From ancient cities to National Parks, Europe has so much to offer and you can go so many ways for a road trip. You can stick to one country or cover as many as possible. We’ve taken more than one European road trip, but only once did we stretch it out over 6 weeks. We road tripped across 11 countries, stretching from North Western Europe to South Eastern Europe. Read on for the perfect road trip through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Italy, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Belgium.
European Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Hamburg, Germany
Day 2 till 4: Explore Hamburg
Day 5: Drive from Hamburg to Sinsheim (609 kilometers (379 miles), about 6 to 7 hours).
Day 6: Explore the Auto und Technikmuseum Sinsheim
Day 7: Drive from Sinsheim to Breitenwang, crossing the border with Austria (319 kilometers (198 miles), about 3 to 4 hours).
Day 8: Drive from Breitenwang to Volders (112 kilometers (70 miles), about 1.5 to 2 hours, partly via toll roads).
Day 9: Rest Day
Day 10: Explore Innsbruck
Day 11: Drive from Volders to Zell am See (129 kilometers (80 miles), about 2 hours, via partly toll roads).
Day 12: Drive from Zell am See to Obervellach (107 kilometers (66 miles), about 2 hours, partly via toll roads).
Day 13: Drive from Obervellach to Dovje (111 kilometers (69 miles), 1.5 hours, via the Wurzenpass), crossing the border with Slovenia.
Day 14: Rest Day
Day 15: Explore the Vintgar Gorge.
Day 16: Drive from Dovje to Ljubljana (69 kilometers (43 miles), about an hour, via partly toll roads).
Day 17: Rest Day
Day 18: Explore Ljubljana
Day 19: Drive from Ljubljana to Ptuj (138 kilometers (86 miles), 1.5 hours, partly via toll roads).
Day 20: Explore the water park.
Day 21: Drive from Ptuj to Zagreb (93 kilometers (58 miles), 1.5 hours, partly via toll roads), crossing the border with Croatia.
Day 22: Drive from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park (137 kilometers (85 miles), about 2 hours, partly via toll roads).
Day 23: Explore Plitvice Lakes National Park
Day 24: Drive from Plitvice Lakes National Park to Knin (134 kilometers (83 miles), about 1 hour and 45 minutes).
Day 25: Drive from Knin to Mlini (295 kilometers (183 miles), about 4 hours, partly via toll roads).
Day 26: Explore Dubrovnik
The Way Back
Day 27: Drive from Mlini to Stobreč (238 kilometers (148 miles), about 3 to 4 hours).
Day 28: Rest Day
Day 29: Drive from Stobreč to Zadar (144 kilometers (89 miles), about 2.5 hours).
Day 30: Drive from Zadar to Krk town (230 kilometers (143 miles), about 4 hours, with a toll bridge).
Day 31: Drive from Krk town to Pula (150 kilometers (93 miles), about 2 hours and 45 minutes, with a toll bridge).
Day 32: Drive from Pula to Gračišče (116 kilometers (72 miles), about 2 hours, partly via toll roads).
Day 33: Explore Sečoveljske Soline and Piran, and drive to Črni Kal.
Day 34: Drive from Črni Kal to Sistiana (46 kilometers (29 miles), about 45 minutes).
Day 35: Rest Day
Day 36: Drive from Sistiana to Trafoi (367 kilometers (228 miles), about 5 hours and 15 minutes, partly via toll roads).
Day 37: Drive from Trafoi to Sank Moritz (99 kilometers (62 miles), about 2 hours), crossing the border with Switzerland.
Day 38: Drive from Sankt Moritz to Disentis (126 kilometers (78 miles), about 2 hours).
Day 39 Drive the 3 Passes tour, end in Wassen.
Day 40: Drive from Wassen to Colmar (350 kilometers (217 miles), about 5 hours, partly via toll roads), crossing the border with France.
Day 41: Drive from Colmar to Luxembourg-City (261 kilometers (162 miles), 3 hours and 15 minutes), crossing the border with Luxembourg.
Day 42: Drive from Luxembourg-City to Den Bosch (327 kilometers (203 miles), about 3.5 hours), crossing the border with Belgium and the Netherlands.
Day 43: Drive from Den Bosch to Amsterdam (88 kilometers (55 miles), about an hour).
Day to Day Itinerary
On our European road trip route we covered a large part of East, Central and East Europe. From (old) cities to National Parks it’s all on the route. We covered the following countries on our road trip: Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Italy, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Day 1 till 5: Hamburg
We drove from Utrecht to Norderstedt and stayed with family. Norderstedt is just above Hamburg. Hamburg is a beautiful green city. Arrive at Hamburg Airport to start your road trip. Visit Speicherstadt, Miniaturwelt, take a boat tour at the harbor, there’s plenty of fun things to do. We had fun with our niece and nephew, and didn’t play tourist these days. Hamburg is one of the Best Cities in Europe to Visit, and one of the best cities to visit in Germany, and it’s not the last one on that list that we’re visiting on this road trip.
