The Top European Destinations Where You Should Drive This Summer

21st June 2018
island-of-elba-3389078_640

Are you ready for the holidays? Why not go for a drive in one of the thousands of fantastic destinations Europe has to offer? The team at YourParkingSpace asked a panel of top travel experts where theyspend their holidays on the Old Continent. Whether it's in France, Ireland, Italy, Spain or Slovenia, there are so many things to see and do in Europe that you'd need a lifetime to discover everything. Are you ready to pack your bags and put on your seatbelt for an unforgettable road trip? Let's go! (and don't forget your sunscreen).

 

#1 Go for a road trip in gorgeous Italy

clelia

Being Italian, I was lucky enough to have the time to discover my country in depth on more than one road trip, sometimes short ones and other times I spent two or more weeks on the road. Why is Italy the perfect place for a road trip in my books? Quite easy really! Try to rent a car and drive (in any direction) from one of the main cities like Rome, Milan or Florence and I can assure you that you'll find at least 10 lovely villages to explore on the way. Italy is so full of marvelous places to discover, jaw-dropping landscapes and views, the road system is (for the most part) quite good and the main cities are well connected giving you plenty of choices to drive around, being it via the main roads or by using the "countryside" roads for more scenic views. The choices for a road trip in Italy are endless!

- Clelia Mattana, keepcalmandtravel.com

cinque-terre-340348_640

 

 #2 Day Trips Out Of Stuttgart In Germany

kristin

I just love doing day trips out of Stuttgart in Germany, which is located in the southern part of the country. Stuttgart is whimsical, charming, and even a little bit magical. it is also perfect for all seasons - in the summer, it is all lush and green, whereas in the winter, it's a perfect winter wonderland. You’ve got way more sunshine than other parts of Germany, some of the best cuisine, waterfalls, dreamy castles, and so much history. The beat part of it all for me is the smaller crowds! I highly recommend basing yourself in Stuttgart, rent a car and explore the surrounding area and head to the Black Forest, check out Hohenzollern castle, and head to the Bad Urach waterfall. 

- Kristin, bemytravelmuse.com

stuttgart-354557_640

  

 #3 Drive Around Lovely Slovenia, One Of The Top Places To Travel In Europe

On the Luce

With a mix of historical towns, clear lakes, beach resorts, mountains peaks and dense forests, a road trip through Slovenia has bit of everything. The country is great for driving – the roads are well maintained and never get too busy, car hire is inexpensive, and the county's small size means your driving days aren't too long – and there's plenty of stunning scenery along the way. Within a week you can explore the historic capital of Ljubljana, swim in the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea at Piran, catch the sunset at lakes Bled and Bohinj, and hike or ski in the Julian Alps. Slovenia is one of Europe's undiscovered gems with delicious food and it's own wine regions – so get in there quickly before everyone discovers it!

- Lucy Dodsworth, ontheluce.com

slovenia bled 

#4 The Frozen Beauty Of Iceland

lauren cody

One of our favourite destinations in Europe which is perfect for driving in is Iceland. The roads are well built and very quiet so it's perfect even for newbie drivers (provided you go in the summer). Iceland is so beautiful you will want to stop the car to take photos every three minutes - a flexibility you just won't find on a bus or a guided tour. Seriously, Iceland is like no other place on the planet, you'll want to make the most of it!

- Laura and Tanbay, travellingweasels.com

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#5 Go On A Sightseeing Tour Of The South Of France

annette white

The South of France, one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, is known for its sprawling vineyards, delectable food and charming towns. And the best way to experience it all is by driving! Having a car during your travels gives you the freedom to explore not only the large touristy areas, but also the nooks and crannies of a destination. During my trip it allowed me to drive through a gorgeous tunnel of trees (multiple times), stop at a tiny brasserie where only the locals go and taste a wineries that the tour buses do not go.
 

- Annette White, bucketlistjourney.net

south of france
 

#6 Drive Along The Coast Of Malaga

Stefania

My favourite travel destination is Malaga, the city where I have been living for the last 9 years, although I initially came only for a year. Granted it is quite a drive from my hometown in the Netherlands, which is approximately 2500 kilometres, but still doable if you take your time, make it a road trip and enjoy the scenery and cities on your way. Malaga is a coastal city with an average of 300 days a year sunshine, a historic city centre, lots of restaurants and terraces, a really cool harbour, it is for Western European standards still relatively cheap and within a two hours drive you can go skiing in the Sierra Nevada for five months of the year. In short, Malaga has it all.

