Road trips are not limited to the young or even the young at heart, and as a senior traveller you will find that Europe offers some fantastic road trips to inspire you.
A road trip requires some careful planning, including consideration of what to take. Your vehicle may have limited space inside to carry both passengers and luggage/travel items, so a roof box is a good investment, freeing up space inside the vehicle for passenger comfort and ensuring at the same time that you do not have to go without those additional items you want to pack. If you are considering investing in a roof box, you can find it here.
The following European road trips offer some of the best the continent has for travellers to see and visit, and have the common denominator of something very special for senior travellers to experience and enjoy:
The Grand Tour
This was the name given to the route taken by upper-class men of means, or those who could find a sponsor, and it flourished as a travel experience until the advent of the railways in the 19th century. Typically, the Grand Tour would involve diversions into France, Switzerland and Italy and such a route today will hold particular appeal for seniors, given its combination of historic cities and open countryside, not to mention the gentle way of life to be experienced in such regions as Provence in France or Tuscany in Italy.
The Wild Atlantic Way
If, as a senior, the idea of travelling far and wide is not your idea of a road trip, then a hop across the Irish Sea and on to the west coast of the UK’s closest neighbour may be just what you are looking for. The newly christened Wild Atlantic Way runs down Ireland’s west coast from top to bottom and features some of the island’s most famous sights, from the Ring of Kerry to Connemara in County Galway. At night, you can sample the atmosphere in an old style Irish pub.
Bergen to Oslo
This Norwegian road trip is easily accessible from the UK and Norway and offers vast panoramas to those who love their scenery. Accessing the outdoors is not always an option for the senior traveller but you can enjoy the magnificent sights of Norwegian fjords and rocky islands from the comfort of your car. For those who appreciate their architecture, the fairytale appearance of stave churches at Rollag and Uvdal are sure to delight, as are the white cottages by the sea near the village of Haugesund, once voted Norway’s prettiest.
Visa and passport requirements
Other issues to consider when travelling across the European continent by road are visa and passport requirements. UK citizens enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to many countries across the world, including a majority of European states, owing to freedom of movement in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). If you intend travelling further east to visit countries such as Russia and some of the other former Soviet Republics, then visa entry requirements come into play. You should check individual visa requirements for the countries you wish to visit and apply for the visas in plenty of time.
Driving in Europe
If you are bringing your car or hiring a vehicle on the European continent, then you should ensure that you bring your UK driving license with you. If you intend driving in countries that are outside of the EEA or Switzerland, then you will need an International Driving Permit. This permit is available for a small charge from the AA, the RAC or from the Post Office. It is also vital that you check driving/vehicle requirements in the countries you will be visiting because they may be different to the requirements you are used to at home. Some countries may require that you carry particular items in your vehicle, such as a first aid kit and breakdown equipment.
Another key consideration when travelling abroad is your health. Seniors may have particular health issues that need to be considered. A good piece of advice is to have an up-to-date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), allowing you to access state healthcare services across the EEA as well as in Switzerland for a reduced cost and in some cases at no cost at all. Ensure that you also have adequate travel and medical insurance in place in case you require medical care that would otherwise leave you facing a hefty bill.
For that unique combination of history, culture and fantastic scenery, it is hard to equal a European road trip, and as a senior traveller you can make fantastic memories for yourself as you traverse the continent’s highways and byways.