If you don’t like flying or you don’t want to pay the extortionate prices for your whole family to jet abroad this summer, have you thought about driving to your destination? You’ll get more family time on the journey, it’s cheaper as you only need to pay for one car rather than a flight ticket for each person, it’s fun, and it means you’ll have your car with you when you get to wherever you’re going. There are some fab places in the UK you can drive to, but if you wanted to go somewhere a little further afield then look no further:
The Lakes, Italy
The Italian Lakes region is easy to get to from the UK by car and is about a 10-hour drive from Calais. Head to Lake Como and take in the atmosphere as it’s one of the most picturesque places in Italy. You can make as many stops as you want to and then explore places like Bellagio, Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano.
The Romantic Road, Germany
Do you have a princess-loving daughter who would love to see fairy-tale castles and palaces? You can head to Germany and drive through Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg leading you from Wurzburg in Franconia wine country to the historic town of Füssen in the foothills of the German Alps. You’ll also come across the spa town of Bad Mergentheim, the Rothenburg ob der Tauber with its medieval streets and large city walls, the Disney-like Neuschwanstein Castle, the city of Nördlingen and lively city of Munich. Make sure you allow time for plenty of sightseeing along the way.
Les Corniches, France
Fancy the French Riviera? Dramatic sea views? Exotic gardens? And elegant villas? Start in Nice and head up to Monaco and the baroque Menton. There are three different routes all leading to the same place, and if you take the Low Corniche (Basse Corniche), you’ll find the fishing village of Villefranche-sur-Mer and the fortified medieval town of Eze. If you opt for the Middle Corniche (Moyenne Corniche), you will find the most picturesque panoramic views the French Riviera coastline and the Upper Corniche (Grande Corniche) offers fantastic views over Monaco. Alternatively, you could start your journey in Lyon and visit Aix-en-Provence and Avignon on the way to the Riviera.
Cantabrian Coast, Spain
The northern coastline of Spain is where you want to be with your car, with its green countryside and spectacular sea views, you can either take the ferry from Portsmouth or Plymouth to Santander or drive down through France. Spend some time in Santander itself and then head to Bilbao in Basque Country where you will pass through the small towns of Hoznayo and Beranga. Northern Spain is famous for its food including churros with chocolate, and rich roasted pepper romesco dip, so make it a foodie holiday as well as a sightseeing trip.
The Troll Path, Norway
The Trollstigen is a vast stretch of road zig-zagging across the Unesco-protected Geirangerfjord region. It has a steep incline and 11 hairpin bends and is barely wide enough for a single car in some places. However, despite the driving conditions, it does offer some fantastic views and the opportunity to look out across the magnificent Stigfossen waterfall. Legend also has it that trolls roam through the mountains every night before turning back to stone again when the sun rises in the morning. For this trip, you could catch a ferry from Dover to Calais and drive up through Germany and Denmark.
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
The Wild Atlantic Way runs from Derry down the western coastline of Ireland, and this route will take you through some of Ireland’s prettiest towns, including Galway and Killarney.
You could also visit the Aran Islands, which are located just off the coast and home to ancient ruins and beautiful sunsets. You can take a ferry across to Dublin or Rosslare and head west from there.
Netherlands and Belgium
Drive to Amsterdam to enjoy it’s beautiful canals and then make your way over to Rotterdam. From there, drive south into Belgium and choose either the coastal route which takes you towards Bruges or the inland route which will take you to Antwerp, Belgium’s popular second city and Ghent. Ferries to the Netherlands run from Newcastle, Harwich and Hull, or you could take the Eurostar to Calais and drive up the coast from there to enjoy plenty of beer and chocolate.
Furka Pass, Switzerland
The Furka Pass is another one for the risk takers and those who like to live dangerously as it’s one of the highest mountain roads in the Alps. The pass is around 2,500m above sea level and full of very tight hairpin bends and can be treacherous. However, if you’re a fan of James Bond, you might recognise if from the iconic car chase in Goldfinger.
Getting across to Normandy couldn’t be easier, from Calais, you need to head south along the coast taking where you will pass popular resorts such as Boulogne and Trouville-sur-Mer, and you can explore the many national parks and nature reserves which are also on route. You could even stretch out your trip and explore Jersey and Guernsey, as well as the Channel Islands, are only a short ferry ride from Normandy and ideal for a relaxing few days.
If doing the driving yourself doesn’t take your fancy, but you still don’t want to fly, there is, of course, travelling via train and interrailing which is very common or you can even hire cars. For example, take a look at hiring this private car from Prague to Vienna, you’ll get to enjoy free Wi-Fi all the way, a professional English speaking driver and a comfortable vehicle – this could be the solution you’ve been looking for.