If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know that a couple of years ago we went touring around Europe in our quirky campervan. We’d planned to go to Portugal but instead, we ended up travelling 6,150 kilometres across 9 countries, 15 cities, 10 towns and 24 areas of (with 2 roadside assistance breakdowns and 1 gas leak that resulted in the van catching fire!).
It was a massive adventure and we can’t wait to go on another road trip. Here are some roads we thought about travelling in our little camper, some places we drove through, along with some locations that are on our bucket list for next time!
1. Italy: Almalfi Coast
We spent a huge amount of our trip in Italy, and to be honest, it was overall my favourite area because there was so much diversity in different locations. We didn’t get as far as the Almalfi Coast but we are desperate to go back and do this 50-kilometre stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, in the Campania region.
Deemed an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape by Unesco, the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most memorable destinations. It’s a popular holiday destination, with sheer cliffs and a rugged shoreline dotted with small beaches and pastel-coloured fishing villages.
2. Switzerland: Klausen Pass
Switzerland has always been high on my list of places to visit. It’s really expensive to stay in Switzerland so travelling in a campervan is a great way to see the area without paying £200 a night in a hotel. There are so many amazing mountain passes (as long as you don’t mind driving your van down wiggly roads!). Notably, Klausen Pass is a famous high mountain pass in the Swiss Alps connecting Altdorf in the canton of Uri with Linthal in the canton of Glarus. Klausen pass is definitely worth visiting especially if you love skiing and mountains and passes.
3. Germany: Romantic Road
Germany was such a fascinating place to visit and there are tons of great roads to drive in Germany. One that’s particularly famous, that sadly we never got to drive, is Romantic Road. Romantic Road is one of the oldest touring roads in the world! Built after World War II as a means of attracting visitors to the country, this self-drive. Another one for the bucket list.
4. Norway: Trollstigen
Our retro campervan wasn’t set up for snow. We managed to get navigate icy conditions and cold weather whilst in Switzerland as winter rolled in, but I wouldn’t want to do a long winter trip in our old van. It had a giant hole in the side of it, where we had removed the fridge. It also was badly insulted (especially since I caught the van on fire, Oops!)
When we have a better than I’d love to tour the Nordic countries, specifically going through Sweden, Norway and Finland. You’ve probably spotted Trollstigen on Instagram – a serpentine mountain road and passes in Rauma Municipality, Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. As one of the most famous National Tourist Routes, Trollstigen (“The Trolls Road”) is a visual feast.
5. Portugal: Estoril Coast Drive
When we first left England we planned to head south towards France to Portugal, where we planned to spend the majority of our time, then dip into Italy on the way home. As soon as we left London we popped across to Dunkirk and decided we were so close to Belgium, so we’d pop in for a chocolate waffle (we’d been in Ghent a couple of weeks before and we had a craving!)
Long story short, we broke down and ended up staying in Belgium longer than we expected. We were scared to take the van all the way to Portugal so we planned to dip into Germany and go home, but instead, we ended up going further than we ever imagined. We had a great trip but I’m gutted we never saw the Estoril Coast – one of the most picturesque roads in Europe.
6. France: La Route Des Grande Alpes
If you’re living in England and you want a taste of travelling in a campervan abroad, then France is your best bet. It’s not too far away from home and there’s so much to see and do in France. Also, if you decide to go a little further (like we did!) then you can easily access lots of other exciting bordering countries.
The Route des Grandes Alpes is a tourist itinerary through the French Alps between Lake Geneva and the French Riviera passing over all the high passes of the Alps within France. If I could only go for a short trip this is the route I’d take. It covers some of the most scenic places on our trip, without going too far to Slovenia.
7. Italy: Lake Como
Italy was gorgeous and we loved every minute of it. There are so many different spots that we enjoyed for different reasons. Sun, lakes and mountains, what’s not to love? When driving through Italy you’ll likely pass the stunning Lake Como in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region, an upscale resort area known for its dramatic scenery, set against the foothills of the Alps. The lake is shaped like an upside-down Y, with three slender branches that meet at the resort town of Bellagio.
8. Iceland: Ring Road
When I book holidays I always try to book somewhere I haven’t been to before. I want to experience as many different cultures as possible, so I try to never go to the same place twice (my hen do being the exception because who DOESN’T love Marrakech!?). When I went to Iceland a few years ago, it was the first place I’d ever been that I said “I want to go back”
I know I didn’t even scratch the surface of this beautiful country. We’ve spoken about hiring an off-roader (I’ve been swooning over some on the Sandown Mercedes website!) and driving The Ring Road. The Ring Road is 828 miles long (1,332 kilometres), making it the longest road in Iceland. The Ring Road which encircles the island is whopping 1,333 kilometres! Assuming that it takes around one hour to complete 100 kilometres, you can drive around Iceland in 12-13 hours, but you’ll probably take a lot longer, taking in all the scenery.
9. France: Les Corniches
I’ve tried to vary this post as much as possible but frankly, I can’t help but pick snowy mountain spots, because these are the type of holidays I love. They make for epic road trips and personally, I find it a little bit more bearable being in a van and being too cold, rather than waking up in a van and being too hot. But I’m sure plenty of people will disagree with me on that!
If you love the sunshine and snowy drives don’t tickle your fancy, then you’ll want to hit up Les Corniches. The three corniches of the French Riviera: Grande Corniche, Moyenne Corniche, Basse Corniche, which run parallel to each other following the Mediterranean coastline. You’ll be spoilt with good food, sun and beautiful scenery!
10. Austria: Gerlos Alpine Road
Last but not least, the Gerlos Alpine Road. This road is one of the important pass road from Salzburg to Tyrol that we used it heavily on our trip (backwards and forwards getting lost, haha!). It also connects the village centre of Wald with the district of Königsleiten, winding 12km through high moor and spruce forest. This place is INSANELY beautiful. I highly recommend driving the mountain pass during the sunset – we did and I had to hold back tears because it was so overwhelming!
Have you been on an epic roadtrip? Or are you planning something special? 🚐🌿