ll also find wild northern moors, the exquisite university colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, and a string of vibrant cities boasting everything from Georgian architecture to 21st-century art.
Recommended trip: The best of Britain – 21 days, 1128 miles/1815 km
Start and finish – London (via Edinburgh and Cardiff)
Swing through three countries and several millennia of history as you take in a greatest hits parade of Britain’s chart-topping sights.
Your main reason for visiting? To experience the Ireland of the postcard – captivating peninsulas, dramatic wildness and undulating hills. Scenery, history, culture, bustling cosmopolitanism and the stillness of village life – you’ll visit blockbuster attractions and replicate famous photo ops. But there are plenty of surprises too – and they’re all within easy reach of each other.
Recommended trip: the long way round – 14 days, 1300 km/807 miles
Start – Dublin; finish – Ardmore
Why go in a straight line when you can perambulate at leisure? This trip explores Ireland’s jagged, scenic and spectacular edges; a captivating loop that takes in the whole island.
Spectacular beaches, mountaintop castles, medieval villages, stunning architecture and some of the most celebrated restaurants on the planet – Spain has an allure that few destinations can match. There’s much to see and do amid the enchanting landscapes that inspired Picasso and Velàzquez.
You can spend your days feasting on seafood in coastal Galician towns, feel the heartbeat of Spain at soul-stirring flamenco shows or hike across the flower-strewn meadows of the mountains. The journeys in this region offer something for everyone: beach lovers, outdoor adventurers, family travellers, music fiends, foodies and those simply wanting to delve into Spain’s rich art and history.
Recommended trip: Northern Spain pilgrimage – 5-7 days, 678 km/423 miles
Start – Roncesvalles; finish – Santiago de Compostela
Travel in the footprints of thousands of pilgrims past and present as you journey along the highroads and backroads of the legendary Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail.
Portugal’s mix of the medieval and the maritime makes it a superb place to visit. A turbulent history involving the Moors, Spain and Napoleon has left the interior scattered with walled medieval towns topped by castles, while the pounding Atlantic has sculpted a coast of glorious sand beaches. The nation’s days of exploration and seafaring have created an introspective yet open culture with wide-ranging artistic influences.
The eating and drinking scene here is a highlight, with several wine regions, and restaurants that are redolent with aromas of grilling pork or the freshest of fish. Comparatively short distances mean that you get full value for road trips here: less time behind the wheel means you can take more time to absorb the atmosphere.
Recommended trip: Douro Valley vineyard trails – 5-7 days, 358 km/222 miles
Start – Porto; finish – Miranda do Douro