Top 10 places to visit and drive in Europe

Each of these European places has its charm but there are some that just inspire tourists making them ideal for repeat visits in the course of your life. They are places full of light, colors, flavors, sounds and landscapes that enchant our senses and invite us to return.

In this article, we present the Top 10 most recommended places to visit and drive in Europe so that on your next visit to the Old Continent you can have a leg up on what to do, and how to drive in these magnificent locales.

Here we go with our selection of the 10 main cities to visit in Europe. Let’s see what you think.

MADRID, SPAIN

Population: 3, 2 million inhabitants (2018)
Surface: 604.45 km2

One of the most pleasant things about Madrid is its moderate climate, which you can enjoy almost all year. The capital of Spain is a lively and festive city from dawn until the next day. It has everything a tourist looks for: good gastronomy, elegant stores, excellent night spots, museums and galleries, theaters, well-kept parks and wide and busy boulevards.

But it is also one of the best European cities to drive comfortably, you just have to avoid peak hours when some traffic jams occur. Especially in the center of the city. However, the price of parking along with the cost of fuel, the safety of its streets, the quality of its roads and traffic density stand out as a city where tourists can enjoy a car ride.

Madrid is one of the most visited cities in the world, in 2018 it received a total of 7.1 million international tourists. It is a large and imposing city to which you will always want to return because it offers a very welcoming atmosphere to any type of tourist.

You will need at least two days to visit its main tourist attractions and another two days to get to know its surroundings: Segovia, Toledo, El Escorial and Alcalá de Henares, among others.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Population: 965,232 (2017)
Surface: 187.84 km2

The Swedish capital is the largest city in the country and the most visited. It has a particular beauty in which the historical architecture of its ornate and beautiful buildings is combined with its well-kept gardens, which extend throughout the city. Stockholm is furrowed by spectacular canals that make it “the Venice of the North”. To move between the islands, dozens of ferries and tourist boats are always available.

This tourist jewel located in the Baltic Sea, is an archipelago composed of 14 islands and more than 50 bridges. On a tour of its beautiful cobbled streets you can see shops, restaurants, cafes and outdoor markets. Admire its iconic brightly colored buildings in the Gamla Stan (the old city) such as St. Nicholas Cathedral in Stockholm, built in the 13th century, the Nobel Museum and the Kungliga Slottet royal palace.

Stockholm and its surroundings present fantastic landscapes that make tourists fall in love. It has an average temperature of 7 ° C, being the coldest months January, February and March and the hottest in summer, when the temperature exceeds 17 ° C. It is not exactly a city where you want to drive, because the driving rules are excessive and transit through the city could be boring.

But you can do it in the surroundings, because it is very safe since it has one of the best road networks in Europe. In addition, high speed driving is not allowed. In Sweden, where you drive on the right, you can see amazing landscapes of forest and coast. During the night it is possible to observe the fantastic northern lights, an unforgettable spectacle.

ROME, ITALY

Population: 2,873 million inhabitants (2017)
Surface: 1,285 km2

The Italian capital stands out for its architecture and history. In it the heart of western culture and art. Wherever you go you will find a historic building in which a glorious past is stamped. The Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican City with its imposing St. Peter’s Basilica, the cradle of Catholic religion.

In addition to the Vatican Museums and their historical riches that keep invaluable works of art such as Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Walking the wide streets of Rome on foot or by car like taking a step back in time. That is why it is known as the “Eternal City”, as it represents a vivid photograph of its history. It is a lively and bustling city always crowded with visitors.

Rome is visited annually by more than 7.65 million tourists, which places it in the ranking of the most visited cities in Europe. In this romantic and always cheerful city you can find a lot of fun, excellent gastronomy, squares and parks for solace, elegant shops of brand designers and many places for recreation.

Although you can rent a car and travel Rome from end to end driving. It is convenient to take into account the traffic rules before embarking and the few parking places available in the city center. In addition, there are some limited traffic zones (ZTL) where only residents and authorized vehicles can pass. But if you can rent a car and tour the rest of the city or the surrounding area.

