Europe can be experienced wonderfully – in the truest sense of the word. Fantastic roads lead along the coast, through mountains and through old cultural landscapes. We show nine road trips.
The sun is laughing, the last snow is thawing and wanderlust is widespread. The free streets invite you to get into your car or motorcycle and drive across Europe. Packed with ancient history, highly developed cities, cultural treasures, excellent cuisine and even finer art, there is a fabulous abundance of riches. Our tips lead you through nine different countries to the most exciting landscapes and places that can be discovered “on the road”.
9 Road Trips That Will Show You The Beauty Of Europe
Fantastically beautiful Switzerland makes it easy for travelers to immerse themselves deeply in their hearts: the distances are manageable and the diversity of the different landscape regions is easy to reach. If you buy your picnic provisions early in the morning at a farmers’ market, you can already eat them at noon on a high mountain peak. Picturesque cities, lakes in which snow-capped alpine peaks are reflected, and the ringing of cowbells on alpine pastures overgrown with wind herbs stand for Switzerland as well as top-class contemporary art and culture and traditional Swiss cuisine. Here is our tip:
The Swiss Alps – 7 days, 612 km
start – Arosa; Destination – Zermatt
From A to Z, from Arosa to Zermatt, you can explore the breath-taking alpine landscape of Switzerland with majestic peaks, impressive panoramas, cable car rides and local charm on a zigzag trip. The legendary Glacier Express stops in Chur. Zug and Lucerne offer a breath-taking alpine panorama, mirrored in deep mountain lakes. In Bern you can not only explore the idyllic city, but also discover contemporary art. Thun and Interlaken fascinate with their steel-blue lake landscapes in front of breath-taking peaks. Actually, everything fits in a snow globe – and is just as fascinating.
Few countries can compete with Italy’s riches, which are in a gigantic open-air museum. In the historical places there are impressive castles, cathedrals, churches and squares. Italian cuisine is famous worldwide and the landscapes are a majestic patchwork of snow-capped peaks, steep seashores, deep lakes and scenic valleys. If you want to explore Italy on the roads, there are numerous fascinating routes. We recommend a route not to be missed:
UNESCO World Heritage Site – 14 days, 870 km
start – Rome; Destination – Venice
The journey starts in Rome with its imposing Colosseum. The journey continues to Siena with the most important building of Gothic architecture in Italy, the cathedral Santa Maria Assunta. From there, a detour leads to San Gimigniano, the city of frescoes, embedded in the enchanting Tuscan landscape. The next stop is Pisa. The ensemble on the Piazza dei Miracoli with the leaning tower is one of the most famous places in the world. Finally, the trip ends in Florence with its enchanting city centre, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Uffizi Gallery and the pretty Ponte Vecchio.
Great Britain attracts with unforgettable experiences and countless sights. If you cross the island, you will experience the fascination of the Scottish mountains, visit picturesque villages and the haunting beauty of the Welsh coast. Also impressive: the wild moors in the north. Oxford and Cambridge, with their exquisite universities, are just two of a number of vibrant cities that offer everything from Georgian architecture to 21st century art. Here is our road tip:
The best of Great Britain – 21 days, 1,815 km
start and finish – London (via Edinburgh and Cardiff)
The big round tour starts in the pulsating capital of the Kingdom and heads north to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland with wild and beautiful landscapes. We continue south to Cardiff, the capital of Wales, via Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. On this journey through several millennia of history, you can marvel at the greatest British sights.
Impressive buildings, fabulous food, world-class wines – there are many reasons to plan a trip to France. Regardless of whether the tour leads along the coasts of the Côte d’Azur, along the snow-capped mountains of the Pyrenees or through the vineyards of Champagne with tasting directly at the winemaker – France is full of unforgettable routes. There are trips for every taste, whether for families, history buffs, culinary gourmets or outdoor adventurers. Buckle up and go. Here is our tip:
Champagne tasting – 3 days, 85 km
start – Reims; End – Le Mesnil-sur-Oger
From venerable cellars to wine-lined hills, this champagne adventure takes you through the heart of the region to taste the world’s most popular drink. In Reims, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame was the place where the French kings were crowned for more than 1,000 years and some well-known champagne cellars have their headquarters here. They offer tastings and cellar tours. Along the Montagne de Reims Natural Regional Park, the journey leads past countless wineries to Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, an enchanting village on the Côte des Blancs.
Spectacular beaches, mountain castles, medieval villages, impressive architecture and some of the most famous restaurants in the world – Spain exerts a fascination that few travel destinations can offer. There is much to see and do in the enchanting landscapes that inspired Picasso and Velàzquez.