- Stefania van Lieshout, stefaniavanlieshout.com

malaga

 

#7 Don't Miss Andalusia in Southern Spain, one of the best places to go in Europe!

nomadic boys

One of our favourite places in Europe to drive is in Andalusia in south Spain. We came here a few years ago and did a big road trip from Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, Grazalema and Cadiz. It’s absolutely stunning. As well as having some of the best beaches, it has beautiful mountain scenery to hike in and of course world class monuments to explore like the Alhambra of Granada and the Grand Mosque of Córdoba. Another highlight is the huge array of delicious foods like gazpacho, jamon and paellas.

- Stefan and Sebastien, nomadicboys.com

alhambra-2615842_640

 

#8 Puglia In Southern Italy is a must see

audrey

Puglia in southern Italy is one of our favorite areas in Europe for a road trip. It's a region filled with natural beauty like the coastal towns along the Adriatic Sea such as Polignano a Mare and Monopoli, as well the rolling Istrian countryside filled with trulli, traditional Puglian stone huts. A road trip allows you to hop between cities like Lecce with its 2nd century Roman amphitheater and Martina Franca with its Baroque and Rococo architecture. Not to mention, eating your way through Puglia is a dream with its unique southern Italian cuisine filled with fava bean sauces, fresh seafood, home-made orecchiette pasta and more. Be sure to stop by a weekly market or two during your road trip through Puglia.

- Audrey Scott, uncorneredmarket.com

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#9 The Wild Atlantic Way In Ireland Is Absolutely Fantastic!

 Headshot Joe 200x200I would definitely recommend the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland as one of the best driving holidays in Europe. There are towering cliffs, winding mountain roads, spellbinding beaches, and unrivaled natural beauty along the Irish coast of the powerful Atlantic Ocean. I drove the route with my wife in April this year and it was one of the best drives we have ever done!

- Joe Saw, jkgo.co

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#10 Montenegro and Portugal: Two Absolute Jewels

clemens sehi

Two suggestions for great road trip countries that I did myself:
Montenegro: full of surprises and still an unknown jewel on the Mediterranean Coast. The low prices make sure that it's the perfect European country for a road trip. Expect picture-perfect highlands, beautiful bays overlooking the royal blue Adriatic Sea as well as antique Venetian villages and UNESCO walled cities. 
Portugal: the best way to explore Portugal‘s highlights is by car, and while driving, each wrong turn can take you to another beautiful town or village that you would have never expected. The country has good motorways. The best idea is to go from Porto in the north all the way down to Lisboa or Faro in the south. While the coast is popular with surfers, don’t miss the country side. There are all types of accommodation, from basic bed and breakfasts to five-star hotels and campgrounds.
 

- Clemens Sehi, travellersarchive.com

portugal

 

#11 Another vote for the South of France!

jen ruiz

The South of France is a gorgeous place for a European road trip. Driving allows you the freedom to stop and smell the flowers, literally. In the summer months, you'll find an abundance of lavender and sunflower fields, the majority of which are open for you to pull over and explore. A scenic route could start in Avignon, head to the Senanque Abbey in Gordes, get a dose of adventure in the mountainous region of Castellane and end with macarons and seaside views in Nice. 

- Jen Ruiz, jenonajetplane.com

south of france provence

 

#12 And another one for Slovenia. A very popular destination too!

jessie

If you're looking for a memorable place to drive to in Europe, one not-to-miss natural attraction is Slovenia's Lake Bled. It's an easy drive from the country's capital of Ljubljana, and once you arrive you'll be greeted by a gorgeous Romanesque tower-adorned medieval castle overlooking a peaceful lake where you can kayak or boat out to a small island. I recommend renting bikes and cycling around the lake, stopping to hike up to the 2,480-foot high viewpoint at Velika Osojnica, providing aerial views of the lake, Karavanke mountains and Kamnik Alps. Now, since you have your car (or your bike), it's also recommended to save time to take a scenic countryside-filled drive to nearby Vintgar Gorge, located within Triglav National Park, for some easy but incredibly beautiful hiking. If you love nature, this will be a day you'll never forget!

- Jessie Festa, jessieonajourney.com

slovenia

 

#13 You'll love driving around the Costa Brava in Catalonia!

andre

Costa Brava in Catalonia, Spain is a great spot to drive because it has unique winding roads that go through a teal-colored Mediterranean landscape that overlooks the sea and the pine-filled woodland. It is a romantic driveaway, that goes through beautiful old towns such as Calella de Palafrugell, Begur and the famous Cadaques where Salvador Dali used to live.  
 
