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Fancy an enchanting road trip to some magical towns and cities?
Motorhome, RV, Campervan… call them what you will, but jumping in one and hitting the autobahns for a road trip through Europe is one of the best ways to explore the continent! They are literally homes on wheels that allow you the freedom to go (nearly) anywhere your heart desires. And what better contenders for a 10 day driving holiday to Europe than Germany and Belgium? On this Europe road trip from the UK, you will visit 2 of Belgium’s most charming cities and 6 of Germany’s most beautiful small towns (including a real hidden gem) which make for some of the most unique places to visit in Europe! So you can expect a complete overdose of storybook charm, but who could ever get bored of these uniquely enchanting settings, ay?
Tip: There are various opportunities for cycling on this Europe road trip itinerary. So be sure to strap your bicycles to the back of your motorhome otherwise you’re going to miss out on some real good stuff!
Note: Just because this is a motorhome itinerary, there’s nothing stopping you from using this if you’re looking for car road trip ideas for Europe. Instead of staying in the campsites, just book yourself into a hotel for each of the overnight stops.
Road trip to Europe itinerary overview
|Day 1: Outbound channel crossing from Dover, UK to Calais, France and drive to Antwerp, Belgium|
|Day 2: Antwerp, Belgium to Linz am Rhein, Germany|
|Day 3: Linz am Rhein to Bacharach, Germany|
|Day 4: Bacharach to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany|
|Day 5: Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Ladenburg, Germany|
|Day 6: Ladenburg to Cochem, Germany|
|Day 7: Cochem to Monschau, Germany|
|Day 8: Monschau, Germany to Bruges, Belgium|
|Day 9: A whole day in Bruges, Belgium|
|Day 10: Bruges, Belgium to the Port of Calais, France for return channel crossing to Dover, UK|
Tip: When you’re road tripping in Europe, to avoid unexpected charges set your satnav to avoid toll roads if this option is available to you. Or do your research beforehand so you know where they are!
Spanning ~1,650km (~1025 miles), beginning and ending in the French port of Calais (which is very accessible from the UK) and broken down into manageable chunks for daily driving, this campervan route around Europe will take you to some stunning cities in Belgium and beautiful medieval towns in Germany near the Rhine, Moselle and beyond across 10 days. And to avoid backtracking and effectively utilise your time on the continent, it’s a fairly circular route (just like this 7 day motorhome itinerary for Scotland)!
Note: This European road trip route includes both on and off site options for overnight parking. On site means on a campsite where there are facilities. Always check which months these are open as some campsites close off peak, and pre-book if possible. Off site means not on a campsite, so there may be no facilities, and availability cannot be guaranteed. Do your own research prior to departing for up to date information.
Know before you go
Always check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting to see if you will need a Visa to enter, and that you have enough validity left on your passport.
Always have a good level of travel insurance for every international trip. This is a non-negotiable part of any trip abroad, as the unexpected can happen.
When is the best time to visit Western Europe?
Western Europe is a year-round destination. But dependent on your personal preferences, there may be some times that are better to visit than others. For example, during the European summer holidays which span from around late June-August, prices may be inflated and roads can be busier. During this time, it is advisable to book everything you need to in advance, and give yourself extra time to get from A to B. If you don’t want to find yourself stuck in traffic on a hot summers day, perhaps avoid these months. May-early June and September can be good options for a road trip of Europe.
Tip: Visiting Europe off peak is one of the top tips on how to travel cheaper in Europe!
Can you drive from the UK to Europe?
Yes, absolutely. Although not across the channel unless you’ve got a super villain car-boat hovercraft type vehicle. The best way to reach Europe from the UK by road is to get the ferry from Dover or the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais in France. There are other ports that you can use to reach various countries in Europe (e.g. France, Belgium or The Netherlands) which may be easier if you live in other parts of the UK, like Poole, Portsmouth, Hull, or Newhaven.
Tip: Research ferry prices and don’t assume that the port closest to you has the cheapest fares. Sometimes it works out cheaper to drive to a UK port that’s a little bit further from you (like Dover, because of the frequency of crossings available)!
What currencies do I need?
The currency in United Kingdom is the Great British Pound (£) – you will probably inevitably have this already as this is a road trip itinerary for Europe from the UK, unless you are using this as an add on for a United Kingdom itinerary!
The currency in France (where you will arrive), Belgium and Germany is the Euro (€).
