12 European road-trip destinations

12 European road-trip destinations

Looking for the freedom and flexibility that a road trip offers? Discover 12 ideal road-trip destinations in Europe.

While we all may dream of idyllic vacations in far-flung destinations, deep down we know there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a road trip. You can go wherever you want, when you want, and best of all you can take as much luggage as fits in the trunk or fill it up with trip souvenirs. Europe is the perfect place to hit the road, with loads to offer within a reasonable driving distance. 

In this article, we steer you in the right direction, from Germany, to France, Sweden, and also Southern Europe and Austria. Buckle up and read on to discover some beautiful and unique destinations for a road trip in Europe.

1. Ardennes, Belgium

From castles to dense forests and charming villages, the Ardennes has it all. This upland area in Eastern Belgium is perfect for a few days of peace and nature. You can spend hours hiking, learning about history, and leisurely strolling through the various towns and villages. In short, it’s an ideal destination for the whole family. Our favorite places in the Ardennes are the Ninglinspo River, Bastogne, and the Tomb of the Giant.


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2. Black Forest, Germany

The next destination is in Germany. The Black Forest, or Schwarzwald, is a nature-rich and densely forested area in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Not only can you discover waterfalls such as Triberg Waterfalls, and lakes that include the Titisee and Mummelsee, but also castles, hiking trails for all levels, and a host of charming towns like Freiburg and Baden-Baden, We highly recommend cruising the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse, a scenic 130km route that crosses some of the most beautiful spots in the Black Forest. 


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3. The Eifel, Germany

Another beautiful area in Germany is the Eifel. If you love hiking and cycling, then this region is for you. A fun bike route for the whole family is the Maare-Mosel-Radweg, which follows a disused railway line. Fairytale-like castle Burg Eltz and the nature and geopark Vulkaneifel are two more places to add to the list on your trip to Eifel.

4. Normandy and Brittany, France

With their picturesque towns, beaches and numerous attractions, the regions of Normandy and Brittany are ideal for a road trip lasting a few weeks. If you’re visiting Normandy for the first time you definitely don’t want to miss Mont Saint-Michel, the famous beaches where the soldiers landed on D-Day, the house of Claude Monet, and the city of Saint-Lô. 

As you drive south, you’ll enter the region of Brittany, which also has several must-sees. Harbor city Saint Malo, the Pink Granite Coast, and Brest, at the westernmost point of France, are a few of our favorites.

5. Loire Valley, France

Another classic roadtrip destination is the Loire Valley, located just below Paris. Known for its delightful wines and picturesque villages, it is, of course, also world-famous for being home to more than 300 castles. You’ll not only discover fortresses from the 10th century, but also stunning country houses and palaces. The largest castle is the Château de Chambord, while Château d’Ussé will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy-tale world.

6. Ardèche, France

Our last French destination is the Ardèche. This region in Southern France is a perfect spot for nature lovers. Despite being quite inland, the region still enjoys a maritime climate with warm summers and mild winters. One of the top places to make a pit stop is the Pont d’Arc. This natural bridge, 34m high, spans the Ardèche River and is a popular place for canoeing. While you’re there, we suggest driving to the Gorges de l’Ardèche, a remarkable gorge with rocks and limestone.

7. Northern Italy

The lakes in the north of Italy are also a beloved destination for many road trippers. Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Garda are probably the three best-known. The drive there is long but can be easily combined with a stop in Southern Germany. 

The lakes are all surrounded by green mountains where you can do some hiking. Additionally, there are plenty of picturesque villages and towns with beautiful waterfront houses. With their combination of beaches, villages and nature, you can relax and indulge in delicious Italian food, while also enjoying some outdoor activities. Lake Garda is also the perfect base for day trips to Verona, Brescia, and Venice.


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8. Carinthia, Austria

Next door to Italy and Slovenia lies Carinthia, aka ‘the sunny south of Austria’. Due to the pleasant climate during the summer months, not only can you enjoy some hiking you can  also swim in more than 1200 lakes. After a morning of hiking, there’s nothing better than an afternoon swim in one of the lakes. These pristine mountain lakes can get as warm as 25 degrees celsius. One of the best-known lakes is Weissensee, which sits at an altitude of 930m and is famous for hosting the Alternative Eleven Cities Tour. In the summer stroll along its shores and take a refreshing dip.  

Mountain lovers will also be pleased to know that Austria’s highest mountain, the Grossglockner, with a height of 3798m, can be found in this region. You can spend hours hiking up mountains, or if you like curving roads you could drive the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße. 


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9. Costa Brava, Spain

This rugged coast has been a beloved vacation destination for years, and not without reason. It has a pleasant moderate climate from May to the end of September, a large number of charming towns and cities, beautiful beaches, and good campgrounds. For the finest beaches, head to Platja d’Aro and Palamós. Looking for picturesque villages? Then visit Cadaqués and Calella de Palafrugell.


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10. Slovenia

To the south of Austria is the wonderfully not-so-touristy Slovenia. The Slovenian Alps offer a beautiful landscape for long hiking trips through the mountains. Additionally, you’ll find one of Europe’s most beautiful lakes: Lake Bled. This picturesque lake has crystalclear waters, while the church on the small island in the middle of the lake and the castle on the banks complete the pretty picture. If you also happen to be a wine lover, Slovenia will more than satisfy your palate; it has several beautiful vineyards and delicious, local wines. 


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11. Luxembourg

Prefer to stay closer to home? Then Luxembourg might be for you. Luxembourg City is a small but versatile capital with trendy neighborhoods and a rich history. Looking for castles? Then visit the towns of Vianden, Larochette, and Bourscheid. Nature lovers can explore the green Mullerthal, the Moselle Valley, and the Schiessentümpel waterfall. 


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12. Southern Sweden

Sweden might not immediately come to mind when you’re thinking of a road trip, but it more than hits the spot. In Puttgarden, Germany, you can take the ferry to Rødby in Denmark and then drive into Sweden via the Öresund Bridge. You can also choose to drive the entire distance without using a ferry. 

The province of Skåne, in the south of Sweden, has pristine forests, meadows, beautiful beaches, and a pleasant climate. Opt for an active vacation outdoors or make it a city trip and explore the cozy city of Malmö. 

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