The continent of Europe is an intoxicating place; an expansive stretch of land that is home to rugged mountain peaks, rolling romantic hills, pristine sandy beaches and a treasure chest of rocky coves and hidden gems to discover.
Of course, before you even set off, you should ensure that you’ve invested in a European driving kit, a handy all-in-one product that contains all the essentials you’ll need on the open road.
Among this diverse and thrilling landscape, Europe reveals thousands upon thousands of miles of fabulous roads to driving enthusiasts each year, but with so many travel plans to choose from, you’re probably asking ‘which are the best driving routes in Europe?’
To help you get on top of your journey planner and get the most out of your motoring vacation, we’ve put together a top five of our favourite European driving holiday routes.
#1 The Italian Lakes, Italy
Good weather, great food, and plenty of winding roads and stunning lakeside views. What’s not to love about driving in the gorgeous region of the Italian Lakes?
Sitting roughly a 10-hour drive from the port of Calais, it’s most certainly worth taking a trip to the motoring mecca of Italy. Once there, you can drink in the picturesque views as if sipping a vintage Chianti; breathtaking vistas, tranquil waters and sleepy, traditional fishing villages – The Lakes have it all.
Whether you’re taking in the glitz and glorious views of Lake Como or discovering the shores and islands of Lake Maggiore, popping the Italian Lakes on your trip planner is a must.
#2 Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria
A driving haven for both car and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (or High Alpine Road) in Austria is an easy inclusion on our list of the best driving routes through Europe.
Cutting through pristine acres of the Hohe Tauern National Park, motorists can enjoy uninterrupted, unrivalled views over an alpine mountain range of 37 peaks. This stunning road climbs to an altitude of 2,504 metres at its highest, so it’s definitely recommended that you find somewhere safe to stop and take few snaps for the scrapbook.
One of the real joys of the High Alpine Road is the sheer diversity of the landscape in which you drive through; from soaring, tyre-squealing hairpin bends and vast pine forests to dramatic rocky cliff faces and plunging lakes and glaciers, there’s no end to the visual feast before you.
#3 Romantische Strasse, Germany
If you’re searching for a postcard-perfect driving route, then look no further than the enchanting Romanstiche Strasse in Germany. Translated to ‘The Romantic Road’, this 220-mile route is packed full of Bavarian charm and takes travellers on a motoring adventure like no other.
From fairytale castles and picturebook palaces to colourful walled towns and tucked away monasteries, there’s no end to the scenic smorgasbord that unfolds before you. As well as the idyllic architecture, the Romantic Road wraps around the foothills of the German Alps and past a 15 ½ mile crater formed by a meteorite 15 million years ago, all before taking you across the mighty Danube.
#4 Trollstigen, Norway
Known as the Troll’s Path in English, the Trollstigen in Norway forms one of the continent’s most dramatic European driving trips. Recommended for more experienced drivers, this vast stretch of road cascades through 55 kilometres of zig-zagging inclines and presents a total of 11 hair-raising hairpin bends to contend with.
The good news is there are plenty of viewing platforms along the route to capture the amazing views, this includes the icy waters of the impressive 1,050-foot Stigfossen waterfall, and who knows – you may even catch sight of a local troll or two.
#5 Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
In our humble opinion, some of the best roads in Europe lie right on our very own doorstep. The Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland is one of these roads, and we would implore anyone to add this to their European driving route planner without a moment’s hesitation.
As the name suggests, this route is wild and untamed; running along the rugged west coast across 2,500 kilometres of stunning scenery, it takes you past awe-inspiring coastlines, secluded caves and coves and picturesque towns and villages including Galway and Killarney.
The Wild Atlantic Way is achievable for everyone from novice drivers to the most road-hardened of explorers, but this doesn’t dampen the enjoyment or make it any less of a fantastic driving experience.
Now that you’re fully clued up on some of the top routes from across the continent, don’t forget to look into the laws of driving in Europe. Check out our handy European motorways guide – and don’t miss out that all-important European driving kit we mentioned earlier.