Your guide to some of Europe’s
most scenic routes and prepping
your car for the journey
With super speed train lines, advancements
in aero technology and discount flights being
advertised left, right and centre, travelling has
become much more accessible in recent times.
However, we want to shine the spotlight back on
the good old fashioned road trip and reintroduce
it as one of the most exciting and unforgettable
means by which to explore the world. With so
many incredible sights to see, it would be a shame
not to hit the road and get up close and personal
on ground level.
Europe is home to some of the most iconic road trips around the world and some of the most picturesque destinations the planet has to offer. In this eBook, we explore six of Europe’s most scenic routes and offer our expert advice on how you should be preparing your car for any long journey. Have some European road trip stories or car safety tips of your own to share? Join the conversation online using the hashtag #RoadTripsOfEurope.
Best vehicle for the job: A small, light car that will provide speed and power up the steep mountain inclines.
Best time to travel: Dangerous in the depths of winter and closed from November until May, this route is best driven in late spring or early summer.
Road trip tip: Make sure you’re carrying some spare change as there is a toll charge of €35 for a car and €25 for a motorcycle.
Stop at: Hohe Tauern National Park— the largest national park in Middle Europe with some of the highest mountains in all of Austria.
Length & time: 30
miles, approx. 1 hour
Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria
|The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse is a high
|Long famed for being one of Europe’s most scenic
|alpine mountain pass that winds through the
|road trips, the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse
|iconic Austrian Alps, weaving through Austria’s
|is truly a diverse sight to behold. Keep your eyes
|most impressive national park along the way.
|peeled for the relatively short distance or risk
|Reaching more than 2,500m altitudes, this 48
|missing striking Austrian architecture, flowering
|km stretch of land certainly isn’t one for the faint
|landscapes, rocky cliff faces, tranquil lake scenes
|hearted but provides some of the world’s most
|and 37 dramatic mountain peaks.
Best vehicle for the job: This road trip is particularly popular amongst keen motorcyclists but if you are travelling by car, consider having some all season tyres fitted so you’re covered in all weather conditions.
Best time to travel: Visit the Black Forest during summer or autumn when the winding roads are safer and the days are longer and lighter.
Road trip tip: Motorcycles are banned from certain segments of Route 500 so if you’re on two wheels, be sure to check out your route beforehand.
Stop at: Mummelsee to visit the lake where local legend claims a mermaid inhabits or pick up a traditional cuckoo clock at House of 1000 Clocks.
Length & time: 40
miles, approx. 1 hour
|If your daily commute has been getting you
|This is one of Germany’s oldest and most
|down and you want to escape to somewhere
|treasured roads and has fast become one of the
|that is pure, natural magic, the Route 500 road
|most iconic motorcycle routes in the world. Along
|through Germany’s incredible Black Forest is ideal.
|the way you can take a dip in the thermal springs
|Sending adventurous drivers deep into the midst
|of Baden, stop off at Hohenbaden castle, wind
|of the forest and on a smooth ride through the
|your way carefully around 100 curves and take in
|mountains, this will definitely be your chance to
|the fresh air in Freudenstadt at the Eastern edge
|experience some of life’s greatest ‘Kodak moments’.
|of the Northern Black Forest.
Best vehicle for the job: With it’s notoriously challenging terrain, a smaller car with a four-wheel drive system will be great for gripping those winding roads.
Best time to travel: Head here in summer as the route is closed through late autumn and all of winter.
Road trip tip: The ‘Troll’s Path’ is a popular destination for drivers and cyclists alike so you’ll likely be sharing the route with other adventurers—watch out for them on the hairpin bends!
Stop at: The ‘Eagle Road’ between Geiranger and Eidsal where the road climbs to 858 metres above sea level to snap a selfie for the mantelpiece.
Length & time:
Approx. 4 miles,
2-3 hours (including
Molde Airport, Aro
With a steep 10-degree incline and 11 hair-raising
hairpin bends, the ‘Troll’s Path’, as it’s translated
to in English, is one of Europe’s most winding
roads. With its impressive twists and turns comes
stunning views of the Stigfossen Waterfall
which falls for more than 1,000 metres down the
mountain face. The famous National Tourist Route
leads you through the spectacular Norwegian
fjords and across one of the world’s most
The Trollstigen route is a one-lane road which has been carved from the lofty mountains and supported by stone walls so beware of tumbling rocks and treacherous terrain. However despite the dangers, Trollstigen offers some of the most unforgettable sights and now attracts more than 2,000 cars every summer after opening in July 1936 following eight years of construction.
