Road trips in Europe: Four spectacular routes
You can discover so much more when you travel by road. Enjoy the freedom of doing exactly what you want, when you want. Renting a car is easy, convenient and even earns you extra CashPoints.
Finding a car for your journey is simple – Avis has more than 5,000 rental locations in 165 different countries. Plus, you earn 10% CashPoints on your booking when you hire a car with Avis.
Read on for some of our top recommendations for road trips in Europe.
In Madeira it’s spring all year round. A day trip by car is a superb way of seeing this Atlantic pearl. This route takes you to and from the capital, Funchal, to Western Madeira.
Pack your camera and head west until you get to the beautiful fishing village of Câmara de Lobos. This village is the most Instagrammed location in the whole of Madeira.
Stroll around, take some photos, and indulge in one of the local cafés before driving even further west to the Cabo Girão cliff. Make sure you have a map, as finding the way can be a little tricky.
Once at the Cabo Girão cliff, you can gaze down 580 metres of sheer rock-face from a glass platform – not for the faint-hearted!
Next on your road trip, why not check out the organic farm at Fajã dos Padres? Take a gondola up to reach the farm.
Afterwards, head west again to the small and charming town of Ribeira Brava where you will find numerous cafés, supermarkets and souvenir shops.
You might also want to visit the spa hotel, Savoy Saccharum, before your return to Funchal. Take either the VE3 or the coastal route back to your starting point.
You can hire a car with Avis at Funchal airport, or in the Lido-area just outside the city. Avoid hiring a car with a very small engine as the roads on Madeira require some power!
Duration of trip: Approximately 7 hours
Mogán – Tejeda – Agaete – Telde
Gran Canaria has so much more to offer than just the popular beaches of the south. With your rented car, you can reach the charming fishing village of Mogán, the coastal city of Agaete, the green regions of the north, the spectacular Bandama Caldera and much more.
Hiring a car for a week from the airport in Las Palmas will cost you less than one taxi trip to Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria and back! It also means that you can be much more flexible.
But remember, if you rent a car directly from an Avis desk for your European road trip, you need to give the representative the discount code W131400, together with your Reward Number so you get 10% CashPoints on your booking.
Mogán – Tejeda
Below you’ll find some great day trip suggestions if you’re based in the tourist area between Playa del Inglés and Puerto Rico.
To drive to Mogán, you can choose between the GC-1 main road or the more scenic GC-500. The latter is definitely the more spectacular option, offering beautiful ocean views and a chance to see the local villages and towns along the way.
After wandering around the village of Mogán, continue past Puerto de Mogán and head inland on the GC-200. You’ll drive through the remainder of the Mogán municipality surrounded by fragrant orange trees and colourful vegetable gardens.
Agaete – Telde
Head towards Tejeda, via Presa Las Niñas. Your arms will get a good workout and you may need to make use of that first gear, as the road is quite challenging in places.
If you’re travelling in January or February, you could be lucky enough to see the beautiful almond trees in bloom, which depends on the temperature at the time.
In Tejeda, you may well be ready for a rest and some refreshments. You’ll find a few shops and restaurants here, but we recommend you save your appetite for the next stop on your road trip: Agaete.
Agaete is on Gran Canaria’s north-west coast and is a popular holiday destination for the residents of Las Palmas. There are several great seafood restaurants here. Parking can be a little challenging, but the restaurant staff will help you out.
You have two options for your return journey back to the south coast: either the coastal route or an inland route taking you across the island. The latter is much richer in terms of experience, where you can wind through tiny villages in green and lush landscapes, very unlike the ashen hills of the south.
Duration of trip: Approximately 7 hours
Free additional driver
If you rent a car with Avis, you get 10% CashPoints, up to 15% off Avis leisure rates and up to 40% off standard rates. You also get an extra driver free of charge. It’s so convenient to have two drivers, especially when the roads are a bit demanding.
