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Epic 2-Week Europe Trip Itinerary: From The UK To France, Switzerland and Italy By Car

Epic 2-Week Europe Trip Itinerary: From The UK To France, Switzerland and Italy By Car

Exploring Europe by car is a fabulous adventure filled with fantastic opportunities, but planning a Europe trip can be quite a headache. To make your life easier, I have planned this 2-week Europe itinerary for you based on my experience completing this trip. It takes you on a whirlwind two-week road trip from the UK to France, Switzerland and Italy and is the only travel guide you’ll need to plan your European trip!

See the beautiful town of Chamonix, nestled in the French Alps. Enjoy La Dolce Vita on the shores of Lake Como. See the Palace of Versailles, go wine-tasting in Beaune and see the fairytale town of Strasbourg. Journey to the top of the world at Jungfraujoch in Switzerland and visit the charming castles on Lake Thun. This is a taste of the fabulous places you will discover in this Europe trip itinerary.

So pack your bags, dust off your foreign phrase books and start that engine because you are off to Europe!

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Black Panamera Porsche parked next to a lake with mountains in the background.

Driving from the UK to Europe – A Day-To-Day Itinerary

  • Strasbourg for one night
  • Interlaken for three nights
  • Lake Como for three nights
  • Chamonix for two nights
  • Beaune for two nights
  • Versailles for two nights
Timbered buildings beside the river in Strasbourg.

Europe Trip Map

Important things to know about driving in Europe

This is not an exhaustive list, but it does cover the basics.

  • You can drive in Europe on your UK license – you don’t need an international driver’s license.
  • You must have Swiss and French vignette stickers visible on your windscreen. You can buy vignette passes online.
  • Tolls – be prepared to pass through many tolls. You can buy toll passes beforehand to speed up the process.
  • France requires you always to keep an unused breathalyser in your vehicle.
  • Have two red warning triangles and high-vis vests for all passengers in the car. It is not compulsory in many places, but having them in case you break down is a good idea. Better to be seen beside your vehicle than not!
  • Keep your lights on – many countries – especially those in northern Europe – require your lights on all year round, all day long. Make sure you adjust your headlights to conform with driving on the right-hand side of the road.
  • You will need a UK sticker on your car. Since 2021, this replaces the previous GB sticker that was required.
  • Ensure you have your official V5 and insurance documents with you.

If you don’t own a car and need to rent one for your Europe trip, I recommend looking at DiscoverCars.com.

Best time to do a road trip in Europe

You can do a Europe road trip at any time – even in winter – but make sure to winterise your tyres if you are going anywhere that will have snow.

The best times to visit Europe without the crowds are spring and autumn. The weather will be warm but not scorching, and the roads, hotels and attractions won’t be as busy as in summer.

Blue lake surrounded by mountains.
Bellagio.

Two-Week Europe Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Folkstone – Calais to Strasbourg, France (one night)

The first part of your Europe trip itinerary will be catching Le Shuttle in Folkstone and crossing over (or under the Channel) to Calais.

Once on the motorway, it’s a straightforward six hours of driving on the A26 and A4 before you get to Strasbourg. There are service stops along the way for petrol and refreshments.

Once in Strasbourg, spend the rest of the day and evening exploring one of Eastern France’s most charming towns before returning to your hotel for the night.

Best things to do in Strasbourg

  • Visit Strasbourg Cathedral, one of the largest Medieval churches ever built.
  • Stroll through Petite France and marvel at the fairytale pastel and half-timbered buildings.
  • Stop at one of the cosy bistros for a fleischnacka (potato pancake) or tarte flambée (Alsatian regional pizza)
  • Take a tour along the canals on a Batorama boat.
  • Explore Place Kléber, one of Europe’s largest public squares and see the stunning architecture.
  • Discover one of Strasbourg’s world-class museums.
  • Pick up a souvenir on Grand Rue, one of Europe’s most popular shopping streets.

You can read my Strasbourg travel guide to learn more: Is Strasbourg Worth Visiting For One Day?

Where to stay in Strasbourg

Budget: 2-star ibis budget Strasbourg Centre Republique. Scores 8.1 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £90.

Mid Range: 3-star Chambre d’hôtes La Célestine. Scores 9.0 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £129.

Comfort Luxe: 4-star Hotel D – Strasbourg. Scores 8.5 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £136. I stayed here and found it modern and perfect for a one-night stay.

Luxury: 5-star Pavillion Regent Petite France. Scores 9.0 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £307.

Days 2, 3 and 4: Interlaken, Switzerland (3 nights)

The driving time between Strasbourg and Interlaken is three hours. Factor more time into your drive if you plan on making stops along the way.

