Road trip holidays are the best way to truly explore a country – as well as giving you complete flexibility to visit the locations you want, they also allow you to go ‘off the beaten track’ and steer clear of the typical tourist hotspots. Although the USA has made a name for itself as one of the best countries in the world to experience the thrill of the open road, Europe has been steadily gaining in popularity in recent years. With so much variety on offer, you could find yourself wondering which of Europe’s famous roads is best for you.
To help inspire you, used car experts Motorparks Grange assembled this helpful guide to the best road trip destinations on the continent:
Stelvio Pass – Italy
The first destination on our list was credited as the best driving road in the world by Top Gear back in 2008. The Stelvio Pass winds down from the third highest mountain pass in the Alps (at 2757M), so you’ll certainly have a dramatic backdrop as you navigate the numerous twists and turns. As a firm favourite with both bike and car enthusiasts, this road can get rather busy; you want to be on the road nice and early to get the most out of your experience plus ideally outside of the peak months of July and August.
We recommend approaching this road from the North-West side, as this lets you enjoy the roads 48 challenging switchback turns and takes you through the heart of the Stelvio National Park itself. This route will also take you through several impressive patches of picturesque alpine forest – so remember to pack your camera!
Route Napoleon – France
Unlike the mountain passes on this list, Route Napoleon in France is designed more for speed and the chance to enjoy the performance and agility of the car. Not only is this route beautifully smooth all the way, but it’s also surrounded by stunning scenery, which makes for a fantastic driving experience.
As the name suggests, this road also has a historical aspect as it follows the same route taken by Napoleon I in 1815 on his march to overthrow Louis XVIII. It is the historical aspect of the road which makes it even more exciting; history lovers will certainly appreciate following in such famous footsteps whilst surrounded by beautiful views on all sides.
Although this road can be a little challenging when driving at high speeds, it is generally a smooth and relaxing drive all the way down. Those looking for more of a technical challenge might prefer to tackle one of the mountain routes on this list, however, those who simply want to enjoy a smooth, easy flowing drive will find this route extremely rewarding.
Iceland – Route One
Iceland’s Ring Road (also known as Route One) lets you experience everything that makes the country so popular as a holiday destination. From active volcanoes to frozen ice fields and the Northern Lights, travelling around Route One makes for a truly captivating experience.
Each day of travelling brings a new experience, whether it’s thermal hot springs, wild horses, rushing waterfalls or snow-covered mountain peaks. This isn’t your typical European driving holiday. We recommend travelling in a vehicle that’s a little sturdier than your average car due to the tough nature of the terrain here – a used Range Rover Evoque, for example, would get the job done beautifully.
It goes without saying that you will have multiple opportunities for photographs here and although it’s possible to drive the entire road in under a day, it’s best to give yourself at least a week to make the most of this beautiful country.
Germany – Route 500
Located in Germany’s Black Forest region is one of the oldest and most famous roads in the country – Route 500. This sweeping stretch of road combines smooth elevated sections through the forest with thrilling switchback turns all the way through to Baden Baden (famous for its thermal springs if you fancy a spot of relaxation). 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 heading out.
We recommend travelling via the Schwarzwald Hochstrasse. 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. 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, we recommend that you start your journey early to avoid queues.
Austria – Grossglockner High Alpine Road
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Austria sits between vibrant meadows, ice-covered peaks and rolling green pastures. Then, of course, there is the majestic Grossglockner mountain; At 12,460 feet, the Grossglockner is not only the highest mountain in Austria, but it’s also among the highest peaks in the Alps. It is the epitome of an impressive natural experience!
As one of the top 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 – 36 to be exact.
You’ll have more than enough time to enjoy the breath-taking views as you wind your way down the numerous twists and turns that this route has to offer. You can begin your journey in the pretty village of Heiligenblut with its beautiful Gothic church, before starting the 30-mile long drive. There are many lookout points along the way, so you’ll probably want to take your time and make a few stops.
Eventually, you will reach the foot of the Grossglockner, the “Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe”, from where you can explore various hiking routes: Take a 30-minute walk directly to the massive Pasterze glacier on a safe, well-marked trail, or take part in one of the guided tours with a national park ranger.
The Ultimate Guide To The Best Road Trips In Europe – Pin For Later