Monday, 13 May 2019

A Perfect 6 Day Road Trip Through Europe


For my birthday, Tom decided to plan a road trip. It all came together due to the fact that there were so many locations in Europe that I wanted to visit, particularly in the Spring, and when we google mapped it, it turned out they were all very close together. In fact, parts of our road trip were shorter than a drive to Scotland and back!

We ended up visiting four different countries on our travels over the course of 6 days and it was absolutely amazing. I loved getting to see so many bucket list destinations in one swoop, particularly a lot of floral ones! So I've put together a little guide to how we did our road trip, if you so wish to replicate it yourself.

Our road trip began on 19th April as to coincide with both the tulip fields in the Netherlands being in bloom and the cherry blossoms in Bonn. Of course, you could choose to do these destinations any time of year, but we particularly wanted to visit them for the florals!

Getting There

I was absolutely over the moon that part of our trip was sponsored by Eurotunnel Le Shuttle - who are a service that I have used many times before in the past and was so excited to get to collaborate with them and show you all the amazing benefits of driving as opposed to flying/using public transport when travelling Europe. 

If you don't know, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle are essentially a train that carries vehicles through the channel tunnel. It's super fast (35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais) and ridiculously easy. It meant that we had the freedom to bring as much luggage as we wanted, as well as some food for the trip so we could save some money. 

They were also super efficient on our return back home, as we ended up getting back to Calais much earlier than expected on the final day and they simply let us on the next available shuttle! 

I honestly couldn't recommend them enough if you decide to do your own road trip. In fact, we're already planning a Christmas road trip for December using them too! 

Day 1

Stop 1 - Bruges


I couldn't believe how quickly it took us to get from home to Bruges, in fact we were there in around two hours! We stopped here as our first destination for a few hours, had a spot of lunch and a couple of waffles, of course! The city is absolutely beautiful and we had perfect weather! We wandered around and admired the sights. There is also free parking on the outskirts of Bruges - we parked on the Buiten Gentpoortvest, which is about a fifteen minute walk into the centre. 


Stop 2 - Antwerp


We made camp for the night in Antwerp, which was about an hour and fifteen minutes from Bruges. We had decided to stop here as it was a nice central base in between home and our destination for the following day (the tulip fields), and we stayed in an airbnb for the night. You can find our AirBNB HERE! It has free parking. Also if you haven't signed up for AirBNB before, if you use my link here you can get £25 off your first booking (I also get a little bit off mine too for full disclosure!). 

Although we only spent the evening in Antwerp, I really loved it. It felt very clean and safe, which was pretty much how I felt about all the places in Belgium. The central station is also a must visit, it's absolutely stunning and like something out of a fairy tale! We stopped by there the following morning at around 6am and it was so worth it to have the whole place to ourselves. 

Day 2

Stop 1 - Lisse


After our early start shooting at the train station, we left Antwerp and took the drive to Lisse in the Netherlands to visit the legendary tulip fields. It has been on my bucket list to see these fields for so long and I was ridiculously excited! We booked a visit with Fam Flower Farm, who own various fields around Lisse. They charge €40 per person for an hour and a half in their field where you can take as many photos as you like. They also provide props for photos, tea and coffee and snacks and the owners are lovely. It is actually illegal to trespass in gated fields around Lisse, so I would definitely recommend booking instead. It's often the case that tourists go in fields and accidentally damage plants, which is really bad for the farmers! 

Our visit was lovely and the groups are also quite small which means you don't have to worry about loads of people getting in your shots! 


Stop 2 - Amsterdam

We then drove on to one of my favourite cities ever! The drive was pretty short, around 45 minutes and most of that was spent in traffic in the centre. We stayed in the Hilton Doubletree which was quite reasonably priced and paid for parking which was €20 for the day. The hotel was absolutely lovely and really well positioned. 

We spent the rest of the day wandering around the canals and taking some snaps. Last time we visited I was still shooting on an iPhone so really struggled, but being able to go back with my new found knowledge really helped! 

We even took a peek into the Red Light District which we had never been to before and that was...pretty boring actually! I'm not sure what I expected haha! 



