Here at Europcar, this is definitely our favourite time of year. We love road trips, and there’s no better time than summer to go on an epic drive around some of the UK and Europe’s hottest destinations.
Selecting our ultimate road trip was a pretty tough choice – but after much deliberation, we settled on a sunny jaunt from Nice in the South of France to Seville in Spain.
After a few squabbles here at Europcar HQ, we even managed to make our very own definitive list of ultimate summer road trip anthems to go along with the drive!
So…we’ve got our route figured out…the tunes are blasting – time to hit the road! Read on to embark on your ultimate summer road trip adventure.
Hire a car in Nice to start your ultimate summer road trip in style. This stunning south coast city basks in an abundance of natural beauty, as well as in the sunshine of its pleasant Mediterranean climate, making it one of France’s most visited destinations. Make sure you strut your stuff down the famous Promenade des Anglais before hopping in your car.
Travel down the French Riviera coastline to reach the capital of the Côte d’Azur. Marseille is France’s second largest city, and offers up the history, architecture and culture you’d expect of Paris’ main urban rival, with the welcome addition of sun-soaked beaches to complement its southern climate.
Continue your journey to Montpellier, a buzzing hub of history and culture and France’s fastest growing city. Browse the eclectic boutiques nestled in the narrow medieval streets of the Ancien Courrier quarter and soak up the artistic atmosphere of the town centre from a classic French outdoor café.
Head inland very slightly to the town of Béziers, one of the oldest cities in France and a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network. Unsurprisingly, the city has plenty of historical sights worth seeing. Don’t miss the opportunity to snap the picturesque 14th century Saint-Nazaire Cathedral, towering high over the city, with the iconic Canal du Midi in the foreground.
Continue your journey inland (don’t worry, there will be plenty of beach time later) to explore the pretty town of Carcassonne. This ancient fortified city is most famous for its impressive medieval fortress (it has a drawbridge, so we’re impressed) and also happens to be ideally located in wine country. Maybe we’ll just pitch up here for the night…
Get back on the road early to head back towards the coast, stopping for breakfast in Perpignan. This medieval town is the former capital of the Kingdom of Majorca and is home to a number of notable historical structures that tell the story of its intriguing past. Visit during the last weekend of August for the free three-day Guitares au Palais festival.
Drive south from Perpignan for the two-hour trip across the border and along the Costa Brava to Barcelona. The capital of Catalonia is a world-class destination, with enough history, shopping, culture and entertainment to keep every traveller entertained. The hard part is selecting which sights to see – so we took this advice from a local:
Casa Batlló is a must visit because of its shapes, colours and design. Everything in the house seems to have been drained from a fairytale. Definitely, one of the most extravagant residential buildings in Europe, the ultimate expression of Gaudí’s creativity and ingenuity.”
Once you’ve had your fill of city culture, it’s time for some serious beach time on the Costa Dorada as you travel south to Valencia, stopping on the way for a dip in Tarragona. Once you make it to Valencia, you’ll discover a vibrant and thriving city that is home to many international festivals – the most famous being La Tomatina, a world-famous tomato fight that is held in the nearby town of Buñol every August.
We’re safely in the territory of the Great British tourist now, but don’t let that put you off continuing your journey into southern Spain – there’s still plenty to explore in these parts. Drop in at Benidorm for a spot of people watching on your drive from Valencia, or pick up a car hire in Alicante to discover a different side to the region during a shorter holiday.
Travel slightly inland to the historical city of Murcia to visit a number of interesting architectural and cultural sights. Get your bearings at the grand Plaza Cardenal Belluga Square, home to the impressive Santa Maria Cathedral, Bishop’s Palace and the fascinating Murcia City Hall.
Make your way down the final stretch of the east coast to Almeria for a spot of sun-seeking away from the crowds. This is a great spot for anyone interested in nature and the outdoors, with the famously beautiful Cabo de Gata Natural Park on the doorstep. Almeria is also famous for being the filming location for a number of Spaghetti Westerns – and naturally, there’s a theme park for that.
Malaga is one of the best known spots on the Costal del Sol and a well-trodden tourist spot, thanks to its hot, sunny climate and abundance of entertainment options. However, this is also one of the oldest cities in the world and home to a rich historical, cultural and artistic heritage. Whether you’re on a short break or a family holiday, hire a car in Malaga to make the most of the area. Fascinating destinations such as Fuengirola and Gibraltar lie within easy reach when you have your own set of wheels and, for bonus points, car fans should stop by the Automobile Museum of Malaga for a particularly unique take on a classic car exhibition…
Explore the rest of Spain’s south coast and curve north again to end your journey in Seville. This is a great place to get your final fill of European culture, with the city’s Old Town being home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As one of the economic powers of the Spanish Empire, Seville harbours many architectural and artistic gems. It’s also the hottest major city in Europe, so you don’t even need to pack a coat.
Remember to crank up our Ultimate Summer Road Trip playlist while you’re exploring. Now…anyone for Portugal?
Fancy another summer road trip? Check out our other posts for more inspiration: