Tag: Short Trip

The 8 Best Day Trips From Mexico City

Mexico City can get a little overwhelming after a few days in town. Check out these 8 best day trips from Mexico City, to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital.

The 8 best day trips from Mexico City

The area surrounding Mexico City truly has it all, from touring volcanos and visiting Mayan ruins to exploring caves or celebrating the Day of The Dead.

The possibilities are endless! In fact, Cholula alone is famous for its 365 churches- one for each day of the year. In order to see all of these spectacular places, you’d have to move to Central Mexico.

Without further ado, let’s dive into each destination!

Teotihuacan

Large, monumental temples of Teotihuacan date back to the ancient times. The ancient city of Teotihuacan is only half an hour away from Mexico City, making it perfect for a Mexico City day trip.
Photo by German Rojas

A visit to Teotihuacan is unarguably one of the must-do day trips from Mexico City.

The ancient city of Teotihuacan dates back more than a thousand years prior to the arrival of the Aztecs, the homeless wanderers first came to the region in 1300 A.D.

If the Aztecs hadn’t arrived in Mexico at the time of the city’s construction, you’re probably wondering who built Teotihuacan.

Who built the Great City of Teotihuacan

Back when the Aztecs first discovered this town, it had already been abandoned for centuries.

Although the Aztecs did not build Teotihuacan, they are the ones responsible for its name.

Teotihuacan translates to ‘home of the gods‘, which is precisely what the Aztecs decided to name the mysterious abandoned city.

The Great city of Teotihuacan is believed to have been a vivid center of the region, with an estimated population of 200 000 inhabitants.

Though that may not seem like much today, its population was very similar to Rome or Beijing at the time.

Following extensive destruction, looting, and chaos, the city was abandoned by 750AD. It is uncertain what caused the sudden chaos that resulted in inhabitants fleeing Teotihuacan.

Today, Teotihuacan remains one of the most significant ancient ruins in all of Mexico. Don’t miss the famous Pyramid of The Sun, the largest pyramid in the city and one of the tallest in Mesoamerica.

Teotihuacan Entry Fee and Opening Hours

Admission to the Great City of Teotihuacan costs below 100 pesos (US$5) per person. Open daily between 9AM and 5PM.

Tlaxcala

Colorful yellow facades of traditional buildings in the town of Tlaxcala, Mexico. Tlaxcala is the perfect destination for a day trip from Mexico City.
Photo by Actek10

Tlaxcala is the smallest region in Mexico. The state’s capital, also called Tlaxcala, is a cute town with an unbeatable vibe. Visiting it makes for a perfect day trip from Mexico City.

Things To Do in Tlaxcala

  • Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Ocotlan
  • Palacio de Gobierno
  • Firefly Sanctuary
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Ocotlán

The Basilica of Our Lady of Ocotlan is perhaps the most well-known attraction in the town of Tlaxcala. Many tourists come here from Mexico City just to see the Basilica!

Located just minutes away from the center of this cute town, the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Ocotlán can be admired from both inside and out.

Step inside and take in the decorative, gold-filled interior, or appreciate the monumental architecture from the outside.

Palacio de Gobierno

Get a grasp of the regional Tlaxcalan culture as you walk inside the gorgeous Palacio de Gobierno.

This structure dates back nearly 500 years and is home to decorative murals and an unbeatable vibe.

Palacio de Gobierno is a great under-the-radar destination in this part of Mexico.

History buffs should definitely peek inside the nearby museums. Afterall, Palacio de Gobierno is right in the heart of Tlaxcala.

Firefly Sanctuary

If you’re visiting Mexico between June and August, you are in for a special treat. During those months, local fireflies put on a breathtaking light show every night.

Check out this website to learn more and book your firefly experience. It’s a half-hour drive out of Tlaxcala.

Cholula & Puebla

Monumental facade of a cathedral in Puebla. Catedral de Puebla is one of the best things to see in Puebla.
Photo by Young Shanahan

A drive down to Puebla is another great day trip from Mexico City. This city is located roughly 175 miles from the country’s capital.

What To See in Puebla

The Great Pyramid of Cholula

Did you know that the largest pyramid in the world (by area, not height) isn’t in Egypt? In fact, it’s The Great Pyramid of Cholula.

You might be surprised when you get to Cholula, as the pyramid doesn’t look like a typical Mayan structure. In fact, only a small part of it has been excavated thus far.

Back in the 1600s, the Spanish built the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies atop the pyramid. Make sure you visit this beautiful cathedral, as it opens up to panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Mercado Cosme del Razo San Pedro Cholula

It should be pretty clear by now that Rentalmoose loves local fresh food markets. No matter whether you’re in Batemans Bay, Marmaris, or Malaga, we recommend visiting a local market.

We believe local markets are the perfect way to peek into the fascinating local life of any bustling town, village, or city. Mercado Cosme del Razo San Pedro in Cholula is no different.

In this traditional market, you’ll be able to find anything ranging from regional fruit and vegetables to handcrafted goods and artwork.

After spending some time in Cholula, it’s time to continue further into Puebla. This city is famous for its beautiful architecture, as well as the Puebla Cathedral and more!

Museo Amparo

Art lovers should not miss out on visiting the Museo Amparo. This museum, set inside a beautiful, colonial building, is home to one of the greatest art collections in Latin America. There aren’t many museums that make for good day trips from Mexico City, and this one is definitely worthwhile!

Admire hundreds of Mexican artworks from different historical periods. Afterward, head up to the terrace and take in the panoramic views of the city.

The best part? Admission is completely free of charge.

Note that Museo Amparo is closed on Wednesdays. Check their website for detailed opening hours.

Catedral de Puebla

Set in the heart of Puebla’s historic center is the monumental Catedral de Puebla. This monumental Baroque church was completed in 1690.

After photographing the grand facade of the cathedral, feel free to step inside and explore the decorative interior.

Open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM, then 4 PM to 8 PM.

While you’re here, take a minute to stroll down Puebla’s scenic historic center.

Restaurante El Mural de Los Poblanos

No visit to Puebla would possibly be complete without indulging in the region’s traditional cuisine. Head to Restaurante El Mural de Los Poblanos, one of the top picks in town, for a delicious lunch or dinner.

This eatery serves some of the best Mexican food in town. Make sure to try the local specialty called Chiles en Nogada.

Open daily from noon to midnight, as well as 8 AM to noon for breakfast service.

Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park

Izta-Popo National Park near Mexico City is home to two famous volcanos. Visiting the park is a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City.
Photo by Russ Bowling

If you drive 2 hours out of Mexico City, you will reach the beautiful Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park.

The park is home to 2 of the most famous volcanos in Mexico: Popocatepetl and Iztachihuatl.

Rentalmoose insider tip: Note that it can get quite cold at this altitude. Bring appropriate clothing!

Paso de Cortes

Begin your visit of the park with a drive across the scenic Paso de Cortes. This chicane-filled road is one of the best scenic drives in Mexico!

This mountain pass was named after being used by Hernán Cortés back in the 16th century. Cortés was the one who conquested the Aztec Empire back in the 1500s and claimed Mexico.

Right by the large roundabout, you’ll see the park’s museum. You can head inside and learn more about local history. Admission tickets can be purchased here, too. From here, you can enjoy unobstructed views of both volcanos.

Open daily between 7AM and 9PM.

Iztachihuatl

After viewing the volcano from the distance, it’s time to come closer to it. Drive down the unpaved road towards the Iztachihuatl volcano.

You can leave your car at the La Joyita area and continue further up on foot. The climb is challenging and only recommended for experienced hikers. However, the views from the top are absolutely unbeatable.

Cascada Apatlaco

Drive back from the foot of Iztachihuatl Volcano and turn into a small road on your left. Follow the road and after a while, you’ll be able to see the spectacular Apatlaco Waterfalls.

Quezadilla Dona Gloria

On your way back down to Mexico City, make sure you stop by to try delicious quesadillas.

Pop by the cozy Quezadilla Dona Gloria to recharge your batteries before driving back to the city. The obscure cabin serves some of the best food you can find around the park.

Guided Tours

Although you can visit the Izta-Popo National Park independently, there’s also the option to book a private tour. An experienced guide will let you in on the park’s secrets and show you the hidden gems of the park.

Consider booking a guided tour of the park with Aztec Explorers.

Mixquic

Cemetery full of people and illuminated by candles during the spectacular Day of The Dead Celebrations in Mixquic. Make sure you see these celebrations, perhaps on a day trip from Mexico City.
Photo by カルロスVG

You need to go on a day trip from Mexico City to Mixquic, especially if you’re in town in early November.

The Day of The Dead celebrations is famous around the world. If there’s one place in all of Mexico that has the most spectacular, authentic celebration, it has to be Mixquic.

When is The Day of The Dead

November 2nd

Contrary to popular belief, the celebrations begin on the 31st of October. The bells of the beautiful San Andres Apostol ring 12 times, as the souls of the children are believed to arrive.

Although the celebrations continue on the 1st day of November, The Day of The Dead is on the 2nd of November every year. Undoubtedly, the most magical time to visit Mixquic is on that day, particularly after the sun sets.

Young girl smiling in makeup and costume during celebrations of the Day Of The Dead at a cemetery in Mixquic, Mexico. The Day Of The Dead is a must-see on any Mexico trip itinerary
Photo by Jordi Cueto-Felgueroso Arocha

As dusk falls, the pantheon is illuminated by thousands of decorative candles. The families spend the night in the company of their deceased loved ones. This emotional celebration is bound to leave you speechless for the rest of your trip.

Taxco

Beautiful Panoramic view of Taxco. Taxco is a former silver mining town that has become a great tourist destination. Located near the capital, it makes for great day trips from Mexico City.
Photo by Laurent Espitallier

Taxco is a breathtaking town, formerly a hotspot for silver mining. Despite the fact that the mines shut down over a century ago, Taxco has remained a spectacular and populated town. It’s the ideal authentic town that makes for great day trips from Mexico City.

Note that the best way of getting around the narrow, cobblestone streets of Taxco is on foot.

The Best Things To Do In Taxco

Santa Prisca de Taxco & Plaza Borda

Begin your visit of Taxco right in the heart of town. After you leave your car at the car park, stroll down the cobblestone streets on foot.

You will soon reach Plaza Borda, the booming heart of Taxco.

Take your time to peek into the many regional eateries and shops within the authentic colonial buildings.

Unarguably, the biggest landmark in Taxco is the monumental Santa Prisca de Taxco. The history of this church dates back to the mid-1700s, back when there was lots of silver mining going on around Taxco. Admire the facade or step inside the decorative cathedral.

Mina Prehispanica de Taxco

As Taxco was once a booming mining town, you should definitely visit Mina Prehispanica. The silver mine is estimated to date back to times when Mexico was a Viceroyalty of New Spain. It was likely hidden by the locals from the Spanish.

In 2013, the mine was accidentally rediscovered during the remodeling of a local hotel. The hotel bar was quickly turned into an archeological site, and today it serves as a great spot to visit what was once common in Taxco.

Open daily from 9AM to 6PM.

Cable Car & Montetaxco

Get a panoramic view of the area around Taxco when you take the Cable Car up to the upscale Montetaxco hotel. Seeing the sunset from up here is a must when in Taxco.