Day 3

Stop 1 - Schloss Drachenburg


The next morning we left Amsterdam at around 11am to head to Germany. We decided to drive straight to one of the castles that was on my list - Schloss Drachenburg, a fairly new but beautiful castle that reminds me so much of Beauty and the Beast! It was also very close to Bonn, which was where we would be staying for the evening. Parking here is free and the walk up to the castle was fairly short and not too steep. The tickets to visit are €7 per person and you get to explore all the gardens and interior for this, so it's well worth it! 

You can spend basically a whole day here, especially if you brought a picnic! The grounds are just lovely to sit and relax in. I'd definitely recommend a visit if you're into your castles like I am. 

Stop 2 - Bonn

We then drove to Bonn for the night. We once again had an AirBNB; this one was booked for two nights. You can find the link HERE! We were staying in one that was a room in a flat with a shared bathroom, however we didn't actually see anyone else in the apartment for the two nights we were there so I think we may have been the only guests. The listing for this said free street parking, but I'm a little unsure as to whether this is actually true as when we arrived the host seemed unsure. It was a bank holiday weekend anyway, so it turned out to be free, but I'd definitely double check if you're heading there on a weekday. The room was lovely and clean though and a great place to settle for a reasonable price. 

We didn't do much that evening except grab a McDonald's then head to bed as we were absolutely shattered! 

Day 4

Bonn


We spent the entire day on our 4th day in the town of Bonn, mostly known for its beautiful cherry blossom avenues. There are a couple of streets dotted around the city that are lined with the amazing trees and again, it was another bucket list moment! We actually got to Bonn a little bit late and the petals had already started to fall. If you see them in full bloom they are like cotton candy clouds! However I still really love the shot we took and having all the petals on the ground made for something just as beautiful! The street we shot on was Heerstrasse. 

In the afternoon, we grabbed gelato and sat in the local park, the Hofgarten, watching the world go by. We also decided to actually get dinner in a proper restaurant that evening (as we were a bit tired of McDonald's by this point) and had an Indian at a place called Taj India. It was absolutely amazing and so delicious, definitely one of the best Indians I've ever had! 

After that, we headed back to our AirBNB and settled in for a well deserved sleep! 


Day 5

Stop 1 - Burg Eltz


On day 5 we left our AirBNB early to head to Burg Eltz - the one castle in Germany I had always wanted to visit besides Neuschwanstein which we visited last year. The drive from Bonn was about 1 hour, 20 minutes and took us all the way through the German countryside. I wanted to get there for pretty much as soon as it opened (9am), as I wanted to get the shot above in my crazy ballgown!

You can park in the car park for only €2 (make sure you have cash though!), but as tip I think we may have parked in the wrong one because the walk was significantly longer than it was meant to be and I spotted another car park on the way there. However the walk through the woods, despite being the wrong way, was actually really nice and peaceful.

The castle itself was absolutely stunning and although we decided not to go inside it was just lovely admiring it from outside. I loved it.

Stop 2 - Luxembourg City


After our visit to the castle we drove to our final destination which was Luxembourg City - another 1 hour and 45 minutes away. I have to say I absolutely adored Luxembourg. It's absolutely stunning but I feel very underrated and didn't feel very busy at all. 

We stayed in the Le Royal Hotel Luxembourg, which was right in the centre of the city and absolutely beautiful. This was our most expensive accommodation but we wanted to feel really relaxed on the final night so treat ourselves to something a bit more expensive! The rooms are gorgeous, the beds are super comfy and there's even a pool and spa. 

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the city, eating ice cream and admiring the cherry blossoms. The centre square was absolutely bustling and the weather was so wonderful. We sat outside eating McDonald's and listening to street buskers. 

Day 6

On our final day we had a lie in at the hotel then went out for a leisurely breakfast in the city at a place called Kathy's who did a delicious breakfast. Once we were fully satisfied that we had done everything we wanted to do, we took the drive back to Calais. This was actually the longest part of our drive but went quite quickly. Our Eurotunnel back home wasn't booked until around 7pm but we ended up getting an earlier one at 4pm, as mentioned before they were really accommodating and allowed us to get an earlier one no problem! 

Our road trip was honestly so much fun and I'm so pleased we did it and managed to tick so many bucket list moments off! A huge thank you to Eurotunnel Le Shuttle for sponsoring part of our trip - I couldn't recommend them enough! 

I hope this inspires you to plan your own road trip around Europe! Let me know where you would go to! x

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