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2 weeks by car in Europe - where to go (small area...France? Croatia? Italy?)

2 weeks by car in Europe - where to go (small area...France? Croatia? Italy?)

Jul 19th, 2019, 11:41 AM
  #1  
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2 weeks by car in Europe - where to go (small area...France? Croatia? Italy?)

Next summer(June/July) is a big birthday and my husband and I (mainly the 'I') would like to rent a car and drive. We have been to a lot of places in Europe, but mainly the cities. Idea first was fly into Paris and out of Nice (or somewhere south) and go to Normandy, then south...Van Gogh tour as I call it, Arles, etc. Provence, etc

Another thought, and a place neither of us has been is Croatia and that area, Montenegro?

Did a drive trip last August through the Alps, starting in Italy with Lake Como and thru Switzerland, Austria, ending in Munich. It was wonderful and entirely doable. Looking for another great, and relatively easy stay.

We are doing Spain and Portugal this fall like this. Where to go next? Italy is always wonderful, but have done a lot of Italy. But again, mainly the cities. Venice, Lake Como area, and Rome - AND not sure how drivable Italy is south of Rome.

I selected tags for the countries most interested in.

Musts: 2-4/5 nights in a place, day trip a bit if needed, leisurely. All drive-able, I know and love the trains, but we are wanting to amble around the countrysides. And no, we are not planning on driving in major cities. More interested in small towns. And the continent, not England etc.
mmmooommm is online now  
Jul 19th, 2019, 12:34 PM
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Me, I'd pick either Brittany or Alsace in France. Brittany has charming villages, great food, cider, lots of history, rugged coastline, lovely people. Alsace is much the same, minus the coast but with more wine.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jul 19th, 2019, 12:52 PM
  #3  
 
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I agree Brittany or Alsace and Vosges, or maybe bounce along the Pyrenees, on both sides of the border.

Or the coast of Germany - Mecklenberg-Vorpommern is a delightful area and though it is very popular with Germans other tourists don't seem to have discovered it yet. Driving is easy and there are interesting small towns, coast, islands, national parks, dark skies and some Nazi relicts to visit. The museum at Penemunde is outstanding, and if you are at all interested in the history of rockets and space travel, or just WW2 and the German attitude to it now it is well worth a visit.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2019, 02:02 PM
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I would choose the south of France west of the Rhône and east of the Atlantic, covering part of the Provence, the Languedoc, the southern part of Midi-Pyrénées and the Aquitaine south of Bordeaux. It offers interesting cities, beaches, mountains, castles, historic villages, and good food and wine.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjqcM8HD
https://flic.kr/s/aHsk15NvbB
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjqrVbpW
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjvsgfDP\

Michael is offline  
Jul 20th, 2019, 12:29 AM
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If you'd like to see Italy, a good idea for a driving holiday is Umbria and Le Marche. These are very beautiful areas and not overrun by mass tourism. Le Marche, where I live, has everything: mountains, seacoast, medieval walled towns, and great cuisine. Umbria is similar, but with no seacoast, and in my perhaps-biased opinion, the food is better here in Le Marche.

There are several trip reports on Fodors about these areas. I would be happy to give more specific advice if you tell me a little more about your interests.
bvlenci is online now  
Jul 20th, 2019, 01:17 AM
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I clicked on this post as we're also planning a 2 week road trip in Europe late August/early September. We'd been thinking Italy, but now I've seen Michael's suggestion and stunning photographs I am tempted to look at France.
Thank you.
rosieh is offline  
Jul 20th, 2019, 01:51 AM
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Michael, I love your photos! I am in Provence right now visiting my grandchildren. We visit France often, but I have not made it to the places in your photos. They give me inspiration! So much to see in this world with so little time.
KarenWoo is offline  
Jul 20th, 2019, 04:11 AM
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I agree with Michael that those are some of the most wonderful parts of France to visit, especially the Languedoc, which we go to as often as we can.

