Let's face it; something is alluring about taking a road trip, driving through the winding roads, experiencing the local terrain, making frequent but inevitable stops in an attempt to gorge a breathtaking view. To help ease this yearning, we have curated some of the most beautiful drives in Europe for all those drive enthusiasts who squeeze in at least one road trip during their trip.
These drives allow you to experience all Europe's splendor, spectacular scenery, and breathtaking tourist attractions, making them a memorable, once in a lifetime experience. Besides, Europe is so steeped in history that almost any trip would be exciting and captivating. Read on, and you'll see the drives that should be part of your next trip to Europe.
The just over 90-mile Transfagarasan Highway is Romania's most spectacular road. Thanks to being featured on the BBCs Top Gear, it is also one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. Who doesn't want to step in the footsteps of Clarkson, Hammond, and May, right?
Also referred to as the "Road in the Clouds," it climbs to an altitude of 6,699 feet, twists, and descends through the highest peaks of the Fagaras Mountains as it connects the two historical provinces of Transylvania and Walachia, which are known for their Vampire folklore. The Poenari Castle that was the residence of Vlad the Impaler is near the village of Arefu.
Its 831 small bridges, 27 viaducts, and five tunnels meander through the scenic countryside that's rich in wildlife and home to many scenic hiking and mountain bike trails.
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
The breathtaking 111 mile Ring of Kerry takes you on a trip through some of Ireland’s most impressive scenery. It’s essentially a ring road that follows the coastal contours of Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula. It’s more than just a driving route, though. It’s an iconic destination with stunning visual history and diverse wildlife scattered across Ireland’s green hills.
Along the way, you’ll see magnificent beaches, rocky coastlines, countless rivers, and beautiful lakes. You could also stop in Steem, spend the night in Portmagee, and see the Ogham Stones near Beaufort, Torc Waterfall, and the Cloghereen Blue Pool Walk-in Killarney National Park and Ross Castle.
Alpine Road, Germany
The 300 mile Deutsche Alpenstrasse or Alpine Road snakes along the Austrian border from Lake Constance in the west to Königssee in the east of Germany’s Bavaria region. Along the way, you’ll pass 21 mountain lakes, 25 castles, palaces, and abbeys, as well as over 60 spa resorts and hundreds of peaks.
This route introduces you to the rich Bavarian culture from beer gardens, lederhosen, green pastures, magnificent lakes, fairylike castles, and the traditional german villages. You’ll get to imagine you’re a real-life Sleeping Beauty at Neuschwanstein castle and stopover at the Rococo style Church of Wies and the Linderhof Palace.
For more details on the Bavarian experience, check out Three days of castle hopping in the land of beer, Bavaria blog post.
The impressive and spectacular Alpine road near Salzburg in Austria gets its name from the Austrian Alps' highest peak, the Grossglockner.
It's one of Austria's biggest tourist attractions and passes through the High Tauern National Park and the Fuscher Ache River and opens up a grand view to the 12,000-foot-high mountain as well as the Pasterze glacier.
Although the road's historical traces go back thousands of years, it was officially opened in 1935 and has undergone several changes, with the road becoming wider, safer, and more comfortable. Along the way, you'll pass numerous landmarks like Fucher chapel, an observation tower, and Nature's Museum that has an impressive array of minerals, plant species, birds, and animals that live in this natural reserve.
In short, every mile and every single one of the 36 turns of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road is an experience.
Furka Pass, Switzerland
What would a trip to Europe be without a visit to Switzerland? And being a road trip makes it even better. The Furka pass connects Andermatt with Gletsch and offers some of the most spectacular Alpine scenes on earth. The road reaches an elevation of 7,969 feet and is one of the most exciting and scenic ways to cross the Alps.
This pass was featured in the James Bond movie Goldfinger and is often referred to as the James Bond Strasse. Another attraction that is on the way is the Rhone Glacier. The visitor center for Rhone Glacier is located right across the parking lot of the iconic landmark Hotel Belvédère.
Rhone Glacier, a source to the River Rhone, is the largest glacier in the Alps and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can walk through the blue ice cave on a wooden boardwalk.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
South Italy is one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations, and it's easy to see why when you drive the Amalfi Coast. Starting in Sorrento just south of Naples, this magnificent drive winds its way through small fishing villages and historic towns along the coast.
The route connects 13 towns that are so close together they seem like one, yet each has its charm. Along the way, you'll get to see Roman ruins at Minori, explore Emerald Grotto at Conca Dei Marini, and experience a fish lovers' paradise at Cetara.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
There's no getting away from it; Scotland is one of the most scenic and breathtaking countries on earth. You have many choices as far as drives through Scotland goes, but one of your best bets would be the Isle of Skye.
This could be the most spectacular drive you'll ever embark on. The Isle, connected to Scotland's northwest coast by a bridge, has everything from rugged landscapes to picturesque fishing villages and medieval castles. Add to that the sheer sea cliffs, seashell-strewn beaches, and waterfalls, and describing the landscape as intoxicating is an understatement.
Along the way, you'll also get to see the Fairy Pools, the Magical Fairy Glen, Neist Point, and Portree town. Oh, and don't forget about the whisky.
The Golden Circle, Iceland
So, you might not have time to drive Iceland's spectacular Ring Road that circles the entire country. Don't fret, as the shorter Golden Circle route is just as stunning. On the 186-mile drive starting at Reykjavik, you'll experience many of the sights Iceland is famous for.
Your first stop will be the Continental Divide in Þingvellir National Park, where you'll walk between two continents. And don't forget your swimming trunks because, at Silfra Canyon, you get to swim in the crystal-clear water that's filtered through the surrounding lava fields from a nearby glacier.
Your next stop is Geysir, where a hot spring erupts several times a day. The main attraction, though, is the iconic Gullfoss Waterfall. Famed for its scale and beauty, it's one of the best waterfalls in Iceland, and it produces a thick mist and frequent rainbows.
Rhine River Valley, Germany
Stretching for 820 miles from Rheinwaldhorn Glacier in the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, the Rhine River is the longest and busiest river in Germany, and you can drive alongside it in the Rhine River Valley.
Start your trip at Aachen, where Charlemagne, also known as the 'Father of Europe', made it the center of his Holy Roman Empire. From Aachen, the drive through the Eifel National Park to Koblenz, where you'll pass the spectacular and notorious Nürburgring Formula 1 racing circuit.
The drive south from Koblenz is arguably the most spectacular section of this route. Here you'll experience Lorelei Rock, where legend has it that the dulcet tones from the clifftop lair of Lorelei lured riverboats to their doom against the rocks with her beauty.
The French Riviera, France
If you want to experience the rich and famous lifestyles, you'll want to place the drive from Nice to Cannes on top of your list.
The French Riviera's got it all, from luxury villas, casinos, and superyachts to quaint little fishing villages where fishers are still loyal to the age-old fishing traditions.
From Nice, the second most popular tourist destination in France, to Cannes, one of the most opulent, you'll find cultural attractions like ancient Roman ruins, medieval towns, and art galleries. Apart from that, don't forget about the sun-soaked beaches and resort towns where, if you are lucky, you'll get to meet your favorite celebrity.
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