The 5 Most Scenic Roads in Europe to Drive

Jack Dreyer | Thursday 2nd May 2024 12:00pm

Person with sunglasses on leaning on an open car door admiring the views of the mountains.

Europe is a continent that offers an incredible diversity of landscapes, cultures, and natural beauty - and all just a stone’s throw from us here in the UK.

For those who love road trips and exploring by car, Europe provides some truly breath-taking driving routes that showcase its stunning scenery. From winding coastal roads to mountain passes and picturesque countryside, here are some of the most scenic roads in Europe that every driving enthusiast should experience.

1. Amalfi Drive, Italy

Deep blue sea in the background of a tunnel on Amalfi Drive, Italy.

The Amalfi Drive is one of the most magical driving routes in Europe. At around 50 km long, this narrow, winding road lets you see the incredible sights of the Sorrentine Peninsula, offering uninterrupted views of colourful cliffside villages, sun-drenched coastline, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Also known as the strada statale 163 Amalfitana, the road gives you the opportunity to see charming villages and towns, from Positano and Ravello to Salerno. Originally built by the Romans, it takes about two hours to drive the entire length of this road without stops or traffic - making it the perfect place to head for an adventurous Italian day out. Just keep your wits about you, as the hairpin bends on this cliff-hugging road can require a little extra concentration. Especially if you’re feeling distracted by the incredible views!

2. Atlantic Road, Norway

Drone shot of the Atlantic Road, Norway with multiple islets and mountains.

The Atlantic Road in Norway is an engineering marvel that takes you across an incredible 8.3-kilometer stretch of road, spanning several small islands and skerries. This winding route, with its dramatic curves and stunning bridges, was opened in 1989 and has National Tourist Route status, offering breathtaking views of the Norwegian Sea and the country’s rugged coastline.

Connecting Averøy with the mainland, as you drive along this road you'll be treated to vistas of crashing waves, rocky islets, and even the odd lighthouse or two. Allow enough time to stop and explore at the route’s designated stopping places, climb a nearby hillock, or simply enjoy the fresh air and magnificent views. It’s a truly other-worldly experience, whether you visit in the height of summer or on a stormy autumnal day.

3. Col de la Bonette, French Alps

Isolated stretch of sun-kissed road in Col de la Bonette in the French Alps.

For those who love mountain drives, the Col de la Bonette in the French Alps is a must-visit. With green pastures, dramatic waterfalls, stony slopes and breathtaking views, this high-altitude road reaches an elevation of 2,715 metres (8,909 feet), making it the highest road in Europe. The route winds through the spectacular alpine scenery of the Mercantour National Park, offering panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, pristine meadows, and dramatic valleys. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for some incredible wildlife during your visit, too - including the bearded vulture.

Plan your trip to ensure that you’re there in the warmer months, as the Col de la Bonette road is closed in winter - and you’ll have to wait for the snow to melt before being able to enjoy its beauty. As the Alpes de Haute Provence Tourism Board says: “Keep your eyes wide open, this is a road that takes you on countless adventures.”

4. Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Overview of the Gap of Dunloe in the Ring of Kerry, Ireland.

The Ring of Kerry in southwestern Ireland is a scenic loop that takes you through some of the country's most stunning coastal landscapes. Starting and ending in Killarney, this 179-kilometre (111-mile) route winds along the rugged Atlantic coastline, passing through charming towns, ancient ruins, and breathtaking wonders like the Skellig Islands, Gap of Dunloe, Torc Waterfall and Lakes of Killarney. The ever-changing landscapes of cliffs, beaches, and rolling hills make this drive a true feast for the eyes - and all just over an hour from Cork Airport.

Fancy upping the ante on the adventure vibes? There’s also a Ring of Kerry cycling route, if you want to feel the fresh Kerry air on your face as you experience all that the wonderful countryside has to offer.

5. Transfagarasan Highway, Romania

Winding hairpin roads of the Transfagarasan Highway, Romania in the Carpathian Mountains.

Dubbed “the best road in the world” by Jeremy Clarkson on a Top Gear episode, the Transfagarasan Highway in Romania is a true marvel that winds through the towering Fagaras Mountains. This 90-kilometre (56-mile) stretch of road features hairpin turns, sheer drops, long tunnels carved through solid rock, and jaw-dropping vistas of the Carpathian Mountains. Plus, each year, starting from April, black bears start coming out of their mountain dens - and some of them come down to the road, especially in the Vidraru Lake area. While interacting with the bears is prohibited, they’re still magical to see from the comfort of your car.

The Transfagarasan Highway travel website is a great place to check for information or help planning your visit, as well as for any information on road closures. The highway is partially closed until 1st July 2024, so be sure to keep that in mind if you’re planning a visit.

Are you road trip ready?

There’s nothing quite like an incredible road trip. While these are just a few examples of the many scenic roads that Europe has to offer, one thing remains consistent - if you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime road trip adventure, you need to give your car some TLC. From pre-departure car checks to making staycation drives easier and advice on European driving laws, our blog has all the information you need to get your road trip off to a great start.

Whether you're a driving enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply someone who appreciates incredible views, these routes promise unforgettable experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. So, where are you going to head first?

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Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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