Europe Road Trip Month Long Itinerary – Mountains & Sea on a Budget
Whenever you imagine summer in Europe, what do you think of? If you say turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, tall peaks of the Dolomites and endless mountain ranges of the Alps… Or long, sunny days spent on the beach or wandering through iconic towns and evenings filled with delicious food… We are here to tell you that you can experience all of that- and more- into one amazing Eurotrip. This perfect summer adventure will take you through some of the most beautiful Europe locations. It will allow you to spend some days actively and some relaxing, creating the perfect holiday EuroTrip itinerary. Read on to discover the ideal road trip itinerary for vacations in Europe.
↬ Note : This is the exact itinerary we did during our road trip. We lived in our car for a month and traveled to many wonderful places. However we do not expect anyone to follow this exact route. You can choose to visit just parts, or certain locations. As well as adjust the order in which you will visit the places.
Our Month Long, Europe Road Trip Itinerary:
Day 1-2 Driving
Depart from your town as early in the morning as you can. We started our trip in Martyna’s hometown, Ryn in the north-east of Poland. This meant that we had to drive for 2 days to get to our first destination. We crossed whole Poland and spent the first night just outside of Ostrava in Czech. From there we drove the entire next day again before arriving to Austria. Wherever you start your Europe road trip from, you can easily adapt your itinerary.
Day 3 – Gogauseen
Our first destination was a picturesque mountain lake in Austria. This is the ideal place to try out via ferrata.
↬ Note : Via ferrata is a cool activity were you climb a secured route attached with ropes and safety carabiners to a metallic safety line. It can be found in the Alps and a lot of other locations. There are many trails around this area perfect for anyone- beginners and more advanced enthousiasts.
In the evening of the third day drive to Hallstatt and spend the night close by.
Day 4 – Hallstatt
Hallstatt is a fairytale Austrian village totally living up to its hype. Wake up early and don’t miss the beautiful reflections on the lake. Before 8AM drive to the town and leave your car in the parking lot. There is no vehicle access to the city. Walk around and admire this picture perfect location. This is a place you should skip from you Europe road trip itinerary.
↬ TIP : For 14 Eur you can rent a small motor boat. It’s really worth to see the city from the lakes perspective.
After visiting Hallstatt, head to Mondi Am Grundlsee- a beautifully located hotel just on the banks of the Grundlsee Lake.
Day 5-7 Grundlsee
Wake up before the sunrise and drive to Loserhütte. There is a viewpoint which will take your breath away. Take a thermos with hot coffee with you and enjoy the morning rays.
↬ TIP : Don’t miss the Augustsee Lake! This beautiful alpine lake, located at approx. 1,640 meters above sea level is very easy to reach on foot from the Loserberghütte car park- just 10 min walk.
Day 8 – Konigssee
You have 2 hours of driving ahead. From Grundlsee drive across the German border and stop at the beautiful Königssee lake. It’s a natural lake beautifully set in the mountains. Take a boat ride on the lake and then set for a hike to the Königssee waterfall.
↬ Important : The Instagram hype brought many people to Königssee Waterfall and its natural pools. We visited in August on a warm Saturday afternoon and there were around 100 people at the falls. Due to some accidents and trash left behind by uncaring tourists the government (or tourism organisation) tries to stop people from getting there. They placed a chain which shall prevent people from entering the abandoned path.
Day 9 – Plansee
A 3h drive will take you from Königssee, back to Austria & to the famous Tyrol Mountains. First stop here will be the turquoise Plansee lake. It’s an ideal spot to relax by on a warm summer day.
↬ TIP : Hike to an incredible viewpoint above the Plansee Lake. It’s a hard and tricky hike, which we will described more in another article.
Day 10-11 Seebensee & Drachensee
Without a doubt it’s one of the most beautiful hikes in Austria in general and of this Europe road trip itinerary. A well maintained path leads all the way from the parking lot up to astonishing lake located at 1,657 metres. The beauty doesn’t end there. Continue your hike for another 40 min and reach the Drachensee Lake.
