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Europe bottom to top: The ultimate road trip from the Med to London

 

What better way to see Europe than from the behind the wheel of a car? Driving through, stopping off when and where you like; it’s the perfect way to discover those hidden continental gems.

For the ultimate classic road trip, why not be ambitious? Start down in the Italian south and weave your way up through France, finishing in the British capital, London.

Where to start

Costiera AmalfitanaThe Amalfi Coast is a wonderful place to begin, halfway up the western coastline of Italy situated on the Sorrentine Peninsula. Here you will find idyllic ancient villages clinging to the cliffs, overlooking the intense blue waters of the Med. Pretty towns scattered along the coast, make perfect stopping off points for long lunches accompanied by a sip of the local speciality, Limoncello liqueur.

Head north up the western coast passing through scenic towns such as Sperlonga and Ponza. You will get close to the big cities of Naples and Rome, but if you prefer the quieter life, continue north and soon you’ll reach the town of Pisa with its leaning tower. Before passing in to France, take in the Principality of Monaco. Famous as the place for high rollers and millionaires, in Monte Carlo your credit card might take a bit of punishment.

Drive to the west and the French border awaits. Be sure to take in the famous Corniche road and the Cote d’Azur in all its glory. Contrast the high elegance of the French Riviera with the rustic charms of Corsica. At Nice, take a car ferry to this wild and beautiful island and enjoy the stunning views and rich and varied landscape. Driving around the island from the capitol Ajaccio to the quieter rural areas, snow-capped mountains will amaze you, sun bathed beaches, stony garrigue and grass meadows. Hospitality is taken seriously on the island, with charming hotels offering a warm welcome and excellent cuisine.

On into France

Pyrenees mountains summer panorama.

Once back on the French mainland, keep heading west, passing through the beautiful regions of Provence, Languedoc and the Pyrenees. Driving through a mix of terrain that takes in vineyards, rocky mountain passes and rolling pastures will fill you with awe. France is the most visited tourist destination in the world and there is no doubting as to why.

Eventually you reach the west coast, famous for its sandy beaches, big surf and pine-fringed stretches of coastline. Stop off at chic Biarritz for a spot of old world French glamour before pointing the car north. A stopover in the cultural jewel of Bordeaux is recommended, and don’t forget to buy a few bottles of the local tipple to take home.

As you motor north towards Brittany, the landscape changes, taking on a softer, greener appearance with grey stone cottages with steeply pitched roofs. This prepares you well for the changes in store as you hop on another car ferry at Cherbourg over the English Channel to Britain. Disembark at Portsmouth and head north in the direction of London, where whole new worlds of treasures await.

A road trip from the Italian south, through France and up to the British capital is a journey through many worlds. Fill up the tank, put the car in drive and see where you end up – with a route as long and meandering as this, fun and surprises are guaranteed.

 

Author: Agustina

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