Europe has many photogenic coastal drives and day trips perfect for a scenic adventure. These journeys take you through charming towns, picturesque beaches, and incredible landscapes from the Italian Riviera to the Dalmatian Coast.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo sojourn, these coastal drives offer something for any European visitor. With delicious cuisine, historical culture, and unforgettable views, exploring Europe’s coastal roads is a delightful experience.
1. Genoa To Nice
Italy And France
The coastal drive from Genoa, Italy, to Nice, France, is a photogenic journey that should not be missed. The route takes you through the Italian Riviera and the French Côte d’Azur, passing charming towns, beaches, and lovely landscapes.
The journey starts in Genoa, a historic port city with a strong cultural heritage and delicious cuisine. From there, the road winds through picturesque towns like Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, and Rapallo — each with a unique charm.
The journey’s highlight is the drive along the stunning coastline, with crystal-clear waters and dramatic cliffs. As you reach the French border, the scenery changes and the drive takes you through quaint French villages and towns before finally getting to Nice. With its charming old town, vibrant markets, and popular beaches, Nice is the perfect destination to end this unforgettable trip.
2. Barcelona To Valencia
Drive from Barcelona to Valencia via the coast. It’s a breathtaking journey that highlights the beauty of the Mediterranean Coast. The route takes you through charming Spanish towns, dreamy beaches, and pictorial landscapes.
The drive follows the coast southward towards Valencia, starting in Barcelona, a city known for its art, architecture, and lively culture. Along the way, you’ll encounter hidden coves, rocky cliffs, and crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
The journey takes you through fishing villages like Tarragona and Sitges. Enjoy traditional seafood dishes and explore the local streets, shops, and cafés. Finally, as you approach Valencia, you’ll be treated to the astonishing sight of the City of Arts and Sciences, a futuristic complex of buildings that houses museums, theaters, and other attractions. This coastal drive is a must-see for anyone visiting Spain.
3. Gothenburg To Copenhagen
Sweden And Denmark
The photogenic coastal drive from Gothenburg, Sweden, to Copenhagen, Denmark, is a spectacular journey that showcases the Scandinavian Coast. This route takes you through delightful towns, striking beaches, and magnificent landscapes.
Starting from Gothenburg, a vibrant city with a long maritime history, the drive follows the coastline southward towards Copenhagen. Along the way, you’ll encounter some of the region’s most beautiful and serene backdrops, including the Bohuslän archipelago, the Kullen peninsula, and the white sandy beaches of the Swedish west coast.
The journey also takes you through captivating towns like Helsingborg and Malmö, each with unique characters and histories. Finally, as you approach Copenhagen, you’ll be treated to the sight of the iconic Oresund Bridge, which links Sweden and Denmark. This coastal drive suits anyone who wants to explore Scandinavia’s natural beauty and cultural richness.
4. Athens To Parga
The coastal drive from Athens to Parga, Greece, is a photogenic journey that takes you through some of the most splendid environments in the country. The route takes you along the Ionian Sea, passing small towns, enticing beaches, and ancient ruins.
Starting in Athens, you’ll travel through the Peloponnese peninsula, stopping in picturesque towns like Nafplio with Venetian architecture and striking fortresses. The journey then continues through the beaches of the Ionian Sea, including Porto Katsiki on Lefkada Island.
As you head towards Parga, you are treated to the sight of the Acheron River and the ancient Nekromanteion — a temple dedicated to the god of the underworld. Finally, you’ll reach Parga, a charming town with a Venetian castle, a buzzy waterfront, and excellent seafood restaurants. This coastal drive in Greece is a memorable and photogenic road trip everyone will find remarkable.
5. Rijeke To Zadar
Driving the coastal route from Rijeke to Zadar is a remarkable experience that takes you along the Dalmatian Coast. The journey starts in Rijeke, a bustling city with a lively culture and a fascinating history. From there, you’ll head southward toward Zadar, passing through towns, villages, beautiful beaches, and astounding landscapes.
One of the highlights of your journey will be driving the winding roads hugging the coastline. The panoramic views of the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea are unforgettable. You’ll also pass through the Velebit Mountains, one of Croatia’s most beautiful mountain ranges, and Paklenica National Park; you can take a break and hike in the lush forests here.
When visiting Croatia, the coastal route from Rijeke to Zadar should be on your itinerary. With its spectacular scenery, charming towns, and delectable cuisine, this journey is an unforgettable road trip you’ll cherish for years.
Driving along photogenic coastal routes in Europe is an experience for your “permanent travel log.” The journeys wind through cities, towns, quaint villages, spectacular seashores, and astonishing landscapes. Exploring Europe’s coastal byways from the Italian Riviera to the Dalmatian Coast presents remarkable, memorable, and photogenic journeys.
Read 11 Tips To Planning A Road Trip before beginning your European adventure.