Northern Italy is a fantastic place to explore by car. In addition, France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia are all just short driving distances away, meaning you can visit several countries and plan the perfect European road trip of your choice.
Here is our recommendation for a round trip through Italy and Slovenia, offering some great sights along the way. You can decide how many days you wish to use for your trip; some like a tightly packed schedule, whilst others enjoy calmer days and more time for rest and relaxation.
Day 1: Milan-Verona
In Verona, visit the Roman amphitheatre where there are opera and theatre performances during the summer. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was based here in ‘fair Verona’ and a walk around the old city is a must.
Day 2: Škocjan Caves and Ljubljana
Time to go underground! Just across the Slovenian border you’ll find the fantastic Škocjan Caves. These amazing caves are rated as one of the best caving sites in the world and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The three-kilometre long route through the spectacularly lit caves will take you about one and a half to two hours. The icing on the cake is the bridge, where you walk over the flowing river 50 metres below.
From the caves, it’s just a one-hour drive to the charming Slovenian capital, Ljubljana.
Take a trip up to the Ljubljana Castle, which offers tremendous views overlooking the city.
In the centre of the city, there are many great places to eat at very reasonable prices. You might want to have a day in Ljubljana or carry on further, maybe taking a trip to the Postojna Cave on your way back to Italy.
Day 3: Lido Venezia or Lido di Jesolo
Lido Venezia and Lido di Jesolo are islands just outside Venice, where many Italians choose to spend their holidays.
Here, you can escape the crowds of tourists in Venice by staying on one of the islands, while still having easy access to the city by ferry. We recommend that you stay at least two nights here.
On the last day, you´ll need to return the car to Venice airport before catching your flight home. Avis has a delivery charge if you leave your car in a different city to the one in which you collected it, but in most cases it’s cheaper than returning the car with regards to road tolls, accommodation and so on.
Norway – The Golden Triangle
Norway is well known for its fjords and mountains. If you want to take a road trip through Norway, make sure you see both.
Day 1: Oslo – Lillehammer
The first stretch is the drive from Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, to the Winter Olympic town of Lillehammer, just 110 km away. Which brave road trippers want to try the bobsleigh run? It’s Northern Europe’s only artificially frozen bobsleigh and luge track, and the only track in Scandinavia.
Day 2: Lillehammer – Trollstigen – Geiranger
Once you’ve experienced Lillehammer, head further up the E6 through Gudbrandsdalen. The small villages and cosy settings will take you all the way to Dombås, where you’ll leave the undulating hills and hit the really wild and scenic part of Norway. Go west through Raumadalen and stop to have a look at Kylling bridge, an architectural masterpiece.
Turn south again and head for Trollstigen. If Gudbrandsdalen didn’t get your heart pumping, then the drive up the road Trollstigen certainly will! You may miss some of the views as you concentrate on driving up eleven narrow turns, ascending a full 700 metres, so make sure you make some stops on the way up in order to take it all in.
Have a well-deserved and long stop at the top of Trollstigen and experience the feeling of walking on air at the viewpoint at the very highest point. Just be aware that this part of the route is closed during the winter time.
The road down from Trollstigen takes you through the spectacular Norwegian mountains, into Valldal and along the fjord to Linge. The climate in Valldal is perfect for strawberries, so if you take your road trip during July, make sure you stop at one of the roadside stalls along the way.
Both the ferry ride to Linge and the mountainous road trip to Geiranger include some of the most fantastic sights that Norway has to offer. By having your own car, you can ensure that you won’t miss a thing and can stop just as often as you please. On this trip, we recommend taking your time, spending at least one night in both Lillehammer and Geiranger.
Day 3: Geiranger – home
Homeward bound you can either fly back from Ålesund, drive south to Oslo or wind down the western coastal route to Bergen.
Like the sound of this route? Check out our list of recommended road trips in Norway.
Avis Preferred for Norwegian Reward members is free and gives you a number of additional benefits like Fast Track at the counter, free upgrades and bonus rentals.