Road Trips in Europe
When I think of road trips I think of the U.S. and my younger years traveling from Wisconsin to California in a really old, beat up, tiny Ford. Without a doubt, it was an experience of a lifetime. It included traveling through the Rockies during the picturesque month of foliage, long conversations with friends and strangers, and listening to the Stones in Concert at Mile High Stadium in Denver on a warm autumn evening. It still puts a smile on my face.
Truth be told, the official first road trip has nothing to do with the U.S. or a Ford. Instead, this honor goes to Europe, specifically, Germany. In 1888 Bertha Benz decided to travel from Mannheim to Pforzheim (106 kilometers) in her husband’s experimental motorcar. She was accompanied by her two teenage boys, Richard and Eugen. Thanks to this publicity stunt, the motorcar was a success. The Benz’s family business took off and evolved into the present day Mercedes-Benz company.
These days, our Road Trips in Europe is from Barcelona to Nice, & Cinque Terre take us through Spain, Italy, and France in a Volkswagen – but the thrill of the open road remains the same.
First Stop – Spain
Starting in Barcelona, as you drive north you’ll find yourself in Girona, a city in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region. It’s known for its medieval architecture, walled Old Quarter (Barri Vell) and the Roman remains of the Força Vella fortress. Landscaped gardens line the Passeig Arqueològic, a walkway following the Old Quarter’s medieval walls, which include watchtowers with sweeping views.
If you prefer a more coastal drive, there are a plethora of quaint and lazy fishing villages to explore. Lloret de Mar, Platja d’ari, Llafranc, Tamariu, Begur, Sa Tuna, L’Estartit, L’Escala, or Cadaqués, to name a few. Keep in mind, traveling the coastline to reach France will set you back a day or two. But, it’s well worth the time. These hidden gems host incredible culinary delights, cozy medieval streets, and pristine waters.
Second Stop – France
After CadaquéS, it’s best to get back on the main highway. Here we cross the border into France. As we continue on our Road Trips in Europe tour, our next stop is Perpignan. Perpignan is a southern French city near the Mediterranean coast. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca in the 13th century, and a significant Catalan influence is evident in its medieval core. South of the old town, the huge Gothic-and-Romanesque Palace of the Kings of Majorca has ramparts with views to the coast.
As we continue, a worth while stop is Narbonne. Narbonne is a town in southern France, on the Canal de la Robine. This city lays claim to the seaside resort, Narbonne Plage. The Gothic Cathédrale Saint-Just et Saint-Pasteur was begun in the 13th century but never completed. Near the cathedral, the grand Archbishop’s Palace houses archaeology and art museums. The Horreum is an underground labyrinth of ancient warehouses, left over from the town’s days as a Roman port.
Continuing put the French coastline, we pass through Montpellier, birthplace of our lovely South Europe Travel colleague, and Marseille, a crossroads city of immigration and trade since its founding by the Greeks circa 600 B.C
After stopping for a bite to eat in the trendy and famous cities of Saint-Tropez or Cannes, finally we arrive to Nice. Here you are reminded of the hustle, vibrance, and excitement of a small city, right on the water. Take a stroll through the “Old City” and Cours Saleya, visit the Matisse Museum, or perhaps take a bike ride down the Baie des Anges; this city has something for everyone.
Last Stop – Italy
Last stop on our Road Trips in Europe tour – Cinque Terre, Italy. Cinque Terre is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the 5 towns, colorful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces. Harbors are filled with fishing boats and trattorias turn out seafood specialties. And to top it off, here you find the Liguria region’s famous sauce, pesto! The Sentiero Azzurro cliffside hiking trail links the villages and offers sweeping sea vistas.
Perhaps Sergio Ortiz says it best: “Just south of Portofino, five towns on the Ligurian Sea maintain the charm and character of Italian villages of the past. Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are the pastel towns that make up Cinque Terre (five lands). They are vintage settlements where life moves in the key of easy — each town clinging to the rocky coast, defying gravity and, most of all, defying time…..”.
Want to know more?
Want to know more about our Road Trips in Europe? Planning on traveling to Europe? What to know more about personalized guided tours on history, architecture, and design? Or are you more about wine, sacred places, art, and gastronomy? Whether you’re looking for simple suggestions on where to eat, how to move around, and what to see, or if you need hour by hour organization of a 2 week guided trip throughout Europe and yearning to experience Europe like a local, we have the creativity, knowledge, and organizational skills to plan your every detail. In addition to being local, we speak multiple languages. Mostly, we are enthusiastic, responsible, and responsive, and we have 15 years worth of experience in the tourism sector.
We offer customers solutions. Take a look at just some of the reasons you should consider using South Europe Travel to plan your next European vacation:
Experience Europe like a local
- First of all, we create customer travel and event itineraries for people seeking to experience an authentic Europe. To know a culture and to have a life changing experience includes typical tourist attractions. But, an “experience” is more than simply strolling down “Las Ramblas,” visiting the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We deliver optimum service because day to day, we live, breath and rediscover these countries. Therefore, this allows us to share their true identity, splendor, and secrets with our clients.
Expect the unexpected
- Furthermore, we maximize European travel and event experiences and expectations. For example, plan on visiting Sicily and traveling throughout this cultural Mecca by car? If so, there are important details you should know. Most of all, driving through Sicily means closed roads, velocity radars, and safety issues. Our attention to detail prepares you for these unexpected hurdles and relieves you of the stress involved in planning your event or vacation. You should focus on your journey, not the road.
Time = $$$
- Most of all – time is money. It takes approximately 8 hours a day to create an organized vacation or event day that meets and surpasses your expectations. In conclusion, do you have the time, money, and expertise to do it on your own?
Get more for your $$$
- Poor choices during your journey costs money – sometimes more money than you would have spent on hiring a travel/event consultant! As a result, a taxi driver that takes the “scenic” route, choosing the wrong, overly expensive hotel, or dining at a tourist trap can easily cost you an extra 100 to 150 euro a day. Mostly, you’ll be sorely disappointed with your experience!
Think outside the box
- Finally, while our goal is to cater to your European travel and event planning requests, we can also help you “think outside the box”. Utilize our knowledge, adaptability, and flexibility to create a travel or event itinerary that affords you new and unexpected experiences. Let us help you create unforgettable memories to share with friends and family.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions regarding the above steps, our services, or your European travel and event plans.
Lastly, we are three women specializing in South Europe Travel. We love this region and all it has to offer and we would like to share its secrets with you.