Rosa Amaranto

After a day of walking up and down the winding streets, relax at one of the town’s best restaurants. Head up to Rosa Amaranto for a great dining experience accompanied by an astonishing view of Taxco.

Open daily from 8 AM to 10 PM.

Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park

Photo by Christian Ramiro González Verón

The Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park is home to one of the largest cave systems on the planet. Hence it’s one of the most popular day trips from Mexico City, and it’s easy to see why.

The caves were rediscovered by a Mexican shopkeeper hiding in them from the authorities back in the 1800s. Since then, they’ve become a famous tourist attraction.

Today, anyone can visit the enormous cave system on a guided walking tour. The system is made up of 20 large halls, reserve around 2 hours to visit them.

Travelers can visit the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa every day from 9AM to 5PM. Admission costs 90 pesos ($4.5) per person. Note that most guides only speak Spanish, an English-speaking guide will likely cost more to hire.

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Photo by Rafael Saldaña

One of the best day trips from Mexico City is a visit to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, around 100 kilometers (60 miles) outside of the town. It’s criminally underrated, too.

Click here for a detailed guide to visiting the 4 butterfly sanctuaries here that are open to the public.

Don’t miss the El Rosario sanctuary!

Angangueo

Before heading back to Mexico City, pay Angangueo a visit. This cute former mining town, although not as spectacular as Taxco, is worth at least a short peek. Unlike the Butterfly Sanctuaries, Angangueo is a year-round attraction.

Don’t skip the town’s two beautiful churches. They are facing each other, making for a great spot for photos.

You can admire a panoramic view of Angangueo and its natural surroundings from the Monumento Al Minero terrace.

Lastly, take a photo with the colorful Mural in the heart of this little town.

Bonus- What is the best way of getting around Mexico?

The best way of getting around is by car, especially if you’re planning to go on multiple day trips from Mexico City.

That way, you’ll get to see scenic drives and see areas that you’d never get to visit otherwise. Not to mention the irreplaceable freedom of altering your itinerary on the go, whenever you please.

Rental Car Insurance in Mexico

Check out this informative blog post to learn all you need to know about rental car insurance in Mexico. It’s not as complicated as it may seem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure.

On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe.

Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

The 10 Best Things To Do in Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is the most popular getaway in Baja California. Find out the best things to do in and around Cabo with our curated travel guide.

No matter if you’re on your way to Cabo San Lucas right now or you’re planning a trip for next summer, you’ll want to know what the best things to do in Cabo are.

  1. Visit Land’s End
  2. Unwind At The Best Beaches In Cabo
  3. Drive To San Jose del Cabo
  4. Dive At Cabo Pulmo Marine Park
  5. Whale-Watching Tours
  6. Go On A Day Trip To La Paz
  7. See Todos Santos
  8. Play Golf
  9. Explore Santiago
  10. Visit El Triunfo

Year by year, Cabo San Lucas continues to amaze international and domestic tourists as one of the best getaways in Mexico. After all, Baja California is home to exceptional beaches, spectacular landscapes, tasty cuisine, and quirky towns.

Bonus: Rent a Car In Mexico

Unless you’re planning to stick to just one city, the best way of getting around Mexico is by car.

Check out these blog posts to make the best of your next trip to Mexico.

These Are The 10 Best Things To Do In Cabo

Without further ado, let’s jump into each one of them!

Visit Land’s End

Spectacular rock formations at Land's End, which is one of the best things to do in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico.
Photo by Liezelzpineda

A visit to Land’s End is unarguably one of the best things to do in Cabo. The rock formations are perhaps the most famous landmark here, so you simply have to see them.

How can you get to Land’s End?

The only way to reach the picturesque Land’s End is by either water taxi, boat, or kayak. You can catch a water taxi from Cabo’s Medano Beach.

Rentalmoose insider tip: For the most unforgettable experience, consider hiring a glass-bottom boat!

The boat trip around the scenic rock formations is an absolute must-do when in Cabo.

Don’t forget to snap a picture of the world-famous El Arco.

Playa Del Amor

After a visit to Land’s End, see both Playa Del Amor and Playa de Los Amantes.

These two beaches are best accessed by water taxis. You could try walking across at low tide (from Divorce Beach) though it is not particularly safe. An inexpensive water taxi from Medano Beach is your best bet!

Keep in mind that the sandy beaches at Land’s End have no facilities. It’s best to bring your own snacks and water if you’re planning to spend time here. The crystal-clear water and spectacular scenery will make it worthwhile.

Spend a Day At One Of Cabo’s Best Beaches

Scenic beach resort in Cabo. Chilling at a sandy beach is one of the best things to do in Cabo San Lucas.
Photo by Robbert van Bloemendaal

In case you didn’t know, Cabo San Lucas is home to some of the best beaches in North America.

These are the best beaches in Cabo

If you’re looking for the best beaches in Cabo, be sure to check out the following spots:

Santa Maria Beach

Are you a snorkeling fan? If so, don’t skip Santa Maria Beach.

This pristine, sandy beach is absolute heaven for snorkelers, as Santa Maria Bay is filled with tropical fish. The crystal-clear waters make the waters here perfect to explore.

As the beach is around 15 minutes outside of Cabo itself, it’s less crowded than some beaches in town.

The best way to reach Santa Maria Beach is by car.

There’s a free car park, public restrooms, and showers available for beachgoers.

Playa El Chileno

Right behind Santa Maria Beach lays another one of the best beaches in Cabo, Playa el Chileno.

This sandy beach, much like Santa Maria Beach, is ideal for both snorkeling and swimming.

You can rent an umbrella at Playa El Chileno for around 200 pesos ($10) per day.

There are public restrooms and showers available for beachgoers. What’s more, there’s the upscale Chileno Bay Club at the end of the beach, where you can enjoy locally-caught seafood for lunch.

Cerritos Beach

Cerritos Beach is one of the favorites among surfers in the Baja California Peninsula.

This sandy beach is perfect for surfing, both beginners as well as experts. What’s more, the wide sandy shore is great for sunbathing and people-watching.

The coast is lined with upscale, beachfront hotels where you can spend the night.

After a day at the beach, pop by the waterfront La Mision Restaurant for an exceptional dinner overlooking the sea.

Cerritos Beach is a 45-minute drive away from the heart of Cabo. Todos Santos, a great town worth visiting, is just a stone’s throw away!

Playa Balandra

Playa Balandra isn’t exactly in Cabo. In fact, it’s a 2-hour drive away from Cabo San Lucas, near the town of La Paz. Is the drive worth it?

Simply put, yes. But don’t take our word for it, check out this video to see why you need to visit Balandra.

As you can see, Playa Balandra looks absolutely spectacular. To no surprise, it is often dubbed the best beach in Mexico.

A short look at virtually any photo of the beach on the internet is enough to understand why. Let alone being able to see it yourself.

When visiting Playa Balandra, make sure you also stop by La Paz itself.

Drive To San Jose del Cabo

Shoreline of San Jose Del Cabo, beautiful tranquil sandy beaches and palm trees, as well as elevated whitewashed buildings.
Photo by Alvaro Bejarano

Get in your rental car and drive east along the main highway, leaving Cabo behind. In around half an hour, you will arrive at the scenic town of San Jose del Cabo.

When in San Jose del Cabo, go for a stroll in the heart of the town.

Mision San Jose del Cabo, beautiful whitewashed church outside of the resort town is one of the best things to do around Cabo San Lucas, Baja California
Getty Images

Snap a photo with the picturesque Mision San Jose del Cabo (photographed above), or walk down the vibrant Art Walk, and explore the street lined with quirky galleries.

Octopus Aguachile is a seafood dish at Don Sanchez restaurant, one of the best Mexican restaurants in San Jose del Cabo in Baja California.
Octopus Aguachile, one of the go-to dishes at Don Sanchez

Don’t skip a meal at the scenic Don Sanchez Restaurant, one of the top picks in the region. Choose from a selection of delicious dishes, such as tacos or local seafood. Take a look at these mouth-watering photos of what you can expect at Don Sanchez. Yummy!

Surf and Turf Taco at Don Sanchez is a modern take on Mexican cuisine. Don Sanchez is an award-winning restaurant in San Jose del Cabo by Todd Chapman.
Surf and Turf Taco at Don Sanchez

Don Sanchez is open daily from 6 PM to 10 PM.

Catch the sunset at the panoramic Cielomar Rooftop located at the top of the upscale Viceroy Hotel. Admire the spectacular sunset while sipping on a refreshing drink, or pop by for dinner. Open daily until 10PM.

Dive At Cabo Pulmo Marine Park

Shore of Cabo Pulmo National Park seen from right above the surface of the ocean. Cabo Pulmo Marine Park is a diver's paradise near Cabo San Lucas.
Photo by Clr_flickr

A 2-hour drive from Cabo San Lucas will take you to a paradise among divers, Cabo Pulmo Marine Park.

The tiny Cabo Pulmo village was established back in the late 1980s to protect one of the gems of Baja California, the largest living coral reef on this continent.

Today, the village is a great starting point for unforgettable diving and snorkeling tours.

Companies like Blue Passion Baja offer a wide selection of diving tours, as well as introductory courses for beginners, every day of the week all year long. Make sure to take a look at their website to book your adventure.

If you’d prefer snorkeling, Blue Passion Baja also offer daily snorkeling tours to the breathtaking coral reef.

Cabo Pulmo has a few great alternatives for those who would rather stay on dry land as well. Admire the scenic natural beauty of the region during an ATV tour, and see spots that are otherwise inaccessible.

Adrenaline junkies should check out the 3.5-hour long Mountain Biking tour across the desert landscape. Keep your eyes wide open, this remote area is home to some fascinating wildlife!

Go Whale-Watching

A large whale is emerging from the surface of the water. Beautiful marine life is a reason why you should go on a whale watching tour in Cabo San Lucas. One of the best things to do in Cabo is whalewatching.

The marine life off the shore of Cabo San Lucas is diverse, lively, and perhaps some of the best in this part of North America. Afterall, Cabo Pulmo Marine Park is home to one of the largest living coral reefs in the world.

When can you see whales in Cabo?

The best time of the year to go on a whale-watching tour in Cabo San Lucas is from January to March, though the season starts in December and finishes in April.

If you go whale-watching during those months, seeing a whale is pretty much guaranteed.

There are various different whale-watching tour operators in Cabo San Lucas. Rentalmoose recommends booking your tour with Whale Watch Cabo. Unlike other operators, Whale Watch Cabo gives you a guarantee of sighting a whale.

If there are no sightings during your tour, you will be offered another one at no extra cost. Note that the Whale Guarantee is offered only during the whale season (December 15th-April 15th).

What’s more, the daily tours are guided by marine biologists who will share lots of insight about marine life with you.

Go On A Day Trip To La Paz

A family of three watching the sun set on a sandy beach in La Paz, Mexico. Some say Baja California is home to some of the most wonderful sunsets on the planet, and this vibrant photograph proves it.
Photo by Yotut/flickr.com

No trip to Baja California could possibly be complete without paying a visit to its capital, La Paz. Most travelers only focus on visiting the resort of Cabo, without considering to see La Paz. In effect, La Paz has become a more authentic, under-the-radar destination.

As La Paz is a 2-hour drive away from Cabo San Lucas, we recommend setting off early in the morning. That way, you can see most of what this fascinating city has got to offer.

