As an Aussie it has been my lifelong dream to spend my winter vacation on a road trip in Europe. So I decided to make it a reality. Europe has a lot to offer from beautiful Mediterranean to the majestic Alps and stunning castles. So it was a bit hard to decide which road trip to go on, in my search for the right one I was able to come up with three fantastic tours that cover some of the most important sights one needs to see when road-tripping in Europe. But before you set out there is some basic preparation work that needs to be done.
European road trip prep
Considering the varied landscapes that await you on your road trip is this essential that you come prepared. And, of course, first thing’s first, you need the right vehicle for your trip. I know you are probably immediately thinking of a 4×4 as this is an adventure, but take your time and consider a far better alternative, an SUV. If you look at the difference between a 4×4 and an SUV you will we that the latter enables you a safer, more stylish ride. And that is exactly what you need to make your road trip perfect. Now that you have the right vehicle it is time to pack up. There are a lot of great hostels and Airbnbs along these routes so your accommodation is all set. And unlike Australia there are no long stretches of road where there is nothing but nature, so you will have enough gas pumps and small dinners and there is no need to overpack on food. It would be a shame to miss out on some great local cuisine. Finally make sure you have all the paperwork set, get road assistance numbers in all the countries you are about to visti and off we go.
Route 1 – Trollstigen, Norway
Let’s start at the very north, Norway in summer is beautiful, stunning green landscapes, majestic untouched nature, it is simply breathtaking. And a road trip along Trollstigen route is an adventure worth taking. What awaits you are cascading waterfalls, 11 tight hairpin bends, along with memorable mountain views, complete with vertiginously steep inclines and awe-inspiring glimpses of the twisting route unfolding before your very eyes. Troll’s Ladder, as it is known in English offers you viewing platforms providing you with the opportunity to marvel at the 1,050ft-high Stigfossen waterfall, that can also be crossed by motorists via an arched, stone bridge. Regardless of the popularity of this route it’s vastness offers a unique sense of isolation and freedom at the same time, and it is something that you will never forget.
Route 2 – Paris to Berlin
Now we head further south to visit the two most important European capitals. The trip starts in Paris, where you need to spend a couple of days, just to experience the sheer beauty of this majestic city. From the Louvre to Montmartre and a boat ride along Seine River. Then it’s time to hit the road. On your way to Berlin there are several major stops you should make. The route itself is around 1000 km long, but if you stop at some of the locations you are looking at 15 day trip at least. Your first stop should be the Roman city of Trier, once the largest city north of the Alps. There is still a lot to see from that time, from well preserved Roman baths to a Roman bridge dating from the 2nd century and the stunning Porta Nigra city gate. The next stop on this beautiful route is Bacharach on Rhine. Located in the middle of wine country, you should definitely spend a day here enjoying the rich local cuisine and tasting some fantastic wines. The next two stops should be Heidelberg and Leipzig, two great cities rich in history and culture. And finally we reach Berlin, where much like in Paris you need at least few days to truly immerse yourself in the energy of the city.
Route 3 – Genoa to Cannes
This is quite a short route along the Mediterranean coast, but it will take you several days to visit everything it has installed for you. The best way to cover this route is to get a room at one of Italian small seaside villages located between Genoa and San Remo. And from there start your adventure. This is also a flower region so on one side of the road you will see the beautiful Mediterranean and on the other hills covered with colorful flowers. Now for the sights, starting with Genoa, one of the biggest old ports in Italy, the architecture alone is magnificent not to mention the famous Genoa Cathedral of San Lorenzo that you simply must see. Next is the city of San Remo where the famous music competition is held year after year. When you cross over to France you get to visit the small city state of Monaco, which has one of the most beautiful castles. Right next to it is the city of Monte Carlo that hosts the famous Formula 1 race and is known for its luxury casinos. The next two cities along this route are Nice, a well known French summer destination and Cannes, known for its star studded film festival. And at the very end there is San Trope another tourist destination for the rich and famous.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Europe has to offer, in a stretch of just a few kilometers you are able to find up to 10 magical sights that are a must see. So plan carefully, and count on the fact that you’ll keep coming back for more. I know I will.