5 Incredible European Road Trips
Mainland Europe is so easy for us to hop over to from the UK and there really is so much on offer in terms of landscape, climate and food. We have rounded up some of our favourite European road trips to give you a little inspiration for your next adventure. The great thing about a road trip is that you can take as little or as long as you like to explore, you're on your own schedule and by using a car you're able to give yourself total flexibility!
Scotland - the North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 has been popular since the route was launched in 2015 but has got particularly desirable as a destination over the past couple of years. It is best known for its beautiful and dramatic showcase of Scotland's Northern Coastline. The 500+ mile (516 miles to be precise) route takes you through Inverness, Lochinver, Durness, John o'Groats and Wick amongst many other towns and villages. Whether you choose to camp or make use of the B&Bs that can be found along the way, you'll be sure to see some of the stunning scenery the Scottish Highlands has to offer.
Inverness is generally considered to be the best airport to fly into to begin your adventure, from here you can hire a car from a company such as Arnold Clark. We would suggest, due to the time that will be spent in the car for this holiday, you do opt for a vehicle which is big enough to comfortably seat your party and luggage.
Ireland - The Ring of Kerry
Ireland is undoubtedly a beautiful country and one of the most renowned road trips in Ireland is the Wild Atlantic Way that sees you drive down the most Westerly edge of both Ireland and Europe. It is famous for being one of the most stunning trips in not only Europe but the world. However, to really get the most out of it, you do need 2 to 3 weeks so we've opted for a smaller but still incredibly picturesque trip for Ireland in the form of The Ring of Kerry.
This road trip can be completed in a single day as it's roughly 120 miles long but it's worth taking a little longer, if you can, to really soak in the surroundings. Three days is the optimal length to be able to enjoy this road trip, it really is the perfect length for a long weekend!
The majority of people who complete this circuit begin in Killarney National Park which is home to incredible mountains, woodlands and lakes. It's worth spending a little time here to take a break from the driving and to enjoy the landscape and a walk. After leaving Killarney National Park and Killarney itself you cross to the West of Ireland and travel down the coastline before beginning to head back inland at Castlecove towards Killarney to finish the loop. One of the reasons that this trip is so magical is due to the array of Irish countryside you will see. By travelling both inland with its lush green farmland, castles and forts and travelling down the rugged Atlantic Ocean coastline you will experience the sheer diversity of Ireland.
Sweden - The Wilderness Road
If you're looking for a little more adventure then The Wilderness Road in Sweden really is breathtaking. This road opens from early June to October every year and the whole stretch is a mere 500km from Strömsund back to Strömsund though you can make it slightly shorter if you decide not to close the loop.
Starting in Strömsund, you travel through Gäddede continuing North to Stekenjokk before making your way back South again past Vilhemina and Dorotea. This loop provides absolutely incredible views with lakes, waterfalls, mountains, cottages and huts. The Stekenjokk Plateau is the highest road in Sweden and is truly spectacular. This is also the part of the trip that is only open June to October due to the high levels of snow that can fall so do make sure you check it is open before starting out.
The road trip will take you away from reality and really allow you to explore and immerse yourself in nature. There are so many places you can stop and hike as well as cafés along the way. You'll see Sámi camps and also be able to get involved in outdoor activities with guides who share their expertise. Guided outdoor activities are popular in the town of Vilhelmina which is located in Southern Lapland. It's well worth researching and booking activities before you arrive there.
Spain - Andalucia Road Trip
We had to add Spain purely because it's a brilliant country to visit, offers so much diversity and is understandably popular with Brits. For this trip you can either start and end in Malaga or opt for a shorter version and finish at Seville. If you opt for the latter version you can drive along the coast to Marbella, inland to Ronda before heading West to Jerez and Cadiz and finally North to Seville. If you want to go for the longer trip then you would continue North to Cordoba and then South East to Granada before finishing in Malaga.
On this trip you will enjoy views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and many a beach along the coastal parts of the route (perfect for a beach walk or just a sunbathe!). Seville is the capital of Andalucia and offers a fantastic Spanish experience of music, dance, history and food. Granada is also a popular city in Spain and for good reason. You will immediately notice the large fortress above the town and the surrounding villages and towns are well worth exploring.
This is all without investigating Malaga. It's a large place with many beaches, restaurants and bars as well as museums. Malaga is ideal as the entry point for this road trip as it offers a wide range of car hire companies and therefore also cars. We would suggest you to choose a vehicle with a relatively powerful engine to allow you to easily make the climb up the mountains that you will drive through, smaller cars can sometimes struggle with the inclines!
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - Baltics Road Trip
The Baltic states are often underrated when it comes to road-tripping. Countries such as Croatia, Spain and Portugal often featuring higher on the wishlist. But these Baltic countries should not be overlooked - they are incredibly picturesque and provide a different perspective of Europe. We would suggest at least ten days for this trip but if you can spare two weeks you won't regret it.
We would suggest starting in Lithuania at Vilnius, before travelling onto Trakai to see the iconic Lithuanian island castle on Lake Galvé then go onto Nida to see the beautiful sand dunes and beaches which are well worth exploring.
You can then cross the border into Latvia. Here, visiting Riga, Latvia's capital city, is a must. It's a really interesting city to explore and is steeped in history. There are many museums, cafés and also the Old Town to discover. There are also four National Parks in Latvia so we would really suggest exploring at least one of these to see the forests, lakes and magical woodland.
Heading towards Tallinn, be sure to stop in Pärnu which is often frequented by Estonian staycationers. There are glorious cobbled streets, beaches and a fantastic café culture. End your trip in Tallinn - the drive to Estonia's capital city takes you through stunning woodland which is an experience in itself. Upon arriving in Tallinn the world is your oyster! There is so much to see in this brilliant city which has very distinct influences of Finnish culture. From museums to activities like weaving, there is a lot to get involved in.
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