Categories
Transportation

Driving In Europe

As in America roads can lead you just about anywhere you want to travel in Europe. Driving will offer you a closer look into Europe’s culture and natural beauty. Visiting smaller towns and villages away from high tourists areas will offer you a different perspective of the European landscape. It is a great way to capture a part of Europe not visible in many larger cities.

Driving around the many peninsulas and inland bodies of water from one location to another will add additional miles and time to your trips but, it is the best way to see Europe close up.

The road infrastructure in most European countries is comparable to that is the states. You will find freeways and tolls for expressways, bridges & tunnels in some countries. Coastline roads can be narrow and mountain roads very windy that can be slow but, very scenic.


Urban Driving….

Many streets and roads in European cities are centuries old. The oldest sections cities have morphed over the years into a complex of vary narrow streets, that can be hard to negotiate. High tourism brings many pedestrians and these areas may prohibit any vehicles. Traffic can be heavy and parking is a problem and costly. Large cities are no different from American cities with their heavy rush hour traffic that can bring the freeways and widest boulevards to a halt. The use of a car may not be your best option within metropolitan areas, as most destinations can easily be reach by the use of public transportation such as, subways, buses, light rail and even biking or walking.


Rural Driving…

Some rural destinations will lack regular train or bus service that can make a day trip out and back a bit more challenging. While there will be services they may not run frequently and if you miss that last train or bus back, you’ll be stuck in a town overnight. This is when you may want to consider renting a car giving you the flexibility to stop where you want to stop and leave when you want to leave. The rural landscapes of Europe can be just as enchanting as it’s cities. Quint old and medieval villages are plentiful and rich with their own history. The national and local parks that offer breathtaking natural scenery make it a great place to picnic. 

Be prepared to pay tolls on major highways in some countries. If you do not want to drive, you may also find day tours available from major cities listed in our tours page.

You may find automatic transmission cars limited as the majority of rental cars are manual. 

Driving in Europe…

What documents you should have when driving in Europe?
  • Your current valid operator’s license with photo card ID
  • International Driving Permit (when necessary)
  • Vehicle registration document (V5c) 
  • Rental car agreement
  • Proof of Auto insurance
  • Passports
  • Travel insurance documents
  • You will need a visa for the countries that required one upon your arrival.

Vignette (Road Tax)…

Some countries require a vignette sticker in the window of a vehicle or the vehicle is monitored on roads electronically with video cameras. This is a form of road tax assessed for the use of motorways, expressways or all roads. There can be different rates for the size of vehicles and in some countries motorcycles are excluded from vignettes.

Whether you rent, buy or borrow a vehicle to drive, make sure it complies with the countries regulations within the country you plan to drive in. Failure to be in compliance with the laws could lead to an ugly fine. Make sure you inform your rental car provider which countries you plan to drive in and whether those countries require vignette registration.

What side of the road are you on?

You have all seen or know that when in England, as we say in American, “they’re driving on the wrong side of the road”. Well several other countries also use the left lane for traffic flow.

Countries that drive on the left side are; Cyprus, England, Guernsey, Jersey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Malta, Northern Ireland and Scotland.  That means when you rent a vehicle is those countries the driver and steering wheel will be on the right side of the car. You will shift with your left hand but, you will use your right foot on the accelerator and the left foot on your clutch and broke pedals. So if your not comfortable attempting to drive in this fashion, we suggest using public transportation. All other countries use the right side for traffic flow.


Reading European Road Signs…

You will find driving in Europe rather easy. In 1968  most countries agreed to standardize traffic regulations and road signage. Almost all road signs have been coordinated to be similar in appearance.

