Hit the Road and Enjoy a European Van Life Adventure
Head of Wanderlust at Camptoo, Ed Bassett, shares the top 5 EU destinations for #VanLifers this spring/summer as well his round-up of the best European road trips.
After two years of staycationing amidst a backdrop of confusing international travel restrictions, travel abroad is now firmly back on the agenda making it the perfect time to begin planning your dream European road trip.
Ed Bassett, Head of Wanderlust at Camptoo – the Airbnb of campervans – says, “A road trip is a fantastic way to pack in as many sites as possible during your holiday, and a great option for those looking to tick off some bucket list destinations. There’s really nothing as freeing as being able to travel where and when you like, safe in the knowledge that you have everything you need with you.
“This is undoubtedly why we’ve seen an increase in the number of travellers booking EU trips over the last month. In fact, France which didn’t feature in the top 100 destinations for bookings this time last year, is now one of the top 10 destinations for those travelling in both the UK and abroad, with the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and Germany making up the top five international destinations for Brits in 2022(1).
“The allure of #VanLife, hitting the road in your very own home on wheels and exploring some of Europe’s most beautiful scenery has never been stronger.”
Below, Ed shares his guide to the best European road trips and trails to enjoy in 2022, covering a range of spectacular sites, from historical castles to UNESCO listed landmarks.
The French Riviera
Approximately 4 days
Boasting warm temperatures and cinematic views, road trips don’t get more glamorous than driving along the famed French Riviera. Follow paths made famous by film stars, directors, and artists alike as you meander your way from the famed home of film in Cannes to the millionaire’s haven that is Monaco, stopping in Nice, Monte Carlo and Antibes along the way.
Avoid travelling during peak summer season so as to avoid the large volumes of traffic, and be warned, the breath-taking scenery comes at a price – think luxury pit-stops as opposed to budget.
Bilbao to Bordeaux
Approximately 7 days
Best for sun-seekers, wine-lovers and surfers alike, this picturesque route takes you past some of the best coastal spots in Europe. It’s also a famed passage for foodies, who can expect to stumble upon a multitude of oyster shacks and rustic seafood restaurants.
Begin your journey in the Spanish city of Bilbao, famed for its sublime architecture, before heading to one of Spain’s most scenic wine regions in La Rioja. Here, you can enjoy wine-tasting tours set amidst a backdrop of rolling hills and the Cantabrian mountains.
During your drive you’ll encounter a multitude of iconic surfing destinations, including Lacanau, Biscarrose, Mimizan, Zarautz and Seignosse. Check seasonal surf forecasts before you go as well as researching coastal campsites for overnight stays.
End your trip in Bordeaux, one of France’s most picturesque cities with half the city being marked as a UNESCO World Heritage site – the largest urban site of this category. In Bordeaux, you can enjoy some of the best sights, food and wine that France has to offer.
The Arctic fjords
Approximately 5 days
Home to the world’s longest road tunnel, the arctic fjords offer a road trip not for the faint hearted, that takes you deep into the picturesque mountains of Norway.
Begin your route in the colourful coastal town of Bergen, where you can soak up local culture, scenery and the historical outdoor fish market. From Bergen, you can travel to the famous fjords, known worldwide for their incredible natural beauty. Part of the ‘West Norwegian Fjords’ is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its stunning waterway that cuts through two extremely steep mountains. The Fjords are also renowned for wildlife spotting – expect to share the roads with reindeer and elk, and if you’re lucky, spot eagles soaring through the skies throughout the summer season.
This is a route for more experienced and confident drivers and those travelling in smaller vehicles, as it takes you via the tricky hairpin turns of Trollstigen, literally translated as “The Troll Path”.
Approximately 2 days
Known as ‘The most romantic road trip in Germany’, the Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a 65-km stretch bejewelled with towns and castles that are as rich in history as they are beautiful.
Starting at Koblennz, you can follow the Rhine River south towards the Rheinfels Castle in Sankt Goar. Though this route offers an abundance of quaint villages, fairy-tale castles and historic sites, it is the Marksburg castle that really stands out. Situated above the town of Braubach in Rhineland-Panatinate, the Marksburg is the only castle on the middle Rhine to escape destruction or ruin and dates all the way back to 1117.
Be inspired by the vistas and rich history, which has influenced writers, artists and composers alike, throughout the ages.
Approximately 4 days
A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Amalfi coast is made up of a rugged coastline dotted with perfumed lemon groves and charming fishing villages, offering a fantastically picturesque road trip.
Start in Solerno and meander your way through the villages of Ravello, Positano, Minori & Maiori, and the island of Capri, before concluding your trip in Sorrento, where you can enjoy some of the finest, panoramic sunset views that Italy has to offer.
Be advised, the drive is as challenging as the views are rewarding, with a number of winding mountain roads and blind turns, so the route is best for more confident and experienced van drivers.
To find out more and book a van for your next road trip, or for help planning your next road trip check out Camptoo.co.uk.
Notes to Editors:
- (1) Based on Camptoo bookings made between 22 February 2022 and 22 March 2022.
- Camptoo’s UK Country Manager and Head of Wanderlust, Ed Bassett, is available for interview or comment upon request.
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Launched in the Netherlands in 2014, Camptoo is a sharing economy platform that connects the owners and renters of campervans, motorhomes and touring caravans. The company was ranked the #1 fastest-growing travel company in Europe by Financial Times (FT1000, 2020).
Since it was launched, Camptoo users have booked over 500,000 days in vehicles rented through the site. Owners can generate income from their campervan when it’s not being used while renters have greater flexibility when booking their vehicle so that it best suits their needs.
There are over 1,800 vehicles listed in the UK, with over 4,000 vehicles to choose from across Europe, and a further 400 across Australia, with more being added every week. Vehicles are properly insured to allow both owner as well as renter a carefree holiday, with Camptoo providing all the necessary paperwork, checklists and roadside assistance. For more information, visit www.camptoo.co.uk.