Local Market- Mercado Municipal General Nicolas Bravo

Rentalmoose loves local food markets. We think they’re one of the greatest ways to take in the hustle and bustle of any city or town. No matter whether you’re in Athens, Cameron Highlands, or Tallinn, the local market is the vibrant heart of local life.

The fresh food market here in La Paz, Mercado Municipal General Nicolas Bravo, is a must-visit in town. Make sure to get here early, the market is open from 6AM daily.

Historic District

Spend some time at the cozy Jardin Velasco park, or cross the street and admire the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de La Paz. The cathedral dates back to the 1800s!

From there, you can cross a couple of blocks on foot and you’ll find yourself on the panoramic Malecon.

Malecon

This waterfront promenade stretches for 3 miles (5 kilometers) and it’s undoubtedly the favorite hangout among locals. You’ll find joggers getting their morning exercise here, or groups of friends hanging out at the sandy beach.

Across the street from the promenade, you’ll find amazing restaurants and bars that provide great views of the shore. Don’t know which one to pick?

Drop by Restaurantes Bismark, one of the best picks in town. Apart from serving a wide variety of tasty meals and drinks, this eatery provides unbeatable views of the Malecon.

Restaurantes Bismark is open daily between 8AM and 11 PM.

Oh, when you’re in La Paz don’t forget to drive up to Playa Balandra!

See Todos Santos

colorful traditional decorative flags waving in the air above a street in Todos Santos, a peaceful town 30 minutes away from Cabo. Todos Santos in Baja California Mexico.
Thomas Hawk/Flickr.com

Hop on the highway along the west coast of Baja California and drive along the coast. Around an hour after leaving Cabo, you will reach the popular town of Todos Santos.

Since 2006, The Mexican government dubbed Todos Santos a Pueblo Magico. The government selected only around 100 towns in the country for the title, honoring the spots for their cultural influence, natural beauty, or historical significance.

As beautiful as Cabo is, there’s no denying the fact that it is full of tourists. Todos Santos, on the other hand, feels like a completely different world. It’s so serene that it’s hard to believe that the booming resort town of Cabo is just an hour away.

Once you’re in Todos Santos, find an on-street parking spot in the heart of the town and explore it on foot.

Hotel California

Don’t skip a visit to the Hotel California. Despite the urban legend, this is not the place that Glenn Frey sang about. Nonetheless, the hotel is a major attraction in Todos Santos and it’s worth dropping by for a visit.

Punta Lobos

Punta Lobos is a secluded, sandy beach favored among surfers. If you’re lucky, you might spot a whale from the shore!

There’s a large boulder next to the beach. If you decide to hike up to the top, you’ll be presented with panoramic views of the area. For the most magical experience, get to the top during the sunset.

El Faro Beach Club

After the drive, why not relax at a sandy beach? Visit the upscale El Faro Beach Club for the ultimate luxury experience in Todos Santos.

Sip on a colorful drink while overlooking the ocean, swim at the infinity pool, or book a massage at the Arena spa.

If you’re willing to escape the Cabo craze for a little longer, you can spend the night at the beachfront Guaycura Hotel.

The beach club is open Wednesday thru Monday from 10:30 AM to 7 PM.

Play Golf

Photo by Jeff Shewan

Golfing is a big-time activity in and around Cabo San Lucas. There are tens of different country clubs, both public and private, where experienced golfers (as well as beginners) can head for a game.

The only issue with golfing in Cabo is deciding which club to pick.

The best golf club in Cabo San Lucas

Quivira Los Cabos

Without a doubt, the most spectacular golf club in Cabo is the Quivira Los Cabos. This incredible golf course has earned countless awards, including a spot in the top 100 best golf courses in the world by Golf Digest.

This 18-hole course spans over 7000 yards, opening up to spectacular waterfront views.

After an exciting game, head over to the Quivira Golf Clubhouse for a juicy steak, or to simply take in the views once again.

Explore Santiago

Canon De La Zorra, Santa rita hot Springs are two scenic spots in Santiago Baja California. One of the best things to do in Cabo san Lucas, Mexico.
Photo by J M/Flickr.com

Much like Todos Santos, Santiago is a cute little town that can serve as a great escape from the craze of Cabo.

This tiny town dates back to the early 1700s, it specialized in agriculture. Over the last centuries, the town hasn’t really changed. Its untouched beauty makes Santiago one of the best places to visit around Cabo San Lucas.

When you’re in town, don’t miss the pretty Mision de Santiago Church that can be admired both inside and out.

Make sure you head up to the Canon de la Zorra. Admire the waterfalls set in a beautiful, desert setting.

This scenic spot is perfect for a swim, or simply photographing the beautiful views. You can either visit it independently (the entry fee is around 150 pesos [$7.5]) or on a guided tour.

Note that the only way to get to the canyon is via a sandy, unpaved road.

Before heading back to Cabo, stop by the Santa Rita Hot Springs. Open all week except Wednesday between 7AM and 7PM.

Visit El Triunfo

Photo of El triunfo mining town sign, stating the city only has 327 inhabitants as of 2010. El triumfo is a great under the radar destination near La Paz, Baja California, Mexico.
Photo by Amante Darmanin

If you’re a fan of spots that are very under-the-radar, you will love El Triunfo. As you can see in the photo above, El Triunfo has a population of just 327 people.

To be completely honest, El Triunfo is far from an attraction-packed tourist hotspot. In fact, the top-rated attraction in town, according to Tripadvisor, only has 3 reviews. Believe it or not, that’s exactly why the rustic town of El Triunfo is worth visiting.

The town was first established in the 1700s as a mining town. Once the mines shut down in the 1920s, the majority of the population moved elsewhere. Until fairly recently, El Triunfo remained essentially untouched for the past century.

In order to attract tourists, the 327 inhabitants began restoring some of the historic buildings and turning them into quirky restaurants, galleries, and other touristy attractions.

Today, El Triunfo remains one of the best-preserved former mining towns in all of North America.

What can you do in El Triunfo?

The highlight of any visit to El Triunfo is the town’s landmark, La Ramona Chimney. From there, you can see the rest of the mining complex, including Panteon Ingles and El Mirador.

Afterward, explore the heart of town right across the monumental chimney. For the best pizza in town (frankly speaking, there is no competition, though the pizza here is in fact great!), pop by Cafe El Triunfo.

Before leaving, pop by one of the town’s museums or galleries. The El Triunfo Piano Museum is set inside a 19th-century building, and well worth a visit when in town.

Don’t forget to book your rental car in Cabo with Rentalmoose, a worldwide car rental broker with over 15 000 locations around the globe.

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These Are The Best Day Trips from Seattle For Nature Lovers

We all need a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of a city as busy as Seattle, Washington. This blog post will cover the best day trips from Seattle, perfect for both locals and tourists visiting the area.

What are the best things to do outside of Seattle?

Seattle is one of the most frequently visited cities in the United States. Many visitors stay within the city, overlooking some of the great attractions that are accessible just a drive away from town. These are the best day trips from Seattle.

Beautiful sunset and Mount Rainier National Park make the perfect backdrop for the skyline of Seattle, Washington.
Sunset in Seattle

What is the best way to travel around Washington?

Unarguably, the best way to see all of these spectacular attractions around Washington State is by car. If you’re here by car, that’s great!

However, if you flew into Seattle, or you don’t have access to a car, it’s best to get a rental car for these day trips. Use Rentalmoose to browse tens of rental cars available in the city and pick your ideal car for this trip.

Olympic National Park

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes one-way.

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, Washington, United States of America. Spectacular rock formations on a dark, sandy beach
Photo by Roger Mosley

The Olympic National Park is one of the best parks in the entire nation, and an absolute must on a day trip from Seattle. Take note that the drive to this National Park is around 2 and a half hours one-way, though you can easily add an overnight stay around the park.

Before visiting the park, check the official website for any closures and safety alerts. The entrance fee, as of October 2020, is $30 per vehicle.

Note: If you love National Parks, check out this blog post where we showcase the 7 best National Park road trips!

What are the best things to do in Olympic National Park?

Kalaloch

The first stop on your drive from Seattle to the Olympic National Park will be Kalaloch, one of the most popular destinations within this park. Kalaloch Beach is a perfect spot to catch the sun rising or setting. If you’re lucky, you might spot some of the park’s diverse wildlife.

If you wish to stretch your legs after the drive from Seattle, hike the mile-long Kalaloch Nature Trail through the vibrant forest.

Don’t miss the spectacular Tree of Life, located near the Kalaloch Campground. The tree is alive despite its roots being clearly visible, creating a truly impressive sight.

Kalaloch is home to a campground, as well as the waterfront Kalaloch Lodge, where you can spend the night.

Ruby Beach

Before you head back inland, make a stop at Ruby Beach. This spot is a beach like no other. Instead of sunbathing or swimming in the ocean, travelers come here to admire the spectacular rock formations, photograph wildlife, and hike the nature trails.

Ruby Beach is worth at least a short stop on your day trip from Seattle.

Hoh Rain Forest

After a drive along the coast, turn right into Upper Hoh Road and drive into the vibrant rainforest. The winding road will take you to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, where you can pick up a comprehensive map ideal for your self-guided tour of the Olympic Park.

Hike along one of the trailheads and explore this lush forest. There are two pleasant hiking trails that form 1-mile loops around the forest: The Hall of Mosses (0.8 miles/1.3km) and The Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles/1.9km). If you’re down for a longer stroll, hike The Hoh River Trail which is over 17 miles long (27.4km) in total.

Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach is a perfect destination in the Olympic National Park, where you can observe the breathtaking force of the ocean. Waves crash against the coastal rocks, putting on a spectacular show to admire.

Don’t miss the Hole In The Wall, this location is perfect for exploring tide pools and makes a great photo opportunity. Beware of high tides, as the area may quickly become accessible. Click here for details.

Lake Crescent

This deep-blue lake, carved by a glacier, is another incredible spot at this National Park. It’s a perfect getaway, located just west of Seattle.

During the summer and autumn, travelers can rent a canoe and explore the lake on their own. There are different hiking trails that you can hike to take in the serene vibe of this part of the park.

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is yet another must-see during a day trip from Seattle. Drive down the Hurricane Ridge Road to get here. Leave your car and admire the panoramic views. Afterall, Hurricane Ridge is the most accessible mountain area in the park.

During the glorious winter season, you can enjoy snowshoeing or skiing. You can get more information about the winter activities and equipment rental right here.

Note that Hurricane Ridge Road is only open on weekends during the winter (if the weather permits it), and all-week during the summer season. Consult the park’s website for information on current closures.

Alternatively, check out the other day trips from Seattle listed below.

Mount Rainier National Park

Travel time: below 2 hours one-way.

Reflection of snow-covered Mount Rainier seen in crystal-clear alpine lake surrounded by tall, green trees. Washington State
Photo by Skeeze

Mount Rainier National Park is another must-visit destination, ideal for day trips from Seattle. The park is located just south of Seattle. Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in all of Washington State.

Check for any closures and safety alerts on the park’s official website right here. The admission fee costs $30 per vehicle, as of November 2020.

What are the best things to do at Mount Rainier?

