There’s a reason Europe is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. It’s honestly hard to not like Europe. The colorful buildings and cobbled streets, the endless waterfalls and huge mountains, and the small villages filled with green meadows. While each country in Europe is slightly different, you can’t go wrong with any trip to Europe. These 8 itineraries are all great ways to experience Europe!
Back in 2016, we flew from the States and landed in Europe for our first trip to Europe. For the first six weeks, we lived out of a tent as we road tripped through Norway, Ireland, and Germany. Then, we rented an RV, or camper as they call them in Europe, and road tripped through 13 more countries in western Europe and the UK. It was incredible and a life changing experience to say the least.
While we still ventured into the big cities, our main goal was to find great destinations to hike, surf, and rock climb. If you too want to immerse yourself in culture, gorgeous nature, and seek adventure, try one (or all) of these great European itineraries.
Since the entire 6 months we visited were spent camping, I’ve included recommended camping spots in the descriptions of each destinations however if you’re not interested in camping, recommended accommodation links are included at the end of each Europe itinerary
A Few Tips for A Trip to Europe
If You Are On A Road Trip: In most European countries, the grocery stores are closed on Sunday! Stock up on Saturday. I can’t tell you how many Sundays we starved because I’d forget what day it was and not stock up.
If You Plan on Camping: If your Europe trip keeps getting put on the back burner because of your small budget, I highly recommend considering camping. Camping can greatly reduce the cost of your trip and in Europe camping is SO EASY. Check out our blog, Tent Camping in Europe for more tips. Campervanning in Europe is even easier than tent camping.
1 | Ireland
Fly In and Out Of: Dublin
The Irish are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. But don’t think for a second that they speak English While the accent sometimes makes it hard to understand what they are saying, the Irish love to chat and you’ll likely get caught up in an hour conversation on weather, politics, or food.
The Guiness is better than you can imagine and that is saying something because I don’t drink stouts, but Guiness is so good I couldn’t resist. And while I did see a lot of gluten free options in Ireland, I was glad I didn’t have to test them because the scones, soda bread, and cakes were to die for.
Driving in Ireland is an adventure. Remember, if you are coming from the States, not only are you on the opposite side of the road, you are on the opposite side of the car, which in some ways helps because as the driver, you just stay focused on the center line. We rented a manual transmission car so shifting with my left hand felt bizarre and it was hard to get used to having cars pass me on my right side.
Also, if you leave Dublin and head to smaller cities, the roads in Ireland get narrow fast and it’s not abnormal to see tractors on the road. Getting around takes a lot longer than you might be used to if you are from the U.S. What was shocking to me was how tall the hedges were on all the small, single lane roads so it was hard to see oncoming traffic and getting to places like the Burren entailed taking the turns slow and pulling over often to let traffic pass. In many parts of Ireland, and Wales too, the roads are only wide enough for one car. For this reason I was very glad we didn’t have an RV in Ireland.
Hiking trails in Ireland are a loose term and everywhere you hike feels like you are hiking through bogs. Your shoes get soaked and it might be worth the investment to hike in gaiters like the locals do.
Some other interesting facts about Ireland. In Dublin airport, there were waters (not locked up) for sale with an honesty box for you to put your euro in if you wanted to buy one. That pretty much summed up Ireland. I couldn’t even imagine something like that in the States (at least not in California). Gas Stations have really good food. There are sheep everywhere in the middle of the road. Don’t try to outrun the rain
Don’t touch the fences, most are electric for the cows. The temperature stayed between 8-11 degrees celcius the entire 2 weeks
You don’t need to drive the entire island. It’s pretty much all great, but all the same. If I only had one week, I’d spend a day in Dublin, a day in Limerick, three days near Sligo, and a day at the Cliffs of Mohrer. I’d only add Connemara and Clonakilty if I was staying longer.
- Gap of Dunloe
- Cliffs of Mohrer
- The Burren
We actually didn’t get to go here because we had surfboards strapped to the roof of our rental car and our shuttle driver at the airport said they’d likely get stolen if we parked in Dublin. I wasn’t going to risk it since we were just at the start of our 6 month trip. But from what I hear, Dublin is amazing.
If you are staying near Dublin, Wicklow Mountain is nice to explore. There’s rock climbing there and an old mine to hike to. Be sure to drive Sally Gap.
This small town is south of Cork, near Inchydoney Beach where we had planned to surf. I liked how foody this town was and while I wouldn’t go far out of my way to get here, I do recommend it if you are close by. Try to make it to the farmer’s market. I loved staying at this campground. It reminded me of the dwarf’s house from Snow White and the owner, who is hopefully still alive, was a hoot to talk to.