Summer Road Trip Ideas

June 27, 2012| Italy | Florence| Cities

There is nothing more exciting than a road trip around some hitherto unexplored parts of Europe. With the freedom to detour to see a scenic viewpoint, photograph a waterfall, a windmill or a ruined chateau, each summer road trip is uniquely different, created entirely by the driver and his passengers' whims.

Download your favourite sing-along songs to your MP3 player and set off on your own adventure.  As Mars Bonfire's famous lyrics from "Born to be Wild" implore:

Get your motor runnin'

Head out on the highway

Lookin' for adventure

And whatever comes our way…

Amalfi Coast

One of the most famous drives in Europe is the 55km route along the Amalfi coast in southern Italy from Sorrento to Salerno. Never far from the seashore, each headland hides a new vista and another charming village. The drive is known as a "corniche" which aptly describes this winding road as it rises and falls, taking one hairpin bend after another. The driver may have to keep their eyes firmly on the road, but the passengers can enjoy the beauty of the stunning coastline with its sandy coves and bright blue sea. From Sorrento the route takes insmall towns such as Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi, Praiano, Positano and Ravello which all offer narrow cobbled streets and excellent cuisine.

Lake Geneva to Milan

Plan a grand tour of Switzerland, France and Italy from Lake Geneva through the Mont Blanc tunnel, along Italy's Aosta Valley to the Mediterranean at Savonna. From La Spezia take the minor roads up the Apennines to Abatone, with a pause in Florence before turning north through Bologna and the final destination, Milan. Enjoy seeing the real Italy, renew your acquaintance with leisurely dining, and taste some of the best cured meats, cheese and wines in Europe along the way.

Pas-de-Calais Round Trip

Calais makes a great starting point for a drive around the Pas-de-Calais department. Head down the coast to Le Touquet before turning inland to Hesdin along the River Canche, one of France's prettiest drives, then back to Calais via Ardres. This journey is only 207 km long, so you can afford to take your time to "smell the roses" in each lovely town and village along the way.

Bilbao and Spain’s Atlantic Coast

Another highly recommended road trip can be enjoyed along Spain's Atlantic coastline. Take the ferry to Bilbao then head south on tiny roads to Vitoria-Gasteiz and through the Sierra de Urbasa to Pamplona. The route then runs through the magnificent Pyrenees into France via the historic Roncesvalles Pass. After a stay in Biarritz, head west along the coast back to Bilbao with the Bay of Biscay far below on your right and the impressive mountains to your left.

Germany’s Romantic Road

One favourite European drive starts on Lake Constance at Landau and heads east through some of Germany's loveliest scenery in the Bavarian Alps to Bad Tolz. Known as the "Romantic Road" it is a perfect trip for two, passing snowy mountain peaks, alpine meadows, opulent fairytale palaces and chalet-style houses with their red geranium window boxes.

Vienna Loop

What better way to discover six historic cities of Europe than on this 1130 km drive, which leaves time to sightsee in each city too. It may be hard to tear yourself away from the Imperial attractions of Vienna but just three hours northwest is the UNESCO World Heritage City of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Explore the old castle and dine in style before heading 177 km north to Prague, an even more enchanting city of castles, churches and culture. Bratislava, capital of Slovakia is the next stop, 330 km southeast, with a notable cathedral and ossuary cemetery. Bratislava to Budapest is just 201 km along Hungary’s beautiful Danube River Valley. See both the east and west side of this cosmopolitan city before completing the loop back to Vienna with a final 250 km leg.

Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast

Discover Ireland’s natural beauty with a trip from Newry in County Down to Donegal. The A2 from Newry passes many picturesque and charming villages as it passes through the Mourne Mountains and reaches the coast. Stop at Murlough Bay, one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, then turn and head north through Belfast to the massive Carrickfergus Castle on the north shore of Belfast Lough. The scenery becomes more rural through the scenic Glens of Antrim with their gushing waterfalls. Visit Dunluce Castle, the famous whiskey distillery at Bushmills and the magnificent Giant’s Causeway. The route continues past Derry to finish at Donegal, on the border with the Republic of Ireland, although the magnificent scenery continues on!

Wherever you find yourself this summer, enjoy seeking out new places and make your own unique summer road trip in Europe.