If you want somewhere nice to stop between Strasbourg and Interlaken, I would suggest Lake Lucerne. It’s the fourth-largest lake in Switzerland and has some terrific mountain views. Park up (don’t forget to pay for a ticket – it’s not free), then wander around town before stopping for a meal in one of the charming riverside restaurants.

Lake Lucerne with wooden pier and tower.
Lake Lucerne.

Best things to do in Interlaken on your Europe trip

  • Take the funicular to Harder Klum.
  • Visit Lauterbrunnen – a traditional Swiss village.
  • Take the cog railway train up the mountain to Jungfraujoch.
  • Enjoy Swiss cheese fondue.
  • Take a boat trip on Lake Thun and see its castles.

You can read my Interlaken travel guides to learn more:

15 Stunning Day Trips From Interlaken to Discover the Best of Switzerland

5 Most Beautiful Castles to Visit on Lake Thun, Switzerland

Things To Do In Lauterbrunnen In One Day

Red Train stopped at a restaurant in Jungfrau.
A coffe and cake stop at the half way journey to the top of Jungfrau.

Where to stay in Interlaken

Budget: 2-star Post Hardermannli. Scores 8.3 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £202.

Mid Range: 3-star Hotel Lötschberg. Scores 8.3 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £232.

Comfort Luxe: 4-star Hotel Interlaken. Scores 8.7 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £292. I stayed here and found it comfortable and in a central position to get to everything in the town.

Luxury: 5-star Swiss Hotel Apartments – Interlaken. Scores 9.2 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £866.

Days 5, 6 and 7: Lake Como, Italy (3 nights)

The driving time between Interlaken and Lake Como is three hours and 20 minutes. Factor more time into your drive if you plan on making stops along the way.

Lake Como is one the most beautiful Italian lakes you could wish to visit and, 3 nights / 2 days on Lake Como will give you all the time you need to see it in all its glory.

Visit the enchanting villas and gardens dotted around the lake, hire a boat and cruise the waters, stroll around Bellagio and enjoy gelato and caffe in a lakeside bistro. It is an enchanting place to spend time and should feature highly on your Europe trip itinerary.

Best things to do on Lake Como

  • Wander Bellagio’s cobbled streets.
  • Shop on Salita Serbelloni, Bellagio’s most-photographed street.
  • Visit the beautiful Parco di Villa Serbelloni.
  • Rent a boat and discover the beauty of Lake Como from the water.
  • Stroll around the grand surroundings at Villa Melzi or Villa Carlotta.
  • Visit Enoteca Cava Turacciolo – Bellagio’s famous wine bar.
  • Fall in love with the lakeside views of Lake Como.
  • Watch Lake Como’s seaplanes take off and land.
  • Tour the impressive Gothic Como Cathedral.
  • Take the funicular to the village of Brunate.
  • See Lake Como by electric bike.

Where to stay by Lake Como

Budget: 2-star Ristorante Bellavista con Locanda. Scores 9.0 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £67.

Mid Range: 3-star B&B e Residence Abbazia di Piona. Scores 9.0 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £93.

Comfort Luxe: 4-star Foresteria Lago di Como. Scores 9.6 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £209.

Luxury: 5-star MUSA Lago di Como. Scores 9.5 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £922.

Lake Como framed with flowers and pastel-coloured buildings is a great place to visit on a Europe trip.
Bellagio.

Days 8 & 9: Chamonix, France (2 nights)

The driving time between Lake Como and Chamonix is four hours. Factor more time into your drive if you plan on making stops along the way.

Want to stretch your legs between Lake Como and Chamonix? Add Courmeyer to your Europe trip itinerary.

Often mistaken for being in France, Courmayeur is on the border with Chamonix and is one of the hidden gems of Northern Italy. It is a beautiful alpine ski town, not dissimilar to Chamonix.

In late spring, when I travelled, the whole town was a riot of colour; the flowers were in bloom, and it was beautiful. I recommend stopping here before you drive through the long Mont Blanc Tunnel that will take you to Chamonix in France.

Best things to do in Chamonix on your trip to Europe

  • Take a Ride on the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car
  • Glide Over to Italy on the Skyway Monte Bianco
  • Book a Chamonix Tandem Paragliding Tour
  • Ascend Mount Brevant
  • Take to the Skies in a Helicopter
  • Hike the Trails in Chamonix
  • Climb Via Ferrata
  • Journey to a Glacier Aboard the Montenvers Railway
  • Ride the Chamonix Alpine Toboggan Coaster
  • Meet the Alpine Animals at Parc De Merlet
  • Wander Around Chamonix Town
  • Eat and Drink Fondue, Raclette and Local Beer

If you are wondering whether Chamonix is worth visiting, read my Chamonix travel guide to learn more: 12 Great Reasons To Visit Chamonix in Summer.

Where to stay in Chamonix

Budget: 2-star Hotel Le Chamonix. Scores 7.6 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £70.