↬ TIP : Spend the night at the Coburger Hutte and wake up for sunrise the day after. Watch as the sun covers the mountains with yellow glow. (Don’t forget to book in advance! We didn’t but got lucky)
Get down before noon and spend the afternoon at the Aqua Dome. After all, a trip to Tyrol wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this world famous spa.
Day 12 – Olperer Mountain Hutte
A 2 hours hike will take you to the insta-famous suspended bridge with views on Zillertal Alps of Austria.
↬ TIP : To avoid the crowds start your hike as early as 7 AM. There is a toll at the road where you need to pay 14 EUR in CASH ONLY. Make sure to have the change with you, otherwise you’ll have to drive 30 min back to the nearest ATM.
Day 13 – Lago di Braies
Time to change country on this Europe road trip itinerary and say goodbye to Austria as you are making your way across the Italian border. Your first stop is the awe-inspiring Braies Lake. This mountain location became famous thanks to many gorgeous pictures shared in the past years on Instagram.
↬ TIP : Because of this the popularity of the lake grew enormously. Wake up at or before sunrise to see the lake at its calmest time. There is a parking lot just 3 min walking from the lake where you can spend the night in your campervan or car.
Later that day drive to Tre Cime Di Lavaredo and do the 3h return hike.
↬ Note : The car and van park cost 30 EUR for a car and 45 EUR for a campervan. The park fills in quickly in the morning and empties in the afternoon. You can spend the night there.
Day 14 – Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Start your day by having an early breakfast with the most spectacular views. After that do a short 20 min (one way) hike to viewpoint of Cadini di Misurina.
Later that morning drive to Passo Tre Croci, the starting point of hike to Lake Sorapis. But just before that however, make a brief stop at Misurina and grab a shot of the lake and enormous mountain drop behind.
Complete a 2h hike to the beautiful Lake Sorapis.
↬ TIP : This is not an easy hike. Wear hiking shoes, take snacks and plenty of water. Make sure you are in good conditions for a 13.5 km hike.
Day 15 – Alpe de Siusi
You will spend today morning in the car. Your direction is Alpe di Siusi. Take a short detour to Passo Giau, a beautiful road leading through mountain ranges. Back on the main road drive all the way to Gardena Pass. Stop here for few shots before arriving at today’s destination – Alpe di Siusi. Leave your car at the free parking lot and take the cable car to Compaccio from there. Spend the day hiking and admiring the views around. Consider spending a night there. The morning light in Alpe di Siusi is magical.
↬ Note : The road to Compaccio, the heart of Alpe di Siusi is blocked during the day for anyone, but locals and people staying in hotels there.
Day 16 – Seceda
Enjoy the morning in Alpe di Siusi. In the afternoon descend and make your way to Ortisei. Get your hiking and camping gear ready. Pack a tent, cooking utilities, sleeping bags and warm clothing. Take the cable car to Seceda.
↬ Note : The cable car to Seceda is the most expensive ticket you’ll purchase during this trip. It costs 34 EUR return, 26 EUR one way. You can choose to hike instead, but before you do that, consider the heavy backpack and your possibilities.
As the sun sets, open your tent and prepare dinner. Go to sleep early as you will wake up before the first lights.
↬ Note : Technically it’s not allowed to free camp anywhere in the Dolomites. However, you won’t be the only one staying up on Seceda (there were another 8 tents when we were there). It’s said that as long as you make camp after sunset, pack everything before sunrise and leave no trace, the rangers close their eyes to people staying there overnight.
Day 17 – Val di Funes
You will start your day in the most magical way : getting up to sunrise at 2500 m in Seceda. Hang around until 8.30 AM and catch the first cable car down.
Get in your car and take the 1h drive to Val di Funes. Visit the famous Church of St. John, a tiny chapel set against a majestic mountain background.
In the afternoon, you will be leaving the Dolomites. But not before you make a 20 min detour to Lago di Carezza.
↬ Note : There is a wooden fence and no direct access to the lake.
Back on the highway drive to Santuario Madonna Della Corona. This christian church built on a side of a mountain is truly an impressive site.
