Ready to visit Europe? This post is sponsored by Maupintour, the European travel specialists.
One of the best ways to take in a country is to drive through it. A European road trip offers the opportunity to take in more than just the bustling cities and major tourist stops. You can sit back and enjoy the fantastic views, stop in small towns along the way, and experience local cultures. And to make the planning process a little easier for you, we’ve outlined the five best European road trips you should take on first!
Vienna to Graz (Austria)
This is a short road trip, taking about three hours to drive one-way. However, you’ll want to lengthen it by making a few stops.
We suggest making three stops along the way. Stop in the small towns of Wiener Neustadt, Oberwart, and Bad Gleichenberg for meals and countryside views.
Once you arrive in Graz, you’ll be met with a Renaissance-style architecture that makes strolling down the streets an activity in itself. You can take a part of the day to tour the famous Schlossberg fortress in the middle of the city. Or, tour the Eggenberg Palace, which is one of Austria’s most precious cultural treasures.
After all that exploring, you’re going to need some food. Make a stop at Gosser Brau Graz for some authentic Austrian cuisine in a friendly gastro-pub setting. On your way back to Vienna, consider stopping at the famous winery Buschenschank Dorner for a magnificent lunch and some wine-tasting.
Ring of Kerry (Ireland)
We can’t have a list of European road trips without mentioning the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. This is another short trip, taking between three to four hours to drive a 120-mile long loop around the Inveragh Peninsula. However, most people give themselves a full day for this trip so they can make stops along the way.
The Ring of Kerry drive is often recommended as a top activity to do when visiting Ireland. This gorgeous road trip allows you to see dramatic mountain ranges, sandy beaches, and the beautiful Irish coastline.
There are plenty of fantastic attractions along this loop. For nature lovers, we recommend making a stop at the famous Killarney National Park and the Kerry Cliffs. Any history buff may want to stop at the town of Derryane and visit the Derraynane House. This property was home to Daniel O’Connell, who worked to gain equality for Catholics in Ireland.
Lastly, you’ll want to stop for a treat at Skelligs Chocolate, located right on the Skellig Ring Road. Be prepared for a long lineup on most days, but hot chocolate and some treats from Skelligs Chocolate is well worth the wait.
London to Cape Cornwall (England)
After enjoying the bustling crowds and loud nights of London, you may experience an escape to somewhere a bit quieter. The road trip from London to Cape Cornwall takes six hours driving straight through, so it’s definitely not a trip for one day. You should plan to spend a night or two in Cape Cornwall once you arrive at your destination. But first, let’s talk about the journey.
You will spend the drive viewing the beautiful coastline, visiting quaint towns, and breathing in the fresh air. Stop at the historic art-town of St. Ives, which is known for its baby-blue beaches and surfing. St. Ives is considered to have a strong “art scene” and has been home to some of the greatest artists of all time. There’s a strong possibility you’ll pick up a piece of art during your stop.
Once you reach Cape Cornwall, you can spend a couple of days exploring the town. Visit the Pendennis Castle, which King Henry VIII built to protect England from invasion from France. Take in a show at the open-air Minack Theatre which offers beautiful views, entertainment, and food all in one place! You just might not want to drive back to busy London after a few days in Cape Cornwall!
Paris to Nice (France)
When you think of a European road trip, pictures of rolling hills from Southern France’s countryside likely come to mind. If you’re ready to see all that France has to offer, this road trip is for you. Driving from Paris to Nice will take approximately nine hours, but you should account for some amazing stop along the way.
Make this a longer trip by taking the route: Paris-Lyon-Valence-Avignon-Marseille-Nice. You can stop at each town either for a quick lunch and visit or consider spending the night. Each city is bright and has something different to offer.
Your final destination of Nice feels like a wonderful treat for all that driving. You can spend days drinking and eating through Nice’s “Old Town.” Spend an afternoon on a winery tour before going to Nice’s famous Opera House, called The Opéra de Nice, for an evening show.
Lisbon to Tavira (Portugal)
This is the longest European road trip on this list, and honestly, it’s a vacation on its own. Starting in Lisbon, you will drive 100 miles through Portugal’s beautiful landscape. This journey takes you from Lisbon – Sagres – Lagos – Faro – and finishes in Tavira.
After exploring the architecture and hustle of Lisbon, you will drive for three hours to get to the village of Sagres. This small, remote village has several beaches that are often crowd-free. You can enjoy scenic ocean views and fantastic food for a night before continuing the journey. Before you leave Sagres, make sure to stop at a cafe and enjoy the local custard-filled pastry specialty called pastel de nata.
The next part of the journey is the drive from Sagres to Lagos. The beach-town of Lagos is known for its nightlife. Make sure to have a late dinner at 9 pm and watch as the city livens up with live musicians and crowds of people.
Next, take the drive from Lagos to Faro, which is just one hour. Faro is a town that is often overlooked by tourists but has a lot to offer. The city has an amazing history and architecture. You can explore ancient Roman city wall remains, 18th-century churches, and a famous bone chapel made from the skeletons of former monks (Capela de Ossos).
End this road trip by driving another 30 minutes to Tavira. This city is known for its fantastic boat tours and has a beautiful beach, just a ten-minute drive from the city center. While you’re in Tavira, take every opportunity you can get to eat octopus dishes. Tavira is known as the octopus fishing capital of Portugal and has many delicious octopus-centered dishes, like octopus rice, that will impress any seafood lover.