Paradise

Take the scenic chicane-filled Paradise Valley Road until you reach Paradise. As the name suggests, this area looks straight out of a fairytale. Expect truly spectacular scenery, including tall waterfalls and wildflower meadows. Take in the view at Inspiration Point, this pullout offers amazing mountain views.

Rental Moose mascot sitting happily on a wooden bench overlooking the forest in Washington, United States. See Mount Rainier with the best Seattle day trips with Rentalmoose

You can pop by the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center and pick up a comprehensive pamphlet to learn more about the park.

This part of the park is home to exciting hiking trails, such as Nisqually Vista Trail, Alta Vista Trail, or Pinnacle Peak.

Rentalmoose insider tip: Drive up to the Reflection Lake and take the perfect photo, capturing the mountain’s reflection in the deep-blue water. Remember to post your photos online using #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a free rental car!

Grove of The Patriarchs Trail

This fascinating 1-mile (1.6 km) trailhead will take you to a fairytale-like island, via a fun swinging suspension bridge. Once on the island, travelers are surrounded by thousand-year-old Douglas fir trees.

The grove is easily accessible, perhaps the easiest hike in the entire national park. Don’t miss it on your day trip!

Silver Falls Trail

The Trail to Silver Falls is a moderate, 3-mile (4.8km) loop ideal for an afternoon stroll. The total duration to cover this loop is around 2 hours, the easy hike is child-friendly and perfect for a family adventure.

What’s more, you will also see natural hot springs when hiking along this trail. After the hike, feel free to pop by the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center to learn more about the area.

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park, beautiful autumn colors on green hills, alpine lakes and snow-covered mountains in the distance.
Photo by E. Thorsen

Travel time: 2 hours one-way.

The North Cascades National Park is widely regarded as one of the best National Parks you can visit in this part of the United States. It is just 2 hours away from Seattle, making it the perfect destination for one of your day trips from Seattle.

You can easily spend one day to cross this scenic park by car, stopping at different overlooks, and completing a few hikes.

Before visiting the park, make sure to double-check the current safety alerts and closures on the official website. North Cascades can be visited free of charge!

What are the best things to do in North Cascades National Park?

North Cascades Highway Scenic Drive

Enter the park via the scenic North Cascades Highway. Expect wonderful panoramic views during this 30-mile (50km) drive, scattered with pullouts and overlooks where you can stop by to take in this wonderland. Pretty much all of the park’s attractions are situated along this drive.

If you’re short on time, make sure to at least see Diablo Lake from the Diablo Lake Vista Point.

Sterling Munro Trail

This trailhead is the perfect chance to get an unobstructed view of the impressive mountains. Trust me, the views are simply unbeatable!

The 300-foot long (90 meters) boardwalk is worth at least a short visit. Its easy accessibility makes it perfect for the entire family.

What’s more, you can pop by the North Cascades Visitor Center which is right at the beginning of the trail.

Diablo Lake Vista Point

The Diablo Lake Vista Point is unarguably one of the prettiest sights in the entire park, you simply have to see it on your day trip from Seattle. The picturesque Diablo Lake is known for its unique, nearly turquoise shade of water. It makes for a perfect photo opportunity, with the enormous mountains as a backdrop.

Ross Lake Overlook

The point that overlooks Ross Lake may not be as impressive as the one overlooking Diablo Lake, though it is still worth at least a short peek. This overlook is located right on the North Cascades Highway, no detour required.

Rainy Lake

Continue further down the North Cascades Highway and stop at the Rainy Pass car park. Leave your car here and follow the 2-mile (3.2km) paved trailhead to enjoy a perfect view of the serene Rainy Lake.

Take note that you need to be a Northwest Forest Pass holder to hike down this trail. It is sold for $5 at the trailhead.

Washington Pass Observation Point

The final must-see in the North Cascades during your Washington day trip is the Washington Pass Overlook. You can admire the view as Highway 20 twirls around the monstrous Liberty Bell Mountain. It is the perfect sight to take in before heading back to Seattle.

Mount Saint Helens National Monument

Travel time: 3 hours one-way

Mount Saint Helens National Monument, erupted back in the 1980s causing enormous damage to the state of Washington. Snow covered mountain seen during sunset on a clear day
Source: Public Domain Pictures

Mount Saint Helens is a volcanic site, infamous for its eruption back in May 1980. This eruption, the most catastrophic in US history, claimed 57 lives and ruined hundreds of homes.

What are the best things to do at Mount St. Helens?

Mount St. Helens Visitor Center

Before heading to see the Volcanic Monument itself, be sure to pay a visit to the Visitor Center located in Silver Lake. Inside, you can learn about the history of the mountain, and the terrible effects of its eruption.

You can check the opening hours and the admission fee on this website. As of October 2020, the visitor center remains closed due to COVID-19.

Coldwater Lake

Coldwater Lake is a fun recreational area at the foot of Mount St. Helens. During the summer season, visitors can enjoy canoeing on the waters, or go for a picnic at one of the tables near the parking area.

If you wish to stretch your legs after the 3-hour drive from Seattle, hike down the Birth of A Lake. The 0.6 miles (1km) trail is easily accessible and opens up to panoramic views of the lake.

Windy Ridge Viewpoint

Don’t miss the Windy Ridge Viewpoint during your day trip from Seattle. From here, visitors can get a true sense of the scale of the volcano’s eruption. This eerie sight, although beautiful, is a chilling reminder of what nature is capable of.

The access road to Windy Ridge Viewpoint is closed in winter.

Chuckanut Scenic Drive

Travel time: 1 hour 20 minutes

View of the Pacific Ocean seen from Chuckanut in the northern part of Washington State. Chuckanut is famous for its scenic coastal drive
Photo by E. Thorsen

The Chuckanut Scenic Drive is a Scenic Byway less than 90 minutes north of Seattle, and it is the perfect destination for day trips from Seattle. It is the only spot where the Cascades meet the ocean, providing some spectacular natural beauty.

Oyster Dome Trailhead

One of the must-see stops on this coastal drive is the beginning of the Oyster Dome trail. This scenic hike will take you up to the Samish Overlook, where you can admire the perfect views from an elevated perspective. On a clear day, you should be able to see San Juan Island!

Larrabee State Park

Pass the town of Chuckanut and turn right into the Larrabee State Park, Washington’s first-ever State Park. This area is known among locals for its great hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and shellfish harvesting. Off the coast, the waters are a popular dive spot.

Bellingham

The scenic drive finishes in the cute town of Bellingham, which is another must-see during a day trip from Seattle. This small town is the northernmost city in the United States (excluding Alaska, of course). Pop by the town and peek inside its local museum, shops, or head for lunch to one of the cozy restaurants.

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next road trip online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

The Ultimate Grand Teton & Yellowstone Itinerary by Car

This road trip itinerary will take you around Yellowstone as well as Grand Teton. Explore what could very well be North America’s most picturesque National Parks. Explore both parks with our insightful Yellowstone itinerary by car.

Before You Go

What is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park?

This National Park is open all year long, and the best time to go to Yellowstone largely depends on what you would like to see in the park.

If you visit the park during the Summer (June-August), expect the hottest weather and hordes of tourists. You can catch a glimpse of the Summer’s weather when visiting during the shoulder season (right before June and directly after August).

The weather is milder during Spring and Fall, and there are fewer tourists around the park. Most of the seasonal attractions close down around the end of October.

Yellowstone is magical during the Winter. Do expect, however, that you will have to alter your itinerary as some of the attractions and roads will be inaccessible. What’s more, only the North and Northeast entrances operate during the winter.

On the other hand, you can enjoy seasonal activities such as snowshoeing or snowmobiling. Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins, and the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel are the only two lodges open during winter.

What is the closest airport to Yellowstone National Park?

If you’re flying in from within the United States, arrive at the Jackson Hole Airport, located only around an hour away from Yellowstone. As this is a small airport, international visitors can try flying into Salt Lake City in Utah. The drive is around 5 hours one-way.

Road Trip Extension to Utah

If you’re a fan of Yellowstone and national park itineraries in general, consider extending your trip further into Utah. You can see more of the country’s best National Parks, such as Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches.

Click here for our itinerary.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our Grand Teton and Yellowstone itinerary by car!

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton national park seen from Snake River. Beautiful summer day, tall trees and deep blue river, teton is covered by clouds.
Photo by Klaus Stebani

Welcome to one of the most spectacular parts of the United States! Your Yellowstone road trip begins in Grand Teton. Spend at least a day here before continuing on to Yellowstone, and feel free to extend the itinerary to spend some more time in this park.

Getting to Grand Teton

For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from Jackson Hole Airport as you arrive. Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) is the nearest airport to Yellowstone, it is located within the Grand Teton National Park.

If you can’t find flights to Jackson Hole, try flying into Salt Lake City in Utah and driving over from there.  The drive from Salt Lake City to Grand Teton will take you below 5 hours.

Did you know that Jackson Hole Airport is the only airport located within a National Park?

Grand Teton National Park has an admission fee of $35 per vehicle. The entry is valid for 7 consecutive days. Consult the park’s website for information on current closures and safety alerts.

What are the best things to do in Grand Teton National Park?

The following attractions are the absolute must-see on your Yellowstone itinerary!

Jackson Hole Aerial Tram

Before diving into the heart of this National Park, drive over to the Teton Village right outside of the park. This resort is home to great eateries, lodging, and equipment rentals. During the winter season, grab a pair of skis and rush down the slopes.

No matter what time of the year you’re here, a trip up to Rendezvous Peak is an absolute must. Take the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram up to the peak, where you can admire panoramic views from what seems like the top of the world.  At the top, a portion of hot waffles served at Corbet’s Cabin is not to be missed, either.

Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center

Begin your tour of the Grand Teton National Park with a visit to the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Inside, you can pick up a pamphlet with the park’s trailheads, obtain a boating permit, or enjoy the screening of a video showcasing the park.

You can go on a program led by one of the park’s rangers, click here for details.

Note that the Center is closed between November and March.

Menor’s Ferry Historic District

Another must when in Grand Teton is a trip to Menor’s Ferry Historic District, just a few hundred yards north of Moose. Hike the .5 mile (800 meters) trailhead for an authentic look back at the early days of Jackson Hole, homesteading, and a replica of the ferry that crossed the Snake River back in the early 1900s.

Pay a visit to the Chapel of the Transfiguration, a wooden Chapel with the Grand Teton serving as its spectacular backdrop.

Check out more details on the Menor’s Ferry Historic District on the park’s official website.

Mormon Row Historic District

Before heading further north into the park, stop at the Mormon Row Historic District, just minutes away from Menor’s Ferry Historic District. This settlement dates back to the 1890s when Mormons established nearly 30 homesteads in the area.

Today,  the Moulton Barns, as well as the Chambers homestead, are adored by both tourists and photographers. Read more about their history here.

Wooden barn in Mormon Row Historic District, part of the attractions at Grand Teton national park. The barn is illuminated by the setting sun, grand tetons can be seen in the distance
Photo by Mike Goad

Taggart Lake Trailhead

The Taggart Lake Trailhead is a moderate, 3-mile (4.8km) hike to the shore of a crystal-clear alpine lake, with the Teton Range as a breathtaking backdrop.  The trail begins right by Teton Park Road. A convenient car park makes it hard to miss, too.

Hikers should dedicate between 1 and 2 hours to complete this trail.

This trailhead is open year-round.