Yield

Stop

Priority Road

Yield to on coming traffic

Priority over on coming traffic

Yield ahead

Stop ahead

Traffic signal ahead

Roundabout ahead

Two way traffic ahead

Level Crossing with barriers ahead

Railroad crossing

Road narrows one side

Steep ascent

Steep descent

Uneven road ahead

Bend ahead

Double bend ahead

Children

Falling debris

Opening or swing bridge

Wild animals

Road work ahead

No Vehicles

Do not enter

No motorized vehicles

No right turn

No left Turn

No U turn

No passing

No parking / waiting

No stopping

Passing zone ends

Max speed limit

End max speed limit

Speed limit zone

End speed limit zone

Minimum speed limit

End minimum speed limit

Straight ahead only

Proceed right only

Right Turn Only

Pass on this side

Pass on either side

Roundabout

Bicycles only

Pedestrians only

One-way intersection

One-way street

Pedestrian Crossing

Lane ends

Pedestrian zone

Expressway

Expressway Ends

Motorway

Motorway Ends

Dead end

Hospital

First aid

Tunnel

Parking

Europe has an intercontinental highway system similar the US interstate highway system. These highways are almost always expressways that create unhindered traffic flow. They have wide lanes, on and off ramps to enter or exit from, railroad intersections that cross at a different level, they by passes heavy congested areas, curves and gradients designed to handle speeds 80- 100km.These highways are identified with a numbering system for A class and B class roads. Roads that are A class start with an “E” as it prefix followed by two digit numbers (example Highway E43). B class roads are labeled the same,  except with three digit numbers (example E249). Odd numbered highways run north-south with the lowest number, E1 farthest west. Even numbered highways run East-West with the lowest numbered highway E5, being farthest north.

Other highways are supervised, nationally or locally and can be numbered with a starting prefix’s such as  A, M, R flowed by digits or just a numeric number. Some of these highways can be narrower roads with intersections or roundabouts and will run through the middle of cities or villages. They may also be numbered with the European highway id. Highway 6 in Germany is also European highway E50.

Toll Roads…

Some countries in Europe do have toll roads so always keep extra change when driving. Share your intended route with your rental car company when picking up your vehicle. They will be able to tell you if you will encounter any tolls and how many. They will also tell you whether toll passes need to be purchased prior to driving.

 Flag_of_AustriaAustria

Roads

  • A10
  • A13
  • A16 (S16)
  • Gross Glockner Alpine Road

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Bosruck Tunnel
  • Gleinalm Tunnel
  • Karawanken Tunnel
Flag_of_BelarusBelarus

Roads

  • M1
Flag_of_BelgiumBelgium

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Llefkenshoek Tunnel
Flag_of_BulgariaBulgaria

Bridges / Tunnels

  • E70/ E79 Ruse – Giurgiu
  • E79 Vidin – Calafat
  • Silistra – Calarasi Bridge
  • Svishtov – Zimnicea Bridge
Flag_of_CroatiaCroatia

Roads

  • A1 (E65)
  • A2 (E59)
  • A3
  • A3 + A5 (E70)
  • A4 (E71)
  • A5
  • A6 (65)
  • A7

Bridges / Tunnels

  • A8 Ucka Tunnel
  • A9 Mirna Bridge
  • Krk Bridge
Flag_of_the_Czech_RepublicCzech Republic

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Morava River Bridge
Flag_of_DenmarkDenmark

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Oresund Bridge
  • Storebaelt Bridge (Great Belt Bridge)
Flag_of_FranceFrance

Roads

  • A1
  • A2 / A1
  • A2 / A26
  • A4
  • A5 / A31 / A6
  • A6
  • A7 / A8
  • A7 / A9
  • A8
  • A9
  • A9 / A54
  • A10
  • A10 / A71
  • A10 / A837
  • A11
  • A11 / A81
  • A13
  • A13 / A131
  • A13 / A14
  • A14
  • A16
  • A26
  • A26 / A1
  • A26 / A5
  • A26 / A5 / A39 / A40
  • A29
  • A29 / A16
  • A29 / A26
  • A31
  • A36
  • A39
  • A40
  • A41
  • A41 / A40
  • A42 / A40
  • A43
  • A43 / A430
  • A43 / A48
  • A49
  • A51
  • A52 / A50
  • A54 / A7
  • A57
  • A61 / A9
  • A62
  • A63
  • A64
  • A65
  • A72
  • A83 / A10
  • A85
  • A87
  • A89
  • E9
  • E402
  • E604
  • E712

Bridges / Tunnels

  • La Rochelle (high season)
  • Millau Viaduct
  • Mont Blanc TunnelTunnel Prado Carenage
  • Pont de Normandie
  • Pont de Tancarville
  • Tunnel Prado Carenage
  • Tunnel de Sainte Marie aux Mines
  • Tunnel du Frejus
  • Tunnel du Puymorens
Flag_of_GermanyGermany

