Pack your bags, select a playlist, and head off to Europe’s best places on the open road. We have routes covered, from coastal wind in your hair to epic cross-country drives.
Bloemen Route, Netherlands
The road to Bloemen, a floral route which is made up of bloom blankets (tiles, hyacinths, stingers, and more in the west of the Netherlands, is harder for you to find than on the Bloemen route. Start at Haarlem (12 miles west) and set the stage at the Frans Hals Museum, one of the country’s leading small galleries, by admiring the Dutch master’s floral paintings.
Go from there to Lisse to visit the 70acre parcel of the Keukenhof Garden that showcases Dutch florist talent made up of more than seven million bulbs and displays both indoor and outdoor.
Take the time to visit the opposite castle of the 17th century. Exploring the botanical garden in Leiden in the 16th century and the De Valk Windmill Museum is not missing. Finally in Naaldwijk, you will be off to tour the town’s vast floral auction. When the flowers are flourishing, the best time to visit is in April or May; consider starting one weekend to avoid weekend traffic.
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The Black Forest, Germany
The Black Forest is one of Germany’s most scenic places and inspired many fairy tales of the Brothers with its half-holdered houses and dark tree-covered hills. It is a one of the best road trips in Europe. Take the Schwarzwälder Highway on the highway from Freudenstadt to Baden Baden, the best part of the journey for you. This panoramic passage is a wide, smooth, and drivable road.
There are numerous pit stops around Hornisgrinde’s highest point, where you can take in all the valleys and green forests of the region. The final stretch to Baden-Baden takes dozens of turns into the forest. Toast your arrival in the thermal waters of this spa town of the 19th century with a restorative soak.
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is one of the most romantic routes in the world between Sorrento and Salerno in south-west Italy. It is where mediaeval pastel villages cling to a hillside, with green mountains, citrus groves, and stunning bluffs. It’s a Mediterranean landscape. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is best explored with the top down in a classical Italian car. The roads are windy, narrow and in some places) difficult, but the views are panoramic.
Drive east and west for the best oceanfront views. Place yourselves with the photogenic look, and Amalfi itself with sun-drinking plazas leading to a small beach. Wagner, DH Lawrence, and Virginia Woolf have found inspiration for overnight stays in Ravello.
In west Norway, this challenging race takes you up a steep mountain in the Isterdal Valley and has no less than 11 bends. The road is normally open only between mid of May and October, and in the high season, up to 2,500 cars per day are on the steep slopes. Start at the earliest opportunity to avoid tourist buses and drive slowly to enjoy the fjord, waterfall and lakes landscape. There is a visitor centre on the top, where one can stop for Norwegian waffles and coffee. There is a viewing platform over 200 m above the route.
Iceland’s Ring Road (Route 1)
This difficult course in western Norway is located in the Intermodal Valley on a steep mountainside and includes no fewer than 11 pinched curves. The ‘Troll’ route is generally open only between mid-May and October, and the steep inclines in high season are covered by up to 2500 cars a day. Start early to prevent tourist buses and drive towards the fjords, waterfalls and Lakes landscape slowly. The biggest viewing platform is 200 metres high and at the top, you have a centre for visitors to the waffles and coffee of Norway.
The Atlantic Highway, England
The Atlantic Highway is a coastal route in south-west England connecting two of the most beautiful regions of the country: Devon and Cornwall. Instead of gripping a series of shallow dips and curves, the course passes through picturesque fishing villages, Celtic ruins and secluded beaches. Start in Barnstaple, a prosperous market town with a mound and a bridge of the 13th century, before driving to Bude and head to one of the beaches that are surf-friendly.
Further south, Tintagel is said to be home to King Arthur and the ruins of a castle from the 13th century are only reachable by the footbridge in a chunk of the headland. Finish in a lively town in Newquay, surrounded by bars, clubs and surf shops.
Marseille to Monaco, French Riviera
Just like Grace Kelly and Cary Grant, cruise down the French Riviera. This classic coastal route has ritzy resorts, mountain towns and mountainous roads. If you want time, you can push the highlights in a weekend escape (St Tropez, Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo) but to see the Cote d’Azur in all its glory, set aside a week. Set aside. Start from Marseilles to get back to Pampelonne Beach with the bronze and beautiful, a thriving arts scene with its lively port on the coast, and follow the coast to St Tropez.
Take a usual walk along the Croisette in Cannes to discover the cultural treasures of Nice. The Grand Corniche, a higher route built by Napoleon, is between Nice and Monaco. Take the Grand Prix circuit to Monte-Carlo on high.