Amphitheater Lake Trail

Anyone looking for a longer hike should definitely consider the 9-mile (14.5 kilometers) Amphitheater Lake Trail. At the end of the trail, you will be rewarded with the Amphitheater and Surprise Lakes.

If you still want to continue further, hike beyond the two lakes all the way up to Disappointment peak. Don’t be fooled by the name, the panoramic views from here are nothing short of amazing!

Jenny Lake

Continue along the Teton Park Road and turn left into the Jenny Lake complex.  Depending on the weather, guests can boat the lake’s crystal-clear waters, swim, and fish.

If you’re up for a long hike, consider the 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) Jenny Lake Trailhead that loops around the lake. That way, you’ll get unobstructed views of the Cascade Canyon, Storm Point, and Symmetry Spire. The hike is easy to complete, despite its length.

Hike up to Hidden Falls, the trailhead is around 2.5 miles round-trip (4 kilometers). Follow the Jenny Lake Trail and turn left into the Cascade Canyon Trailhead. Alternatively, you can use the seasonal boat shuttle. The departure dock is practically by the car park.

hiking trail next to Jenny Lake. Cloudy day in grand teton national park, the grand tetons can be seen in the distance behind a green hill.
Photo by Laserdad

Signal Mountain

If you’re a fan of scenic, chicane-filled driving roads, the road up to the peak of Signal Mountain is definitely the perfect pick for you. As you continue along Teton Park Road north of Jenny Lake, turn right into Signal Mountain Road. At the peak, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Tetons.

Signal Mountain Road remains closed during winter.

Where to stay at Grand Teton National Park?

Jackson Lake Lodge

If you want to stay in the heart of the Grand Teton National Park, consider booking a room or cabin at the upscale Jackson Lake Lodge. The property is located just 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Yellowstone National Park. Some of the local activities include horseback tours, rafting, and a heated outdoor pool.

Colter Bay Tent Village

Traveling on a tighter budget? Consider spending the night at the Tent Village inside Colter Bay. This property features rustic tent cabins at an affordable price.

Camping in Grand Teton National Park in 2021

It is finally say goodbye to the first come, first serve rule in campgrounds around Grand Teton!

Starting on the 26th of January 2021, you will be able to book campgrounds online via the recreation.gov website.

That way, travelers will have a guaranteed spot at the campground when visiting Grand Teton National Park in the 2021 season.

Online reservations will be available between the 26th of January up to the 26th of July, 2021. Afterward, the time frame will be updated for the next six months of the year.

Travelers will be able to book the following campgrounds online:

  • Signal Mountain
  • Gros Ventre
  • Colter Bay
  • Lizard Creek
  • Jenny Lake
 
 
 
 
 
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After a visit to Grnad Teton, it’s time to explore Yellowstone.

Next on your Yellowstone itinerary by car: Yellowstone National Park, 10 minutes

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Geothermal hot spring in magical blue, green, yellow and red colors. Sunny day in yellowstone national park in wyoming
Photo by Mike Goad

After spending at least a couple of days exploring the Tetons, it’s time to visit Yellowstone! This spectacular park is famous around the world, it is America’s first National Park and the most popular attraction in all of Wyoming.

You will drive into the park through the Yellowstone South Entrance.

The entry to Yellowstone, as of October 2020, is $35 per vehicle. The admission pass is valid for 7 consecutive days.

Click here to learn about current closures and safety alerts within Yellowstone.

What are the best things to do in Yellowstone?

Old Faithful

Old Faithful is undoubtedly the first thing many travelers have in mind when they think of Yellowstone. The spectacular geyser attracts countless tourists every year, and seeing its eruption is an absolute must on any Yellowstone trip.

How often does Old Faithful erupt?

Old Faithful Geyser erupting, spectators are observing on the wooden boardwalk. Trees in the background and overcast weather, cloudy day in yellowstone national park.
Photo by Mike Goad

This geyser erupts on a surprisingly predictable schedule. The Old Faithful erupts every 90 minutes, on average.  Each eruption typically lasts around 4 minutes. You can check when the next predicted eruption will take place right here.

To view the famous eruption, you can either sit down at the boardwalk near the geyser or hike up to the viewing area across the Firehole River. The elevated viewing area at the end of the Observation Point Trail tends to be less-visited by tourists than the accessible boardwalk, hike there if you wish to avoid the crowds.

Alternatively, you can walk inside Old Faithful Inn and wait for the eruption while enjoying a refreshing drink. You can spend the night at the cozy Old Faithful Inn if you wish. Click here for details on Old Faithful Lodge.

Upper Geyser Basin

Old Faithful may be the world’s most famous geyser, but the Upper Geyser Basin nearby deserves some credit, too! The area is made up of over 150 geothermal features, all of which can be seen from the wooden boardwalk. The stroll will take you up to two hours to complete. If you’re lucky, you might catch the Castle Geyser’s eruption. It only occurs up to two times per day!

Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

After a stroll around the Upper Geyser Basin, drive North until you see the Fairy Falls parking lot to your left. Follow the Fairy Falls Trail until you reach the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, and admire the unbeatable views of the hot springs. The round-trip hike will take you less than an hour to complete.

Fairy Falls

Once you’re at the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, continue hiking the trail until you reach Fairy Falls, the largest waterfalls in Yellowstone. This moderate hike is around 5 and a half miles, or 8.9 kilometers, round trip.

Midway Geyser Basin

Leave Fairy Falls and turn into the Grand Prismatic Spring parking lot just a few hundred yards down the road. Drop your car off and continue on foot.

Explore the Midway Geyser Basin via the wooden boardwalk. Don’t miss the iconic Grand Prismatic Spring, this hot spring is an absolute highlight of Yellowstone. There are smaller hot springs worth taking a look at, too, such as the Opal Pool, the Turquoise Pool, and the Excelsior Geyser. The scenic hike will take you around an hour to complete.

Norris Geyser Basin

As you continue through Yellowstone National Park, be sure to stop by at the Norris Geyser Basin. This is yet another hotspot of geysers and hot springs. If you’re lucky, you might see the eruption of the unpredictable Steamboat Geyser. This is the world’s tallest active geyser, it can erupt over 300 feet (90 meters) in the air!

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs is another must-see during your Yellowstone road trip. The complex is located at the north tip of the park, in the town of Mammoth.

Stroll down the boardwalk and enjoy the viewpoints, or go for a longer hike along the Beaver Ponds Trail.

Mammoth hot springs, water dripping from the top and large mountains in the distance. beautiful spot in yellowstone national park in wyoming
Photo by Holtzter

Boiling River Hot Springs

The Boiling River Hot Springs is a popular swimming spot, located just north of Mammoth Hot Springs. The hot springs enter the river, giving the water a pleasant, enjoyable temperature. Go for a dip!

You can drop your car off at the roadside parking lot.

Lamar Valley

After a dip in the hot spring (if the weather allows it, that is), drive towards the northeast entrance. After roughly one hour behind the wheel, you will reach the large Lamar Valley. This seemingly endless valley is the best place to spot wildlife in the park, it simply has to make an appearance on your Yellowstone itinerary. The best time of day to visit Lamar Valley is directly after sunrise and right before sunset.

What kind of wildlife can you see in Lamar Valley? There are countless opportunities to see the following animals around the valley, get your camera ready!

  • bison
  • bear
  • coyotes
  • wolves
  • elk
  • pronghorn

If you have the time, drive down the valley all the way until the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone for the absolutely best views.

Dunraven Pass

As you make your way back towards Mammoth, turn right onto the scenic Dunraven Pass. This great driving road will open up to absolutely otherworldly views of Yellowstone. What’s more, there are lots of opportunities to stop and take in the view. Simply take a break at one of the many overlooks and admire the scenery.

Note that the Dunraven Pass remains closed during winter.

Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone

We’ve all heard of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but did you know that you can find a spectacular canyon in this National Park? It’s another must when visiting Yellowstone.

First, drive along the one-way North Rim Drive. There are great viewing points along this part of the canyon, including:

  • Brink of The Lower Falls
  • Lower Lookout Point
  • Lookout Point
  • Grand View
  • Inspiration Point

If you have the extra time, consider dropping your car off at the car park and hiking between each viewing point. Alternatively, you can get around the North Rim Drive by car. If you’re short on time, prioritize seeing the Brink of The Lower Falls, as it’s arguably the best point.

Next, make your way to the South Rim of the canyon. These are the viewpoints along South Rim Drive:

  • Upper Falls View
  • Uncle Tom’s Trail
  • Artist Point

If you’re short on time, be sure to at least visit Artist Point to get a great perspective on the Grand Canyon. Spend some more time by the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and spend the night in one of the lodges in the Canyon Village.

beautiful dramatic landscape at Grand Canyon of the yellowstone. Yellowstone river in the bottom, and tall canyon surrounding it. Sunny day in Wyoming
Photo by Skeeze

Hayden Valley

As you head towards Lake Yellowstone, stop by at the picturesque Hayden Valley. Much like Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley is the perfect place to encounter wildlife. Do keep in mind that Hayden Valley tends to be more crowded than Lamar Valley, as it’s closer to the center of the park.

Don’t be surprised if you get stuck in a traffic jam, bison love crossing the road and jamming it!

West Thumb Geyser Basin

The final must-see spot in Yellowstone National Park is the West Thumb Geyser Basin, located at the foot of Yellowstone Lake.  This complex of geysers is famous for its gorgeous backdrop: Lake Yellowstone. Any trip to Yellowstone wouldn’t possibly be complete without a visit here!

Stroll along the wooden boardwalk and admire the geothermal activity right next to the large lake.

Where to stay in Yellowstone?

There are a total of 9 different lodges within Yellowstone National Park. Continue reading to find out the best places to stay in Yellowstone National Park.

Old Faithful Inn

If you are willing to splash out on the best accommodation in Yellowstone, check-in at the Old Faithful Inn. It’s located right by the Old Faithful area and offers cozy rooms with private bathrooms. Click here for more details on this property.

Once you get hungry, you can head to the famous Old Faithful Inn Dining Room.

Wooden interior of the Old Faithful Inn. The beautiful lodge is expensive and has rooms that offer a view of old faithful geyser, here in yellowstone national park in wyoming
Photo by Steppinstars

WorldMark West Yellowstone

If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, consider staying outside of Yellowstone National Park. The pricing for accommodation within the park can get crazy, especially during peak season, and it is not always worth the hefty price tags. WorldMark West Yellowstone is a cozy property that features well-equipped rooms, an indoor pool, and various activities.

A car park is available free of charge.

Don’t have a car you can take on a road trip? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure.

On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your Grand Teton & Yellowstone itinerary by car and tag #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

The Great Smoky Mountains Scenic Drive- Ultimate Itinerary

This curated road trip itinerary will take you along the best scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains. Explore the best driving roads, as well as the best things to do in the Smokies. Check out our curated travel guide around the Smokies.

This is what you can expect to find in our blog post.

Before You Leave

Photo by Airren Parsons

If you’re a fan of National Parks, check out this blog post to learn about the top 7 National Parks you need to visit as soon as possible!

Can you drive through the Smoky Mountains National Park?

Absolutely! The Smokies are one of the best parks in the United States to be explored by car. The must-see attractions are scattered around the large park, and the best way of getting around is by car, either your personal vehicle or a rental car.