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Herren Tunnel
  • Warnow Tunnel
Flag_of_GreeceGreece

Roads

  • A1 / E75
  • A2 / E90
  • A7 / E65
  • A8 / E65 / E55
  • A8 / E94

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Artemission Tunnel
  • The Rio-Antirio Bridge
  • Aktion Tunnel
Flag_of_IcelandIceland

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Hvalfjorour Tunnel
Flag_of_IrelandIreland

Roads

  • M1
  • M3
  • M4
  • M6
  • M7 / M8
  • M8

Bridges / Tunnels

  • East Link Toll Bridge
  • Limerick Tunnel
  • M50 Dublin Port Tunnel
  • M50 Toll Bridge Dublin
  • River Suir Bridge
Flag_of_ItalyItaly

Roads

  • A1
  • A3
  • A4
  • A5
  • A6
  • A7
  • A8
  • A9
  • A10
  • A11
  • A12
  • A13
  • A14
  • A15
  • A16
  • A18
  • A21
  • A22
  • A23
  • A24
  • A25
  • A26
  • A27
  • A28
  • A29
  • A30
  • A31
  • A32
  • A33
  • Stelvio Pass

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Grand St Bernard Tunnel
  • Monte Bianco Tunnel
  • Munt La Schera Tunnel
  • Tunnel du Frejus
Flag_of_MontenegroMontenegro

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Sozina Tunnel
Flag_of_the_NetherlandsNetherlands

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Kil Tunnel
  • Westerschelde Tunnel
Flag_of_NorwayNorway

Roads

  • Baerum Ring Road
  • Bergen Ring Road
  • E6
  • E18
  • E18 / E134
  • E39
  • Hadelandsvegen RV35
  • Kristiansand Ring Road
  • Namdelandsprosjeket
  • Namsos Ring Road
  • Nord-Jaeren Ring Road
  • Oslo Ring Road
  • Ostfold E18
  • Setesdalsvegan RV9
  • Stavanger Ring Road
  • Tonsberg Ring Road
  • Trondheim Congestion

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Askim
  • Aust-Agder
  • Folgefonntunnelen
  • Kristiansund fastlandsforbindelse
  • Kroppan Bru Bridge
  • Listerpakken
  • Moss
  • Nordkapp
  • Oslofjord Tunnel
  • Oysand-Thamshamn
  • Rullestadjuvet
  • Sunnfjordtunnelen
  • Svinesundsforbindelsen
  • Trekantsambanet
  • Vestfold Bridge
  • Vestfold Sor Bridge
Flag_of_PolandPoland

Roads

  • A1
  • A2
  • A4
Flag_of_PortugalPortugal

Roads

  • A1
  • A2
  • A3
  • A4
  • A5
  • A6 / A2
  • A7
  • A8
  • A9
  • A10
  • A11
  • A12
  • A13
  • A14
  • A15
  • A16
  • A17
  • A19
  • A21
  • A22
  • A23
  • A24
  • A25
  • A28
  • A29
  • A32
  • A33
  • A41
  • A42
  • A43

Bridges / Tunnels

  • 25th April Bridge
  • Vasco da Gama Bridge
Flag_of_RomaniaRomania

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Giurgeni – Vadu Oii Bridge
  • Giugiu – Ruse Bridge
  • Fetesti – Cernavoda Bridge
Flag_of_SerbiaSerbia

Roads

  • E70
  • E75
Flag_of_SloveniaSlovenia

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Karawanken Tunnel
Flag_of_SpainSpain

Roads

  • A3
  • A4
  • A6
  • A8
  • A12
  • A15
  • A15 / AP68
  • A19
  • A55
  • A57
  • AP1
  • AP2
  • AP4
  • AP6
  • AP7
  • AP9
  • AP36
  • Ap51
  • AP53
  • AP61
  • AP66
  • AP68
  • C16
  • C32
  • M12
  • R2
  • R3
  • R5

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Tunel del Cadi
  • Tunels de Vallvidrera
Flag_of_SwedenSweden

Roads

  • Gothenburg Congestion Fee
  • Stockholm Congestion Fee

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Motalabron Bridge
  • Oresund Bridge
  • Sundsvall Bridge
  • Svinesund Bridge
Flag_of_SwitzerlandSwitzerland

