Europe is home to some of the most beautiful countries in the world, each with its unique history, culture, and scenery. While many people love to travel with a tour group, checking out a country by hitting the open road is arguably the best way to explore. Checkout the Top Road Trip Destinations in Europe for planning your next adventure.
Driving allows you to take in stunning landscapes and charming villages at your own pace.
In the near future, you’ll need to fill out an ETIAS application to visit European destinations, however, that won’t be much of a hurdle if you do remember to do it correctly. After you arrive you can then grab a car at the airport and discover everything a country has to offer.
In this article, we go over the top countries to visit and some helpful information that you’ll need to know when you want to rent a car.
Renting a Car in Europe
Unless you booked a trip on a freighter, you’ll need to rent a car if you want to drive to different destinations.
While it may be costly at times, renting a car is one of the best ways to explore Europe on your own terms. You’ll have the freedom to explore at your own pace and discover hidden gems that you might not find on a guided tour.
However, before you hit the road, there are a few things to consider, particularly if you’ve never been to Europe.
Firstly, most cars in Europe are manual transmission, which may take some getting used to if you are accustomed to driving automatic. However, it is possible to rent an automatic car, but it may come at a higher cost.
It’s also worth noting that some countries, such as the UK and Ireland, drive on the left side of the road, which can be challenging if you are not used to it.
To rent a car in Europe, you will need a valid driver’s license and a credit card in your name. It’s also worth checking the minimum age requirement for renting a car, which varies between countries but is typically between 18–25 years old.
Make sure to plan ahead and find out if you can drive and maybe watch some instructional videos on driving manual transmission cars.
Top Road Trip Destinations in Europe
Wherever you end up going in Europe you likely won’t be disappointed. However, our top 5 destinations for a road trip take into account the country’s cuisine, landscapes, beaches, and more.
It’s almost impossible to narrow it down to five, but check out this list to give you ideas on how you should plan a fun and exciting trip.
France is one of the most diverse countries in Europe, known for its stunning landscapes, historic cities, and world-renowned cuisine. A road trip in France offers an opportunity to explore the country’s diverse regions, from the Alps to the Mediterranean coast.
No American has thought about visiting Europe without thinking about taking a trip to France.
Start your trip in Paris, which is on everyone’s bucket list, and then head south to the Provence region, known for its picturesque villages and lavender fields. Don’t miss the historic city of Avignon, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Eastern France is also an amazing region to visit, including the cities of Colmar and Strasbourg.
Portugal, once considered a hidden gem in Europe is growing in popularity as an American tourist destination. However, it is still often overlooked by travelers in favor of its neighboring country, Spain.
Don’t pass up visiting Portugal. A road trip in Portugal offers some of the most stunning scenery in Europe, including dramatic coastlines, picturesque villages, and historic cities.
Start your trip in Lisbon, which is one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals, and then head south to the Algarve region, known for its beautiful beaches and warm weather. Or head north and visit Sintra while heading to Porto, both of which contain UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Don’t forget that a trip to the island of Madeira or the Azores should also be done and with a car even better.
One of the most popular destinations in Europe, known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and delicious cuisine, Spain offers everything a traveler could want.
Don’t forget that the Pyrenees mountains in Northern Spain are a great place to visit for nature lovers. A road trip in Spain offers a perfect blend of scenic routes, charming villages, and historic cities.
Setting off from Madrid or Barcelona, you can drive south to Andalusia, known for its beautiful coastline and charming villages. Check out Seville, Granada, and Córdoba, each with its unique Mudéjar architecture and culture.
If you’re a foodie, be sure to sample traditional Spanish tapas, paella, and churros. Spain is also known for its wine, particularly Rioja and Ribera del Duero, which are produced in the northern region of the country.
America and Ireland share a connected past with the number of Irish immigrants that arrived in the U.S. in the 19th and 20th centuries. That’s why it’s usually high up on people’s travel lists. A road trip in Ireland offers an opportunity to explore the country’s stunning landscapes, rugged coastlines, and charming villages.
Begin in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, and then head west to the Cliffs of Moher, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. Visit the charming villages of Dingle and Kinsale, both of which are known for their traditional Irish music and hospitality.
Norway is one of the most stunning countries in Europe, known for its majestic fjords, stunning mountains, and vibrant cities. A road trip in Norway offers an opportunity to explore the country’s natural beauty and unique culture.
Head west to Bergen, known for its beautiful harbor and colorful houses after landing in Oslo. The stunning scenery of the Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations is also a must-see. You won’t go hungry either. Norway is also known for its cuisine, particularly seafood, such as salmon and cod.