Find your ideal rental car for this road trip via Rentalmoose.

How long does it take to drive through the Smoky Mountains?

Technically speaking, you could drive through the Smokies in just a day. However, seeing the Smoky Mountains in just a day means lots of driving, as well as having to miss out on some great attractions.

Rentalmoose recommends spending at least three days driving around the Smoky Mountains. Some of the attractions in the park can only be accessed by a long hike, it’s best to spend at least three days here if you want to see all of what the park has to offer.

Can you drive to the top of the Smoky Mountains?

Yes! Don’t miss Clingman’s Dome Road. This scenic road will take you right up to the summit of the tallest mountain within the park.

This road is seasonal and remains closed during winter.

What is the closest airport to the Smoky Mountains?

McGhee Tyson Airport- Knoxville, TN

Domestic travelers can fly into the McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, around an hour away from the Smokies. Keep in mind that this is a regional airport with a limited amount of facilities. International travelers might have a hard time trying to find flights here.

Hartsfield Jackson- Atlanta, GA

Wait a minute, isn’t Atlanta all the way in Georgia?

Yes, Atlanta is in another state. However, the drive from Atlanta to the Smokies will only take you around 3 and a half hours!

What’s more, Atlanta is home to the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. This is a major airport with lots of facilities for travelers, including a selection of rental cars. Click here to check out rental cars at this location.

Drive: The Best Scenic Drives in the Smokies

Photo by Airren Parsons

Driving down the best scenic drives is an essential part of any great road trip. You’ll be happy to know that the Smoky Mountains are home to tens, if not hundreds, of different scenic drives. Although nearly every road in the park is scenic, make sure you don’t miss the following 8 scenic drives when driving in the Smoky Mountains.

For the ultimate experience, it’s best to pair the following scenic drives with the best attractions in the Smokies (you’ll find them further below).

Newfound Gap Road

If you follow our road trip itinerary precisely, the Newfound Gap Road (US 441) will be the scenic road you’ll drive on in the Smokies. This 31-mile (50 kilometers) Great Smoky Mountains scenic drive will take you to the heart of the Smokies, passing many of the park’s best attractions along the way.

Pullouts and parking lots are plentiful, paired with panoramic overlooks that guarantee the best views of the Smokies. Some of the best attractions that you’ll find while driving down this road include the Newfound Gap, Alum Cave Bluffs, and Chimney Tops.

Rentalmoose insider tip: When driving down this scenic road, don’t miss the seasonal Clingman’s Dome road, too!

Newfound Gap Road can be accessed free of charge, just like the rest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Little River Road

Little River Road is a great scenic drive that will take you from Gatlinburg to Townsend. This scenic drive spans 18 miles(29 kilometers) and ends at the Cades Cove Loop Road, another drive that’s a worthy addition to your road trip itinerary.

Along the way, you will see lots of trailheads and attractions, such as the Laurel Falls Trail. You can even spot a waterfall that’s directly next to the road! The Sinks waterfalls are hard to miss, as the scenic drive passes directly next to them.

Photo by Airren Parsons

Cades Cove Loop Road

The 11-mile (18 kilometers) long, one-way Cades Cove Loop Road is perhaps the most popular scenic drive in the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a fantastic way to explore some of the park’s wonderful scenery, especially the Fall Foliage if you’re here during Autumn, all from the comfort of your car. There are plenty of pullouts where you can stop to take in the panoramic views.

If you wish to stretch your legs, stroll down one of the many hiking trails located off of Cades Cove Loop Road. Some of the best attractions along this scenic drive include Abrams Falls Trail and Cades Cove.

Cades Cove Loop Road can be accessed free of charge, like the entire national park.

Rich Mountain Road

Rich Mountain Road is one of the best-kept secrets of the Smoky Mountains. This one-way, gravel scenic drive stretches for 8 miles (13 kilometers). Drive down the road all the way, and you will end up in Tuckaleechee right by Townsend.

If you want to stretch your legs, hike the Rich Mountain trailhead right off the gravel road. Note that there isn’t any car park by the trail, make sure you won’t block the road if you choose to leave your car along Rich Mountain Road.

Rich Mountain Road is closed during winter.

Foothills Parkway

The Foothills Parkway is another absolute must-drive on your Great Smoky Mountains itinerary. This elevated scenic road begins in Wears Valley, and can take you all the way to the Tail of The Dragon. It’s a great way to take in the spectacular views around the Smokies.

Foothills Parkway is open all year long.

Photo by Airren Parsons

Wears Valley Road

This 15-mile (24 kilometers) scenic drive will take you from Townsend down to Pigeon Forge. As Wears Valley Road is away from the center of the park, you can expect less traffic and a calmer experience overall. This scenic drive is the best scenic route to Pigeon Forge, TN.

Getting hungry? Drop by the charming Friendly Falls for a quick snack accompanied by the glorious waterfalls.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a beautiful scenic drive. The 5.5 miles (8.9 kilometers) long one-way loop begins in Gatlinburg. Along this scenic drive, you will be able to see the spectacular scenery of the Smokies, as well as well-preserved historic cabins and grist mills.

There are various overlooks where you can stop and take in the scenery. There are some more great hiking trails that begin at the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, such as the Noah Bud Ogle Place Nature Trail.

The Tail of The Dragon

The Tail of The Dragon is a scenic route that’s an absolute treat for any petrolhead visiting the Smoky Mountain roads. This 11-mile (18 kilometers) driving road features over 300 curves! This drive is a real treat for any car enthusiast or biker who is on a Smoky Mountain road trip.

See: What are the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains?

Photo by Airren Parsons

As much as we all love driving down the best scenic drives on any proper road trip, it’s crucial to get out of the car and experience the natural wonderland of the Smokies up close. Below, you’ll find a list of the absolute must-see attractions and the best things to do when visiting the Smoky Mountains.

Clingman’s Dome

Pass the village of Cherokee and enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The scenic driving will begin as soon as you enter the park! Follow the Newfound Gap Road and turn left into Clingman’s Dome Road. This seasonal road (closed during winter) will take you up to the summit of Clingman’s Dome, the tallest mountain in the entire park.

Once you’re at the end of Clingman’s Dome Road, find an empty parking spot and enjoy the panoramic views at nearly 6500 feet (2000 meters) above sea level! Take the short hike up to the observation deck for the most breathtaking view.

Drop by the visitor center to pick up a handy map of the park.

You can see up to six states from the summit of Clingman’s Dome on a clear day.

Photo by Airren Parsons

Andrews Bald

Andrews Bald is a picturesque field, the highest in all of Smoky Mountains, that can only be accessed on foot. The 3.5-mile hike is worth it to admire the panoramic views. Visiting Andrews Bald is a great way to escape the crowds that you might run into at the peak of Clingman’s Dome!

To get to Andrews Bald, you have to make your way to the summit of Clingman’s Dome. The trailhead is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) round-trip.

Newfound Gap

After you return back down from Climgan’s Dome, don’t miss the Newfound Gap. Turn left from Clingman’s Dome Road and enter the nearest car park on your right, along the Newfound Gap Road. Drop your car off at the spacious Newfound Gap Car Park and admire the views.

The view from Newfound Gap is arguably less exciting than the view from the summit of Clingman’s Dome, though it is a great alternative if the Clingman’s Dome Road is inaccessible.

Alum Cave Trail

As you make your way along the chicane-filled main road, enter the small Alum Cave Bluffs Parking Area. From here, you can follow the Alum Cave Trail up to the summit of Mt. LeConte, the third-tallest mountain in this national park. Along the way, you will pass by the 100-feet high Alum Cave Bluffs and the Arch Rock.

The Mount LeConte Lodge is located near the summit, it’s the only lodge within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The total round-trip distance of this trailhead is 11 miles.

Photo by Airren Parsons

Chimney Tops

The Chimney Tops Trail is infamous for its steep final section.

There are two ways to access the Chimney Tops: you can approach it from the northern end of the trailhead located right off the main road, or take the longer route that begins at the Newfound gap.

The hike, starting at the northern end, is 3.3 miles (5.3 km) round-trip. It is a moderate hike, not recommended for novice hikers.

If you want to enjoy similar views without the difficult hike, consider going to the Chimney Tops Overlook further down the road.

Laurel Falls

As you continue further into the Smokies, don’t miss the left turn into Fighting Creek Gap Road. Drive down the scenic road until you reach the Laurel Falls parking area. Drop off your car and follow the Laurel Falls trail.

This intermediate 2.6-mile (4.2 km) round-trip trailhead will take you up to the stunning Laurel Falls. It is very accessible, the entire hike is paved. Keep in mind that due to its proximity to Gatlinburg, the trailhead tends to be crowded.

Elkmont

After hiking to Laurel Falls, continue driving along the Fighting Creek Gap Road and turn left into Elkmont Road. This part of the park is a must-see for history fans, it was first established in 1840 and became a ghost town overtime. Today, some of the historic buildings are preserved and can be visited by the general public.

Elkmont is also home to some more hiking trails, including the Elkmont Nature Trailhead, as well as a campground where you can spend the night. Get more details on the campsite here.

The Sinks

Drive back down Elkmont Road and turn left into Little River Gorge Road. Follow the hairpins and chicanes until you see The Sinks Parking Lot on your left.

The Sinks are the most accessible waterfalls in the Smokies, they’re practically right next to the road! If you have limited time, or don’t want to hike up to Laurel Falls, The Sinks are your best bet.

From here, you can also hike the Meigs Creek Trail. This moderate trailhead will take you along the calm Meigs Creek. The total length is 7 miles (11 kilometers) round-trip.

Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls is a spectacular site off of Cades Cove Loop Road, a scenic drive here is already an attraction in itself. As you drive down the loop road, turn right into Abrams Falls Road. You can leave your car at the large car park right by the end of the road and follow the Abrams Falls Trail on foot.

The Abrams Falls Trail is around 5 miles (8 km) long round-trip.

You can also pop by Cades Cove down the one-way road, where you will find well-preserved historic homesteads.

Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls is located off the scenic Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a picturesque driving road which is a major attraction in its own right.

You can leave your rental car at the Grotto Falls Parking and continue along the 3-mile (5 kilometers)Trillium Gap Trail to reach Grotto Falls. This easy hike is perfect for families.

Ramsey Cascades

The northern part of the park is home to the Ramsey Cascades, the tallest waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Ramsey Cascades Trail begins at the end of Ramsey Prong Road, you can access it by driving down on Greenbrier Road from East Parkway.

The trail is 8 miles (13 kilometers) long round-trip, and it is one of the most difficult hikes in the park. The total elevation gain is 2190 feet (670 meters), and the trailhead features some really steep sections! It is only recommended to reach Ramsey Cascades for experienced hikers in good shape. Otherwise, this may not be the best spot for you.

Photo by Airren Parsons

Stay: Where can you stay in the Great Smoky Mountains?

The smoky Mountains and the surrounding area provide lots of great accommodation options. Find anything from camping under the stars up to a luxurious lodge.

Under Canvas

If you want to try out glamping (a luxurious form of camping), give Under Canvas a shot. The award-winning resort, situated between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, welcomes guests between May and November. The luxurious property features lavish tents, as well as an array of complimentary camping activities during your stay.