Along the coast, there are fantastic coves with crystal clear waters and top-notch restaurants where you can enjoy the best of Mediterranean gastronomy. The area is as well a prominent wine region in Spain, so you´ll certainly enjoy a good pairing to the tapas served along the way.
 

- Andre, barcelonaeatlocal.com

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#14 Driving around Croatia is a dream come true

miriam 2

Croatia is one of my favorite places in Europe. Why? It's so quaint and magical, not to mention cheap. It's the perfect place for a road trip. From lakes, amazing beaches, waterfalls and some of the world's greatest food & wine - Croatia pretty much has it all. 
 

- Miriam, adventurousmiriam.com

croatia

 

#15 You should drive to Trieste right now!

michela

I would plan a road trip around the North East of Italy, that stretches between Venice and Trieste. This is a lesser-visited corner of Italy, offering not only a beautiful landscape but also a myriad of things to do and see. Within a few hours drive you can go from the beach and colourful small coastal townships, through flat land and lush green foot hills, like the Prosecco Hills to the amazing Dolomites, a Unesco Heritage site and one of the best places for hiking in Europe. Truly a picturesque yet uncovered land definitely worth adding to your trip itinerary in Europe.
 

- Michela, rockytravel.net

trieste

 

#16 Where else but Tuscany?

Eleonora Cordella The Roman Guy

Who doesn't want to spend a perfect day in the Tuscany countryside? Nothing screams "summertime" more than a chill road trip under the tuscan sun! It's so easy to plan day trips from multiple locations around Italy, especially Florence. In just a few hours of driving, you'll be taken back to the Middle Ages in the medieval hill towns of the Val di Chiana and Val D'Orcia. You can head to Pisa and opt for the most traditional sights, like The Leaning Tower, then enjoy a scenic ride to Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci and admire the rural landscape from the top of the Vinci tower. And of course, enjoy a typical tuscan lunch, savoring its flavors and traditions! Don't fancy navigating the foreign roads yourself? Get a private driver to pick you up and chauffeur you in a climate controlled luxury vehicle as part of a Pisa day trip from Florence.
 

- Eleonora Cordella, theromanguy.com

vinci air view 2

 

#17 The Coast of North-East England

anne-marieThere’s something quite special about driving along the Northumberland seashore. Pink sandstone castles, rocky outcrops teeming with pretty billed Puffins, smoked kipper breakfasts and long stretches of sandy beaches. If you watch the tide you can drive out to monastic Lindisfarne, a historically significant religious refuge. In winter you can even hit upon the rainbow glow of the Northern Lights over the ocean. The traffic is light and there are plenty of cute fishing villages to stop over in, just don’t forget to sample the catch of the day!

- Anne-Marie Soulsby, soulfultravels.co.uk

north east england

 

#18 Driving from Tromso to the Lofoten islands in Norway is just amazing!

myhammocktime

Driving from Tromso to the Lofoten islands in Norway will leave you speechless. Once we got our rental car in Tromso, we started to enjoy Norway’s diverse landscape with its majestic fjords, beautiful lakes and misty mountains. Luckily, wild camping is allowed in Norway, so we just slept in our rental car. We just randomly stopped, cooked lunch on a gas cooker, had a coffee and then continued our way to the Lofoten. The highlight is Reine – this cute little fishing village, perfectly situated!

I won’t forget the moment when we were laying in the hammock on a lake shore while soaking up a romantic sunset.

- Sonja Hladnik, myhammocktime.com

Norway

 

#19 Take a drive down the Amalfi Coast: from Rome to Positano

cacinda

The Amalfi Coast is one of my favorite drives in Italy. The drive along this coastline is breathtaking, where the mountain cliffs rise up against the emerald-blue sea. Although it is NOT for the faint of heart. It has quite steep rock mountains on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. Your car will be clinging to the narrow road at some narrow spots in the winding roads, so keep that in mind if you don't love the thrill of the road. But I do believe it one of the most beautiful drives in the world! There are always plenty of stops to make along the way until you get to the crown jewel of the area, which is Positano.

-Dr. Cacinda Maloney, pointsandtravel.com

positano 

 

#20 You should explore the South of France by car

char 2

There are so many pretty little towns and sleepy villages in the south of France. When I'm there I like to drive without much purpose, going whichever way my heart fancies. However, if you don't have much time to play with make sure you drive to Minerve. It's named as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Perched up high, filled with adorable cafes and quaint shops, it offers beautiful views and great photo opportunities.

