Mundana’s picks for Europe’s best road trips
Written by: Julia Hammond
There’s nothing like the open road. That sense of freedom, empowerment and anticipation – the road will take you anywhere you want to go, on your terms. Europe’s diverse landscapes make it the perfect choice for a road trip. With so many possibilities, the hard part will be deciding on a route. Let us help – here is Mundana’s shortlist for Europe’s best road trips.
Iceland’s ring road
Iceland’s never been more fashionable, yet many stay only for a few days and cover just Reykjavik and its environs. Instead, hire a car and tackle the road that loops this island nation. In two weeks, you can circumnavigate the country, stopping at Goðafoss Waterfall and the country’s most volcanically active area near Lake Mývatn. Further along, the isolated villages and fjords of Iceland’s remote east coast are further evidence that it’s worth investing more time in the dramatic and rugged beauty of this far flung corner of Europe.
The Adriatic Highway
Croatia’s another country that has forced itself onto the tourism radar. As an alternative to the popular cruises which stop at ancient maritime cities such as Dubrovnik, why not drive yourself along the Adriatic Highway? 600 kilometres of incredible scenery takes you from Rijeka, where tempting detours take you past five national parks packed with canyons and waterfalls. Before you reach Dubrovnik, you’ll want to stop at the three other UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way. St James Cathedral in Šibenik, historic Trogir and of course Diocletian’s Palace in Split make this a strong contender for the title of Europe’s best road trip.
A loop through the Picos de Europa
This one’s not for the faint hearted: nervous drivers would do well to detour the twisty N621 as it makes its way through the Hermida Gorge skirting a ravine and jagged cliffs which overhang the road. But scenery this dramatic needs to be felt as well as seen and so a road trip is a must. Elsewhere in the Picos, roads lead to Alpine meadows strewn with colourful flowers. When you need to stretch your legs, try the hike along the pretty Cares Gorge or jump on the Fuente De cable car for a loftier vantage point. Pack a picnic and enjoy a different Spain.
Norway’s marvel of engineering
A country whose name translates as “narrow way between the straits” is just crying out to be explored by car. The most famous stretch of asphalt in the country is surely the Atlantic Road, a strong contender for one of Europe’s best road trips. Despite its diminutive size, it manages to squeeze eight bridges into its eight kilometre length – you’ll recognise the twist of the Storseisundet Bridge from countless car commercials. Elsewhere, drivers (and their passengers) are treated to miles of spectacular coastal scenery, where dramatic wooded fjords cradle isolated fishing villages. Wherever the road takes you, don’t miss Eagle’s Road. Ten breathtaking hairpin bends are the prelude for the panoramic view afforded by the eleventh, overlooking majestic Geirangerfjord.
The corniches of the Côte d’Azur
The three corniches of the French Riviera zig zag along the coast between Nice and Menton. The Basse Corniche hugs the seashore. You’ll be bumper to bumper in the height of summer but that’s the point. Rent a soft top, put on your glad rags and don your fanciest shades – style is everything and the point is to be noticed. The Moyenne Corniche meanders between sleepy villages nestled in the hillside. Higher and wilder is the Grande Corniche, built by Napoleon and providing the greatest thrill ride in all of France. Together, these three unmissable routes comprise one of Europe’s best road trips.
Keen to arrange your own European road trip this summer? Why not let Mundana’s experts fix you up with your ideal vehicle and an itinerary to suit your needs?