Day 1 of Europe road trip from UK
Get outbound ferry from the Port of Dover, UK, to Calais, France, and then drive to Antwerp in Belgium
Useful information for Day 1
Total distance: Calais to Antwerp is ~204km (~127 miles)
Overnight stop: Camperpark Vogelzang, Antwerp (kind of like a grassy parking area for motorhomes that’s well located to explore Antwerp)
Morning itinerary for Day 1
Arrive at the Port of Dover, UK, and embark on the 1.5 hour journey across the English Channel to Calais, France. Once you reach solid continental ground, drive ~204km (~127 miles) to Antwerp, Belgium. Antwerp is the capital of the diamond trade and is much more than just an industrial port side city – it’s a cosmopolitan place boasting a maze of medieval architectural delights! Park up at Camperpark Vogelzang which will be your first overnight stop on this road trip through Europe from the UK.
Tip: As a general rule, early morning ferry crossings (I’m talking before 7.00am) are usually cheaper than one’s that depart at a more humane time. So if you want this trip to be kinder to your wallet, rise and shine early! I always book with P&O Ferries from Dover to Calais (and vice versa), but DFDS operate this route too.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 1
After lunch, jump on your bicycle and use the extensive network of cycle paths to navigate your way into the city centre. Spend your afternoon sightseeing in Antwerp – trundle the pretty cobbled streets of the Old Quarter, see the 16th century guild houses which line the Great Market Square (Grote Markt), and wander the renowned Antwerp docks! Once you’re all tired out from exploring, head back to camp and settle in for an early evening (it’s likely to have been a long day)!
Tip: If you don’t have any bicycles with you (which I highly recommend you do because there’s some fantastic cycling opportunities on this motorhome itinerary for Europe), you can use public transport to get from Camperpark Vogelzang into the city centre.
Day 2 of Europe road trip from UK
Antwerp, Belgium to Linz am Rhein, Germany
Useful information for Day 2
Total distance: ~261km (~162 miles)
Overnight stop: Wohnmobilstellplatz am Rhein, Linz am Rhein (GPS coordinates are 50° 33′ 44″ N 7° 16′ 48″ E or search the name on Google Maps) – off site parking on the side of the River Rhine a stone’s throw from the Old Town, limited parking spaces, train nearby so can be noisy
Morning itinerary for Day 2
Today you will travel from Belgium across to German soil – the land famous for beer, Bratwurst, cuckoo clocks and lederhosen’s! Rise and shine early this morning and hit the road bound for Linz am Rhein, Germany. Linz am Rhein is a charming town located on the banks of the roaring River Rhine, and is the first of the most beautiful small towns in Germany you will visit on this road trip through Europe! Aim to reach Wohnmobilstellplatz am Rhein by lunchtime, so you have the whole afternoon for exploration!
Tip: There are only a small number of campervan spaces at Wohnmobilstellplatz am Rhein, so you might want to have a plan B just in case you can’t park. Each time I’ve visited there’s been vacant spaces, but failing to plan is planning to fail as they say.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 2
After you’ve refueled with food, spend some time wandering the cobbled streets of Linz am Rhein. The Old Town is full of half-timbered wonky buildings that are adorned with striped shutters, and has its own pretty little market square decorated with fountains. You’ll also find some unique shops and quaint cafes here too. And don’t miss The Neutor – a preserved tower of the old city wall fortifications which rises high above the town. After an afternoon strolling, retire back to your motorhome for dinner with a view over the busy River Rhine!
Tip: There’s a Linz in Austria too, so make sure you include the ‘am Rhein’ bit. Otherwise your journey from Antwerp is going to be hundreds of miles longer!
Day 3 of Europe road trip from UK
Linz am Rhein to Bacharach, Germany
Useful information for Day 3
Total distance: ~87 km (~54 miles) (follow the River Rhine)
Overnight stop: The motorhome parking area adjacent to and managed by Sonnenstrand Campsite in Bacharach (just set your satnav for Sonnenstrand Campsite)
Morning itinerary for Day 3
Today, you will continue your journey down the mighty River Rhine and visit another of Germany’s magical towns. And there’s no need to get up at the crack of dawn today (unless you want too, of course) because the distance you’ll cover is much less compared to yesterday’s mammoth drive! After breakfast, enjoy the scenic route alongside the River Rhine, passing many vineyards and towns on the way (if you take the route through Koblenz and via Boppard you’ll pretty much follow the river the whole way). When you arrive in Bacharach, park up at the hard standing motorhome parking area adjacent to Sonnenstrand Campsite.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 3
This afternoon, spend some time wandering the quaint town of Bacharach. As you enter via the walls that conceal Bacharach, a medieval Old Town will unravel before your eyes. Full of half-timbered wonky buildings, cobbled streets, and crafty shops, Bacharach is a charming place to spend your afternoon. Wander up through the vineyards to Postenturm Tower for spectacular views over the town and Rhine valley. And afterwards, jump on your bicycles and head north alongside the river, following the flat paths to the nearby town of Oberwesel and then Sankt Goar (if you’re feeling energetic).
