Škoda, the Czech car-making division of the immense Volkswagen Group, has released a new European Adventure Index, highlighting the best European countries for a driving holiday this summer. Pack your bags, your tents, and your snacks, and hit the road for a summer of four-wheel fun.
The Škoda Adventure Index
Škoda has always been a reputable manufacturer, even in the pre-VW days, when its profits were provided to the Communist Party and its developmental funding was almost zero. It has worked tirelessly over the past three decades to turn around its fortunes and build its current reputation for integrity, build quality, and tremendous reliability, even though consistent list pricing hikes make its products less of a bargain than they used to be.
The company’s new online travel index was designed to appeal to thrill-seekers and culture vultures alike, and was compiled from hundreds of trusted sources and reviews, including data from UNESCO, TripAdvisor, EEA and EC Europa. Countries were then ranked based on a combination of metrics. Simply click on ‘The Škoda European Adventure Index’ to select an ideal destination across any of three categories: Camping and Road safety Adventure activities, and Environment, then pack your bags for an incredible European summer road trip.
And the Winners Are…
Heading the Environment category is Italy, which scores highly for world-heritage sites and low CO2 emissions. Italy tops the charts, when it comes to historical landmarks with no fewer than 58 UNESCO sites located around the country.
Naturally, motorway access is excellent but cross-country motoring can add additional facets of interest, as well as providing a truer flavour of the nation. Interestingly, Germany and France complete the top three, with the former offering a number of must-visit sites, including the wonderful gothic cathedral in Cologne.
For drivers looking to travel to a country with the least environmental impact, Denmark, which sits in fifth place in the Index, is considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly countries in Europe that also provides near unbeatable quality of life experiences.
Although it does not appear in the ‘Top Ten’, I have a personal love of the Czech Republic, Škoda’s homeland, and recommend it wholeheartedly.
British drivers aiming for Italy can enjoy la dolce vita within 10 hours of departing the Port of Calais, on a route that navigates through France and Switzerland.
However, with everything from ancient heritage sites to stunning beaches, architecture, and water sports, it’s no surprise to see the island nation of Malta coming out on top of the Škoda rankings in the Adventure category.
Gothic Cathedral in Cologne, Germany
Taking data and review scores from TripAdvisor, Škoda found that Malta offers visitors a huge variety of adventure-based activities and, thanks to its relatively small size, they do not need to travel far to discover fresh activities. Malta also scores highest for extreme sports. However, drivers will need to pack plenty of snacks on board, as the journey to get there is an adventure in itself.
To reach Malta from the UK, drivers have to travel the length of Italy before taking a ferry to Sicily and then a second ferry to Malta, but it is well worth the effort.
Camping Road Trips
For the Road Safety and Camping categories, Škoda’s researchers focused on EU countries that boast the safest roads and most campsites available to travellers. The index took into consideration the number of campsites per 62,000 miles, the number of driving incidents per 100k people, and driving fatalities per million for each country.
Denmark tops the charts with the safest driving routes and an ample selection of campsites. The Netherlands and Ireland round out the top three in the category with the former offering some of the best camping opportunities in Europe and, should you venture across to the latter’s west coast, the Wild Atlantic Way, a 1600-kilometre coastal route that is utterly spectacular to behold, with immense driving appeal.
The so-called camping capital of Europe, The Netherlands, has an average of 75 sites per 62,000 square miles, including the top-rated Rijnsburg campsite at Vakantiepark Konigshof.
A drive along the stunning Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland is a road tripper’s dream
All three locations are among the easiest to reach for drivers from the UK looking to spend a few nights under canvas. The Netherlands is readily accessible thanks to direct ferries from Newcastle, Harwich and Hull, while those taking either ferries, or the Eurotunnel from Dover and Folkestone can be in The Netherlands within an hour of disembarkation.
By the same token, Northern Spain and the beautiful Basque region are reached readily from Portsmouth, or Southampton. using their overnight ferry services.
To help drivers make the most of their European road trips, Škoda offers a range of accessories that include a Travel Pack consisting of roof bars and a 380-litre roof box.
Author bio: Iain Robertson