My name is Linda Voltaire and I have been a travel addict the last 15 years. In November 2016, my boyfriend and I took off for the trip of our lives, spending three months in South and Central America. It was a trip that changed our lives in many ways, one of which was jumpstarting my travel blog adventure. I started blogging to keep my family updated, but quickly realized that I had a passion for sharing my travel experiences through words, photography, and video. The rest is history!
4 Must Do Road Trips in Europe & the US
We have such a large number of streets less travelled, oceans and seas not yet observed, backwoods not yet explored and individuals not yet met. It’s a great opportunity to go out there and one of the reasons why I love to travel! There are so much to see and experience in this world!
One of my favorite ways of traveling is road tripping! Rent a car, preferably a convertible and hit the road! A great road trip will remain with you forever. The ability to simply get up and go, the outright excitement of what awaits you? The unknown….Where to stop, where to eat? Total freedom. The feeling of being in complete control, of being here and now and the opportunity to see and experience things you never will do if you stay at a place.
Read all about my four favorite road trips in Europe and US. All very different but yet amazing! Four road trips that you can not miss!!
2 US Road Trips that Need to be on Your Bucket list
US is the country for road trips. Driving here is very convenient and easy but given the size the experience from north to south, from east to west is vastly different. First out, the bridges of Key West for some true hippie and Caribbean vibe. Number two is the more sophisticated Cali one. Full of wine, a visit to San Francisco, a majestic drive along Big Sur and hanging out with famous ones in LA. And why not end with a totally crazy weekend in Las Vegas.
Cruise the Bridges of Key West and Get into the Hippie Vibe
This adventure starts in Miami. Hop into your convertible, roll the top down to enjoy the deep blue colors of the ocean as you pass by 42 bridges! I would recommend not to stress yourself much during the trip, so plan to stop on the way down and take advantage of this moment to click some Instagram worthy pictures.
We stopped by the island Islamodora where we found Robbies. A nice hippie place where we checked out people feed the hungry Tarpons from their hands. We had a tasty lunch by the harbor at The Lighthouse Grill at Faro Blanco Resort. The Seven Mile Bridge was the longest bridge, but also the most beautiful one with an Old Railroad bridge at the end. A perfect photo spot!
Key West is nearer to Cuba than to Miami with one of a kind styles. A blend of American, Bahamian and Cuban vibes. It is a perfect place for some laid back and lazy days.
I can strongly recommend – The Cabanna Inn – which has a homely feeling with Scandinavian touch. We found most of our favorite restaurants off Duval and Petronia Street. We had a fun time doing yoga, drinking smoothies and shopping at the Key West Yoga Sanctuary. We had a dinner at the Bagatelle, which is a classic Key West mansion. And we spent a romantic evening at Louie’s backyard with some live music.
While driving back, we stopped by for a romantic dinner at The Dining Room in Little Palm Island Resort. While crossing the Seven Mile Bridge again, we encountered a beautiful sunset, a boat ride in the dark and a romantic candle light dinner on a beach. This made it all hypnotic! A perfect road trip for a week or two, that can easily be combined with the East or West coast of Florida!
California Has It All!
While you take on this Road trip, make sure that you have at least three weeks in hand if you wish to do it all.
Start this journey with a couple of days in San Francisco. This amazing city itself will take at least three to four days to explore. While you are there, take the tram to visit the Fishermans Wharf and the beautiful Lombard street, rent a bike to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge for some stunning views and photo spots. The ferry back offers a great view of the city. Later, explore the streets of Haight-Ashbury for some hippie vibe and do not miss the amazing street art, bars and cafes in the Mission District, one of my favorite San Francisco areas!
After San Francisco, head over to Napa Valley which is a good 3 hours drive depending on the traffic. If you are a nature and photography lover like me, I would suggest a detour to the Muir Woods. Known for the gigantic trees it offers a great hideaway from the big city life. Stay in Napa for as long as you wish to drink some good wine. We stayed there for 2 nights but if you are into wine, I suggest you stay here for a couple of more nights to be able to explore all areas. We could easily have stayed here for a week.
In Napa, we checked in at Churchill Manor. A fantastic mansion, making you feel like home with the best hosts you can ask for. Napa town itself is very nice with some really good restaurants and offers a perfect starting point for the daily wine tours! Do not miss out Sonoma area. My favorite one with smaller boutique like wine yards.
After a good time in the wine yards, head south. There are lots of stops to be made along this drive. We stopped at the beach at Half Moon Bay, hand lunch in Santa Cruz and fell in love with Carmel by the Sea. It is a small city with French vibes and where many celebrities live or have lived. Could strongly recommend to stay here for a night or two to enjoy the atmospheree and the beautiful beach!
Next, get ready for breathtaking views at the Big Sur. Plan a full day drive as the photo spots and viewpoints are many. Cross the famous Bixby Creek bridge and take all magic in along this majestic coast line.