I'd throw in the (relatively near) Dordogne as well, but I am obviously biased, and it's crowded in summer (but so are many places).
StCirq is online now  
Jul 20th, 2019, 09:37 AM
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Wow, thanks all. Reading the responses, in particular Michael's, has me thinking for this trip I think France answers the call best. LOVE LOVE LOVE these specific bits, "covering part of the Provence, the Languedoc, the southern part of Midi-Pyrénées and the Aquitaine south of Bordeaux". That is awesome information. Thank you. Bvlencia, love the ideas for Italy, and will look at that maybe the next year, as Italy is ALWAYS calling my name!!

Michael, thanks for the pics, do you travel that area a lot? Will keep reading for more information, but I think France wins the trip for 2020!

More can't misses in the heart of France? the smaller towns and countrysides???

Merci!
mmmooommm is online now  
Jul 20th, 2019, 09:50 AM
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I second (or third or ...) Southern France. It has an abundance of beautiful villages. We spent 3 weeks exploring In a car a couple years ago as well as a fourth week on a bike and barge trip. We were in Provence, Luberon, Languedoc, and Dordogne regions. We booked apartments for 3-6 night stays (with a few nights where we “winged” it). To date it is one of our favorite trips.

You mentioned Croatia. We will be exploring Croatia and Slovenia in August/September this year ... mostly a driving trip but also a week sail and bike in the islands.

But we also enjoyed Tuscany. So many choices. Enjoy.
cas4075 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2019, 11:31 AM
  #11  
 
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<<
More can't misses in the heart of France? the smaller towns and countrysides???>>

As I mentioned, the Dordogne.

BTW, if you have two weeks, I'd pick only one of these regions.
StCirq is online now  
Jul 20th, 2019, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by mmmooommm View Post
Wow, thanks all. Reading the responses, in particular Michael's, has me thinking for this trip I think France answers the call best. LOVE LOVE LOVE these specific bits, "covering part of the Provence, the Languedoc, the southern part of Midi-Pyrénées and the Aquitaine south of Bordeaux". That is awesome information. Thank you. Bvlencia, love the ideas for Italy, and will look at that maybe the next year, as Italy is ALWAYS calling my name!!

Michael, thanks for the pics, do you travel that area a lot? Will keep reading for more information, but I think France wins the trip for 2020!

More can't misses in the heart of France? the smaller towns and countrysides???

Merci!
We usually have one annual 3 week travel through parts of a country;* this time it was Portugal, with added stays in Strasbourg, Nancy and Paris.
Michael is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2019, 09:41 AM
  #13  
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Great, what time of the year do you opt for?
mmmooommm is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2019, 10:06 AM
  #14  
 
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Puglia is another part of Italy you could consider--as on the contrary, the south is the ideal place to drive (public transport being less convenient than in the north), and full of small towns. But I heartily concur with Bvlenci's suggestion of Marche, which may be far less congested in summer, in its interior at least.
Croatia is an easy place to drive, but I'd do that if you stick to the interior, Istria, or less traveled areas. You would really not need a car for entire week and if you were visiting highlights as the bus and ferry system are excellent and traffic can be in issue in summer.
yorkshire is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2019, 10:36 AM
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There's no end to the beauty of the south of France. Instead of recommending a specific place, I suggest visiting a farm wherever your travels take you. There are many that sell their products on site. In addition some prepare and serve traditional meals. They are called ferme-auberges. There are also bed and breakfasts (chambres-d'hote), and some that serve dinner as well (tables d'hote):

https://www.bienvenue-a-la-ferme.com/
shelemm is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2019, 12:25 PM
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by mmmooommm View Post
Great, what time of the year do you opt for?
We prefer traveling in late April and May. This year it was later because one of us had commitments that did not allow us to leave earlier. But it also depends on the region visited. I would choose May-June for northern Europe, earlier for southern Europe if possible. My wife does not like heat (or cold, so no winter travel), so we like to be back in SF during the summer months.
Michael is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2019, 02:50 PM
  #17  
 
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The Ardennes (as per your Belgium tag of this post) is a drivable little area in the east of Belgium. If you cross the border into Germany it becomes the Eifel, where Prüm and Monschau are jewels. It is absolutely an area that must be done by car as public transport is very poor here. Beautiful forested rolling hills with idyllic towns and great food. La-Roche-en-Ardenne and Bouillon are two good destinations here. You can even cross into France and follow the river (? the Semois?).

Lavandula
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