BERLIN, GERMANY

Population: 3,575 million (2016)
Surface: 891.8 km2

Berlin is a very lively city with lots of cultural activity daily and dozens of tourist attractions to see. In it you can still perceive the vestiges of the Prussian era (the Branderburg Gate), mixed with symbols of the horror lived during the time of Nazism (the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp).

In the Cold War era, during the existence of the German Democratic Republic, the city was divided by the famous Wall that was demolished in 1989 allowing residents of the eastern part to meet their relatives and neighbors of the western part.

Among its many places to visit in this charming city are: Museum Island (Museumsinsel), which houses a collection of museums with impressive collections of art collections from around the world. The Reichstag building, the Berlin Television Tower, the Berlin Philharmonic and other interesting places.

But in Berlin you can also find lots of fun, bars and discos. There is a diversity of typical German food restaurants, dozens of parks and plazas such as the Alexanderplatz and shopping centers.

Driving in Berlin may be less relaxed than in other European cities since many of its streets are narrow. However, it is a very safe city to drive, as traffic laws and tests to obtain a driver’s license are very rigorous. The permitted speed limit is 50 km / h (31 mph), and 100 km / h (62 mph) in the surrounding area of the city.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

Population: 1,281 million (2017)
Surface: 496 km2

Prague is one of the most welcoming and beautiful cities in the world. Like a city out of a fairy tale. The whole city is like a bright, quiet and romantic. The city is divided by the Vltava River. The capital of the Czech Republic is known as the Golden City or the City of One Hundred Towers with its beautiful baroque buildings and Gothic-style churches.

Its the perfect city to travel on foot or take a drive. In peak hours though you will find traffic so you must be patient when traveling in it. In the city the limit is 50 km / h and on roads and highways the permitted speed ranges between 90 and 130 km / h.

It is a medieval city pleasing to the senses, it is full of attractive places to visit such as the Old Town Square, the historic and legendary Charles Bridge that links the Old City with the Little City (Malá Strana), Prague Castle, the Powder Tower located right at the entrance of the Old City and the Astronomical Clock.

AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND

Population: 821,752 (2015)
Surface: 219.3 km2

The capital of the Netherlands has one of the richest artistic heritage in Europe. It is a city exquisitely designed for pleasure and solace that can be traveled by land or through its countless navigation channels that cross it from end to end. It receives a total of 7.54 million international tourists every year.

Its buildings of ancient colors and cobbled streets give it a cheerful, elegant and stately appearance. Although it is not exactly a capital to travel by car but rather by bicycle, tram or on foot, if you are ready to know its surroundings you can take advantage of taking a quiet and leisurely ride to check and enjoy its secrets.

You can visit the Museum District that houses the Van Gogh Museum that exhibits the most important works of the artist, the Rijksmuseum that contains works by Rembrandt and Vermeer and the Stedelijk Museum with works of modern art. Visiting Amsterdam is always a good experience to awaken all the senses.

PARIS, FRANCE

Population: 2,141 million (2019)
Surface: 105.4 km2

The capital of France stands out as one of the most important centers of art, gastronomy, fashion and culture, in addition to its economic and financial importance. It is the most visited city in the world with a total of 19.1 million tourists every year. In this splendid and romantic city, modernism and Gothic, Renaissance, classical and Rococo architecture are combined. It is a city that has wide boulevards and its majestic river Seine that crosses it.

There are places of obligatory visit such as its iconic Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees, in addition to the Notre Dame cathedral dating from the twelfth century (undergoing repairs after the raging fire that consumed much of its roof). Another visit to schedule is the Louvre Museum, which exhibits wonderful art collections and is visited by 8 million people every year.

But in addition, the City of Light has dozens of cafes and restaurants with exquisite national and international food. While traveling by car, you can see monuments and famous architectural symbols such as the Arc de Triomphe, in the Pompidou Center, La Villette, the headquarters of the Philharmonic in Paris, the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum and visit emblematic sites such as the Red Mill and Mont Matre, the famous neighborhood of painters and its impressive Basilica of the Sacred Heart that dominates the entire city.