Best vehicle for the job: With many one lane, narrow roads a smaller car will allow you to navigate the stunning curves with ease.
Best time to travel: Navigate the Ring of Kerry in summer for the most spectacular views or out of season if you want to avoid tourist traffic.
Ring of Kerry,
Road trip tip: Always drive anticlockwise around the Ring of Kerry to avoid traffic issues in the narrower sections along the route. Carrying a paper map of the route will help if digital navigation fails when driving through forests where mobile signal often dips.
Stop at: Kerry Bog Village (just before Glenbeigh) to see a traditional Kerrymen village restored to all its 18th Century glory.
Length & time: 110
miles, allow 1-2 days for
full circuit in daylight
Closest airport: Kerry
Circling Ireland’s picturesque Iveragh peninsula,
the Ring of Kerry offers quintessential Irish scenery
and an unforgettable journey through some of the
world’s most impressive landscapes. You’ll transition
from forest to leafy upland before swapping dry
land for beach scenes and fishing harbours, with a
view of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range
as a backdrop.
Those who have driven the route before and soaked in all the Irish scenery has to offer recommend commencing your journey in Killarney and taking the N72 to Killorglin. From there you can join the N70 round the pretty peninsula to Kenmare before returning to Killarney via the N71. This one really is worth going round in circles for.
Best vehicle for the job: A good quality four-wheel-drive car that can take on all of the elements, come rain or shine. If you don’t have one yourself, consider hiring one for the journey.
Best time to travel: This route is best driven in July or August when the weather is good and adverse weather conditions don’t make it too treacherous.
Road trip tip: Gas stations are few and far between along the lengthy Route One road so be sure to
fill up whenever you do see one. Many of the gas stations are self service and require payment via credit card so be sure to pack your plastic.
Stop at: Solheimasandur Plane Crash where a United States Navy DC-3 plane crashed on the beach in 1973. The wreckage is one of Iceland’s most iconic photography spots.
Length & time: 800
miles, 7-10 days
|For keen motorists and travel tourists alike,
|While some of Europe’s most scenic road trips can
|Iceland’s spectacular Route One road trip is always
|be done in just a few hours and enjoyed from the
|high up on any bucket list. No European road trip
|comfort of your car seat, Iceland’s Route One is
|collection would be complete without the striking
|punctuated with stop offs and photo opportunities
|sights Iceland has to offer, from geysers erupting
|along the way. Leave plenty of time in your
|boiling water metres up in the air, volcanoes
|journey schedule for a few worthwhile detours and
|and lava fields to the stunning Blue Lagoon,
|explorations off the beaten track from the road
|extraordinary waterfalls and even a chance to go
|which circumnavigates the island.
|whale-watching and catch the Northern Lights.
Best vehicle for the job: With so many wonders to witness outside of the window along the way, consider a car with an automatic transmission for greater ease of use and driver comfort.
Best time to travel: To make sure you get to witness the carpet of floral nature at Piano Grande, visit in late May or early June when it will be in full bloom.
Road trip tip: The Castelluccio village is 1,452 m high in the sky so even when the sun is shining down on your bonnet, prepare for snow and ice when you reach this point. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and sunglasses as well as a warm hat and gloves.
Stop at: The Valnerina—a deep, leafy valley with a charming stone-built village nestled at the very bottom of it. The perfect setting to stretch your legs.
Length & time: 101
miles, allow 4-6 hours
to include photo
Spoleto to Norcia, Italy
|Italy is not only known for its coffee and its gelato,
|Sample olives in Spoleto as you start on your
|it’s known and well-loved for its beautiful scenery
|journey and take in the idyllic hilltown before hitting
|and picturesque landscapes. Beaches and
|the road towards Valnerina. Continue on through
|traditional Italian towns are a sight to behold but
|a postcard-perfect stone town before heading
|of the country’s most treasured gems is the scenic
|upland towards Norcia. Hop out of the car and
|stretch between Spoleto and Norcia. Very different
|get some fresh air in Norcia where you can visit a
|from the fjords of Norway and the snow-crowned
|Benedictine monastery and cop an incredible view
|mountains of Iceland but unmissable nonetheless
|of the Sibillini mountains.
|if you’re a keen driver.
