Europe by car: the best road trip destinations

by Destination(s) Europe

📌 Read in / Lire en : Français (French)

Open the door, get behind the wheel, turn the ignition on…. and let’s go! Leave all your worries behind you to discover a country, or even a continent. How many did it? And how many more dream of doing it? Let’s face it, we all wanted to go on a road trip one day. And if there is one perfect continent for road tripping, it is definitely Europe. 

If you rent your car in Paris to go to Athens in Greece, you get to cross ten countries in less than 3,000 kilometers and in less than 30 hours on the road. So much to take in and to discover! And the best part is: you don’t have to leave for a month! 

However, not all countries are created equal when it comes to driving on that highway. So how do you choose your route? And if we want to stick to visiting one country at a time, which one is best suited for our ride? Well, luckily, there’s a very useful European ranking by Kayak. So here are the best road trip destinations for traveling in Europe by car.

Weather, infrastructure, tolls: the many ingredients of a perfect road trip

Kayak compiled an impressive amount of data to determine the best countries for car travel in Europe. There is everything that can make or break a road trip in Europe, everything that can make the trip complicated or rather easy.

Kayak’s criteria include:

  • Weather forecast : average of rainfall and sunshine days
  • Safety and infrastructure : speed limits, road accident rate, quality of the road network
  • Pricing : the price of fuel, the toll policy, the prices of a night in a hotel, parking prices
  • Traffic and sustainability : the presence of electric charging stations, air pollution, road congestion, the number of cars in circulation
  • Car rental : the average rating of rental agencies, the average price per day
  • Nature and points of interest : heritage sites (per 100 km2), the attractiveness of natural resources

The ranking of the best countries for a road trip in Europe

According to the ranking established by Kayak, the three best countries in Europe for a road trip are Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg. 

Portugal is #1 on the list. Indeed, the country “has scored well in several important criteria, including the quality of the road network, the number and nature of tourist attractions, as well as the price of rental cars”, according to the comparison website. Furthermore, you can enjoy the sunny days in Portugal and the very limited air pollution. Finally, the traffic is pretty fluid, too!

Spain is just about as great. The country is famous for its picturesque outdoor areas with many places for sightseeing. Plus, the roads are in good condition and there’s a lot of sunshine.

However, Luxembourg is a little different. The country might not be the sunniest place ever. Nonetheless, it has “sightseeing sites that are amazing but often overlooked,” said Kayak. The price of hotels, car rental and gasoline only add to the many advantages of traveling in Luxembourg.

The 15 best countries to travel by car in Europe

Here is the full ranking, based on the above-mentioned criteria. Fifteen countries were chosen out of 31 evaluated:

  1. Portugal 🥇
  2. Spain 🥈
  3. Luxembourg 🥉
  4. Germany
  5. Sweden
  6. Slovenia
  7. Finland
  8. Denmark
  9. Italy
  10. Iceland
  11. Greece
  12. Slovakia
  13. Switzerland
  14. Austria
  15. France

Bonus: Slovakia, best country for car rental

This ranking of the best European destinations for road trips could have been based on weather conditions favorable to driving. But, let’s face it, Southern Europe would probably have an unfair advantage. If weather is your most important criterion, you can read our articles on driving in Naples or in Crete.

Instead, we prefer to zoom in on another crucial aspect of road tripping: the car rental And from this point of view, Slovakia clearly stands out.

( Crédits: Kayak)

This Central European country comes in second in terms of car rental agency prices. On average, it’ll cost you $22 a day (all inclusive) – that’s 18 euros. A very low price, combined with excellent agency ratings, makes Slovakia the top European country in the field.

There you have it! Now you know which are the best road trip destinations if you are keen on traveling in Europe by car. Feel free to share your own opinion – or experience – with us in the comments!

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