Roadside Attractions in Europe

The joys of the open road, a day full of adventures and the freedom to explore at will: the holiday highlights that can’t be beaten. However, the joy can be somewhat depleted if you have children or young people in the vehicle who don’t share your love of wide open vistas, sea views, and forests along the way.

If the cries of “are we nearly there yet” start to grate on your nerves, most of the pleasure of European road trips go out of the window. For many parents who are taking leisurely trips to European destinations, or planning a continental touring holiday, the saving grace is the abundance of roadside attractions Europe has to offer.

There are ways to ensure journeys are peppered with attractive stopping points. Or, with a little careful research, you can keep the interest of the little ones with a tick list of landmarks and novelties to see en route. Of course, many European destinations have quirky and fun landmarks in the towns and villages you pass through, but here are a few examples to whet your appetite and inspire you to seek out unusual roadside landmarks.


How about adding a Giant Trumpet statue in Schladming to your list of roadside novelties to look out for? Made by musical instrument company Yamaha, the massive music instrument shares the town with an igloo bar that’s well worth a visit too.

If something more natural is appealing, family road trips to Austria could include a journey along Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse—the High Alpine Road. This goes through the Hohe Tauern National Park and offers your vehicle occupants mind-blowing views of the 37 mountains in the range. This drive is not for the faint hearted, though!


If you happen to be in or around Sweden’s most Northern town Kiruna, you can’t pass up the opportunity to see the incredible solar powered egg-shaped sauna on its high perch. Created by architects Bigert & Bergström, the functional sculpture is crafted from stainless golden mirror sheeting.


France is a country packed full of amazing architecture, ornate churches and rambling country homes to spot on road trips with the family. However, if you happen to pass near Equihen Plage in the northern part of the country, you simply can’t miss out on seeing the upside down boats that locals have converted into dwellings— around 3,000 of them dotted around this coastal community, and some are opening to view if you fancy a stop off.

Feeling more adventurous? Then roadside attractions don’t come more fascinating than Verdon gorges, which is Europe’s own Grand Canyon. This is a round trip drive from Lorgues.

Preparation and Research

This list of roadside attractions is just the start; Europe has so much more to offer. Every road trip through a new country should take in as many traditional and local sights and experiences as possible. The key is to research the route, not just in terms of distances and refreshment breaks, but also visual stimulation and opportunities to explore.

Don’t forget when you are preparing for your road trip to gather together all your travel notes, checklists, guide books, and travel documents ready for the journey. This must include your updated European Health Insurance Card: before you and your family and hit the road!