-Char, taylorheartstravel.com

Taylor Hearts Travel - Family Travel Blog

 

#21 A road trip in the Balkans is a great idea

maria

If you want to see and experience something different than the usual summer destinations, go on a road trip in the Balkans. Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Albania... they all have many beautiful places that nobody knows about. The best way is to go by car so you can take as much time as you need in any place you visit. And often, you would be surprised by something and would want to stay more. So don't plan everything in advance and just go with the flow.

-Maria, travellingbuzz.com

Devils Bridge

 

 #22 Definitely Austria!

tracy

If you’re looking for adventure paired with culture this summer, drive through the Bregenzerwald, also known as the Bregenz Forest. This slice of Western Austria is off the grid for most travelers, but don’t let that stop you from hopping in the car and wandering the winding mountain roads.  You’ll discover acres of pastures, quaint villages, stunning modern architecture, and a farm-to-fork food scene that’s the real deal. And did I mention – the Bregenz Forest is in the Austrian Alps? That’s all the more reason to explore this area of the country.

-Tracy Kaler, tracysnewyorklife.com

austria

 

 #23 Interesting and wild Romania

cris

If you want to see wild scenery, come to Romania and visit the country in a car. Whether you want to cross between Transylvania and Wallachia on either Transalpina – highest road in the country - or the famous Transfagarasan, or you plan to take shorter scenic drives, Romania won’t disappoint. Unfortunately, the lack of highways will also make for quite a slow and frustrating experience, but that’s part of the charm, I promise.

-Cris Puscas, looknwalk.info

romania

 

#24 Galicia, North West coast of Spain

inma jose

Whether you have a couple of days or a few weeks, there are enough things to do and see in Galicia to keep you busy and have fun. From its raw coastline, filled with uncountable sandy beaches, cliffs and fishermen villages to the inland mountains, historic cities, traditions and events all year round, affordability and great cuisine; this land is a hidden gem only those that don't fear a bit of rain here and there will be able to enjoy fully. Because rain or shine, Galicia is stunning! 

Let us know if you come, we can help you plan your time here.
 

-Inma and Jose, aworldtotravel.com

Galicia photography by A World to Travel

 

#25 A drive around the Faroe Islands

nellie

In my opinion, one of the best places to drive in Europe is the Faroe Islands. What makes the Faroe Islands so special is how rugged and wild, yet easily accessible it is from continental Europe. It truly feels like you’re in the middle of the ocean here. No matter where you go on the Faroe Islands, you are never more than 5 km from the coast. The archipelago is largely covered by wilderness and even the largest towns on the island have populations in their hundreds. The easiest way to get around the Faroe Islands is by car. Much of the Faroe Islands are covered by wilderness and many of the most beautiful and interesting sights are only accessible by small roads that zigzag through steep mountains, but they're well-paved and signposted which makes driving a pleasure here.
 

-Nellie Huang, wildjunket.com

faroe islands

 

#26 You should drive around Algarve in Portugal

simon

There is no better way to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Algarve in Portugal than by hiring a car and spending a few days driving along the coast. With its picturesque beaches surrounded by sandstone cliffs and its quaint little villages, you certainly won't find yourself short of places to explore.
 
Be sure to stop off in Faro, the main city in the Algarve. This historic old town with its narrow streets and its marina is a delight to walk around. But just remember that people in Portugal drive on the right side of the road and if you visit during summer, expect some traffic around the more popular towns such as Albufeira and Lagos.
 

-Simon and Cindy Collins, freetworoam.com

portugal

 

#27 You won't regret going for a road trip in Denmark

KatjaGaskell

Last summer we explored northern Denmark by car and this holiday quickly became one of our favourite road trips. Away from Bustling Copenhagen, you drive along wide empty roads through forests and hills, past lakes and into vast open spaces. Head towards Grenen, the country’s northernmost point, and you’ll witness wide-open sorbet skies painted in stripes of pink, orange and yellow. There’s much to see and do in this corner of Denmark from ancient Viking burial sites and pretty towns with even prettier beaches to the lively city of Aalborg. What’s more driving distances are relatively short and traffic non-existent.
 

