With winter well and truly underway, many of us will be dreaming of warm climates and sunnier shores. Road trip holidays give us unparalleled freedom of choice and represent the perfect opportunity for an adventure of a lifetime. Europe has really been making a name for itself in recent years as a driving holiday hotspot, but with such a variety of different locations on offer, you could end up finding yourself more than a little bit spoiled for choice.
If you’re in need of some inspiration, we’ve teamed up with Motorparks, who specialise in the Ford Focus Automatic and other prestigious vehicles to bring you our guide to the top five European road trip destinations. So, fasten your seatbelts and let’s get started:
1. Route One – Iceland
We’ll start off with Iceland – an up and coming holiday hotspot, this small island is home to one of the most stunning and varied landscapes in all of Europe. Iceland’s ring road (also known as Route One) is an 800 mile long stretch of road which is guaranteed to impress, as it offers so much in the way of variety and scenery, allowing you to see everything that makes Iceland so popular with tourists.
Iceland is a little different to the rest of the destinations on this list, as the scenery is so diverse. Here, you’ll find everything from waterfalls to snow covered mountain tops and even active volcanoes. We recommend that you choose a sturdy vehicle here, such as a used Range Rover Evoque to handle the tough terrain.
2. Route 500 – Germany
This sweeping stretch of road in the Black Forest of Germany combines smooth elevated sections through the forest with thrilling switchback turns all the way through to Baden Baden. It should be noted that there are several different trails to choose from in the Black Forest, with some being better than others, so it’s worth doing your research before heading out.
To make the most of the scenery and get the smoothest drive possible, we recommend taking the Schwarzwald Hochstrasse trail. This stretch of road is consistently wide and easy to drive on – it’s also home to some fantastic views on both sides and an exciting drive through dense forests. It should be noted however, that as one of the country’s most popular roads, this route can be prone to traffic during peak hours of the day – therefore, we recommend that you start your journey early to avoid queues.
3. Stelvio Pass – Italy
Sought after by many for being the world’s best driving road is the Stelvio Pass in Italy. The road is one of the highest and most dramatic mountain routes in the European Alps, offering beautiful views and a once in a lifetime driving experience. Even the most experienced drivers will have their skills put to the test here, as the roads 48 switchback turns can prove a little tricky. It’s recommended that you pull over occasionally to collect your thoughts, take in the sights and enjoy this lovely stretch of road to the fullest.
Drivers should be aware that this area is very popular, and traffic jams are common during peak holiday seasons. This means that in order to get the most out of your drive, you’ll want to get on to the road as early as you can.
4. Grossglockner High Alpine Road – Austria
Known locally as the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (a bit of a tongue-twister for non-locals) and winding down from the highest peak in Austria is the Grossglockner High Alpine Road.
This road really lives up to its name – at 2,500 feet above sea level, you’ll have more than enough time to enjoy the view. As one of the number one destinations for motorbike and sports car enthusiasts all across the world, this route can be challenging, with a number of hairpin curves to keep you on your toes. For those of you who prefer to take your time and appreciate all that this route has to offer, why not stop in at the Alpine Nature Show Museum or the Hohe Tauern National Park?
5. Route Napoleon – France
History enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to visit Route Napoleon in France; this winding route lets you follow the famous steps of Napoleon Bonaparte – he marched through this road on his way to overthrow Louis the 18th back in 1815. It is the historical aspect of the road which makes it even more exciting, Napoleon passed through the famous route through the Alps hundreds of years ago, leading to fabulous views and scenery.
Leading you on an impressive trip through both the Alps and Alps Maritimes, this route stretches on for over 150km. Driving enthusiasts will find the road to be perfectly designed for speed and smoothness, so you can really appreciate the performance of the car. This along with the scenery makes for a truly stunning drive with many opportunities to stop and take photographs along the way.