On the 5th day we drove from Hamburg to Sinsheim, which took a long time, since we had a traffic jam due to livestock on the Autobahn.
Day 6: Sinsheim
Take a whole day for the Auto und Technikmuseum at Sinsheim. We had so much fun exploring the planes outside and admiring all the cars on display inside.
At the end of our day we made a short stroll through the city center of Sinsheim for a restaurant for some dinner.
Day 7: Neuschwanstein
We only made a few photos jumping in front of the castle. We had visited it 6 years before and loved it. Optional to visit also or instead is Hohenschwangau castle, a castle close by that’s also beautiful and worth your time. Both are among the most beautiful fairytale castles in the world.
Day 8: Highline179
On our drive from Obervellach to Volders, we passed Highline179, a cool suspension bridge surrounded by imposing mountains, which gives the most beautiful 360° panorama views. Highline179 was the first attraction on our week in Austria.
Day 9 & 10: Innsbruck
We had a rest day, Yuri needed some play time with other kids and we needed to wash clothes. The second day we opted to go to the Alpenzoo in the city of Innsbruck. Innsbruck is just 15 minutes away from Volders. Other things to do near Volders are Hall’s old town, Swarovski Crystal Worlds and a Mint museum.
Day 11: Gerlos Alpenstrasse and Krimmler Wasserfalle
The Gerlos Alpenstrasse is en route from Volders to Zell am See. It’s a 12 kilometer long toll road, with beautiful panoramic views. On the Gerlos Alpenstrasse the Krimmler waterfalls are also located. There are 3 waterfalls, with a path and viewing points near it.
Day 12: Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse
The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse is part of the Hohe Tauern National Park and on the way from Zell am See to Obervellach. This toll road is 48 kilometers long. There are stunning views all the way on the route, the largest glacier of the Eastern Alps, the highest mountain of Austria and the highest viewpoint in Austria.
Day 13: Bunkermuseum Wurzenpass/Kärnten
Just before entering Slovenia on the Wurzenpass is the Bunkermuseum. It was a top-secret facility during the Cold War. You can wander around the trench system and the bunkers. There’s also a museum exhibit.
Day 14 & 15: Vintgar Gorge
We had a rest day for some washing and playing on the campsite for Yuri. The next day we hiked the Vintgar Gorge. A beautiful gorge with a waterfall at the end. The Sum waterfalls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Europe. Swimming is possible near the waterfall.
Day 16: Lake Bled
The most famous and popular attraction in Slovenia, the beautiful Lake Bled. It’s on the route from Dovje to Ljubljana. Go swimming in the lake, hike around it, rent a boat and go to the island in the middle.
Day 17 & 18: Ljubljana
We had a rest day and went to the swimming pool on the campground and the day after we had an afternoon in Ljubljana. Ljubljana is a beautiful old city with a laid back vibe. Visit the castle and wander around the old town.
Day 19 & 20: Ptuj
Ptuj is a quaint little old town with a castle waiting to be explored. In the castle is a museum for regional history and the carnival masks that they wear in the region. We visited the castle in the afternoon on the day we arrived. On day 20 we enjoyed ourselves at the waterpark near the campground. Terme Ptuj are also an option.
Day 21: Zagreb
With one afternoon in Zagreb, wander around the city center. Admire the St Marcus church with its colorful roof. Go with the cable track up to the upper part of the city, admire the view on downtown Zagreb. Here are tips on driving in Croatia.
Day 22 till 24: Plitvice Lakes National Park
Drive from Zagreb to the Plitvice Lakes National Park on day 22. Take 1.5 days for exploring this beautiful National Park, with numerous waterfalls and lakes. Enough time to do the large circular walks, to see the main attractions.
On the 24th day, in the afternoon, drive further to Knin. Enjoy the peaceful hinterland, where (almost) no tourists come.
Day 25 & 26: Delta area, Bosnia and Dubrovnik
On day 25 drive from Knin to Mlini, which is close to Dubrovnik. The road is partly through the hinterland of Croatia and partly along the coast. On the verge of these two is a large delta area. Stalls align the road. Stop and buy fresh produce like fruit, veggies, honey, alcohol and so on. We stopped at a few stalls and bought fig jam and so on. Everything was delicious and fresh.
Before reaching Dubrovnik you pass the border with Bosnia. A small piece of coast belongs to Bosnia. On your route to Mlini you pass through Dubrovnik. After leaving Dubrovnik, there’s a popular pull over place where you have a fantastic view over old town Dubrovnik.
