Discover Cars explored ten road trips to find the most family-friendly routes. Using a combination of local knowledge as well as websites like TripAdvisor, they’ve put together the best family hikes – based on parameters like how many easy stops you can make, attractions (for adults and kids ) and the number of family-friendly hotels.
Renowned European road specialist Aleksandrs Buraks, our guide for the tour, picked out just a few of the highlights
Atlantic coast (Portugal)
The Atlantic coast in Portugal took first place for family friendliness with stops such as Porto, Coimbra, Nazare, Sintra and finally Lisbon.
The Atlantic coast is an alluring mix of top-notch surf camps and breathtaking towns filled with white buildings, authentic seafood restaurants and golden beaches.
Highlights include the coast of Aveiro with its endless stretches of golden beaches and curving sand dunes, the Alentejo region, Lisbon with its history and culture and not forgetting its wonderful trams, Monte do João Roupeiro , São Teotónio and Tres Marias near Vila Nova de Milfontes.
Wild Atlantic Way (Ireland)
The Wild Atlantic Way came in second overall. This road trip is dotted with enchanting villages along the coast, as well as ancient monuments around every bend and spectacular seascapes on this beautiful coastal highway.
Some of the top attractions include the Cliffs of Moher, Slieve League Cliffs, Connemara National Park, Killarney National Park and Skellig Michael.
Amalfi Coast (Italy)
The Amalfi Coast was ranked third by Discover Cars and scored highly commendably in the family friendliness stakes. In general, Italy is a very child-friendly place, and Discover Cars believe the Amalfi Coast is both spectacular and family-friendly.
The route crosses Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Ravello and finally Salerno.
Amalfi includes some of the finest seaside towns on the peninsula. Visitors can walk past the glamorous beaches of Positano to the hidden villas of Ravello.
Some of the best things to do and see on the Amalfi Coast include the Il Sentiero Degli Dei hiking trail, the Valle Delle Ferriere nature reserve, the Villa Cimbrone gardens and the Centro Storico Salerno district.
Andalucia in Spain ranked fourth in the table of places to go on a family road trip. Of course Andalucia is a huge region and most people head for the beach. The Mediterranean hardly needs an introduction, but you and your family could enjoy the less visited Atlantic coast, La Costa de La Luz.
Or you might want to wander inland for twenty or thirty miles into rural Spain where you’ll see a completely different side of the country. The recommended driving routes to Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera, Tarifa, Medina Sidonia are a bit off the beaten track but can offer a glimpse of Spain that hasn’t changed much over the centuries.
Andalusia is the southernmost region of Spain and has a Moorish influence, which can be seen in the food and historic architecture and of course in the flamenco music.
A family road trip in Andalucia can take you to some of Spain’s most romantic towns as well as the Pueblo Blancos (white towns) that seem to straddle every mountain peak.
According to Discover Cars, top tourist attractions include the Cathedral complex of Seville, the incredible centerpiece of the Andalusian capital, and the Mezquita of Cordoba, which features whitewashed lanes and stately homes, and finally, the Alhambra palace in Granada, which is the most visited monument in Spain.
Route 66 (America)
Route 66 is pretty much the definitive road trip anywhere. Play some southern rock on the sound system and head west.
Stretching more than two thousand miles across eight states, this US route ranked fifth in the DiscoverCars.com survey. The inspiration for many songs, movies, and novels, Route 66 is the epitome of an American driving vacation and takes your family from east to west.
Typical stops along Route 66 include Chicago, Springfield, St Louis, Joplin, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque – and finally Los Angeles.
The highway opened in 1926; however, much of the road was not paved until decades later. It represents many sacred American totems, such as freedom, westward migration, the loneliness of the heartland of the United States, and the open road.
Norfolk in England placed seventh. It’s a strange ‘three quarter sky’ landscape as someone once described it. But you’re never far from a stately home, sprawling gardens, lush green landscapes, or grand, somber Saxon churches etched just above the horizon. Birdwatchers also love Norfolk – if you have a budding birdwatcher in the family, take them to Titchwell, Cley, Blakeney, Snettisham or Welney. They’ll see everything from marsh harriers to stone curlews, and some of the world’s great travelers – geese, wild ducks and swans, some of whom come from as far away as the Arctic Circle.
Other waypoints include Cromer, Hunstanton, Sandringham and Kings Lynn.
Some of the best things to do in Norfolk with kids include Holkham Beach, seal watching in Horsey, boating in the Norfolk Broads National Park, Thetford Forest and finally exploring the Fens of Norfolk.
Bavaria, in southeastern Germany, ranked eighth in the DiscoverCars.com charts. It’s a bit cliché, but this corner of Central Europe is truly one of the continent’s best-kept secrets. It’s a land of outrageously beautiful landscapes, fairy-tale castles and hearty food and drink.
Top places of interest in Bavaria for families include cycling in the Bavarian forests (there are plenty of them), swimming at the Osserbad leisure complex in Lam, day trip to Lake Arbersee, exploring Munich and the funfair rides at Bayern Park.
North Coast 500 (Scotland)
The North Coast 500 road trip in Scotland came in 10th place, with stops in Inverness, John O’Groats, Durness, Lochinver, Ullapool and Torridon.
The North Coast 500 road trip offers families remarkable coastal scenery, white sand beaches, rugged mountains, remote fishing villages, wildlife, museums, heritage sites and a whole range of hidden gems. They have completely thought of everything.
Some of the best things to do and see for families on the North Coast 500 include surfing at Dunnet Beach, scrambling the gorges in the Highlands, guided walking adventures in the charming village of Ullapool and finally a boat trip departing from the famous Inverewe Garden.
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Aleksandrs Buraks is Head of Growth at DiscoverCars.com
Having done many road trips across Ireland, Europe and the USA, he is a passionate road traveler and is a recognized authority on the world’s highways and roads.