Day 4 of Europe road trip from UK
Bacharach to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Useful information for Day 4
Total distance: ~255 km (~159 miles)
Overnight stop: Any of the allocated motorhome parking areas surrounding Rothenburg ob der Tauber (P2 or P3) – these are equipped with toilets and electric hook up
Morning itinerary for Day 4
Today calls for another early start, so after breakfast hit the road bound for Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is perhaps one of the most famous stops on the renowned Romantic Road – (one of the most well loved and best road trips in Europe)! This fairytale settlement has one of Germany’s best preserved medieval Old Towns, so it will come as no surprise that it’s a busy little place! It’s the most southerly point of Germany you’ll reach on this road trip around Europe, before you head west tomorrow and after start making your way back north. Park up at P2 or P3 (Rothenburg’s allocated parking areas for motorhomes) and get yourself settled in.
Tip: It can be good to try and get an early start on your daily driving, so you can maximise your time exploring each place of an afternoon. Plus, the roads are usually quieter in the mornings (aside from the work rush hour). But if you get tired, be sure to pull over for a rest.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 4
This afternoon is your chance to step into a real life children’s storybook and enjoy some sightseeing in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The Old Town is purely enchanting and is bound to captivate your imagination, and visiting is definitely one of Europe’s bucket list experiences! Go wherever your curiosity takes you but be sure not to miss walking around the city walls for picturesque vistas across the terracotta roofs that fill the Old Town! Take another wander after sunset once the many tour groups have departed and calm prevails, before heading back to your van!
Tip: Rothenburg ob der Tauber has some year-round Christmas shops which sell some of the most beautiful festive decorations you’ll ever see, like Kathe Wohlfahrt. If you’re a Christmas fanatic (like me) you’ll definitely want to visit one of these!
Day 5 of Europe road trip from UK
Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Ladenburg, Germany
Useful information for Day 5
Total distance: ~176 km (~109 miles)
Overnight stop: Wohnmobilstellplatz Ladenburg
Morning itinerary for Day 5
Today it’s time to head off the beaten path, and drive west across to a little settlement called Ladenburg. It might not be one of Germany’s most well known historic towns, and you may have never heard of it before. But sometimes places like these turn out to be real hidden gems, and Ladenburg is no exception to the rule. So on morning 5 of your Europe road trip from the UK, head from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Wohnmobilstellplatz Ladenburg. Wohnmobilstellplatz Ladenburg is a quiet spot beautifully situated just outside the quaint town of Ladenburg in amongst the fields, with easy access to an abundance of flat cycle paths.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 5
After lunch, spend your afternoon enjoying the peace and quiet of Ladenburg. Wander the through the medieval Old Town, where the streets are lined with half-timbered wonky houses, cobble stones, statues, fountains, and little independent shops. Be sure not to miss the market square, with St Gallus Church in the backdrop. After you’ve strolled through Ladenburg, jump on your bicycle and enjoy the flat cycle paths that crisscross the fields (it’s a cyclers paradise). Navigate your way south by following the Neckar River to the University famed town of Heidelberg. Then, after you’ve enjoyed a bit of Heidelberg and seen the The Karl Theodor Bridge, cycle back to camp!
Day 6 of Europe road trip from UK
Ladenburg to Cochem, Germany
Useful information for Day 6
Total distance: ~174 km (~108 miles)
Overnight stop: Moselle riverside parking (GPS coordinates: 50° 9′ 10″ N 7° 10′ 6″ E)
Morning itinerary for Day 6
After breakfast, depart from Ladenburg north through Germany to Cochem. Cochem is a beautiful town located alongside the Moselle River, and is surrounded by rolling vineyards. One of Germany’s best loved medieval towns, Cochem is overlooked by Cochem Castle and has a perfectly preserved and pedestrianized Old Town, hidden away behind fortified walls and gates. It’s a stunning place to stop on any European road trip given its indisputably picturesque location.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 6
Once you’ve found your overnight stop, enjoy some lunch with a view. Then, wander into Cochem to explore the Old Town, and be sure to head up to the castle for spectacular views down through the Moselle too. Cochem is another prime location for some cycling, given the abundance of flat paths which span the Moselle River, so dedicate some time to this before settling in for the evening!
Tip: There are various spots that allow overnight parking for motorhomes in Cochem should you not be able to get into the one listed above, as the town is another well loved stop on motorhome routes through Europe.
