Road trips are a classic movie style retreat from every day life. Rolling through small towns, zipping through nature, and being under the open sky become even more dreamy set on the epic romantic landscapes of Western Europe. Whether an icy fjord, Mediterranean coastline, or Bavarian town, each route has a unique set of attractions to offer the eager explorer.
Winding along the southern interior of Germany, the Romantic Road is a 350km long stretch of highway routed from small fairytale town to town. The conception of the route is actually a modern design created to boost tourism in the post-war period. The route starts with the large historic towns of Würzburg and Augsburg and then winds through the small medieval fortress towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen. Pop into shops filled with wooden and lace Christmas ornaments year round or enjoy classic Bavarian foods like sausage and pretzel while wandering the route. Plan to stay overnight in each town in order to enjoy fully sampling hallmark fruit liquors and beer alongside catching live music in the town’s gothic church.
Trollstigen Route in Norway
Only open from late spring to early autumn, the troll road is a 106 kilometer long roadway showcasing Norway’s raw natural beauty. The motorway features 11 hairpins turning up at a 9% incline along the mountain. The powerful mountain views and forested valley below make for a scenic drive. Arriving at the top on the route awaits a plateau with breathtaking views of the other mountains of the region, an alpine farm, the Seven Sisters waterfall, and a museum. However, the most spectacular sights of the trip is the UNESCO world heritage site and Norways most famous fjord, the Geirangerfjorden, which can be seen throughout the whole drive. One of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions since the mid 1930s, nearly 2500 vehicles pass through the route on high season every day.
Ring of Kerry Ireland
For those wanting to see a wide cross-section of natural beauty and historical sites dating back centuries, the Ring of Kerry has the best of both worlds. This 200km-long loop around southwestern Ireland provides the perfect opportunity to see the old sights such as the ancient Irish battlements or old stone forts at Cahergal tracing back to 700 AD. Grab your binoculars or book a tour boat to get a better glimpse of the old monastery at Skellig Michael, a barren structure situated on a windswept island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. After sightseeing, go sailing or windsurfing off of Derrynane Beach, or just sit back and relax on the wide beautiful sands. After a full day of trekking, make sure to partake in some classic Irish pub fare.
The Amalfi Coast Route in Italty
A well-known gem of the Mediterranean, venturing the Amalfi Coast is a seductive encounter with dramatic coastal landscapes and Italian culture. This cliff edged route is well known of its incredible views but is not for the faint of heart. The 50-kilometer curving road rests high a top mountain edges, and seldom have guardrails to keep inattentive drivers from plunging into the emerald crags below. To be safe, following the route northbound starting in Sorrento, this ensures the driver will be in the lane hugging the mountain, not the cliff face. The trip features colorful picturesque towns such as Positano, Amalfi, and Vietri Sul Mar, sheer cliff faces, dazzling blue waters, and delicious Italian food. Taking pauses from the road also opens other opportunities, such as exploring some of the well marked hiking trails in-land, the charming town of Revello, and sampling offerings from some of the local lemoncello factories.
Napoleon Route France
One of the most ultimate drives in Europe, the Napoleon Route is a smooth 150 kilometer ride mirroring the same route taken by it’s namesake figure to overthrow Louis the 18th in 1815. The route is primarily a mountain pass making for rocky vistas and dramatic landscapes throughout the drive. From south to north the route features 12 towns such as Antibes, Grasse, Sisteron, Gap, La Mure, and Grenoble. Each has its own natural and cultural beauty worth exploring. Road wise the drive can be technically quite difficult but the newer asphalt and design of the road make to highlight the performance of the car - so luxury vehicles are especially fun here. The route also features the gorge de verdon, a 730-meter gorge that the route follows making for truly spectacular views while driving.