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Grand St Bernard Tunnel
  • Lotschberg Tunnel
  • Munt La Schera Tunnel
Flag_of_TurkeyTurkey

Roads

  • O3 / E80
  • O4 / E80 -E89
  • O21 / E90
  • O31 / E87
  • O32 / E881
  • O51 / E51
  • O53 / E91

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge
Flag_of_the_United_KingdomUnited Kingdom
Flag_of_EnglandEngland

Roads

  • Central London Congestion Fee
  • M5

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Aldwark Toll Bridge
  • Batheaston Bridge
  • Cartford Bridge
  • Cleddau Bridge
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge
  • Dartford River Crossing
  • Dunham Bridge
  • Humber Bridge
  • Itchen Bridge
  • Kingsland Bridge
  • Mersey Tunnel
  • Middlesbrough
  • Second Severn Crossing
  • Severn Bridge
  • Swinford Bridge
  • Tamar Bridge
  • Tyne Tunnel
  • Warburton Bridge
  • Whitchurch Bridge
  • Whitney-on-Wye Bridge
Flag_of_WalesWales

Bridges / Tunnels

  • Newport Bridge

Scenic & Interesting Driving Routes…

 Flag_of_AustriaAustria
  • Grossglockner High Alpine Road – Highway 107, from Winklern to Krössenbach
  • Hahntennjoch / Vorarlberg –  Highway L266, Imst to Gutschau
  • Zillertal High Alpine Road –  Highway 169, Matrhofen to Dornauberg
Flag_of_BelgiumBelgium
  • Battle of the Bulge Route –  Highway E421 to, N647, N632, N633, N68 & N62, Henry-Chapelle Cemetery in Ruyff to Historisches Museum in La Gleize 
  • Belgium Beer Routes
Flag_of_BulgariaBulgaria
  • Shipka Pass –  Highway 5 , Veliko Tamovo to Shipka
Flag_of_CroatiaCroatia
  • Adriatic & Istria Route – Highway 66, Rijeka to Pula
  • Jadranska Magistralam – Highway E65, Rijeka to Dubronik
Flag_of_FranceFrance
  • Col de la Bonnette / Alpes-Maritimes – Highway M97 & M2205, Jausiers to Tinée
  • Col Du Turini –  Highway D70 & D2556, Sospel to La Bollene 
  • Dordogne Road – Highway D704, D706, Sarlat-la-Canéda to San-Lyon-sur-Vézère
  • French Backroad / Alpes-Côte d’Azur – Highway D102, D29 & D106, La Coste to Gordes
  • Great Wines Road – Highway
  • Les Corniches – 3 routes, Basse, Moyenne or Grabde Corniche, Nice to Monaco
  • Loire Valley – Highway D751, Blois to Amboise
  • Route de Gentelly / Alpes-Maritimes –  Highway D2,  Vence to past Gréoliéres
  • Route Napoleon / Alpes-Maritimes –  Highway D485, Grasse to Digne
Flag_of_GermanyGermany
  • Alleenstraße ” German Avenue – Multiple routes from Lake Constance to Sellin on the Baltic Sea. 
  • Alpenstrasse –  Highway B308, B310, B17, B23, Lindau to Berchtesgaden 
  • Burgenstraße “Castle Road” – Mannheim to Prague
  • The Goethe Route – Starting in Frankfurt it includes 8 historical cites of Germany ending in Dresden
  • Fachwerkstraße “German Timer-Frame Route” – From Stade on Elbe River several routes to Meersburg on Lake Constance
  • Industriekultur ” Industrial Heritage Trail” – Various concentrated stops in the Ruhr area.
  • Märxhebstraße “German Fairy Tale Route” – Hanau to Bremen
  • Romanesque Road – Figure eight route with Magdeburg at its center.
  • The Romantic Road –  Highway 17, 2, E43 & 25, Würzburg to Füssen
  • Schwarzwaldhochstraße / Black Forest – Highway 500, Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt  
  • Uhrenstraße ” German Clock Route” Circular route that runs through the Black Forest and Baar region.
  • Weinstraße “German Wine Route”- Schweiggen-Rechtenbach to Bockenheim
Flag_of_GreeceGreece