Day 7 of Europe road trip from UK
Cochem to Monschau, Germany
Useful information for Day 7
Total distance: ~111 km (~69 miles)
Overnight stop: Campsite Perlenau, Monschau
Morning itinerary for Day 7
Today, continue north up through Germany to the tiddly town of Monschau which lies very close to the border with Belgium (and a short drive to The Netherlands too). As the distance from Cochem to Monschau is a bit shorter at than some of the other distances you have driven, you can afford to leave a little later if you wish to enjoy the serenity of the Moselle River a bit longer. Head towards Campsite Perlenau in Monschau which will be your overnight stop tonight.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 7
Once you’re parked up and settled in, wander or cycle into Monschau. Monschau is crammed full of traditional half-timbered houses, little shops, and cobbled streets, and is a sociable town with many quaint cafes. Immerse yourself in the magical aura of the town for the afternoon, as this is the last German town you will visit on this road trip to Europe from the UK! Perhaps sit for a while and soak up the medieval atmosphere which permeates the narrow streets, whilst enjoying a cold German beer!
Day 8 of Europe road trip from UK
Monschau to Bruges, Belgium
Useful information for Day 8
Total distance: ~249 km (~155 miles)
Overnight stop: Parking Kanaaleiland, Bruges (GPS coordinates: 51° 11′ 44″ N 3° 13′ 35″ E)
Morning itinerary for Day 8
On Day 8, it’s time to wave goodbye to Germany and hop over the border back into Belgium. As you are nearing the end of your Europe road trip from the UK, it’s time to work your way back towards the Port of Calais in France. But before it all comes to a sad end, visit the the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bruges. Bruges is a city in Belgium that is world renowned for it’s beauty – think canals, horse and carts, cobbled-streets, Gothic architecture, museums, red bricked medieval step roofed houses, Belgian waffles, and an overload of chocolate shops!
Tip: Slow and steady wins the race when you’re driving a motorhome through Europe, especially if it’s a larger one. Keeping a steady speed on the autobahns can be more economical on your fuel tank and therefore should save you some money!
Afternoon itinerary for Day 8
Park up at Parking Kanaaleiland – a designated parking area in Bruges for motorhomes, with electric hook up. Parking Kanaaleiland is a stone’s throw from Bruges, so it’s only a short walk before you can spend some time uncovering the magic of the city. Grab a map from one of the tourist information centres and spend this afternoon wandering the many canals, lakes and squares of the city. Enjoy a Belgian waffle before heading back to your campervan for the evening, when you can figure out the things you want to see in Bruges tomorrow!
Day 9 of Europe road trip from UK
Spend the whole day in Bruges
Useful information for Day 9
Total distance: N/A – spend today in Bruges
Overnight stop: Parking Kanaaleiland, Bruges (the same as overnight on Day 8)
Itinerary for Day 9
As Bruges is such a stunning place and a fairly large city, Day 9 of this 10 day road trip through Europe from the UK is designated to spending the whole day there. If you need to shorten this itinerary to a 9 day one, you could cut this day and head back to Calais for your ferry this morning. But I would strongly recommend you allocate yourself one whole day to explore the city, and stay overnight again at Parking Kanaaleiland. After all, Bruges makes for one of the best city breaks in Europe in it’s own right! Here are some suggestions for things to do in Bruges on Day 9:
- Unleash the bicycles from the back of the van and head off across the cobbles, exploring both the inner and outer canals
- Take a boat ride around the canals
- Visit a museum or a chocolate shop
- Find one of the windmills of Bruges
- Stroll Minnewater Lake
- Explore the historic centre of Bruges and lose yourself in the many narrow lanes that join onto the main streets
Tip: Make sure you have a bicycle lock with you. There are an abundance of places you can lock your bike up in Bruges, if you wish to stop and take a wander.
Day 10 of Europe road trip from UK
Drive from Bruges to the Port of Calais, France, for return ferry to Dover, UK
Useful information for Day 10
Total distance: ~113 km (~70 miles)
Overnight stop: N/A – you have reached the end of your 10 day Europe road trip from the UK
Itinerary for Day 10
You have reached Day 10 of your 10 day motorhome itinerary for Europe and it’s time to return back to the UK. As with your outbound trip, it’s usually cheaper to get an early morning ferry from Calais to Dover. Bruges is very accessible to Calais, making it a good place to stay the night before your return journey home. You can stay in Calais overnight on Day 9 if you wish to be even closer to the Port of Calais. This is down to your personal preference, and Bruges makes for a lovely place to end your trip!
Tip: If you decide to follow this road trip itinerary for Europe and stay overnight in Bruges on Day 9, make sure you give yourself ample time to get to Calais for your return ferry home the next morning. The journey time usually takes less than 2 hours if traffic is light!
Europe road trip itinerary summary
There are many great campervan routes around Europe you can take, but this one is perfect if you are departing from the UK and only have 10 days to spare. You will visit some enchanting towns and cities, in all of their half-timbered glory (you might have guessed by now that this is a key component of any quintessential German town)! The continent is really well equipped for the road trip lifestyle, and it’s great transport links make it a fantastic destination for a Europe road trip from the UK!
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