- Drive through Scotland's Highlands at your own pace.scotland image by John Hofboer from Fotolia.com
While many tourists travel through Europe on the rail system, the train doesn't take its passengers off the beaten path. Vacationers can take control of where they go and how long they stay by renting a car during their stay in Europe. Most of Europe's main international airports have car rental agencies. Some countries allow Americans to use their domestic license, while others require you obtain a permit for their country.
- Located in southern France, the French Riviera consists of Mediterranean Coast resort cities, such as Nice and Toulon. These cities are accessible via the A57 and A8 motorways. In addition to beaches, this region of France is also hill country, making it a popular destination for locals to seek refuge from rising temperatures during the summer. Local sites include the Chateau Sainte Roseline, a 12th century manor that is now a winery in Les Arcs-sur-Argens, and the Moustiers Sainte-Marie, which is a hillside village with views of the Mediterranean Sea. American drivers can drive through France, but must have a French driving permit; which can be obtained through the U.S. Embassy in France.
- The Highlands of Scotland is a region in the northern section of the country and features historic sites, such as the village of Tain, the oldest burgh in Scotland--founded in 1066--and Loch Ness, home of "Nellie," the legendary Loch Ness monster. Loch Ness also features Uruqhart Castle, a 14th century castle which is open to the public. One must-see site in the Highlands is Ullapool, a lakefront fishing village on the shores of Loch Broom. This village is built into the side of a hill and the town is stepped. These cities and sites are accessible from the A9 and A835 motorways. The A9 motorway offers scenic views of the North Sea. Just remember, the Scots drive on the left side of the road. Americans may use their driver's license, so long as they are on vacation and not staying permanently.
- Germany is home to the Autobahn, the largest network of freeways in Europe, and the second-largest behind the United States Interstate system. The Autobahn has no speed limit, which makes moving around Deutschland a quick proposition. This highway network passes through major cities, such as Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg. More leisurely drives are available on Germany's secondary roads, known as Landstrassen and Bundestrassen, which provide passages through the Bavarian Alps and coastal routes on the Baltic Sea. Drivers on the Autobahn must be at least 21 years of age and have a German-issued driver's permit, which can be obtained through the U.S. Embassy. Also, if you get pulled over, the police recommend you pay traffic fines immediately; paying later will result in higher fines.