The next day take a boat from Mlini to Dubrovnik. A day in Dubrovnik is easily filled. The town is beautiful, as well seen from the water, on the walls as inside the city. Do the not to be missed tour on the walls/fortifications early in the day, it will be too hot later in the day. Wander through the city admire the Onofrio fountain and sit on a terrace on main street. Dubrovnik is one of our European Fortresses, Forts and Fortified Towns.
We went for a swim in the afternoon in the sea at Mlini to cool down and we wanted some ‘beach’ time.
Day 27 till 29: Split and Zadar
We drove along the coast from Mlini to Stobreč, make a stop somewhere along the way for a swim in the sea. That is if you can find a parking spot.
We had a rest day on the 28th day and swam in the sea at our campground. If you’re not in need of a rest day a visit to Krka National Park or the city of Trogrir is a good idea. Krka National Park is a beautiful park with waterfalls, lakes and some historic buildings. Trogrir is a city with a beautiful, old town.
On your drive from Stobreč to Zadar, stop at Split. Spend the morning exploring the ancient Roman city. Visit the remains of the Diocletian’s palace. The ancient city is well preserved.
End the day watching the sunset in Zadar at Greeting to the Sun, a monument that comes to live in the evening. Listen to the Sea organ and enjoy a warm Summer evening at Zadar.
Day 30 + 31: Krk
Say goodbye to Zadar, a city we instantly fell in love with. Drive along the coast to the island of Krk. If you arrive on time, there should still be time for a swim in the sea on one of the many beautiful beaches on Krk island.
The next morning explore the small streets of Krk town and stroll along the small harbor. Then leave Krk island for Istria, drive along the east coast towards Pula. Stop at hotel Flanona for a drink or lunch with a perfect view on the sea and the island of Cres. In Pula take a quick dive in the sea at sunset.
Day 32: Pula
In the morning visit the amfitheater, the famous one from Croatia. This isn’t the only left over Roman artifact in the 3000 year old city. After this drive north in Istria towards Slovenia. In Slovenia take the road through the mountains, leading through Šmarje and Marezige towards Gračišče. Beautiful views on Koper and the valley below and small Slovenian towns are your reward.
Day 33: Sečoveljske Soline and Piran
Today is to explore Krajinski park Sečoveljske soline, the saltworks and to view the beautiful port town of Piran. Sečoveljske is the largest salt evaporation pond in Slovenia. Salt is still produced in a traditional way, you can watch men working in the salt flats. Next to that, it’s a breeding place for waterbirds and a wetland of international importance.
After the saltworks drive to Piran, park your car just outside the city at the Formace parking garage. Take the bus to the city center (it’s car free). This is one of the most beautiful towns along the Adriatic coast. Wander around and admire its beautiful squares with houses in Venetian style along it. Climb the tower of the cathedral for splendid views.
Day 34 & 35: Trieste
Today we arrive in Italy, and start with exploring Trieste, the start of 4 days in Italy. A port city with large squares, our son loved running around on these squares. Of course have some gelato and coffee, you’re in Italy! It’s the coffee capital of Italy. The brand Illy has its origin here.
The next day is a rest day. Go for a swim in the pool and make a short hike admiring the coastline. You could also opt to visit Castle Miramar.
Day 36: Dolomites
Today you cross the Dolomites from East to West. Explore one of the many cute towns in the Dolomites, or opt for a hike in the mountains. It’s all a possible on this day.
Day 37: Stelvio Pass, Parc Naziunal Svizzer and Sankt Moritz
Take the Stelvio Pass to drive into Switzerland, with 46 hairpin bends, it’s a great drive with stunning views of the Alps. The road is narrow and is the highest paved road in the Eastern Alps. Start your day early, since the Stelvio pass can get crowded.
Start your 4 days in Switzerland at Parc Naziunal Svizzer, the only National Park in Switzerland and has 21 hiking routes. Enjoy the beautiful nature on one of the hikes.
From here drive to Sankt Moritz. A hiking and mountain bike paradise, but also perfect for watersports on the lake. Spend your afternoon here.
Day 38: Parc Ela and Chur
Parc Ela has some stunning views with its high mountain peaks, lakes and glaciers.
Drive on to Chur, the oldest city of Switzerland. It has a beautiful old town to wander around, with several museums and old buildings to admire.
Day 39: 3 Passes Tour
A tour of 120 kilometers (75 miles) covering the Süstenpass, Grimselpass and the Furkapass. Next to spectacular views on snowcapped mountains, mountain lakes and glaciers, there are also attractions like Eisgrotte Rhone glacier and the Teufelsbrücke.
Day 40: Brienzersee and Emmentaler Schaukäserei
From Wassen drive the Süstenpass again and drive to Brienz. Enjoy a stroll along the boulevard at the Brienzersee. Then drive further along this lake, pass through Interlaken and follow the Thunersee till Thun. Enjoy the mesmerizing lake views.