Mid Range: 3-star Plan B Hotel – Living Chamonix. Scores 8.9 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £143.

Comfort Luxe: 4-star Auberge du Bois Prin. Scores 9.0 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £251.

Luxury: 5-star Hotel Mont Blanc is the epitome of decadence in Chamonix, and I got to stay! You can read my full review here: Hotel Mont-Blanc, France: The Most Luxurious Hotel in Chamonix

River running through Chamonix with view of alps in the background.
Chamonix Town Centre.

Days 10 & 11: Beaune, France (2 nights)

The driving time between Chamonix and Beaune is three hours and 30 minutes. Factor more time into your drive if you plan on making stops along the way.

Beaune is the capital of one of France’s best-known wine regions – Burgundy, but it’s a town that is so much more than simply a stop for wine connoisseurs. It is a foodies heaven with artisanal shops selling cheeses, chocolates, meats and wine and it has an interesting history to share with visitors.

Best things to do in Beaune on your Europe trip

  • Experience the delights of Beaune Wine Tasting.
  • Book a Beaune vineyard tour.
  • Visit the historic Hotel Dieu Museum – Hospices de Beaune.
  • Explore the city ramparts.
  • Step inside the Church of Notre Dame.
  • Hire a bike and explore Beaune’s countryside.
  • Jump aboard the Beaune Visiotrain.
  • Learn about vinification at the Museum of Wine.
  • Shop at the Beaune markets.
  • Eat and drink at the best restaurants in Beaune.

You can read my Beaune travel guide to learn more: 10 Fun Things to Do in Beaune, France – The Wine Capital of Burgundy

Where to stay in Beaune

Budget: 2-star Ibis Budget Beaune. Scores 7.4 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £78.

Mid Range: 3-star Hostellerie De Bretonnière – Groupe Logis Hotels. Scores 8.1 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £135.

Comfort Luxe: 4-star Novotel Beaune. Scores 8.2 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £140.

Luxury: 5-star Hostellerie Cèdre & Spa Beaune. Scores 8.6 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £574.

ornate roofed outer building of Hospices de Beaune.
Hospices de Beaune

Days 12 & 13: Versailles, France (2 nights)

The driving time between Beaune and Versailles is three hours. Factor more time into your drive if you plan on making stops along the way.

Best things to do in Versailles

I think we all know what to do in Versailles, don’t we? Yes, visit the Palace of Versailles home of the Sun King, Louis XlV. Wander around the lavish interior of the palace and stroll through the manicured gardens down to the lake.

In the evening, get tickets for the fireworks display that takes place between March and October – it’s an event not to be missed with fireworks, music and bubble machines! You can read all about the firework display here: How To See The Spectacular Versailles Evening Fountain and Firework Show

Where to stay in Versailles

Budget: 2-star Royal Hotel Versailles. Scores 8.3 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £112.

Mid Range: 3-star Hotel des Lys. Scores 8.3 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £176.

Comfort Luxe: 4-star Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Hotel. I stayed here and loved it. Scores 8.3 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £425.

Day 14 – Versailles to Calais (Le Shuttle)

The driving time between Versailles and Calais is three hours and 20 minutes. Remember to allow extra time to arrive at Le Shuttle before your boarding time.

On the departure day you could take breakfast in one of the outdoor cafes opposite the Palace of Versailles or maybe have breakfast in bed as a last holiday treat. Whatever you decide, this is the day of departure to return to the UK.

If you have time, you could always drive the 45-minute journey to Giverny and see Monet’s house and gardens or spend a few extra days in Paris to see the sights of the capital.

Is a Europe trip by car worth doing?

Going on a Europe road trip is a fantastic way of experiencing several countries in one go. Driving around Europe lets you stop when and where you want to soak up the scenery. No more looking out of a coach or train window wishing you could explore somewhere that you briefly glance at through the window.

Having a car also means that if you really don’t want to come home, you could add another week to your Europe trip itinerary and visit some of the beautiful towns and villages in Northern France. Whatever the decision, so much of Europe is waiting to be explored!

Please PIN for Future Travel to Europe

Are you looking for further European travel guides? Please check out the following posts:

Central Italy: 10 Beautiful Hidden Gems Waiting To Be Discovered

Discover The Delights Of Southern Italy: 10 Beautiful Hidden Gems

Sicily’s Hidden Gems: 10 Sensational Places off the Tourist Trail

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in Spain in Autumn

10 Days in Portugal: A Perfect Portugal Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

16 Most Beautiful Towns and Villages in the South of France

9 Most Beautiful French Beach Towns Worth Visiting

The Perfect 3-Nights in Budapest Itinerary: Culture, Food, and History

Tromso To Lofoten: The Ultimate Bucket List Road Trip Itinerary

Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my travel resources page to help you plan your trip.