Cruising Europe’s rivieras
We’ve had the opportunity to take many epic road trips over the years. Among them: Driving a small car from England to Mongolia, cycling through nine countries from the top of Africa all the way down to the southern tip of the continent, and traversing the legendary Garden Route of South Africa’s east coast.
The bottom line: We love moving along.
When we were kids, our families drove from Toronto, Canada, to Orlando, Florida each year to escape the cold. As adults, Dave and I still regularly take off to explore the open road. Most recently we went on a trip through America’s West, stopping at iconic national parks including the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Yosemite. We had a blast.
When our friends at Expedia asked us what our dream road trip would be, we had to put on our thinking caps. Then it hit us: We’d want to drive the French and Italian Riviera. So buckle up, listen to our road trip tunes, and hit the road with us!
We’ve driven a bit of this area before, but we always said that if we were to drive along the Mediterranean again, we’d take our time and explore the romantic towns and cities along the way. Our dream tour would start in Saint Tropez. Known as the playground for the rich and famous, this would be where we’d rent a convertible and pretend to be silver-screen movie stars for a day.
From Saint Tropez, we’d wind our way along the coast to Cannes. This city is home to the largest and most glamorous film festival in the world and there’s a reason the stars like to hang out here: It’s beautiful. Imagine driving into town and staying at a luxurious hotel, shopping at high-end boutiques, and sipping cappuccinos on the waterfront. I’m in heaven just thinking about it.
Next on our agenda: Nice, of course. This city’s warm waters attract tourists from all over Europe. All of those hundreds of thousands of people can’t be wrong. En Route to Italy we’ll make sure to take a detour to the Principality of Monaco. This place is one of the smallest nations in the world but is the most densely populated country on earth. What it’s really known for is its enormous wealth. One cannot picture Monaco without thinking of its royal family and high-stakes casinos. Driving through Monte Carlo likely would make us drool with envy as you look on at the extravagant wealth. But hey, one can dream right?
Viewfinder Tip: When road-tripping through Europe, save some money by spending less on accommodations.
From here, we’d push on to the Italian Riviera. A quick drive through Ventimiglia would take us to Genoa. This city’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also one of the largest cities on the Mediterranean, so I’m guessing it would have a different feel from some of the other spots on our list. A little urbanity never hurt anyone.
Our French/Italian Riviera road trip would conclude in Cinque Terre. The Five Villages that comprise this area are Montorosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiori; together, they represent one of the most scenic locations in the world. We’d hike between villages – an itinerary that many visitors choose. The hike is not your typical trek that requires a lot of work; instead it is all about decadence and relaxation. Our goal: To eat gelato at least once in every stop. Now that’s the way to celebrate the end of a road trip.