Spain’s diversity is enormous: Freshly caught seafood is served in the Galician coastal cities, the heartbeat of Spain can be experienced in rousing flamenco shows, colorful mountain meadows invite you to hike and the coast for a swim. Road trips in Spain have something for everyone: Beach lovers get their money’s worth as well as outdoor adventurers, family travelers, music fans, foodies and those who simply want to immerse themselves in the rich art and history of Spain. We recommend the following road trip:
Northern Spain Way of St. James – 5-7 days, 678 km
start – Roncesvalles; Destination – Santiago de Compostela
The journey through northern Spain repeatedly crosses the footprints of thousands of pilgrims, while the journey goes along the high and back roads of the legendary Camino de Santiago. Worthwhile: Culinary feast in San Sebastian, art in Bilbao and at the end of the trip a visit to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
From north to south Germany offers numerous historically interesting cities, picture-book villages, mountain ridges traversed by vineyards, idyllic national parks and remarkable mountain landscapes. Anyone crossing Germany on a road trip will experience a fascinating kaleidoscope of different landscapes and sights. Here is our tip:
The Romantic Road – 10 days, 350 km
start – Würzburg; Destination – Neuschwanstein Castle & Hohenschwangau
On this trip you can experience the Germany of the good night fairy tale book: medieval city walls, gabled town houses, cobbled squares and crooked streets – everything is preserved as if time had stood still. On the way from north to south the landscape changes: river valleys, fertile farmland, forests, meadows and finally the mountains. Würzburg with its wine, the Taubertal and Rothenburg, the Ries, the Lechfeld, the Pfaffenwinkel and the royal castles, everything has its own magic. If you have bicycles with you by car, you can get on the saddle and explore the area around the Romantic Road on bike paths.
Portugal’s mixture of medieval and maritime charm makes the country a popular travel destination. A turbulent past that mixed the influences of the Moors, Spaniards and Napoleons has littered the interior with medieval city walls. The roaring Atlantic formed coastlines with wonderful sandy beaches. And the history of Portuguese seafaring has created a proud, open culture with fascinating artistic influences.
Portugal is also top culinary, with several wine regions and countless restaurants that conjure up grilled meat specialties or freshly caught fish on the menus. Comparatively short distances mean that the road trips can be enjoyed here to the fullest: Less time behind the wheel means more time for the atmosphere, the country and the people. Here is our tip:
Douro Valley Vineyard Hiking Trails – 5-7 days, 358 km
start – Porto; End – Miranda do Douro
The tour starts in Porto, a medieval coastal town in the northwest with narrow, cobblestone streets, pretty shops and cafes. Via Amarante, Samões and Alfândega da Fé you go to Miranda do Douro through a beautiful landscape full of idyllic vineyards and wineries. Miranda do Douro is part of the Parque Natural do Douro Internacional.
Austria is a fantastic country for road trips. There are not only spectacular backdrops of fascinating landscapes and great architecture. The country also offers many very different ways to explore it. Those who move through Austria can climb high peaks, go skiing all year round, try white water rafting or discover the landscape on a mountain bike.
For fans of culture and history, Austria’s diversity extends from medieval castles to monumental palaces, artistic museums and magnificent churches. Alpine dairies invite you to try cheese, schnapps is tasted in small distilleries and beer and wine in various monasteries. Another way of getting around in many cities: rumbling over the cobblestones in a horse-drawn carriage and feeling transported back to another era. Here is our tip:
Grossglockner High Alpine Road – 5-7 days, 644 km
start – Salzburg; Destination – Bregenz
Austria’s most exciting excursion takes you on a wild rollercoaster ride over three legendary alpine passes and attracts with outdoor activities from year-round skiing to windsurfing and white water rafting. The Hohe Tauern National Park is impressive. The so-called Glocknerstrasse connects the two federal states of Salzburg and Carinthia and is the highest pass road in Austria. The tunnel portal at the Hochtor is at an altitude of 2504 meters. This tour is guaranteed to be unforgettable.
The main reason to visit? Experience the Ireland of the postcard you long for – fascinating peninsulas, dramatic wilderness, endless green hills, populated with friendly sheep, and rugged rocky coasts. Fascinating landscape, exciting history, great culture, bustling cosmopolitanism and the quiet of the remote countryside – Ireland offers all this and much more. The best: The most fascinating photo motifs are not far from each other. Here is our tip:
The long circular route – 14 days, 1,300 km
start – Dublin; End – Ardmore
Why take the shortest route during the holidays when there is so much more to see all around? This itinerary explores Ireland in a zigzag and makes a fascinating loop: from Dublin on the east coast to Galway on the west coast, via Limerick, Tralee, the jagged south coast to Ardmore.
The world still has many wonderful places in store for travellers.