At the end of August last year our wonderful friends were getting married in Tuscany, Italy. We saw this as a great opportunity to squeeze in a road trip by driving through Europe instead of flying over to Italy and explore some places we’d probably never get the chance to without driving. My boyfriend is a huge car nut so any chance to drive somewhere quickly escalates! During this Europe road trip my 30th birthday was also taking place to we decided to add 2 days to the end of the journey to go to Disneyland Paris. It was an epic trip with lots of driving involved and thousands of miles covered but we also saw some epic views. I wanted to start by sharing day 1 – 4 with you, as this covered the first leg of the European journey.
Day 1: Leamington Spa to Calais.
Day 1 was technically a half day. We packed up the car with our tent and cool box and multiple suitcases and drove into work (something we don’t normally do) so we could head straight for the Eurotunnel in Folkstone that afternoon. I’d never been on the Eurotunnel in a car so that was a first for me (although not particularly exciting) and when we hit France, we headed straight for our hotel in Calais for an early night as we had an early start the next morning.
Day 2: Circuit De Reims, Breakdown #1 and Davos, Switzerland.
We checked out very early to head to our meeting point (a petrol station somewhere in France) to meet up with our friend Andy, who we were road-trippin’ with. After our first breakdown (car, not mental state) of the trip and an hour or two delay we headed for the Circuit De Reims. This is an old Grand Prix track that’s been closed since the 70’s but is still quite a popular destination for car nerds, (did I mention my boyfriend was a car nerd?!). We made a little pit stop for a McDonalds and had an amazing triple cheeseburger and then spent the rest of the day driving the 1000km from France to Davos in Switzerland, where we had our next hotel booking for the night.
Day 3: A Cute Dog, Stelvio Pass and Tuscany, Italy.
We had breakfast in the hotel the next morning and had a lovely time playing with the hotel owners St Bernard dog, she was so beautiful and apparently got lots of return custom! We’d intentionally stayed in Davos because it was close to the Stelvio Pass. The Stelvio pass is a car lover’s dream with s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g views and 48 hair pin turns. We drove all the way down and had lunch at the bottom, to drive allll the way back up again.
We then started the journey south to Tuscany. We made a stop in Bormio for some food, although it was the worst timing as it was the siesta time of the afternoon and most places were shut, but we found pizza and coffee eventually. We eventually made it to our rustic villa for the evening where the rest of our friends were staying for the evening and had a very sweaty nights sleep without air con.
Day 4: San Gimignano, Gelato and Wedding Celebrations.
After spending some time catching up with friends, eating breakfast and taking a little dip in the pool at the villa, we eventually headed into San Gimignano, a hill town in Tuscany. This is a beautiful historical city with 13th century wall surrounding it. It was very busy and touristy but was absolutely beautiful and hot. We queued for Gelato that had apparently won the world gelato championships multiple times, I think I went for Pistachio and Praline scoops and yes it was probably the best ice cream i’ve ever eaten. We then stumbled across a studio down a back alley that was making giant paper mache pieces, creepy vibes alert! We then headed back to the villa to get ready for our friends wedding in the evening. Obviously, it was a really special day to share with our friends, the food was insane and the views were stunning. It was the perfect reward for driving some heavy miles to get to the wedding on time.
Stay tuned for the next part…
By this point we’d driven about 1500km, passed through 3 different countries in Europe in 3 days, spent a small fortune on petrol and seen some of the most amazing views surrounded by gorgeous sunshine. It was very intense trying to hit specific distances everyday but that’s what adventures are for right? and we were only about 1/3 of the way through this Europe trip too! It was very confusing trying to remember which language to speak in shops when we’d passed through so many so quickly. This was my first time in both Switzerland and Italy and both were so beautiful they immediately went down on the list to go back and explore more of.
I hope you enjoyed part 1 of our Europe road trip. Was there anything here that caught your eye and you’d want to see for yourself? or anything we missed and should 100% go back and see? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!