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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 9 April, 2020
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Want an adventure this summer? Here are 4 of the most epic European road trips

And some tips to keep you and your car from having a meltdown.

Image: Shutterstock/Matyas Rehak

THINKING ABOUT HEADING to Europe this summer? Well, if you’ve got wheels and wanderlust why not make it a driving holiday?

Europe has excellent driving roads and routes and by taking the car it means you can get off the beaten track and go where the trains and tour buses don’t.

The Brilliant Basque Loop – 490km

Source: lea_r

Start in Bilbao and visit the Guggenheim Museum. After soaking up the sun and culture, get in the car and venture into the Basque countryside and explore the picturesque vineyards of Rioja.

Continue through the rugged wilderness of the Pyrenees to Pamplona before heading towards the famous Roncevaux Pass in the Pyrenees near the border between Spain and France. You should have some fun driving this high mountain pass.

Then head back to the coast to the foodie heaven of San Sebastian. Eat rings around yourself in this beach city and make sure you explore the charming old-town before looping back to Bilbao.

Fabulous Fjords in Norway – 515km

Source: Shutterstock/CoralieG

Start in the colourful city of Bergen, on Norway’s southwest coast and drive the breathtaking E16 to Voss where you can try all manner of extreme adventure sports and explore the fjords.

Continue on to the colossal Tvindefossen waterfall before driving through the world’s longest road tunnel (24.51km), Lærdalstunnelen. Make sure you stop at the end and tick it off your bucket list!

Continue northward, you’ll have to catch two ferries to cross the fjords, but this is all part of the adventure. You’ll eventually come to Trollstigen (“The Trolls Road”), one of the best driving roads in the world. It is well worth the epic journey to get here and drive its 11 death-defying hairpin turns.

Wonders of the Ancient World in Greece – 820km

Source: Shutterstock

If you are a sun worshipper and a bit of a history buff too then a road trip through Greece is perfect for you. You’ll also need balls of steel to drive in Greece but if you are think you are up to the challenge you’ll be rewarded with a trip through history with a side order of sunsets on the beach.

Start in Athens and acclimatise to the heat by wandering the pretty streets and visiting the ruins before driving the coastal road south through the Athenian Riviera to Sounion, where you can watch the sunset at the Temple of Poseidon.

Drive north through the mythic mountains to reach the legendary city of Mycenae, the home of Homeric heroes before continuing on to to Mystra, the cultural heart of Byzantium. Continue on your epic journey taking in the sites at Olympia and Delphi before making your way back to Athens.

East from Budapest – 1,200km

Source: Shutterstock/Maks Ershov

Start in Budapest and make sure you prepare for this long but exciting road trip by soaking in the Roman baths and filling up on coffee and cake in the old cafes before hitting the road and heading east towards Bucharest.

When you arrive in Timisoara in Romania make sure you stop to admire the architectural gems before continuing through the countryside and dodging cows in the road until you get to the castle-filled cities of Sighisoara, Sibu and Brasov.

You’ll then find yourself in Transylvania where a visit to Dracula’s Bran Castle is a must. Then comes the best part of the road trip, the drive up and over the Transfagarasan Highway (the road the Top Gear trio called  ‘greatest driving road in the world’). You’ll have so much fun driving this road you’ll probably do it twice, if not more, before heading into Bucharest where you can relax in the largest thermal wellness centre in Europe and visit the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon.

Top tips:

Driving across Europe is relatively easy once you get the hang of driving on the other side of the road. However, driving in hot climates does come with its own set of challenges so to help prevent you and your car from having a meltdown here are some tips to help you cope:

Source: Shutterstock/S_Photo

Be prepared: frayed tempers and heat stroke due to a breakdown in the heat is zero craic, so make sure you have a sun hat, sunglasses and sun cream stashed away in the car. Also, keep cold drinks and snacks in a coolbox or freezer bag in the car.

Use sunshades: if you have to park in direct sunlight use a sunshade and place it over the windscreen. Sunshades reflect light so the car interior stays cool(ish).

Check pressure: ensure your tyres are not over-inflated. Air expands with heat, so slightly over-inflated tyres can become dangerously over-inflated in hot weather and could result in a blowout. However, under-inflated tyres are also problematic as they are subject to excessive friction, which causes heat. If conditions are already hot, under-inflated tyres are even more likely to fail and cause an accident.

READ: How does wheel size affect my car and driving? >

READ: 5 of the most spectacular driving routes through the landscape of the South West >

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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