  • Peloponnese Circle Drive – Multiple Highway Options, Athens to Delphi, Olpymia, Itylo, Monemvassia, Sparti, Nauplion, Epidaurus & Mycenae
  • Inland Meteora Greece –  Highway E90 & A2, Ioannina to Kalabaka
Flag_of_IcelandIceland
  • Ring Road – From Reykjavik counterclockwise on Highway 1
Flag_of_IrelandIreland
  • Ring of Kerry –  Highway N71, N70 & N72,  Kilarney to Kenmare to Watreville to Killorgin
Flag_of_ItalyItaly
  • Amalfi Coast – Highway SS145 & SS163, Castellammare di Stabia to Sorrento to Salerno
  • Dolomite Route –  Highway SS45bis & SP235, Lake Garda to Cortina d’Ampezzo
  • Highway Sp369, SP 358, Otranto to Leuca
  • Highway SP 65 Pianoro to Florence
  • Stelvoi Pass / South Tyrol –  Highway SS38, Spondigna to Bormio
  • Via Chiantigiana / Tuscany-  Highway SR222, Chiocchio to Cedda
  • Via Giuseppe Garibaldi –  Highway SS583, Lecco to Bellagio
Flag_of_NorwayNorway
  • Atlantic Road –  Highway 64 Molde to Kritiansund
  • The Troll’s Road – Highway 63, Lake Langvatnet near Grotli to Sogge bru near Brønnsletten
Flag_of_PortugalPortugal
  • Algarve Coast Route – Highway 253-1 to 261 Tavira to Cabo de Vicente
  • Estoril Coast –  Highway 6 to Estoril, Highway 247 to Sintra
Flag_of_RomaniaRomania
  • Golden Bisritsa Valley Route –  Highway 18, Carlibaba to Ciocanesti
  • Transfăgărășan – Highway 7C Câțisoara to Mustățesti
Flag_of_RussiaRussia
  • The Golden Ring –  Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal, Ivanovo, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov Veliky, Pereslavl-Zaleessky, Sergiyev-Posad
  • Road of Life –  St. Petersburg to Lake Lagoda
Flag_of_SpainSpain
  • Order of Alicántra Lands Route –  Cáceres to Albuquerque
  • Al-Idrisi Route –  Highway N340, A44, Algeciras to Malaga then Granada
  • Camino de Santiago – Highway A6 & E1, Leon to Santiago de Compostela
  • Caliphate Route –  Northern Route N432, Southern Route  A45 & A329, Cordoba to Granada.
  • Cinco Villas –  Highway A126 & A127, Zaragoza to Sos del Rey Catòlico
  • Cuenca Route of Castles – Eleven castles in Central Spain
  • Mudejar Route in Aragón – Tarazona to Teruel
  • Northern Spain Route –  Highway N260, Ripoll to Castejón de Sos
  • Picos de Europa –  Highway N621, Santander to 
  • The White Villages Route –  Highway A373, A372, A397 Arcos De La Frontera, Zahara, Ronda, Ubrique, Casares and other villages
Flag_of_SwitzerlandSwitzerland
  • Albula Pass –  Albulastrasse Road, La Punt-Chamues-ch to Albula
  • Furka Pass / Central Swiss Alps – Highway 19, Gletsch to Hospental
  • Klausen Pass / Central Swiss –  Highway 17, Glarus to Bürglen
  • San Bernardino Pass / Central Swiss Alps –  Hoghway 13, Mesocco to Splügen
  • Susten Pass –  Highway 11, Wassen to Innertkirchen
Flag_of_the_United_KingdomUnited Kingdom
Flag_of_EnglandEngland
  • The Cotswolds Romantic Road – from Cheltenham drive to Chipping Campden, Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bilbury, Burford, the Slaughters, Northleach, Painswick, Moreton-in-Marsh and other villages.
  • The Military Road A3055 – Isle of Wight, Chale to Freshwater Bay.   
Northern Ireland
  • Causeway Coast Route / Antrim County – Highway A2, Larne to Portrush
Flag_of_ScotlandScotland
  • Loch Ness Route –  Highway A82, Inverness to Fort William
  • Old Military Road / Scottish Highlands –  Highway A939, Grantown-on -Spey to Braemar
  • Scotland’s Malt Whiskey Trail