Did you know? You can be fined up to
£1,000 if you drive without a valid MOT
vehicle for the
big wide world
When there are sights to see, photographs to
snap and complicated maps to navigate, it can be
easy to forget all about the four wheels carrying
you from A to B. It’s not just the wheels that are
important to consider though, which is why we’ve
put together some expert advice on how to best
prepare your entire vehicle for the road trip of a
It’s important to remember that your car should be serviced every year (or 12,000 miles) and undergo an MOT from up to a month before it’s due. In the meantime, here are some safety factors to take into consideration before your journey.
The law requires every tyre to have a minimum of 1.6mm worth of tread. Not only do you risk facing huge financial fines if you let your tyre tread get too low, you’re also making yourself vulnerable to decreased vehicle control and surface grip. The 20p Tread Test allows you to check your tread depth by slotting a 20p coin in the groove of a tyre and making sure you can’t see the coin’s outer edge. If you can, it’s time for new tyres.
Another crucial thing to check is your tyre air pressure levels. Under-inflated tyres are a common cause of tyre blowouts which can be especially dangerous when travelling at high speeds along long stretches of road. They can also affect handling, braking and fuel consumption. You can find the recommended level of air pressure in your vehicle handbook.
Once you’ve made sure your existing tyres have plenty of tread and are inflated to the correct pressure, it’s worth making sure the spare is in good condition also (provided you have one). Check carefully for cracks and ageing. Some cars are no longer fitted with spare tyres so unless you have run flat tyres, make sure you have a tyre repair kit in the boot.
Experts recommend replacing a tyre with less than 3mm tread depth if you are expecting to drive through particularly harsh weather conditions on your road trip.
Check your tyres for any cracks, bulges or foreign objects and make sure you book yourself with a technician if you do find anything out of the ordinary.
The 3 B’s
Reverse lights, brake lights, headlights and indicators are all essential functions for any car journey, long or short. Avoid being pulled over by the police or confusing other drivers on the road by making sure all your bulbs are in full working order before setting off.
The older a car battery becomes, the less reliable they are—especially in cold weather—so it’s important to get a professional to run a thorough battery check before embarking on a long journey. You don’t want to find yourself on the hard shoulder with a flat battery when there are landmarks to be visiting and sights to be seeing.
Checking your wheel balancing and alignment is easily overlooked but essential in ensuring the safety of you and your passengers. If your steering wheel wobbles when traveling at high speeds or if your tyres are wearing unevenly, it’s time to ask a trained technician to check your wheel balancing.
hitting the road
Make sure your car has enough coolant fluid to
prevent the vehicle from overheating.
Sufficient levels of oil are crucial for the smooth
running of your car engine. Regular oil changes will
also help keep your car in tip top condition.
Screenwash and windscreen wipers
Sufficient screenwash and fully functioning
windscreen wipers is essential for good visibility.
Have you packed your European road trip essentials?
Snacks? Check. Travel pillow? Check. Camera? Check. Once you’ve got all of the fun stuff packed and ready to go, it’s time to consult your list and make sure you’re kitted out with all of the basic European road trip essentials too.
Making sure you’re equipped with some good quality deicer is essential for some of the road trips in this eBook. Temperatures can drop well below zero in some locations, especially throughout the evening, so you may find your vehicle frosts over during the night.
Not knowing where you’re headed next is all part of the adventure but it’s important to have a rough idea of the direction or at least be able to navigate yourself back to the beaten track should you get lost. Planning your journey beforehand is always recommended but carrying a map will ensure you’re covered at all costs.
Hands-free mobile phone set
A hands-free phone kit for when you want to use a Sat Nav application, speak to somebody or play music during your journey is a must-have when you’re packing for a road trip. Laws on phone use while driving in Europe are now extremely strict so this simple item is a necessity.
Some of the most iconic European road trips are in countries where ice, snow and frosty temperatures are commonplace. Chucking a good quality ice scraper in your boot or glove compartment will ensure that you’re covered even in the coldest of climates.
First Aid kit
In case of any minor injuries that happen along the way, make sure you’re carrying a fully stocked First Aid kit. You don’t want to find yourself in a remote location, rummaging around for a packet of plasters.
Travel sickness remedies
With so many winding bends to navigate, routes like Trollstigen and Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse can sometimes leave passengers feeling a little motion sick. Make sure you’re prepared with some travel sickness remedies (dissolvable tablets, travel bands, patches) before you set off.