On the way to LA, make sure to have a break at Malibu and enjoy some healthy and delicious food at the hip place – the Farm. LA is a city where you would hardly get bored and where you can spend a couple of weeks. We spent 6 nights here, three nights in Venice Beach and three nights uptown at Melrose Av. In Venice we stayed at the cute Rose Venice Beach BB. When in Venice, make sure to visit all hip small eateries along Abbot Kinney street, rent a bike and just enjoy the craziness in Venice and the beach & pier life in Santa Monica.
After some time in Venice it is time to experience some celebrity life. A visit to Beverly Hills and Hollywood is a must without fail. Some must-do list is to cruise among the impressive houses in Hollywood, take a photo with the Beverly Hills sign, do the Julia Roberts walk on Rodeo Drive, visit vintage shops at Melrose Avenue and check the stars at Hollywood Avenue too! Regarding hotel, I can strongly recommend Palihouse at Melrose Av with some true hipster vibes.
We drove up to the Griffins Conservatory to see the magical sunset over LA, which is something I can strongly recommend. Last but not least, have a drink or lunch at the famous pink beauty, Hotel Beverly Hills.
As we say, save the best for the last! I say, save the craziest for the last? It’s time for Vegas. Drive through the dessert, which is an experience in itself! Las Vegas is a huge playground for adults with every hotel being an entertainment park with their own concept from Venice to Pirate of the Caribbean. We checked in at Wynn. A luxury hotel and on the safe distance from the most chaotic parts. Go all in and live the crazy Vegas night life. Just make sure you save some money for the return back.
Two Spectacular Road Trips in South of Europe
Not only US has a lot to offer when it comes to road trips. So does Southern Europe. Portugal and Italy offers some of the most breathtaking cost lines in the world, if you ask me. One wild and one as romantic as it can get!
The Amalfi Coast – Romance at its Best!
The Amalfi Coast Road trip is one of the most romantic experiences I have ever had. Driving along this spectacular coast of Italy is just breathtaking. The dramatic landscape with steep cliffs, the deep blue sea and picturesque villages like Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. Add to that amazing Italian food and wine and your vacation is complete! This coast is heaven for photo lovers, nature lovers, food lovers. Well, I guess there are few people that will not fall in love with the Amalfi Coast. The only downside is its popularity. I would strongly recommend to go here off season in May or end September as it gets extremely crowded during summer.
Try to stay here for at least a week but if you have less time a weekend would also do! We started our journey in Rome and drove south 3 hours to Pompei. A truly memorable visit and a great stop before heading further south to Positano. If you want less driving, Naples has an airport and is just 65 KM away.
Positano was the place that totally stole my heart. Roosted on a slope and confronting the ocean, this dazzling town is removed straight from a Mediterranean dream. You will surely love the boutique hotel – Le Sirenuse with the best view of the town! Many stars stay here while they visit this place. It is a must visit when at Positano. For a more value for money option check in at the lovely Hotel Flavio Gioia. Do a day trip to Capri or a trek up in the mountains. Or why not just hang out on the beach or get lost in the many picturesque alleys!
Next stop is Amalfi, about 40 minutes away. A white diamond tucked into the slope but much more touristic than Positano. Avoid the crowds, and check in at Amalfi Luxury House. A truly hidden gem which is actually a refurbished house with all its feature intact, yet giving you a modern feel. For a peaceful luxury beach club day, head over to the Santa Catarina hotel. Amalfi during evenings are a much better experience than during day time.
Our last stop was Ravello, which is 30 minutes away from Amalfi. I would recommend you to stay here. This gem took us by surprise. The views from Villa Rufolo were just stunning and the small alleys full of local art were amazing.
After Ravello, we headed back to Rome for a couple of nights in the Eternal city! An amazing trip that will stay in our memories for a long time!
The Wild Algarve Coast
The Algarve coast simply cannot be missed if you plan your trip to Portugal. You will get to see the best of many worlds here. I felt it a combination of two different cultures – Italian and Spanish. Italian in terms of love of wine and food, Spanish due to the relaxed lifestyle. The Algarve coast has many similarities with California. The wild Atlantic Ocean, the red/orange sand the dramatic landscape and cliffs and the wine.
Algarve is a perfect place to go with your family or a bigger group. Check in at one of the many Airbnbs here and enjoy life at the pool or at the beach. Golf courses are many and so are the wine yards.
For road tripping the Ponta da Piedada is a must visit. The rock formation and landscape here are stunning but make sure to arrive early to avoid all tourists.
Another must visit is what was previous thought to be the end of the world, Sagres & Cape St. Vincent. Do not miss to visit the beautiful and cute lighthouse at the Cape St. Vincent. Click as many pictures as you can with its great views!
When it is time to head into the country, pay Silves a visit. A true Instagram gem with colorful tile houses, cobble stoned streets lined with boutiques and a great view from the castle.
If you have more time I strongly recommend a visit to Monsaraz and Évora. The first, a tiny medieval village located on a mountain top close to the boarder of Spain. Magic view points and white washed houses and cobblestoned streets that will make it hard for you to stop clicking your camera. Just a 40 minutes drive away is Évora. A roman city with a lot to see and explore. I am sure you will enjoy everything Portugal has to offer, as much as I did!
So now time to pick which one will the first one to complete and then it is just to enjoy being on the road!
By Linda Voltaire from @lindavoltaire