The best road trips in Europe for the family

Summer road trip in the UK - motherhooddiaries

Seven million people decided to holiday in the UK last summer and (bar the unpredictable weather) it’s clear to see why. Our green and pleasant land are dotted with beautiful landscapes, historical landmarks and welcoming town-folk. One of my favourite holidays involved a quaint one-night coastal cottage stay with the family in Dorset and I had a great time with the family, just getting back to nature and enjoying a more simplified life – a far cry from the fast-paced London hustle and bustle. You can’t beat driving through Europe with the family and, until three years ago, the longest road trip we had embarked upon was a 2 ½ hour journey to Bournemouth, to bask in one of our home-grown beaches. However, in 2016,  we had decided to set off on our longest and most arduous journey yet, an exhausting 13-hour road trip to Switzerland (yes) and, even though I said I wasn’t going to do that again, we are actually planning to hire a car and make the journey to Switzerland again in July for a wedding! Driving around Europe is really fun!

We didn’t have to worry about baggage control, or waiting in the long stuffy queues at the airport. We could set off and stop at wherever we wanted and the towns and landmarks we saw on the way were magical. We captured so many memories on camera during our travels which we wouldn’t have been able to save if we flew by plane.  Despite the numerous pit stops, the boys (then 4 and 5) were absolutely fine and rode along the trip like warriors. If a long road trip isn’t for you, then, thankfully, the UK has tons of other awesome road trips to offer. Deals and discounts company, has some top tips on what to see and do on your UK road trip, as well as the important issue of costs and how to plan for a  summer road trip. They also have a really cool infographic, which lists the 5 UK road trips perfect for families and individuals alike! 

But if you do fancy planning a trip to Europe by car then Kwik Fit have come up with some great routes for you in the form of an eBook. You can access the Ebook here (or below), but here is a summary of the best road trips in Europe for the family this summer:

Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria

The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse is a high alpine mountain pass that weaves through the Austrian Alps. At 48km and reaching more than 2,500m altitude, it’s not for the faint of heart but if you take a small, light car with you, you can witness the sheer beauty in the late spring, early summer, as the route is closed from November until May as it becomes dangerous during the winter. There is a toll charge of £35 per car and £25 per motorcycle. While you’re there, make sure to stop off at the Hohe Tauern National Park, which is the largest national park in Middle Europe. 

Length and time:

30 miles, approximately 1 hour

Closest airport:


Route 500, Germany

A particular favourite for motorcyclists, the oldest and most treasured Route 500 road through Germany’s Black Forest is purely magic, sending adventurous drivers deep into the midst of the forest and through the mountains. Take a dip in the Baden Springs, stop off at Hohenbaden castle, and take in the crystal clear air in Freudenstadt at the Eastern edge of the Northern Black Forest. If you’re travelling by car, have some season tyres fitted so you’re covered in all weather conditions. Motorcyclists are banned from certain parts of Route 500 so check your route beforehand. 

Length and time:

40 miles, approximately 1 hour

Closest airport:

EuroAirport Basel, Frankfurt Airport, Stuttgart

Trollstigen, Norway

The ‘Trolls Path’ in Norway has one of Europe’s most winding roads, with a steep 10-degree incline and 11 hairpin bends. However, you can stop at the stunning views of Stigfossen Waterfall, which falls for more than 1,000 metres, and the famous National Tourist Route which leads you through the Norwegian fjords and across one of the world’s most stomach-churning bridges. The challenging terrain would probably fit a smaller car with a four-wheel-drive that’s great for gripping the winding roads. The route is closed through late autumn and all of winter, so head over in the summer. 

Length and time:

4 miles, 2-3 hours (including landmark stops)

Closest airport:

Molde Airport, Aro

Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Ireland’s picturesque Iveragh peninsula, the Ring of Kerry, offers an unforgettable Irish journey, where you’ll transition from forest to leafy upland to beach scenes to fishing harbours. Experienced routers recommend starting the journey in Killarney and then taking the N72 up to Killorglin. From there you can join the N80 around the peninsula to  Kenmare before returning to Killarney via the N71. Always drive anticlockwise around the Ring of Kerry to avoid traffic issues in the narrower sections of the route. It would be handy to have a paper map to hand too if digital navigation fails as mobile signals will often dip through the forests. The lanes are narrow, so opt for a smaller car that will allow you to easily navigate the curves with ease.

Length and time:

110 miles, allow 1 – 2 days for full circuit during daylight

Closest airport:


Route One, Iceland

Iceland’s Route One offers spectacular sights, from erupting geysers spurting boiling water metres up in the air, to volcanoes and lava fields of the Blue Lagoon and it’s so simple to book an Iceland car rental.  You can spot extraordinary waterfalls and even try your luck at whale-watching, as well as catching the Northern Lights. Route One is accented with photo opportunities along the way, so leave plenty of time in your schedule to enjoy the detours and explore the track. Stop at the Solhelmasandur Plane Crash where a United States Navy DC-3 plane crashed on the beach in 1974. Make sure to fill up your tank before you head off as there aren’t many gas stations around. Also, many of the stations are self-service so ensure to pack your credit card too. A good quality four-wheel drive will be able to take you through the elements on this route.  

Length and time:

800 miles, 7 – 10 days

Closest airport:


Spoleto to Norcia, Italy

Italy is well known for its scenery as well as it’s coffee and gelato, and this scenic route does not disappoint. Sample the olives in Spoleto as you start on your journey and take in the town before you hit the road towards Valnerina. Then head upwards towards Norcia and grab yourself some fresh Italian air where you can visit the Benedictine monastery and the incredible views of the Sibillini mountains. To make sure you witness the mass of floral nature at the Piano Grande, visit in late May to early June when it will be in full bloom. The Castelluccio village is 1,452 metres high in the sky so even when the sun is shining down on your bonnet, prepare for snow and ice when you reach this point. Make sure to pack sunscreen and sunglasses as well as a warm hat and glasses. Consider driving an automatic car for greater ease of use and driver comfort.

Length and time:

101 miles. allow 4 – 6 hours to include photo opportunities

Closest airport:


This summer. bundle up your family into the car/van/caravan/RV, get your tyres kitted out (our favourite store is Kwik Fit) and head out onto the open road to see the best that Europe has to offer by checking out Kwik Fit’s guide to Europe’s Top Road Trips and plan your Europe trip with the family this summer! 

*Collaborative feature post*

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Leyla Preston (604 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked!You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: