If you want to do more than sit on a beach or explore a city for a weekend, taking a road trip is a fantastic way to experience multiple destinations, enjoy the landscape and even save money on travel costs. Thanks to largely open borders, Europe is ideal for a road trip – just remember which side of the road to drive on! If you’re based in the UK, you can either take the ferry from Dover to Calais, or fly to your first destination and rent a car from there.
Check out these four fabulous European road trips, inspired by different themes, from movie magic to food heaven. The road trips have been specially curated by TomTom and all routes can be synced with your Sat Nav so you have everything in one place.
1. Summer Festival Road Trip
Starts: Hamburg, Germany
Total distance: 3692 km (2294 miles)
Approximate driving time: 36 hours
Nearest airport if you plan to rent a car: Hamburg Airport
Road trip credentials: Europe hosts some of the world’s best music festivals, offering stellar line-ups, plenty of sunshine and lots of opportunities to make new friends. The main festival season takes place from June to September, so there’s still plenty of time to take on a festival road trip for 2018. The road trip takes three weeks and includes six festivals as well as plenty of chill time in between.
Start your road trip in edgy Hamburg and spend August 17 partying in Dockville, which takes place on Europe’s biggest river island. The music and art festival lasts three days and features a seriously cool line-up including Alt J and Bonobo. Next drive on down to the famous Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands and watch Kendrick Lamar take the stage on August 19. Spend some time relaxing and drinking beer in Brussels before making your way to Paris to experience First Aid Kit’s punchy folk music at Rock en Seine in Paris on August 24.
Further stops include the Venice International Film Festival and a night raving to Prodigy at Home Festival in Treviso, before ending up in Pula, Croatia for bass-driven Outlook Festival, where the line-up includes Andy C and Lady Leshurr.
2. Dream Trip for Film Lovers
Starts: Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, UK
Total distance: 7458 km (4631 miles)
Approximate driving time: 74 hours
Nearest airport if you plan to rent a car: Newcastle International Airport
Road trip credentials: Film buffs will love this whirlwind tour through England, France, Spain and Italy. Explore castles, hotels, beaches and fountains that feature in some of the most iconic films and TV series from the last century.
Start your adventure at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, UK, and transport yourself to the world of Harry Potter. The 11th century castle appears in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Harry and Ron crash-land Mr Weasley’s flying car into the furious clutches of the Whomping Willow. Then, head south to Leicestershire and take a walk through Belvoir Castle, which acted as the Pope’s summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, in The Da Vinci Code with Tom Hanks.
Channel your inner Amelie and visit Café des Deux Moulins, where the quirky protagonist works as a waitress. Next, enjoy a picturesque drive in the hot and sunny climes of Spain for a Game of Thrones Bonanza. Finally, take a leisurely drive to Lake Como in Italy where Daniel Craig’s James Bond recovers from a serious whipping in Casino Royale. Your final stop is Bagno Antonio beach in Ischia, where The Talented Mr Ripley was filmed in the late 90’s.
3. Top Selfie Spots Across Europe
Starts: Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, UK
Total distance: 7836 km (4869 miles)
Approximate driving time: 78 hours
Nearest airport if you plan to rent a car: Newcastle Airport
Road trip credentials: Discover some of the best selfie spots across Europe and drive your social media followers wild with jealousy. From world-famous landmarks to stunning scenery, this road trip is one for the Insta generation.
The journey begins in the town of Gateshead, home to the Angel of the North: a 20m high steel sculpture designed by Antony Gormley. The statue, which is modelled on a cast of Gormley’s own body, symbolises the transition from the industrial to the information age, so is a fitting way to begin.
Next it’s time to head 5,000 years into the past, to take some pictures of the prehistoric behemoth of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, then on to Mont Saint Michel in Normandy where you can pretend you are sinking in quicksand.
Other memorable selfie stops include Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands, home to the famous Dutch windmills. There’s also time to visit the Gaudi masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, and a quick stop in the dramatic Lake Tegernsee in the Bavarian Alps. The final stop is at the top of many a selfie-lover’s bucket list: the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
4. Ultimate Foodie Tour across Europe
Starts: Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, UK
Total distance: 8028 km (4988 miles)
Approximate driving time: 82 hours
Nearest airport if you plan to rent a car: Bristol Airport
Road trip credentials: One of the best ways to explore the culture and personality of a country is through food. Whether you are on a quest to find Rome’s best bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara, or you want to challenge your taste buds, this is the road trip for you.
Your culinary quest starts in Cheddar Gorge near Bristol, home to Britain’s favourite cheese. You’ll then drive though various foodie regions such as Rotterdam (famous for its Dutch herring) until you reach Amsterdam, home to The Avocado Show, the world’s first avocado restaurant. Another must visit destination is the beautiful port city of Valencia, which rumour has it serves the best paella in Spain.
A foodie road trip to Europe would be incomplete without a trip through Italy. While Rome is known for its Carbonara – a pasta dish based on eggs, pecorino romano, guanciale (Italian cured meat) and black pepper – Florence is famous for the Fiorentina steak.
The final stop is Palermo, the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. Here, you can feast on Arancini: stuffed rice balls filled with ragu, mozzarella, and peas that is then coated with bread crumbs and deep fried. Buonissimo!