The Appy Lodge

The Appy Lodge is a luxurious lodge located in Gatlinburg. The lodge, beautifully situated right by the heart of the Smokies, features spacious and well-equipped rooms, as well as amenities such as an outdoor pool.

Don’t have a car you can take on a road trip? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from the Great Smoky Mountains scenic drive online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

Greek Islands- Santorini Itinerary By Car

Santorini is the definition of an ideal Greek island. It’s full of picturesque villages, scenic natural beauty, tasty cuisine, and fascinating archeological sites. Explore the best of Santorini with this comprehensive road trip itinerary!

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Fira to Oia- 12 kilometers (7.5 miles)📍

Oia to Ancient Thera- 23 kilometers (14.3 miles)📍

Ancient Thera to Pyrgos- 7 kilometers (4.4 miles)📍 

Pyrgos to Akrotiri- 8 kilometers (5 miles)📍

50 kilometers (31 miles) in total

Tags: Travel guide, road trip, Greece, Beach, foodie

What is the best time of the year to visit Santorini?

The best time of the year to visit Santorini is in May and September. That’s when the weather is still pleasant and there aren’t too many tourists around the island. 

The weather is the hottest during July and August, it’s best to go during these months if you plan to spend lots of time on the beaches. Keep in mind that it is also the peak of the tourist season, and Santorini tends to get very crowded during the summer.

Why should you rent a car in Santorini?

Santorini, despite being a rather small island, is definitely best explored using a rental car. The comfort of altering your itinerary on the go, freely extending the road trip, or finishing it early can only be achieved when traveling by car.

Public transport around Greece tends to be rather hectic for international tourists. Most ticketing booths and schedules are available in Greek only, and buses irregularly travel between destinations. Not to mention the crowds and the fact that bus tickets can only be purchased in cash at the booths, right before leaving.

Road trip Extensions

Mainland Greece

Your Greek getaway doesn’t have to end here! Before leaving Greece, fly to Athens and drive all the way to Thessaloniki, exploring the best attractions in mainland Greece along the way. Click here for the travel guide and plan your ideal road trip through mainland Greece.

Rhodes

Rhodes is the definition of Greece as most tourists know it. Here, you can find some of Europe’s most pristine beaches, spectacular natural beauty, and fascinating towns with ancient historical sites. Click here for the guide.

Rental Moose mascot posing at a viewpoint overlooking a beautiful sandy beach in Kos, Greece. Check out our curated Greek Island itineraries.

Can tourists drive in Greece?

Yes! As Greece is a member of the European Union, tourists can use their domestic driving licenses issued in other EU member states. Travelers who do not have a driving license issued in an EU country should obtain an International Driving Permit (click here to learn all about them).

Driving in Greece for first-timers might be overwhelming at first. Locals tend to drive aggressively without much regard for others, be extra cautious when driving a rental car around Santorini, and make sure to get excess coverage provided by Rentalmoose when booking your vehicle.

Don’t forget to take check-in photos when picking up your rental car, that way you are eligible for a 50% rebate from the excess coverage fee.

Once you’re all set, let’s dive into this exciting Santorini itinerary!

Fira

Photography by EzPzPics.

Welcome to the sunny island of Santorini! For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly when you arrive at the airport. Browse through car rental options that support airport pick-up via Rentalmoose.

Santorini is often regarded as the most beautiful island in Greece, it surely is one of the most unique ones. It provides a perfect mix of historical sites, delicious cuisine, scenic natural beauty, and vibrant nightlife. Santorini is a volcanic island, the caldera is what remained after an eruption that happened centuries ago, and resulted in shaping Santorini’s unique landscape. 

Is Fira worth visiting?

Most certainly! Fira is the main town on the island, and it has plenty of attractions and spots worth visiting. You can find plenty of scenic points, restaurants, hangouts and nightlife spots all around this small town. Here are some of our favorite spots and the best things to do in Fira.

Karavolades Stairs & The Old Port

Enjoy a fair bit of exercise as you walk down the Karavolades Stairs, often referred to as the 587 steps. Tourists traveling with children will surely love seeing many donkeys traveling up and down what was once the main donkey trail that connected the town to the port.

 The exhausting stroll will take you down to the harbor, where you can hire a boat or go on a fishing tour.

You can either walk back up the same way or take the cable car and regain energy. The cable car to Fira costs just 6 EUR per person. Note that passengers are required to wear masks.

Rentalmoose insider tip: Try to visit the old port outside of the peak hours, otherwise you might find yourself stuck in a long queue for the cable cars.

Three Bells of Fira

After your cable or ride (or hike, if you can handle it), walk along the cliffside road until you reach the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church. The church is a famous attraction due to its whitewashed facade, blue dome, and the Three Bells of Fira overlooking the sea. It is hands-down one of the best photo opportunities in Santorini.

Remember to post your pictures from this trip online using #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a free rental car!

Three Bells of Fira photographed by Judith Scharnowski

Obelix

When in Santorini, you can’t miss out on the delicious cuisine! Make your way across the narrow streets until you reach Obelix, the best place in Fira to try real Gyros. As it’s one of the favorites among both tourists and locals, prepare to wait a bit for your food. It is well worth it, though!

Open all week from noon until 9:30 PM.

Rentalmoose order tip: Don’t skip out on their famous Gyros or Souvlaki.

PK Cocktail Bar

PK Cocktail Bar is one of the go-to nightlife spots in all of Santorini. It’s always vibrant, crowded, and well-known among locals. It has been welcoming guests for over 40 years and remains one of the top picks on the island. Sip on a delicious cocktail as you watch the sunset from the outdoor terrace, order a cup of aromatic coffee, or smoke a tasty cigar.

PK Cocktail Bar is open all week until midnight.

Parking in Fira

You can drop off your rental car at one of the small public car parks located along the main road. The majority of public car parks in Santorini are usually free, the few paid ones cost under 2 EUR per hour.

On-street parking is permitted unless there are signs that state otherwise. Generally, if there are other cars parked along the street, you should be fine as well.

Where to stay in Santorini?

As the total driving distance for this road trip doesn’t surpass 100 kilometers, Rentalmoose recommends staying at one of these hotels during your trip to Santorini.

Iconic Santorini

Iconic Santorini is an impressive boutique cave hotel located in Imerovigli, at the highest point of the caldera. This idyllic spot is centrally located from the hustle and bustle of the cruise shopping port of Fira. Oia’s famous sunsets are only a short drive away.

The 5-star property features a stunning infinity pool overlooking the sea, magnificent suites, an upscale restaurant, and a wellness facility. It is the perfect choice for sophisticated travelers visiting Santorini.

Photo courtesy of Iconic Santorini

Grand View Hotel

Don’t want to splash out hundreds of Euros per night on an ultra-luxurious hotel in Santorini? Consider checking-in at the 3-star Grand View Hotel instead. This property, located in Megalochori, features a stunning outdoor terrace and swimming pool overlooking the sea at a fraction of its 5-star competitors. 

Add modern decor, a charming restaurant, complimentary parking, and Grand View Hotel becomes a very attractive budget-friendly stay in Santorini.

Next on your Santorini itinerary: Oia, 20 minutes

Oia

Photography by Michelle Maria.

Depart Fira and continue towards the northern tip of the island. After roughly 20 minutes, you will reach Oia, the second-largest town in Santorini, and one of the most picturesque spots you can find. It is also quieter than Fira, especially once dusk falls.

What can you do in Oia?

Ammoudi Bay

Cool down from the scorching heat and go for a dip in the Aegean Sea at Ammoudi Bay. Adrenaline junkies can find opportunities for cliff-jumping, foodies can drop by one of the waterfront fish taverns and dive into local seafood. 

Alternatively, you can go on a boat tour directly from the bay to see picturesque bays, other islands, and the famous volcano.

Ammoudi Fish Tavern

Once you get hungry, head to the Ammoudi Fish Tavern located in Ammoudi Bay. Apart from fresh fish and tasty seafood, the eatery offers a beautiful waterfront dining experience with panoramic views of the sea and the nearby island. The restaurant is popular, you might want to book ahead during the peak season to ensure you get the best table.

The tavern is open daily from 11 AM to 11 PM.

Byzantine Castle Ruins

Santorini’s magical sunsets are famous around the world. For the best view of the sunset, head to the point right next to the Byzantine Castle Ruins. Spectacular sunsets with panoramic views of the iconic whitewashed buildings, traditional windmills, and deep blue water, attract hordes of tourists every evening. Make sure to find your spot long before the sunset itself to get an unobstructed view!

Church of Panagia

The Church of Panagia is a lovely whitewashed Orthodox church in the heart of Oia. Its pristine facade makes for a perfect backdrop for photography. Alternatively, visitors can step inside and admire the decorative interior. Remember to dress appropriately when visiting places of worship.

Hike to Fira

If walking down the 587 steps to the old port in Fira wasn’t enough exercise for the day, you can wander down the scenic trail all the way to Fira. The hike is around 10 kilometers long one-way, spectacular views along the way are guaranteed, as you’ll be walking practically on the edge of the caldera. Click here for more info on the hike between Fira and Oia.

Next on your Santorini itinerary: Ancient Thera, 35 minutes

Ancient Thera

Photography by Norbert Nagel

After exploring Oia and Fira, it’s time to head out and see what the southern part of the island has to offer. Be sure to drop by the Ancient Thera archeological site. The winding road leading to the site, filled with tight hairpins and chicanes, is a super fun drive.

What is Ancient Thera?

Ancient Thera is a large archeological site of an ancient town of Thera, its history dates as far as the 8th century BC. The remains of the settlement are located on top of the Mesa Vuono Mountain, providing spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding areas.

You can follow the chicane-filled road and park your rental car near the entrance to the site, or leave your car in Perissa and reach the top of the mountain on foot. Wear comfy shoes as there is lots of ground to cover, and the hiking conditions can be challenging for the inexperienced.

The archeological site is open between 8 AM and 3 PM and remains closed on Mondays.

Kamari Beach

Hiking around the archeological site for a few hours might wear you out. In that case, reward yourself with a relaxing evening at Kamari Beach just a short car ride down the mountain from Ancient Thera. 

Catch a glimpse of the setting sun, go for a swim, or feel the mix of volcanic sand and pebbles as you stroll down the shore. You can also walk around Kamari and step inside one of the local restaurants or shops.

Next on your Santorini itinerary: Pyrgos, 15 minutes

Pyrgos

Photography by DanaTentis

Is Pyrgos worth visiting?

Definitely! Pyrgos is a scenic whitewashed village around 15 minutes away from Ancient Thera that remains frequently overlooked by tourists, hence it is usually calm and peaceful. Once the capital of Santorini, Pyrgos is one of the best-preserved, authentic villages on the island. Its natural setting between vineyards makes it even more charming.

Admire the panoramic view of the village first from this viewing point. Then, make your way into the town, park your rental car, and stroll around Pyrgos on foot. The best way to see the beauty of this cute village is by simply walking around and exploring its narrow streets.

Art Space Santorini

As Pyrgos is surrounded by vineyards, it would only make sense to see a winery and learn about the local wine culture. The perfect space to do so is Art Space Santorini. The venue features a wine-oriented museum located in an old winery.

Art enthusiasts will enjoy the exhibition of wine-related art pieces. Guests can also tour an active winery and the nearby vineyard.

You can taste and purchase locally-made wine, too. Remember that driving under the influence is strictly forbidden.

