Europe - a land comprised of many cultures. Each country provides a beautiful tale rich with history and tradition, a tale travellers long to hear, as they dine on traditional cuisines. And what better way to immerse yourself in a country’s culture than taking a road trip to the heart of them? You can always explore the hidden gems of each country by exploring the countryside roads. If you’re hoping for a small break from driving, you can always pull over at a local town where you can dine at authentic restaurants and truly appreciate culture. Arguably, taking a motorhome is the first step in making your road trip unique- campsites are a hotspot for meeting locals and learning about the hidden gems of each area. Now that motorhome hire in Europe is increasing in popularity, campsites offer visitors the unique experience to meet people from all over the continent. Needless to say, road trips are key to having an unforgettable vacation, especially when travelling across Europe. Don’t know where to go? You’ve come to the right place! Here are the five best places to take your campervan around Europe!
1. La Route des Grande Alpes
This route, officially known as D902, is definitely a must visit! Stretching from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea, this road trip would grant you the chance to compare and contrast lifestyles in the mountains and the mediterranean. This route is one you cannot miss if you’re taking an RV around Europe. The best part? The route has several mountain passes, and sections of the road have been used in the Tour de France. These spectacular views don’t have to be viewed from behind the windows of your car- you can ride a bike along these beautiful paths and get lost in the beauty of the mountainous nature.
Distance: 617 km
Day 1: Start in Thonon-les-Bains, and drive to Annecy through Morzine. Although Annecy isn’t along La Route de Grande Alpes, it’s fairy-tale like aesthetic is something that cannot be missed.
Driving time: 41 minutes
Day 2: Head from Annecy to Bourg Saint Maurice, a small town nestled in the heart of the French Alps. Although notorious for skiing in the winter, this quaint town offers numerous outdoor summer activities, such as watersports. It is also a popular destination for hiking and biking.
Driving time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Day 3: From Bourg Saint Maurice, drive down to Lanslebourg. Here, you can take a hike along Mont Cenis, where you can follow a pass that leads you to Italy! This pass was built by Napoleon in the early 19th century, so be sure to appreciate the history of the path as you enjoy the scenic views!
Driving time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Day 4: Leave Lanslebourg and drive down to Briançon, the highest city in France at an altitude of 1,326 meters! This commune is rich with history, and boasts of 18th century structures and UNESCO world heritage sites around the city, something you should not miss!
Driving time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Day 5: Head to Barcelonnette from Briançon. Although small, Barcelonnette is a town present for centuries, dating back to the Roman Empire, so be sure to ask locals about the history of the town! Barcelonnette also lays on the Ubaye Valley, making it an area rich with plants and animal species.
Driving time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Day 6: Arrive at Valberg, a small resort village. Although the village is rather small, there is much to see and do within the area. If you’re in the mood to continue to explore nature and hike through breath-taking trails, pay a visit to Mercantour National Park. For those of you that wish to explore historical sites, Entrvaux is a medieval village that’s an 11 minute drive away. You’ll get to see some remaining structures and appreciate the historical architecture.
Driving time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Day 7: Drive down to Saint-Martin-Vésubie from Valberg. This small commune is a hotspot for nature lovers, hosting a range of parks. If you wish to learn more about the native wolves that roam around the surrounding forest, Parc Alpha is the perfect place to expand your knowledge about them. Ski resorts are a short 10 minute drive away from this small town, providing you with the chance to engage in numerous outdoor summer activities, such as ziplining.
Driving time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Day 8: End your road trip in Menton, a town known for its beautiful beaches and gardens with rare plants. Here, you can appreciate the mediterranean culture France offers, and enjoy the stunning architecture the city has to have, whether it may be the pastel coloured houses or the 17th century church.
Driving time: 1 hour 55 minutes
- Roads in France are often subjected to tolls, to be sure to read about French motorway tolls and keep some change with you at all times!
- The roads are often closed during winter, meaning they only open from June-October, after all the snow has melted completely. However roads may close earlier if snowfall comes earlier than expected.
- Although you may be travelling during the summer, it can get chilly in the mountains so be sure to pack an extra sweater!
If you’ve ever wished to drive along the Atlantic coast and have the chance to visit a beach whenever you please, then this is the route for you! Portugal is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, providing visitors with views they will not see anywhere else. This scenic drive along the Atlantic coast is arguable one of the most scenic motorhome routes in Europe. Aside from the fantastic nature, Portugal offers a unique culture influenced by empires that previously occupied the land. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the Portugal’s wonders and eat (lots of) pastel de nata!
