Van life in Europe: A bucket list of road trips to go on
If you’re completely unaware of the fact that I’m currently in the process of converting a VW T5 high top transporter then, well, where have you been?
Come and join the custom conversion project on Instagram at @wheresmolliesvan.
As summer approaches and we approach the half way stage of the conversion, I can’t help but get excited about van life reality and all the adventures I want to go on in my little home on wheels. The plan at the moment is to start with a few adventures closer to home, then head out and dig into Europe.
‘Where first?’ I hear you ask.
At the moment there’s no set completion date for the van conversion as work is only being done when i’m in the country and when i’m able to be on site to creatively direct and film. The moment I see a clearer end, I’ll consider the time of year and this bucket list.
Here are the adventures I’m considering and lining up for van life once my baby is complete!
Van life in Europe: A bucket list of road trips to go on…
1. A month surfing in Portugal
I’ve ‘learnt to surf’ a few times now through different trips with work, usually getting to be in the water and shoot for 1/2 days before leaving to pursue the next activity / adventure. I’ve never gotten the chance to nail it or live it. So this is something I’d love to do.
I know there’s a ferry that goes from the UK to Bilbao in Spain so I’d either do that or hop over to Calais, France from Dover with the van and drive down through France.
2. Southern Ireland Coastline
It’s so close to home, I’ve heard it’s insanely beautiful and you can drive up to Liverpool and get your van on the ferry to either Belfast or Dublin.
I’d love to get the ferry over to Dublin and drive south along the coast.
3. The romantic road in Germany
Built just after World War II this self-drive adventure spans 220 miles (350km) between Wurzburg and Fussen. I actually found out about it on the Christmas Markets road trip I did through Europe as I spent a night in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber (one of the destinations on the Romantic Road itinerary).
I’ve heard that the title ‘Romantic Road’ is a bit of a marketing ploy, none the less that the route takes you through some incredibly beautiful towns and it’s deserved of a place on your van life bucket list.
Top tip: Starting in Wurzburg and travel South to Fussenso.
4. Drive through the National Parks in the South of France…
I’ve never been to the south of France but ever since I saw a photo of people floating down Verdon Gorge on inflatable everything’s… it’s been top of my list.
I also love a good glass of wine and rumour has this is the country to find it. National parks, campfires, wine under the stars (reasons i’m building a roof rack on my van) and floating down gorges. Count me in.
5. Scotland’s North Coast 500
Apparently Scotlands answer to America’s Route 66, this drive has become pretty iconic in the last couple of years and I’m hearing more and more about it in the travel community. This may mean picking a time out of season to do it as I think it’s getting pretty busy, but, for good reason.
I’ve never explored the Scottish Highlands but as soon as my van is ready I’m off! I think I’ll combine it with climbing my final of the 3 national peaks – Ben Nevis.
6. John O’Groats to Lands End
I feel like as soon as you get a van in Europe, you escape to the likes of the Alps and the Algarve. I get it and I’ll also be doing the same, but I’m also so excited to uncover more of the UK and expose the incredible landscape we have right here.
How awesome would it be to drive 874 miles – the whole length of Great Britain from the north east to the south west and see what we come across on the way!?
7. A girly trip in the champagne / wine regions of France
Does it need an explanation? Last year, at the very end of Lydia and I’s epic road trip through France and Switzerland, we stopped in Epernay, the champagne capital and toasted our epic adventure. How fun would it be to get a group of girls together and stay in a cute cottage and do some vineyard bike tours in France!
8. A climbing and hiking week in Switzerland
This is hands down the location that blew my mind the most in 2018 and to be honest on my travels so far. It was also where I did my first Via Feratta. I’d love to go back and alternate days climbing and hiking with days by the lakes here.
See my posts from Switzerland here.
8. Fjords of Norway
I recently took a week holiday with my Mum and cruised (literally) through the fjords of Norway. Whilst there’s not much room for going off the beaten path when on a cruise ship, I took every opportunity to read magazines in local coffee shops and was so inspired by the imagery featured and displayed.
I’m definitely coming back.
Winding roads, freedom to roam, all the waterfalls and… have you seen the Atlantic Road? Say no more.
9. A snowy Alps road trip
My van is 4WD and I’ve invested in having heating installed so… I am ready for the mountains. The Alps are my favourite place in Europe by summer and winter and, just like with surfing, I’ve never had the chance to fully immerse myself in snow sports. I really want to nail it.
The resorts are so close to each other and you can cross over multiple borders and get a really varied adventure through different terrain. Done deal. Now I just need an instructor friend to come with me?
10. Weekends in the countryside
As you’ve seen, I have a million van life dreams that will have me out of the country for weeks at a time but do you know what I’m also reallllly looking forward to? Hopping into my van on a Friday after a full week of work, chucking in the essentials and heading out of the city into the countryside, with my pup of course. Tea straight from the stove and long walks through the fields.
My list honestly grows by the day so as it grows, I’ll keep updating here for you!
Any suggestions, send them my way!!!
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Have you got a van?
What road trips have you been on? I’d love to know!
Love as always + happy adventuring,
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