Looking for road trip ideas to discover Europe off the beaten path? When it comes to holidays, road trips are the ultimate getaway to adventure. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the most scenic road trip journeys in Europe. So, get your friends together, pack your bags (and snacks), and get ready to discover the alternative side of your favourite European destinations.
1. Discover the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands
Red deer roaming, dolphins swimming, the mythical monster of Loch Ness (allegedly) lurking…these are just some of the gems that await in the Scottish Highlands.
The mountainous region of Northern Scotland boasts unparalleled natural beauty. It’s home to Britain’s highest peak, Britain’s largest Natural Park, many romantic castles, as well as lots of secluded islands, just waiting to be discovered. We recommend starting your tip in Edinburgh, Scotland’s stunning history-steeped capital. Spend a day or two exploring the city, before heading off to the highlands.
You can plan your route in advance, or just see where the road takes you. Some must-sees are the famous Loch Ness and the stunning Urquhart Castle. Also, make sure not to miss the Isle of Sky, famous for its dramatic natural beauty. And, for a twist to your so-far mountainous journey visit Luskentyre Beach. White sands and clear blue waters will make you think that you’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up in the Caribbean!
2. Make your way to the heart of Germany from Saxony to Bavaria
This epic road trip journey will lead you to Germany’s most impressive must-see sights, from the Geierlay suspension bridge to the fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle.
Start your journey in Northern Germany to catch a sighting of the infamous Rakotzbrücke bridge, which, rumour has it, was built by the devil in exchange for the soul of the first human who crossed the bridge. From there, make your way to Bavaria, stopping by noteworthy sites such as Bastei Bridge and, of course, the famous Geierlay suspension bridge. Finally, arriving in Bavaria, don’t miss the area’s most impressive gem: the Neuschwanstein Castle. Also worth a visit is the breathtaking Partnach Gorge for those instagramable nature views.
For a full breakdown of our recommended itinerary check out Germany’s most beautiful nature spots for an epic road trip.
3. Discover the vibrant spirit of Andalucía with a road trip across Southernmost Spain
The southernmost region of Spain, Andalucía, is an oasis of lesser-known beautiful destinations. Discover the true meaning of Duende, which loosely translates as a moment of heightened emotion that takes you beyond yourself, in the land of the flamenco dance. Beyond its dramatic architectural style, a remnant of its Moorish past, the area also boasts stunning natural beauty.
Start your road trip discovering the gorgeous city of Seville, before heading towards Granada. On your way there, make sure to stop by Ronda, the dramatic ancient town located on the top of a gorge. Frigiliana, voted the prettiest village in Andalucía, is also well worth a visit. And, if after arriving in Granada you are still on the lookout for adventure, head to Sierras de Cazorla to explore Spain’s largest protected natural area.
4. Traverse the once unpassable Gotthard Pass to experience the heart of the Swiss Alps
Also known as the King of Mountain Passes, Switzerland’s majestic Gotthard Pass is the ultimate road trip destination for adventurers. Embarking on this Alpine adventure, you will find yourself traversing serpentine twists against the dramatic backdrop of the Swiss Alps. The pass connects the Northern Alps to the Southern, taking you from the German-speaking part of Switzerland to the Italian.
As part of your journey, make sure to visit the National Museum of St Gotthard, to learn about the history of the pass. And as for food? There are plenty of scenic restaurants serving deliciously refined fresh meals. Or, if you are looking for something more casual, you will also find plenty of food trucks with tasty on-the-go options, such as authentic Swiss hot dogs.
5. Embrace la dolce vita by journeying across the stunning Amalfi Coast in Italy
A road trip along the Amalfi coast features on most travel bucket lists for good reason! The route consists of a 50km-long UNESCO World Heritage Site- listed stretch of road. Pastel-coloured villages, dramatic cliffs, turquoise waters…these are just some of the sights waiting for you on this journey.
This scenic road trip starts at the historic port of Salerno. From there, the route will lead you to a number of stunning villages including the fairytale-like Positano, and, of course, the gorgeous town of Amalfi. End this once-in-a-lifetime journey with an island-hopping excursion from Naples, your end destination. A visit to the gulf’s more secluded islands is the perfect way to unwind after an invigorating trip.
With over 100 Fjords to be discovered, a road trip across Western Norway is the ultimate road trip destination for adventurers. Picture a journey full of surreal viewpoints that include cascading waterfalls, scenic mountain ranges, and stunning world heritage-listed islands. The trip also offers many opportunities for fun activities such as hiking, kayaking, swimming, and even skiing.
We recommend starting in Oslo, to discover the vibrant contemporary culture of Norway’s capital. From there, head to the beautiful fjords, making sure not to miss the fairytale-like Geirangerfjord and the naturally dramatic Sognefjord. We also recommend going off-road, to discover some of the areas more serene and lesser-known islands. Your journey will ultimately lead you to Bergen, known as the heart of the Fjords. The city is sure to impress you with its cobblestone alleys, its lively outdoor markets and, of course, the UNESCO world heritage (and highly instagramable) Hanseatic Wharf.
7. Experience the heart of Transylvania with a romantic road trip across Romania
Romantic castles, medieval towns, scenic roads… these are just some of the reasons to venture off the beaten path and discover the Romanian countryside! Start your trip off in Bucharest to discover the unique architecture and culture of the Romanian capital. From there, head off to the heart of Transylvania with the impressive