This summer, why not trade in the poolside for an adventure? Europe boasts some of the world’s most stunning routes – and from cruising along the Autobahn to beach hopping in the Canary Islands, a road trip holiday offers something for everyone.
The German Autobahn system is a must for any serious roadtripper. Book into a stunning lodge and relax, then fly down a road with no official speed limits (though there is a recommended limit of 80mph in most areas). It’s the perfect way to truly test those wheels. The motorway stretch from Gottingen to Leipzig offers scenic views and isn’t usually especially busy – essential if you want to put the pedal to the metal. Plus, this lower Saxony town crosses with the Fairy Tale Road – offering a slower, magical route home.
Fly into the nearby city of Dresden, then hire a car locally, heading east on the A37.
Spain’s southernmost corner is a favourite for tourists from across Europe, and there’s no better way to explore the wealth of towns and resorts than with a week-long road trip. Fly into Malaga, explore the city’s architectural wonders, then venture out to Grenada, where you’ll find the San Juan Basilica, and then across to Seville, home to the famous Arabesque Plaza de Espana. In fact, the opportunities are endless in this Spanish paradise – beach hop across to Gibraltar, or explore gorgeous mountains covered in white houses, like those that make up the quaint white village of Vejer de la Frontera.
It’s the Costa del Sol as you’ve never seen it before – and you’ll find some of the best places to stay dotted along the sun coast.
Athens to Olympia
This trip can take you back in time to ancient Greece – or across to the sun-kissed beaches of the Peloponnese peninsula, depending on your tastes. Athens is the perfect Mediterranean city, with ancient landmark temples and a vibrant nightlife. Next, venture across the ocean road, with views of golden cliffs and breaking blue waves, past tiny settlements like Stikas. Venture south for sunkissed white beaches, or north to the ancient theatre at Epidaurus, and on to Olympia, home of the gods.
Stelvio Pass, Italy
Northern Italy is home to the tourism hotspots Milan and Venice, and is a popular skiing paradise. Less known is the Stelvio pass, tucked away in the Ortler Alps. This breathtaking route is a favourite among car and motorcycle lovers, and is one of the highest mountain roads in Europe, consisting of 48 hairpin bends, complete with snowcapped peaks and a balcony to help you snap the perfect photograph.
Route Gentelly, France
For another iconic mountain drive, Route Gentelly in France is a must-visit. Formerly seen in films such as James Bond’s Goldeneye, this mountain route is open year-round, offering cliff arches and sunny slopes. Just one hour from Cannes by road, a road trip along the lofty heights of Gentelly is best combined with a cruise along the coastal roads from Montpellier to Nice.
Portugal’s Atlantic Coast
Head north from the Algarve, beach hopping to the Figuiera de Foz coastal hub, before moving up to Porto, with scenic panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Trollstigen, known as ‘the troll’s road’, is one of Norway’s most famous tourist routes. Carved into the mountain and supported by stone, the road offers breathtaking views worth photographing. Fly into the nearby Molde airport and stay in an isolated retreat, or wind through the mountains and up to the North Cape, one of the northernmost corners of Europe. Norway’s idyllic mountains and waterfalls make it the perfect alternative retreat.
Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast
Known for its affordability, Bulgaria has earned its place among the most popular European holiday destinations in recent years. Away from the main resorts, the beautiful Black Sea coast has countless preserved pockets, alive with local culture. Wind down the coastline, from the charming cobbled streets of Sozopol through some of the largest lavender fields in the world, to the enchanting Balchik botanical gardens, and beyond.
The Ultimate Lanzarote Road Trip
See the Canary Islands as you never have before, taking a car around its largest volcanic island. Choose from family-friendly resorts on the southern coast, from Costa Teguise to Playa Blanca, and then tour the island’s national parks, iconic cliffs and unspoilt northern beaches.
Route One, Iceland
Iceland has taken off in 2018, with tourists flocking to the island to see its crisp, untouched natural wonders. Route One circles the entire country, beginning with the bustle of Reykjavik, then spanning lava fields, geothermal spas, cool golden beaches and the chance to see the northern lights from the remote northern mountains. This means the best way to explore is on the open road.