Our top 10 European must-sees

Skocjan caves
Skocjan caves

Our 40-day tour of Europe took us to six countries and we stayed at 29 campsites, covering over 5,000km in total.

Here are the highlights.

1 – If you like views and remote places, the high mountain passes between France and Italy are perfect.  We saw plenty of people cycling to the top, with many more taking cars. The most exciting option is to take a sports car – we saw around 100 Porsches going hell-for-leather for the tarmac ‘summits’.

In the French Alps, we saw the breathtaking mountain roads of Col Agnel and Col d’Izoard. (A col is the lowest point on a mountain ridge between two peaks)

2 – Fancy a relaxing dip? Try Lake Garda in northern Italy. We expected it to be heaving in late June, but it wasn’t. Probably best to avoid in July and August if you want to miss the crowds. Lots of campsites right next to the water.

3 – If you are near Venice, consider taking a trip to Punta Sabbioni. It’s basically a spit of land jutting out into the Adriatic that is crammed with well-preserved Second World War pillboxes and lots of wildlife. And perfect sandy beaches. Some good campsites too.

4 – Skocjan caves, Slovenia: An impressive world heritage site. It costs 15 euros per adult for a tour but is worth it. We took baby Harry on the tour (in an over-shoulder carrier) and he loved it. The huge chambers and underground river will impress even jaded travellers.

5 – Kobarid, Soca valley, western Slovenia: The area is brimming with ravines, waterfalls and twisting roads. The perfect drive, but make sure you pull over as often as you can. The stopping places are a bit ropey but if you see parked cars then try to pull up and join them as it usually means there is a decent spot for swimming/paddling (though the water may be too fast, and cold, for either).

6 – The Vrsic pass is in the Julian Alps, home to the highest mountains in Slovenia. Simply superb driving country. Sheer cliffs, lots of hair-pins and plenty to marvel at.

7 – For some of the most spectacular, picture-postcard views it would be hard to beat (at least in Europe) Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. You can camp close to either. A drive of around 30 minutes separates the lakes. Our favourite was Bohinj. A clear water lake surrounded on several sides by impressive mountain crags. Don’t forget the camera!

8 – It may be a tourist hot-spot but don’t let it put you off visiting Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps, Lovely lakes and stunning mountains surround the town. Good beer-drinking country. Sample an apple strudel.

9 – Fancy a glass of wine amid splendid medieval buildings? Take a trip to Colmar (Alsace, France),  the capital of Alsatian wine-making. Just up the road is Ribeauville, another  historical gem of old houses and semi-ruined castles.

10 – Belgium is sometimes overlooked but don’t make that mistake. Ostend, in West Flanders, boasts a lengthy esplanade and great seafood. We also loved Gent and Bruges.

Please feel free to add your own top 10. This list is simply based on places we saw on our trip…..


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