The top 7 European road trips on my bucket list
Now that I’m back in Europe, I’m excited to be focusing on a whole new way of travelling for the next year. I won’t be revealing all of my plans for the year yet, but I’m planning to be based over this way for at least the next 12 months and during that time I’m so excited to have the opportunity to explore more of Europe’s charm. I’ve loved exploring Asian culture for the last few years, but after spending so long in Australia, I’m craving the heritage and the history of Europe. I’m thinking endless rolling hills, quaint little villages in the shadows of mountains, castles at every turn and crystal clear lakes, from the markets of Germany to the spas of Budapest, the stunning countryside of Eastern Europe and the beautiful rustic villages of Italy. There is so much to explore and I’ve yet to see so much of it despite my endless travelling since a young age, Europe is vast and offers so many different ways of travelling from those long summer holidays on the beaches to weekend city breaks to month-long escapes on the rails.
Something I’ve been ever more interested in since my time in Australia is the idea of living on the road. Van life has become hugely popular over recent years and after spending months living out of a car down under and road tripping across Australia – I can understand why. When I first met my boyfriend, he was the proud owner of an awesome van that we had hoped to travel together in, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be as it broke down before we could get started, but we finished the trip by car and still had an epic time. Ever since, it’s been our dream to have another van together and to have time to explore Europe, among many other places, by road. Now I’m always on the lookout for new road trip ideas that will inspire my next set of travels and Europe is filled with epic road trips that are just waiting to be ticked off your bucket list.
Here are the top 7 European road trips on my bucket list:
One of my absolute dream road trips, this one was made famous by Top Gear after the boys took on the challenge of driving it and Jeremy Clarkson claimed it was the “best road in the world.” This unforgettable journey along The Transfagarasan Highway will take drivers 150km round endless curves and alongside steep drops as they pass over the Fagaras mountains in Transylvania, Romania at more than 2,000 metres. The trip doesn’t come without a few risks, many large sections of the road have no barriers protecting those brave enough to take it on from the steep 1,000ft drops. The highway is closed during winter, drivers are advised to check weather forecasts and brakes of the vehicle before taking this one on.
Norway has captured my imagination for a long time and I could scroll through Insta for hours looking at the beautiful fjords and picturing myself there. One for the thrill-seekers, the Trollstigen route in Norway’s Rauma region – also known as Troll’s Ladder – features 11 tight hairpin bends, steep drops to get the heart racing and a twisting route that is sure to get your legs shaking. Travelling through the mountains, drivers have endless places to stop and take in the epic views at viewing platforms overlooking the 1,050ft-high Stigfossen waterfall. At just four miles, it’s a short one but you want to allow a few hours to make the most of sightseeing stops.
I’m looking forward to exploring more of Germany this year and one road trip that just seems too cute and magical to miss is the 220km stretch from Würzburg to Füssen, travelling along the Romantische Strasse. Passing fairy-tale castles, a Medieval wine village and breathtaking natural wonders as you pass into the foothills of the Alps – this one is definitely one for the photo album. Apparently best during spring, summer and autumn to best enjoy the Alps. For Disney-lovers, there is also the The Alpenstrasse, or Alpine Road, which takes you through meadows, mountains, lakes and straight past the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle which inspired Walt Disney to build Cinderella’s castle. This trip takes between three to eight days and also take sin Munich and Salzburg.
Can we just talk about how bloody incredible Iceland is? I can’t believe I still haven’t been there but every day I’m dreaming up new additions to my perfect trip and the latest is an epic road trip covering the 800miles along Route One. Taking anything between a week and 10 days, this trip will leave drivers speechless as it starts in Reykjavik and takes in an incredible landscape filled with volcanoes, lava fields, waterfalls, hot springs, geysers and even deserts. Plan for July or August and book a 4WD car for the trip.
The perfect place to fall in love, with each other and with the country’s stunning landscape – from beautiful coastline to rugged cliffs and driving through the remnants of Greek temples and Roman ruins. Whether you choose the Amalfi Coast of driving through the hills of Sicily, you’re in for a treat as you enjoy villages that will feel like you’ve stepped back in time and views that will leave you speechless. Don’t forget to indulge in the local food and lots of gelato. Fancy something different? Try the Great Dolomite Road which takes you up through the mountains for Northern Italy and away from the usual tourist traps.
After seeing so many beautiful photos, I can’t resist a look at the fabled Swiss Mountains and there’s an amazing alpine road that will take you on the ultimate winding journey through the amazing scenery. The Klausen Pass is where the Klausenrunnen takes place every four-five years and is a spectacular way to see the country. Or, try the Furka Pass, a dangerous winding road that puts drivers to the ultimate test as it passes through the Alps.
If you ask me, this post needs a few more beaches in it so why not check out the Estoril Coast Drive, a beautiful drive that takes travellers all the way from Lisbon to Sintra. Perfect for slow travellers and those on a budget, the trip takes in the vastly underrated coastline of Portugal and give you plenty of opportunity to hit the beaches.
Have you road tripped any of these countries? Where would your dream European road trip take you?