-Katja Gaskell, globetotting.com

denmark

 

#28 Road trip around the Highlands of Scotland: an unforgettable experience

kirsten

I can't help but recommend the Highlands of Scotland as one of the best drives you could take in the UK or Europe. There are sweeping landscapes, charming villages, winding roads, picturesque lochs and waterfalls, stately castles, cozy pubs and unrivaled natural beauty all in a relatively unspoiled and underdeveloped area with such friendly locals. I have made the drive several times with friends or with my partner, Danté, and it is always one of the best drives I have ever done outside of rural France.
 

-Kirsten Alana, kirstenalana.com

fallinscotland_12

 

#29  Explore Portugal’s Beautiful Island of Madeira

rocio and julian

Yes, Madeira is a relatively small island. But that should not prevent you from exploring its picturesque mountain roads and seaside villages on a road trip. We visited this remote island far off the Portuguese coast last summer and were left speechless by its beauty. From the island’s rough eastern sea coast to the lush forests and fishing villages in the center and western side – Madeira is a great destination to explore by car. Be sure to drop by the famous natural swimming pool in Porto Moniz.

-Rocio & Julian, apenoni.com

madeira

 

#30 Enjoy the winding roads of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

britanny

While driving the winding roads of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in the South of France, you'll stumble across the Verdon Gorge. With water so turquoise, you'd swear it's Photoshopped, this is easily one of Europe's most beautiful river gorges. During the summer, go for a swim or rent a boat to cruise. When the weather turns colder, take to the sky and paraglide over the gorge. Stop off in quaint village of Moustiers Sainte Marie for dinner and learn the local folklore of the town’s mysterious star which dates back to Crusader times.

-Lean more about the Verdon gorge on Brittany's blog, Thesweetwanderlust.com

lac sainte croix verdon

 

#31 Take a drive along the Marbella Golden Mile

jemma

Get a taste of how the other half live by taking a drive along the Marbella Golden Mile. Marbella, in the Costa Del Sol, is home to many of the rich and famous. Sneak a peek at the luxury mansions, which line the beautiful coast. Finish off with a bite to eat and a browse around the designer shops at the marina in Puerto Banus. A real taste of luxury!

-Jemma,  Travellingtwinkles.co.uk

marbella golden mile

 

#32 Drive around the craddle of European civilisation: Greece

joanna

Greece doesn't often get thought of as a road trip destination, because most people want to visit the Greek islands. But if you want to see a completely different side of the country, take a car out of Athens and drive towards central Greece. Stop at ancient ruins like Delphi and Meteora, where you can see stunning ancient ruins and monasteries among jagged, mountainous landscapes. Then spend a night at the beautiful winter resort village of Arachova, where you will find cozy cafes and restaurants amid stone houses built into the snowy slopes.

-Joanna,  LoseTheMap.com

greece

 

#33 The Cotswolds in England are worth a visit!

Heather

The Cotswolds is a great part of England for a weekend drive, with the beautiful Regency town of Cheltenham as your starting point. There's lots to see in the town, with elegant Georgian architecture and stylish boutiques, so you can base yourself here for a couple of days and tour the rest of the Cotswolds. Visit the Saturday farmer's market in Stroud, see the trees change colour at Westonbirt Arboretum, then visit the pretty towns of Tetbury and Malmsbury with their honey stone buildings and grand houses built on the wealth of a medieval wool trade.

-Heather, Heatheronhertravels.com

cheltenham

 

#34 Ostrava in Czechia is a lovely surprise

jeanette

Ostrava may not come to mind first when you think about road tripping around Czechia. The city itself is easy to navigate and has an abundance of creative cafes. Because no road trip should ever start without good coffee. But it's what surrounds this industrial city that it worth road tripping for. Only a short drive away is the wonder of the Beskydy mountains, the delightful town on Stramberk and a few other wonders.

-Jeanette, Travelinghoneybird.com

ostrava

 

#35 Explore the magic of Glen Coe Valley, Scotland

nicola

We’ve converted a van into our dream tiny home, where we have been exploring the UK since May 2018. There is something super magical about Glen Coe Valley, Scotland and the drive on the A82. Passing through the gateway to the highlands, rising over 1000 feet overlooking the great wilderness before slowly descending through the glen itself is a bucket list must. Every inch of this route is mouth-watering where your eyes will be spoilt with summits, valleys, waterfalls, wild deers and endless lochs. It is by far the most scenic road trip in the country and one of Earth's enchanting beauties.

-Nicola, Greenearthling.co.uk

scotland

 

Greg

Greg loves travel and driving along wild, rugged coastlines.

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