In Paris you drive on the right side of the road. In this city, drivers are less aggressive than in Berlin or Italy and must give way to vehicles approaching on the right. Driving at peak times in Paris can be overwhelming due to traffic jams but at other times or at night it is very pleasant to travel the city by car.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Population: 1,868 million (2017)
Surface: 414.6 km2

This is another jewel of European architecture and good taste. Vienna is a noble, elegant and charming city that attracts thousands of tourists every year. The legends of music Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven lived in this city. Also the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud.

Vienna stands out for its architecture, its cultural billboard and its refined national and international cuisine. In the city its historical imperial palaces are particularly known, the most important being the Schönbrunn, which served as a summer residence for the Habsburg dynasty that reigned during the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Belvedere Palace, the world-famous Vienna Opera or dining in any of its elegant restaurants, is an unforgettable life experience. But there are also many places for all tastes and budgets. And if you travel with children you can also visit the Prater Amusement Park.

If you have your international driver’s license, which you can get quickly with IDL Services Inc, and you have the car insurance that comes with the car you rent, you will enjoy this lovely city. You must have at least two days to get to know each of its most visited corners. Then you can tour the entire country and admire its beautiful alpine landscapes.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

Population: 181,726 (2019)
Surface: 32.61 km2

Despite not being a big city, Brussels has all the features and comforts of a large European city. It is a charming place, modern and classic at the same time, full of history and good taste. The famous Manneken Pis, is but a small part of all the wonders that you can appreciate in this capital so visited by tourists from all over the world.

The tour by car or on foot through Brussels includes museums of modern and ancient art, natural sciences, costumes and comics, among others; in addition to theaters, cafes, restaurants and parks. And after visiting the city, you can take a break to visit the surroundings, which include towns and cities such as Ghent and Bruges. The good thing about Belgium is that everything is close, so you can travel across the country in a few days.

In Belgium you drive on the right. Brussels and the country in general are easy to travel by car and even from there you can go to other cities such as Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Cologne or Paris. The speed limits are the same as in the other countries of Europe. 50 km / h in cities and 120 km / h on highways. In addition to your passport and car insurance, you need an international license that you can purchase at IDL Services Inc.

LONDON, ENGLAND

Population: 8,136 million (2011)
Surface: 1,572 km2

The capital of England and Great Britain is the second most visited city in the world with 19.09 million visitors each year. It is a modern and at the same time historical city, since its origins date back to the time of the Roman Empire. London is a city that has everything for tourists: fun, diversity of places to visit, international cuisine, culture and art.

Its most recognized icons are the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, the “Big Ben” whose tower rises alongside Westminster Palace, seat of the English Parliament and Westminster Abbey, which serves as a pantheon to the heroes and British personalities and where kings are crowned.

There is so much to see and know in London, that one week may not be enough. But at least you can travel the entire city by car or in the Underground. From the London Eye you can contemplate and enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the city and the River Thames that runs through it. Right there in the West End is the iconic Buckingham Palace and its wonderful parks.

Dozens of museums, all important, art galleries, parks, discos, bars, restaurants, stadiums and many other tourist attractions that make London one of the most spectacular places to visit and will make your visit to Europe worthwhile.

One of the most important details of driving in London is that you drive on the left and cars have the steering wheel on the right side. In the city you can drive with a valid and valid international license; but it is essential to have civil liability insurance.

However, to drive in the city center, congestion rates and a pollution rate apply and have low emission areas. Another point that can be complicated is to park in the city center. It is best to drive in tax-free areas that are around the city and take the subway if you go downtown.

Do not forget before your next trip to Europe, get your international driver’s license with IDL Services Inc.

Our International Driver's Document is fully compliant with all Regulations and Standards of the Vienna Agreement of Road Traffic of November 8th, 1968, including the maximum validity of 3 years. International Driving Permits, which are booklets issued by governmental agencies or private organizations designated by a country's government, are the only official translation of a person's Driver's License. Our translation has no official status and does not confer any legal privileges or rights on consumers.

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