There’s no doubt winter is already here, and with the UK freezing cold, a lot of us are looking for our next summer vacation destination already – I know I am. If you’re a driving enthusiast then you might like the idea of combining your love of the open road with a summer break of a lifetime by planning a road trip holiday. In recent years, Europe has really made a name for itself as the number one choice for drivers; with beautiful open roads and stunning scenery on offer, you could find yourself a little overwhelmed when trying to decide on a destination. (I know I feel this way personally – there are just so many amazing options to choose from!)
Route Napoleon – France
For history enthusiasts, Route Napoleon in France is the place to go. Think winding routes that let you follow the famous steps of Napoleon Bonaparte – he marched through this road on his way to overthrow Louis the 18th back in 1815. It is the historical aspect of the road which makes it even more exciting, Napoleon passed through the famous route through the Alps hundreds of years ago. How amazing is that? You can actually travel where Napoleon himself traveled?!
Leading you on an impressive trip through both the Alps and Alps Maritimes, this route stretches on for over 150km. This route is perfectly designed for speed and smoothness, so you can really appreciate the performance of your car. This combined with the scenery makes for a truly stunning drive with many opportunities to stop and take lots of Instagramable photographs along the way. (I know I would be anyhow, but then I have an Instagram obsession so…)
Route 500 – Germany
I love the concept of this route. This sweeping stretch of road in the Black Forest of Germany combines smooth elevated sections through the forest with thrilling switchback turns all the way through to Baden Baden. It should be noted that there are several different trails to choose from in the Black Forest, with some being better than others, so it’s worth doing your research before starting your trip. Know anyone who has traveled this route before? Then maybe ask them what they would suggest!
To make the most of the scenery and get the smoothest drive possible, I recommend taking the Schwarzwald Hochstrasse trail. This stretch of road is consistently wide and easy to drive on – it’s also home to some fantastic views on both sides and an exciting drive through dense forests. (These are the kinds of photos that will get your Insta famous – just saying!) It should be noted, however, that as one of the country’s most popular roads, this route can be prone to traffic during peak hours of the day – therefore, if you hate traffic like me, it’s best to start your journey nice and early in the day.
Route One – Iceland
Taking you all the way around the small island of Iceland is Route One – the largest road in the country. This 800 mile long stretch of road is guaranteed to impress, as it offers so much in the way of variety and scenery, allowing you to see everything that makes Iceland so popular with tourists from all over the world. Iceland is one of the locations that I have always wanted to visit so this is most definitely on my travel bucket list.
You’ll find a huge variety of scenery here – from active volcanos to rugged snowy mountains. I recommend that you choose a sturdy vehicle here, such as a to handle the tough terrain. Never driven this kind of car before? Don’t worry, I’ve driven one and I can confirm it’s actually far easier than you think!
Stelvio Pass – Italy
Sought after by many for being the world’s best driving road is the Stelvio Pass in Italy. The road is one of the highest and most dramatic mountain routes in the European Alps, offering beautiful views and a once in a lifetime driving experience. Even the most experienced drivers will have their skills put to the test here, as the roads 48 switchback turns can prove a little tricky. It’s recommended that you pull over occasionally to collect your thoughts, take in the sights and enjoy this lovely stretch of road to the fullest. (I love the idea of driving this road but I’m not 100% sure if I would do it myself – but I would love to be a passenger instead.)
Drivers should be aware that this area is very popular, and traffic jams are common during peak holiday seasons. This means that in order to get the most out of your drive, you’ll want to get on to the road as early as you can.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road – Austria
Known locally as the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (a bit of a tongue-twister for non-locals) and winding down from the highest peak in Austria is the Grossglockner High Alpine Road.
This road really lives up to its name – at 2,500 feet above sea level, you’ll have more than enough time to enjoy the view. (Imagine the photos you could snap up here!) As one of the number one destinations for motorbike and sports car enthusiasts all across the world, this route can be challenging, with a number of hairpin curves to keep you on your toes. For those of you who prefer to take your time and appreciate all that this route has to offer, why not stop in at the Alpine Nature Show Museum or the Hohe Tauern National Park? Both of these parks sound amazing, so I would most definitely stop off.
So there you have it, a guide to the five best driving destinations for holidays in Europe.