In the afternoon visit the Emmentaler Schaukäserei, to learn how the famous Emmentaler cheese is made and how the production of cheese has been over the ages.
Day 41: Castle Haut-Kœnigsbourg
Explore Colmar with its beautiful old town and Musée Unterlinden.
Visit Castle Haut-Kœnigsbourg on your way to Luxembourg a beautiful medieval castle with an artillery platform and medieval gardens.
Day 42: Luxembourg-City and Durbuy
Take the morning to discover the old town of Luxembourg-City and the casemates du Bock. Then head on over to Belgium and visit the Parc des Topiairies at Durbuy before driving north to Den Bosch in the Netherlands.
We opted to stay in Uden at my parents.
Day 43: Den Bosch
Explore Den Bosch with the beautiful St. Janscathedral, cosy city center and the Binnendieze where you can take a boat ride.
In the afternoon drive to Amsterdam, where the road trip ends. We opted to drive home, which is Utrecht.
Where to stay
We had a combination of campgrounds, apartments and a few hotels on our road trip in Europe. When there was lots of rain or campgrounds were fully booked, than we used booking.com for an apartment near us. We stayed twice at family, at Norderstedt and at Uden.
In Sinsheim we rented a large apartment for 2 nights.
In Austria we stayed one night at campsite Seespitze in Breitenwang. 3 Nights at Schloss campsite Aschach at Volders. Then one night each on 2 different campgrounds: Panoramacamp Zell am See and Aktiv-Sport Erlebnis-Camp Pristavec in Obervellach.
In Slovenia we started at Camping Kamne for 3 nights in Dovje. Then another 3 nights at Ljubljana Resort Hotel & Camp. Ending with 2 nights at Camping Terme Ptuj. We slept in a large wine barrel here, which was really cool.
After that we stayed at 5 campsites in Croatia, and some apartments and a hotel. We started with one night at Camp Zagreb. Then 2 nights at Camp Turist Grabovac next to the Plitvice Lakes. Then at Hotel Mihovil in Knin for one night. We were the only guests at that moment. At Camping Kate in Mlini we stayed 2 nights and again 2 nights at Camping Stobreč Split, a perfect campground near the beach. In Zadar we stayed at an apartment for one night, with really nice owners. The same in Krk town, one night at an apartment from a nice woman. Then one night at Camp Arena Stoja, near Pula. We wanted to camp another night in Istria, but there was simply not one spot left. So book this way ahead, since Istria books full fast.
Back in Slovenia we stayed one night at Homestay Ražman in Gračišče. Then one night at Hostel Xaxid in Črni Kal.
In Italy we stayed 2 nights at camping Mare Pineta in Sistiana. After we slept one night in our car, since every campground and hotel was fully booked. So another place where you have to book far ahead in the Summer months.
We stayed one night at TCS camping St. Moritz and one night at TCS camping Disentis. Since we had a lot of rain from here on, we only stayed at hotels the rest of the route. One night at Hotel Gerig, a fantastic hotel with restaurant in Wassen. Then one night at a hotel near Colmar, an one night at Doubletree by Hilton in Luxembourg-City.
Where to eat
We ate mostly at the restaurants at the campgrounds and hotels, or cooked our own meals with local produce. We tried a lot of local dishes in each country, like kremšnita in Slovenia, ćevapčići in Croatia, schnitzel in Austria and so on.
When to visit
We made this 6 week trip in July and August. We had both hot/warm weather as well as lots of rain. So pack with layers and a raincoat or umbrella.
You can’t drive the whole route all year long, since the Stelvio Pass and some other mountainous regions are closed off during part of the year in winter time. Austria, Switzerland and Italy have closures on passes due to snowfall.
- Bring some small coins for toll roads, most can be paid with credit card, but a few not.
- For Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland a vignette is needed to drive on the highways.
- Book your stays in Istria, Krk and the Dolomites far ahead. These book out fast for the Summer months.
We had less time at the end of our road trip of Europe for our stops, since we took a lot of time at the beginning.
Day 1: Arrive in Hamburg.
Day 2: Explore Hamburg.
Day 3: Follow the route from day 5 here further.
Day 40: Explore Luxembourg-City.
Day 41: Drive from Luxembourg-City to Durbuy (146 kilometers ( miles), about 2 hours), crossing the border with Belgium.
Day 42: Drive from Durbuy to Den Bosch (204 kilometers ( miles), about 2.5 hours), crossing the border with the Netherlands.
Day 43: Drive from Den Bosch to Amsterdam.
Alternative for day 5 and 6, is instead of Sinsheim, discover Frankfurt am Main, an industrious city that’s well worth your time.
Thoughts on our European Road Trip
We loved our road trip and would have liked to stay longer in Zadar and on Krk Island. But we needed to head back towards Utrecht. We took longer in Zadar a year later, when we undertook a Balkan road trip.
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