Distance: 818 km (roughly)
Start: Viana do Castelo
Day 1: Start in Viana do Castelo, and drive down to Porto. This coastal city is known for its production of port wine, so be sure to try some while you stop by! The city is rich with iconic sites, including palaces, churches, and aesthetic streets. Be sure to stop by Praia do senhor da pedra, a beautiful beach known for its small chapel built on a rock outcrop!
Driving time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Day 2: Leave Porto and drive down to Leiria, a city that is rich with history. Stroll through the Leiria Castle, which had 3 distinct building phases, and as a result boasts of architecture from different time periods! Batalha Monastery is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so be sure to stop by for a visit. Once again, sandy beaches are just a short scenic drive away from the city.
Driving time: 1 hour 48 minutes
Day 3: Drive your motorhome to the iconic Lisbon, home to pastel coloured buildings and historic monuments. There’s so much to see and do in Lisbon, so you can always walk to iconic sites and explore the cobbled streets on your way there. Stunning coastal views can be found along the city, so be sure to grab some warm pastel de nata from a local bakery and sit down to enjoy the views!
Driving time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Day 4: Head down to Lagos. Because this is a longer drive, it would be recommended that you stop by Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina on your way to admire the nature Portugal has to offer. Soon after, you’ll arrive at Lagos, a town known for its Atlantic beaches and historic watchtowers. Be sure to enjoy the beaches around the area and soak up the rays of sun!
Driving time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Day 5: Drive east towards Tavira, a small on the Algarve coast. Aside from its famous beaches, Tavira is also a home to many historic sites. Not unlike other parts of Portugal, it is home to churches, watchtowers and castles dating back as early as the 12th century. Be sure not to miss out on seafood and local meals while you’re there!
Driving time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Portugal is relatively warm, with its average low temperatures reaching 15°C in January-March. This means you can take a road trip anytime throughout the year, and avoid the peak seasons in summer
- Sometimes having a motor vehicle isn’t necessary. Since public transportation is cheap, you can always leave your motorhome parked at a campsite and take a bus or train to the city centre!
The best part about taking your campervan around Europe is travelling between countries with ease. In fact, travelling across countries makes you truly appreciate the uniqueness of each country’s culture, because although country’s may be located similarly geographically, their lifestyles may vary drastically. The Netherlands and Belgium are a prime example of that. Both countries lie next to each other, and Flemish and Dutch are more similar than you would expect. However, you’ll encounter completely different experiences when visiting either country. And what better way to experience this than by taking this stunning motorhome route in Europe?
Distance: 331 km
Day 1: Kick off your road trip by driving from Amsterdam to the Hague. Aside from being the political heart of the country, The Hague boasts of historic monuments and art museums. If you haven’t visited enough museums in Amsterdam, then be sure to visit those offered in The Hague! Should the weather permit, be sure to tour the canals of the city by boat! You can also pay a visit to Scheveningen Beach if you’re hoping to spend some time by the water and get a tan!
Driving time: 45 minutes
Day 2: Cross over to Belgium and stop by Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and another politically influential city. If you grew up reading the classic Asterix and Obelix, then don’t forget to visit the museum dedicated to the iconic comic series! The Grand Palace is yet another iconic monument you should not miss. Be sure to have a picnic at one of Brussels’ many parks and gardens!
Driving time: 1 hour 54 minutes
Day 3: Step away from the big city life and drive to the quaint city of Bruges. Here, you’ll find medieval buildings dotting the cobbled streets. This UNESCO World Heritage City has captured the heart of all its visitors with its historic charm. That being said, walking around the streets and appreciating the monuments you stumble upon is a great way to explore the city.
Driving time: 1 hour 17 minutes
- Amsterdam, The Hague, and Brussels are rather large cities. If you really hope to explore as much of each city as possible, extend your stay at each stop!
- Although it sounds too good to be true, there are campsites close to the city centre in most of the cities. However they are not the largest and may be booked out quickly, so be sure to make reservations well in advance.
- Do keep in mind that the streets (especially in the Netherlands) may be difficult to navigate with a larger vehicle, so it may be best to look for a campsite on the outskirts of the city and take a bus to the city centre.
Although this road is only 8.3km long, it has been labelled as the world’s most beautiful drive. Known for its winding paths and scenic views, driving along this road is something you must check off your bucket list. However, because it’s only a short drive, you can always take your out for a few extra kilometres in Norway to truly enjoy the natural wonders Norway has to offer along one of the most underrated motorhome routes in Europe.
Distance: 305 km
Day 1: Start in Åndalsnes, and drive down to Molde. This lakefront town has a lot to offer for visitors. At Varden- the Molde Panorama, you’ll have the opportunity to marvel at the sight of 222 mountain peaks. If you’re interested in visiting museums and experiencing the history of the town, be sure to visit the museums in the area!