This will concludes, for now, the mountain part of our Europe road trip itinerary. You will now head towards the coast and enjoy warmer days. Spend the night close to Verona.
Day 18 – Verona
Explore Verona in the morning. Visit (Romeo & )Juliette’s house and wander around charming streets and squares.
In the afternoon depart for a longer drive to Florence.
Day 19 – Florence
Explore Florence early in the morning. It’s one of the most popular thus busiest towns in Italy, but if you visit Duomo at 7.30 in the morning there will be just few locals (and instagramers) around.
↬ TIP : Have a coffee and cornetto (italian croissant) at Caffè Scudieri, but order it at the bar (do not sit at a table). It’s one of the ‘Italian secrets’: coffee prices are always around 1 EUR in Italy, but only served at the bar. If you order at the table you will pay 5 times that price- for the service.
In the afternoon, make your way more south to Terme di Saturnia. Make sure to take route SR222 instead of the highway. It’s one of the most scenic roads in Tuscany.
Day 20 – Cascate del Mulino (Terme di Saturnia)
Arrive to the baths even before the first rays of sun. In fact you can come at any time- there is no entrance time or fee. Some people even camp on the field across from the terme. Enjoy the morning bath in those hot, mineral rich waters.
Get back in the car and start driving back north. Stop for lunch at Ristoro Pecorino in Pisa and take a picture with the famous leaning tower.
Finish your day by driving to Riomaggiore- the first town of Cinque Terre you will visit. Enjoy a delicious take away pizza and watch the beautiful sunset.
Day 21-22 Cinque Terre
Leave your car at the parking lot. It’s much easier to travel around villages in Cinque Terre by train. You can visit all 5 in one day easily, but we suggest you take your time and do it in two days.
Dat 23 – Portofino
It takes 1.5h to reach Portofino by car from Monterosso al Mare. Stop for lunch at Santa Margherita Ligure before heading to Portofino.
↬ Important : There are many break-ins into tourists cars in Italy. In fact our friends car was broken into at the beach (payed) parking in Santa Margherita Ligure and everything was stolen (computers, camera, clothes, all the belongings). We highly suggest you to park the car in the underground parkings. They are more expensive, but you will be assured that your car will be safe.
Day 24-26 Monaco
On this day we drove from Portofino all the way to Monaco. We have a special reason for visiting the principality as it’s Hamilton’s hometown and his family lives there.
Monaco is a unique and extravagant destination we highly advise you to visit.
Day 27 Venice
It’s a day of a long drive. From Monaco to Venice there is about 550 km and you will need 6h to get there. Leave your car on the parking lot outside of the city and walk or take a vaporetto to your hotel. Enjoy an evening stroll in one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Day 28-29 Soca Valley
Today, you are leaving Italy behind and making your way back to the mountains. Next stop in our Europe road trip itinerary: Slovenia. It’s a gorgeous, but underrated country. The Soca River valley is a narrow strip of Slovenia squeezed between Triglav National Park and the border with Italy.
Try rafting or kayaking down the beautiful Soca River, or just visit the sites.
Day 30 – Mangart Saddle
Mangart Saddle is the highest lying road in Slovenia. It’s a winding, white-knuckle drive through tunnels and along narrow ways. It’s not an adventure for the light hearted – the drop on one side is hundreds of meters down.
You can drive nearly all the way up. The last part of the road is blocked and you need to continue on foot. The views are sublime and really impressive even on a cloudy day.
Day 31 – Lake Bled
The most famous place in Slovenia. This picture perfect lake with a small island in the middle is the most visited place in the country. Take a wooden boat out on the lake and in the late afternoon hike the viewpoint above the lake.
As we had few days left and the weather wasn’t permitting further hikes, we drove to Vienna, then Prague. This concluded the itinerary of our Europe road trip, and from there we drove back to Poland and returned the car to Martyna’s parents.
Disclaimer: We travelled in August 2020 and despite the COVID pandemic we got lucky with no real problem crossing all those borders, no test required. Be sure to check the current sanitary situation and requirement before hitting the road on this wonderful journey.