Taking a Solo Trip Around Europe

5:20 AM

Portugal road trip: France to Spain


There are so many beautiful road trip possibilities in Europe that it is good to do some planning. If your time is unlimited, you could drive around the whole of Europe on a long road trip. If your time is limited, you might want to focus on one region, such as Central or Eastern Europe. On the other hand distances are relatively short in Europe, and with a few weeks of time it is easy to see a little bit of everything.

Where to Go in Europe?

Switzerland and Austria are known for their stunning mountain roads. If you like the Alps, you can also continue from Switzerland to either Italy or to France. France is great for road trips; there are dozens of scenic routes and there are good places to stay, including well-equipped campsites. Southern Europe includes the South of France, Spain and Portugal, where the beaches attract thousands of visitors. Italy has many scenic drives, although one famously beautiful road trip is the drive along the Amalfi Coast.

In Eastern Europe you can visit dozens of destinations, including historic cities (such as Prague or Budapest) or picturesque countryside, forests and mountainous regions. Germany is many drivers' favourite, thanks to the combination of great roads, good accommodation, scenic roads (especially in the Bavarian Alps and in the Black Forest areas), and easy connections to other countries in Central Europe.

Tips for Driving in Europe

If you are planning to hire a car, National Car has car rental deals for the UK and for Europe, including airport rentals and even van hire. When hiring a car to drive around Europe, you need a European or an international driving license. A license issued in an EU country is valid in other European Union countries too. Insurance is also important when driving abroad. The AA has a lot of practical advice for driving in Europe.

Safety on the road is important when you travel solo. Have all the important phone numbers stored on your mobile, including emergency services for each country you are driving through. Keep an emergency kit and a first-aid kit in the car, and keep some snacks and bottled water for long drives.

Planning Your Road Trip

Make at least some plans for your trip. Look at guidebooks, websites, car hire sites such as the National Car website for car rental tips, and maps even if you are relying on GPS. Sometimes you might also want to change the plan if you find somewhere interesting to visit. Moving between countries in Europe is easy because of the Schengen agreement, which means fewer (if any) formalities at borders. It is usually possible to find accommodation without pre-booking, but the summer holiday season from mid-July to late August can be busy. Sometimes it makes sense to book in advance, at least in the most popular destinations.

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