Driving time: 1 hour 29 minutes
Day 2: Leave Molde and start driving along the Atlantic Road, where you’ll arrive in Kristiansund. There are designated places along the Atlantic Road where you can park your motorhome and take a moment to hike along designated paths and become one with the nature around you.
Driving time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Day 3: Keep following Norweigan National Road 70 and head to Ålvundfjord. Along the way, you can admire the scenic views of the Norweigan Sea and elevated lands. If you’re in the mood to go for a pleasant hike, be sure to stop by Herresdalen for guided paths. Visit the old Tingvoll church on your way, which boasts of a beautiful interior.
Driving time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Day 4: Head down to Oppdal, scenic mountain village rich with nature. Although the town is notorious for being a skiing destination, there is still much to be done during the summer. There is no shortage of hiking paths in the area. In fact, there are designated paths for hiking for those of you with children! If you want to admire nature without walking long distances, you can go on a safari and spot some native oxen or reindeer herds. Needless to say, there is no shortage of outdoor activities in this village.
Driving time: 1 hour 16 minutes
- Designate an extra day in case you encounter bad weather, even during the summer.
- Keep in mind that roads may be closed during the winder, from September until June.
5. Road trip across Germany on the autobahn:
Germany is a country rich with history and culture dating back over thousands of years. If you’re taking an RV around Europe, make sure you don’t skip over this stunning country. Germany is famous for its autobahn, and what better route to follow? Contrary to popular belief, the autobahn is safer than you’d think- it’s even safer than freeways in the US! Police also have little tolerance for reckless drivers along the road, and are sure to make the roads safe for everyone. This means that you can travel along German safely at your own pace.
Distance: 936 km
Day 1: Start your trip in Cologne and drive down to Düsseldorf, a city known for its art scene. The city is dotted with art museums, so be sure to pay a visit to a couple of them! If you’re in the mood for a beer or a cup of coffee, then be sure to visit Burgplatz.
Driving time: 43 minutes
Day 2: Leave Düsseldorf and head to Münster, a city famous for its 13th century cathedral. Prinzipalmarkt is the historic marketplace of Münster shaped by historic buildings. Even if you aren’t a fan of shopping, it’s definitely worth a visit. If you’re interested in the renaissance period, pass by the historic Burg Hülshoff, a castle that’s just 10 kilometres out of the city.
Driving time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Day 3: Head out to Bremen, the city that built Germany’s first coffee house in the 17th century. That being said, it’s only fair that you enjoy a cup of coffee at the Marktplatz, the central market square, where several monuments have been erected, one of which has been labelled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the same listing as the town hall.
Driving time: 2 hours 8 minutes
Day 4: Travel to Hamburg, a city crossed with hundreds of canals. The historic monument that dot the city are something you cannot miss, so feel free to wander along the streets and explore what the city has to offer. But be sure to pay a visit to Planten un Blomen, arguably one of Europe’s finest urban parks, which has a Botanical Garden from 1821 nestled at its centre.
Driving time: 1 hour 22 minutes
Day 5: After leaving Hamburg, start driving towards Rostock, a city situated around the Warnow River. During warmer seasons, be sure to stop by Warnemünde Beach and enjoy the sun! If you’re hoping to see some historic sites, then you’ve come to the right place! The defensive city walls were first built in the 1100’s, and more than a kilometre of the wall remains intact. There are also historic cathedrals that dot the city, in addition to many museums that discuss the history of the area.
Driving time: 1 hour 48 minutes
Day 6: Drive to Potsdam, a World Heritage city rich with palaces and royal parks dating back to the Prussian Kingdom. Sanssouci Palace is arguably one of the most iconic sites in the city, boasting of beautiful architecture. In an unusual twist of events, you can view Dutch architecture in the Dutch quarter of the city, built in the mid 18th century.
Driving time: 2 hours 18 minutes
Day 7: Berlin, the capital of Germany, lies just a short drive away from Potsdam. Not unlike the rest of Germany, Berlin is rich with history. Be sure to pass by the Berlin wall memorial, and the German historical museum to better understand the stories of Germany’s past. The bathing lakes also provide visitors with a chance to step away from the bustle of city life and enjoy the sound of lapping waves.
Driving time: 44 minutes
- If you visit Germany in December, be sure to visit the Christmas markets each city has to offer!
- Traffic can build up on the autobahn at times, so be sure to head out early to avoid getting stuck on the road.
What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and hit the road for the trip of a lifetime. Europe is a continent consisting of established countries that have played important roles in the history of the globe, so don’t miss out on the chance to visit such places! Driving with a motorhome is the cherry on top of your road trip, so be sure to check out Goboony for campervan hire in Europe. In just a few clicks, you’ll be ready to go on a road trip of a lifetime!