The Optimal Road Trip Across Europe

May 22

The Optimal Road Trip Across Europe

Randall Olsen has written a program to compute an optimal road trip across Europe. It’s pretty ambitious with 45 stops that can be reached by car. He estimates that it would take three months to complete the trip. He’s even released the Python computer code so you can create your own map.

I’m not that ambitious, but I thought I’d check out Google maps and maybe make my own plan for traveling in England, Ireland and Scotland. I’ve shared our international wish list for travel before and these are places I definitely want to visit.

We’d start the trip with a voyage similar to that of our ancestors – a transatlantic crossing on the Cunard cruise line from New York to Southampton, England. The trip takes about 7 days today, not the months it took when the US was founded.

From Southampton we’d take a train to London and spend a few days. We’d visit Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Harrod’s department store and several other places I’ve only read about. I visited London twice several years ago but Scott’s never been. We’d take a day trip to a few outlying towns, including Dover to see the white cliffs.

On the next leg we’d go to Oxford for a day or two. I stayed in Oxford when I did a study abroad program and loved the city. I wasn’t able to take the Harry Potter tour while I was there so we would do that and explore the city and the countryside. We’d also take a day trip to Salisbury to visit Stonehenge.

We’d continue traveling north by train then bus to the North York Moors National Park. We’d take our time getting there, traveling only 4-5 hours at a time on the train and then spending a few days exploring the towns on the way. But we’d spend maybe a week or so at the park, hiking through the fields and enjoying nature. I’ve wanted to see the moors in England since reading The Hound of the Baskervilles when I was little.

After our time in the park, we’d continue north into Scotland to Edinburgh. If you look on a map, we’d be traveling up the western side of the UK. The plan is to come back down the eastern side. We’d spend some time in Edinburgh, visiting the castles and the history of the area, then continue north to the Cairngorns National Park and up to Inverness.

Inverness would be the northernmost point in Scotland. We’d spend time on the lake, searching for Nessie, of course, but also meeting people and enjoying the area. I’d also try to find where some of the scenes from the TV show Outlander were filmed so I could visit them.

After Inverness, we’d start to head south again by train but this time following the eastern side of the UK. We’d go from Inverness to Glasgow to spend a few days in the city and maybe travel to the parks surrounding the area.

From Glasgow we’d head south into England, taking our time like we did before and not traveling too much in one day. We’d eventually make it to Manchester, England and then Liverpool, home of the Beatles. From there we’ll take the ferry to Ireland.

The ferry goes to Belfast, but we’d also visit Dublin and get out into the countryside. Eventually we’d take the ferry back to England and continue to head south into Wales.

I’ve tracked one side of my family on my great-grandfather’s side to Wales so I’ll be happy to see it and explore not only the cities but the national parks and the seashore. We’d eventually get to Cardiff and spend some time there exploring because Doctor Who is filmed there. Then we’d start on the last leg of the trip – returning to London to catch a flight home.

I figure that’s about three or four months of travel in Europe, taking our time and enjoying ourselves. We may not be able to do it all at once. I can’t see leaving our families or our dog for that amount of time, but we could do the trip in legs of two or three weeks at a time and see what we can. We’d travel by train or bus most of the time. The transit system in Europe is very good and there’s not many places not accessible by public transit.

Would you spend three or four months traveling in Europe or another country? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

One comment

  1. Wow, y’all went to so many places. We went with a tour and we didn’t get to go to that many locations.

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