Exploring some of Europe’s most scenic driving routes couldn’t be easier when starting your journey with P&O Ferries. From Calais, to Larne and Zeebrugge, join a path to discovery and be wowed by vibrant cities, areas of natural beauty and fascinating historical sites. To help inspire your next trip, we have put together some of the best ways to make the most of your car this summer.
Pas de Calais – France
After departing the port of Calais, join the scenic coastal road (D940) down the Côte d’Opale; take in the raw beauty of the Pointe de la Crèche and a little further south enjoy the crunch of pebbles under your feet whilst wandering along the shore leading up to the imposing Fort d’Ambleteuse. The historic town of Boulogne-sur-Mer is next on route, and as one of the biggest fishing ports in France is the perfect place to indulge in some fresh fishy fare in one of the charming local restaurants. It also happens to be the site of one of Europe’s biggest aquariums, so gaze in wonder at the incredible sea life housed within its walls. A little further down the coast is the colourful seaside town of Le Touquet, a famous Parisian holiday-destination favourite. Charmingly eccentric it offers an eclectic mix of vintage and modern culture, with fairy-tale-like villas, art-deco architecture and a wonderful inner-town forest bursting with the fragrant smell of pine trees.
Back on the road head east along the D349 towards Hesdin. Guided by the River Canche this is considered to be one of northern France’s prettiest driving routes, so roll down those windows and take it all in. On reaching the town, must see sights include the Renaissance-inspired town hall and the stunning stain glass windows of the 16th century Notre Dame church. Before arriving back in Calais on the D928, stretch your legs and take a wander through the hilltop town of Ardres and enjoy vistas across the sea towards home.
Causeway Coastal Route – Northern Ireland
Beginning your journey in Larne, the gateway to the Glens of Antrim – a stretch of rugged cliffs broken up by nine deep glens and bursting with luscious greenery – take a little time to visit Carnfunnock Country Park with its breath-taking panoramic views across the North Channel. Watch the glens roll out before your eyes as you pass through charming villages on the way north towards Glenarm. Home to one of Ireland’s oldest walled gardens, appreciate the burst of seasonal colour and make a visit to the traditional tea room to sample some homemade sweet delights.
Further along the coastal path the views across to the Mull of Kintyre at Torr Head are worth the slight detour, before heading west towards Bushmills. Parking up enjoy the exhilaration of crossing the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge to Carrick Island, keeping an eye out for the area’s famously diverse birdlife. Back in the car the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site, should be next on your list: a stunning coastal landscape of hexagonal basalt columns formed more than 60 million years ago. On the road down to Londonderry/Derry make a stop at the Mussenden Temple near Castlerock. Perched on the edge of a cliff-top it is one of the most photographed scenes in Ireland, famed for its dramatic views.
Embark on a little tour of some of Belgium’s most iconic cities and sites, from famous breweries, to gothic architecture and chocolate museums. A short drive from the port of Zeebrugge is the medieval city of Bruges. You can’t make a trip to Belgium without tasting some of its delicious beer exports and at De Halve Mann Brewery you can learn all about the history with a tour of its state of the art brewing house, before enjoying a lunch of local cuisine looking out over the picturesque canals. For those with a little more time, stop off in Ghent on your way to Brussels. A city that mixes the medieval with an industrial edge, most prominently seen in its architecture, this hidden gem is known for its abundance of high quality vegetarian restaurants, quirky bars and contemporary street art.
Home to some of the most luxurious chocolate shops, Brussels is the place to indulge in the country’s second most famous export. Other highlights of this beautiful city are the magnificent Grand Palace and the rich collection housed within the Musée du Cinquantenaire. Head to the elegant Antwerp next, famed for attracting culture lovers who come from all over Europe to enjoy its vibrant entertainment and arts scene. Learn about baroque painter Pieter Paul Rubens, who considered this ‘Capital of Diamonds’ his home in the 16th century, and view his awe-inspiring work within the landmark Cathedral of Our Lady. Only a short walk away is the Grand Central Station, regarded as one of the most beautiful ever built, and before starting your journey home, make the most of this fashion capital with a visit to the Graanmarkt.
If this has inspired you, check out our adventure page for more great ideas.