Of course, bustling cities like London, Berlin and Barcelona are must-sees for any European traveler. But if you’re after something a little more unique (with breathtaking views and mouthwateringly good cuisine to boot), then it’s time to hit the road. Here, six drop-dead gorgeous road trips in Europe.
BASQUE COUNTRY, FRANCE AND SPAIN
The best thing about traveling around Europe is getting to explore multiple countries in one visit. Second best? All the amazing eats. Start this gorgeous 100-mile road trip in glitzy Biarritz, then slowly make your way down the coast and through the Pyrenees to Bilbao (hit up the nearby villages for killer surf waves), sampling all the culinary delights as you go. Spanish beach town San Sebastián alone boasts nine Michelin-starred restaurants, but there’s plenty of yumminess (the salt cod is a must-try) to be enjoyed throughout the region.
RING ROAD, ICELAND
Circling around the entire island (hence the name), this approximately 830-mile road is filled with dramatic landscapes, beautiful geysers, adorable farm stays, oh, and the Eyjafjallajökull volcano (good luck pronouncing that one). Start and end in Reykjavík and make sure to give yourself a couple of days to really explore the sights. Bring your swimsuit for the hot springs and opt for the four-wheel drive if you want to go off-roading.
THE AMALFI COAST, ITALY
This 43-mile stretch along southern Italy’s beautiful shore is what postcards are made of. Although not technically the Amalfi Coast, start in chaotic yet charming Naples (grab a pizza before you set off) then wind your way down past Mount Vesuvius to check out the frozen-in-time city of Pompeii. Soak up the turquoise water views in Sorrento (a great place to spend the night), making time to get out of your car and onto a ferry to explore beautiful Capri island. Back on the mainland, keep driving through pastel-colored towns of Positano and Amalfi, sampling the fresh seafood along the way before rewarding yourself with some Limoncello at the trip’s end in Salerno. Tip: Rent the Fiat 500, not the SUV—roads here are windy and tight.
ROMANTISCHE STRASSE, GERMANY
When the route translates to “Romantic Road,” you know it’s gonna be good. Starting in Würzburg, you’ll need several days to soak up all medieval villages, palaces and Alpine vistas, not to mention the fairy-tale Neuschwanstein Castle (literally—the magical building inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle) near the journey’s endpoint in Fussen. Add more romance to your trip (because, why not?) with a visit to the local vineyards (the dry whites pair perfectly with richer Bavarian cuisine) and some pampering at one of the spa towns along the roughly 240-mile-long route.
It means “Troll’s Path” in English, so expect plenty of magic en route, including striking waterfalls and rugged mountains with names like “The Queen” and “The Bishop.” Roads are steep and bends are sharp, but the breathtaking views are worth the sweaty palms on the steering wheel (it’s only four miles long so you’ve got this). For a longer trip (around 400 miles), start in picturesque Bergen, then drive north (through Trollstigen) to historic Trondheim.
RING OF KERRY, IRELAND
Explore the Emerald Isle and its gorgeous beaches (yes, really), lush greenery, shimmering lakes and craggy mountains on this 110-mile loop. Start in Killarney, then make your way around counterclockwise, passing through beautiful Glenbeigh beach and impressive Staigue Fort along the way, making sure to stop at one of the many cozy pubs (but don’t drink and drive, obviously). You can easily do this trip in a day, so there’s no excuse to miss out.