Art Space Santorini is open all week between 11 AM and 7 PM.

Santorini of the Past

Learn all about Santorini’s regional history at Santorini of The Past, a wonderful museum focused on depicting the everyday life of Santorini. The museum features a collection of historic items and fascinating artifacts on display. Of course, scenic surroundings and panoramic views are guaranteed.

Metaxi Mas

Try what could very well be the best restaurant in all of Santorini. Metaxi Mas serves Greek dishes with a slight Cretan twist. The cozy taverna hosts guests in an indoor area or their stunning terrace with panoramic views of the island. Each dish can be paired with local wine, of course.

Metaxi Mas is open from noon until midnight, 7 days a week. It can get busy during the weekend, book ahead to reserve a spot in the outdoor seating area.

Next on your Santorini itinerary: Akrotiri, 15 minutes

Akrotiri

The Red Beach photographed by Pat Scrap.

Having explored the village of Pyrgos, it’s time to head towards the southeastern tip of Santorini. This part of the island has even more natural beauty, as well as some of Santorini’s best beaches.

What can you do in Akrotiri?

Akrotiri Archeological Site

Akrotiri Archeological Site is dubbed “the Greek Pompeii” and is regarded as one of the most remarkable sites in the country. Its history dates back to the Bronze Age!

The excavation site has been covered by a roof, it doesn’t look too appealing from the outside, but the treasures it holds are worth seeing. You can check out the artifacts on display, too.

Akrotiri Archeological Site is open from 8 AM to 3:30 PM on Wednesdays and from 8 AM to 8 PM for the rest of the week. Admission tickets cost 12 EUR per person.

Akrotiri Lighthouse

Head to the easternmost point of Santorini, where you will find the picturesque Akrotiri Lighthouse set on a cliff above the shore. It’s one of the oldest lighthouses in Greece, dating back to the late 1800s. The whitewashed walls of the lighthouse make it another ideal backdrop for photos.

If you want to experience another otherworldly sunset, hang around the lighthouse. This spot provides similarly spectacular views as the sun sets, yet it’s less popular among tourists. It’s easier to get an unobstructed view here than in Oia. Not convinced? Just look at the photo below.

Akrotiri Lighthouse during sunset photographed by Skeeze.

What are the best beaches in Santorini?

The area around Akrotiri is home to some of the best beaches in Santorini. Keep in mind that Santorini is a volcanic island, you won’t find any picture-perfect beaches with palm trees and white sand.

Mesa Pigadia Beach

Mesa Pigadia Beach is the perfect getaway from Santorini’s crowds. This tranquil pebble beach is perfect for sunbathing or swimming in its crystal-clear water. When you get hungry, pop inside the Mesa Pigadia restaurant for a snack right by the sea.

Red Beach

Red Beach is one of the most photographed beaches in Santorini, mainly because of its iconic red volcanic sand and the red cliffs surrounding the beach. Apart from sunbathing and swimming, Red Beach is perfect for snorkeling.

Vlychada Beach

The beach in Vlychada, much like Red Beach, offers a spectacular natural setting, as the volcanic shore is surrounded by dramatic cliffs. The otherwordly landscape makes Vlychada Beach stand out among any other beaches on Santorini.

Sunbeds are available for just a couple of Euros. There are also beachside bars and cafes where guests can pop by for a drink.

What’s more, there is a vibrant marina just a few minutes away from the beach, where visitors can admire some of the docked yachts or enjoy fresh seafood.

Perissa Beach

Perissa Beach has got to be the busiest beach on all of Santorini. It is also, however, the one with the most hotels, restaurants, and nightlife opportunities. Sunbeds are available as far as the eye can see. 

Tired of sunbathing all day? Spend some time at one of the beach clubs, or walk around the nearby town of Perissa. There is always something to do near Perissa Beach.

Drop-off

For maximum convenience, you can drop your rental car off at Santorini Airport directly before leaving. Browse through car rental options that support airport drop-off using Rentalmoose.

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next road trip in Greece. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next road trip in Greece online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

The ultimate Rhodes Itinerary By Car

Rhodes is a breathtaking Greek paradise within the Dodecanese Islands, near the coast of Turkey. The island’s pristine beaches, archeological sites, scenic roads, and traditional restaurants are scattered all across the island, making Rhodes the perfect destination for a road trip. Plan your ideal Rhodes road trip with this comprehensive travel itinerary!

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

East Coast of Rhodes to Lindos- 50 kilometers (30 miles)📍

South of Rhodes to Prasonisi- 50 kilometers (30 miles)📍

West Coast of Rhodes- 160 kilometers (100 miles)📍 

260 kilometers (160 miles) in total

Tags: Travel guide, Greece, Beach, foodie, scenic roads, history

How long does it take to complete this road trip?

The total driving distance is a little over 250 kilometers. That said, Rentalmoose recommends dedicating 4 days for this road trip at the very least. Spend a day to explore the city of Rhodes, then make overnight stops in Lindos and the Elafos Hotel near Mussolini’s Villa.

If you want to explore each location thoroughly, spend at least a week on the road.

What is the best time of the year to visit Rhodes?

The best time to visit Rhodes, much like any other Greek island, is right before the peak season begins (early June), or after it finishes (late August). That way, you can enjoy the perfect summer weather without the hordes of tourists that come to Rhodes during peak season.

Why should you get a rental car in Rhodes?

Rhodes is ideal to be discovered by a rental car. Tourist attractions are scattered all over the island, and some of the pristine beaches can only be accessed by car or on foot. Not to mention the ability to alter your itinerary on the go, freely extend your trip or end it before schedule.

Public transport around Greece tends to be rather hectic for international tourists. Most ticketing booths and schedules are available in Greek only, and buses irregularly travel between destinations. Not to mention the crowds and the fact that bus tickets can only be purchased in cash at the booths, right before leaving.

A cabriolet is the most fun type of car you can get in Rhodes. Photography by Manolis D

Road trip extensions

Turkish Riviera

The breathtaking Turkish Riviera is just a ferry ride away from Rhodes! The ferry from the city of Rhodes will take you to Marmaris, you can then make your way across the picturesque Riviera and see its incredible natural beauty and serene beaches. Click here for the guide.

Santorini

There are regular ferries between Rhodes and Santorini around twice every week. The journey takes about 8 hours, but experiencing the otherworldly scenery of Santorini is well worth it. Click here for the Rentalmoose guide to Santorini.

Mainland Greece

If you’re a fan of long road trips, our Athens to Thessaloniki travel itinerary is definitely worth considering! The 1000km journey will take you across the spectacular sites in mainland Greece, such as the hanging monasteries of Meteora or the famous Mount Olympus.

Can tourists drive in Rhodes?

Yes! As Greece is a member of the European Union, tourists can use their domestic driving licenses issued in other EU-member states. Travelers who do not have a driving license issued in an EU-country should obtain an International Driving Permit (click here to learn all about them).

Driving in Greece for first-timers might be overwhelming at first. Locals tend to drive aggressively without much regard for others, be extra cautious when driving a rental car around Santorini, and make sure to get excess coverage provided by Rentalmoose when booking your vehicle.

Don’t forget to take check-in photos when picking up your rental car, that way you are eligible for a 50% rebate from the excess coverage fee.

Once you’re all set, let’s dive into your Rhodes itinerary by car!

City of Rhodes

Palace of The Grand Master of The Knights of Rhodes. Photography by Peter Linter.

Welcome to the sunny island of Rhodes! For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly when you arrive at Rhodes International Airport.

Browse through car rental options that support airport pick-up via Rentalmoose.

Once you’ve picked up your rental car, make your way to the city of Rhodes at the northern tip of the island. Any great Rhodes itinerary will include a few days in the City of Rhodes, and ours is no different.

The island’s capital is full of traditional architecture, a monumental castle, and beaches.

What can you do in Rhodes?

Palace of The Grand Master of The Knights of Rhodes

The Palace of The Grand Master of The Knights of Rhodes, often simply referred to as Kastello by locals, is one of the very few examples of Gothic architecture in Greece. The structure dates back to the 7th century and has undergone restoration in the 20th century.

Visitors can tour the castle, where some of the chambers are home to art exhibitions, while others display precious artifacts.

The castle is set within Rhodes’ Old Town, you can walk around and explore the charming area.

The castle is open daily between 8 AM and 8 PM, however, the exhibitions are open only until 5 PM. Admission tickets cost 8 EUR per adult and 4 EUR per child.

A charming alley somewhere in the city of Rhodes. Photography by Kirkandmimi.

The Acropolis of Rhodes

The remains of the Acropolis of Rhodes are situated atop the Monte Smith hill. The archeological site includes remains of an ancient stadium, a temple, and a restored Roman Odeon where events are still held today.

The panoramic view from the summit of Monte Smith hill is especially spectacular during sunset.

The site is open 24 hours a day, entry is free.

This archeological site is without a doubt one of the must-visit attractions that deserves to be on every Rhodes itinerary.

Elli Beach

Elli Beach is the go-to waterfront hangout in the city of Rhodes. The cosmopolitan beach is known for its crystal-clear water, perfect for a dip. The lively beach is full of watersport activities, sunbeds available for rent, and waterfront bars and restaurants.

Once you’ve soaked enough of the sun, you can cross the street and gamble at the Casino Rodos, or admire some of the wildlife at the small aquarium right off the beach.

Finding a parking spot might be tough around the peak tourist season. Try this free car park just a short walk away from the beach.

Alexis 4 Seasons Seafood Restaurant

On an island like Rhodes, trying the local seafood is an absolute must! Once you get hungry, head over to Alexis 4 Seasons Seafood Restaurant in the old town. The upscale restaurant serves delicious seafood such as shrimps, seabass, or cuttlefish. The charming outdoor area located in the heart of Rhodes’ old town is the cherry on top.

As the restaurant is quite popular, be sure to book ahead during the peak season. The restaurant is open all week from noon until midnight.

What are the best hotels in Rhodes?

Mitsis Grand Hotel Beach Hotel

Sophisticated travelers should check-in at the 5-star Mitsis Grand Hotel. This vibrant beachfront resort, located in the heart of Elli Beach, features spacious rooms and suites with sea views, three pools (both indoor and outdoor). There is also one extra pool with fresh water for children, a spa, and six different restaurants.

Mitsis Grand Hotel is the only 5-star beachfront hotel in the city of Rhodes.

Marco Polo Mansion

Enjoy a stylish trip back in time when you stay at the Marco Polo Mansion, a 3-star hotel set within the narrow streets of Rhodes’ old town.

The hotel is known for its tasteful decor, perfect location, and a great restaurant. Treat yourself to a Greek dinner in the green outdoor area, or go for a stroll around the authentic old town.

Next on your Rhodes itinerary: Lindos, 1 hour

East Coast to Lindos

Beach of Lindos. Photography Emilian Robert Vicol.

Head south along the east coast of Rhodes, leaving the city behind. Before you get to Lindos, there are various attractions worth visiting dotted across the east coast of Rhodes. Here are some of the best ones, consider adding them to your Rhodes itinerary.

Kallithea Springs

Kallithea Springs is less than 10 kilometers from the city. The thermal springs have been around since the ancient times, and were brought to international fame by the Italians in the early 20th century.

Today, the springs have been refurbished and turned into a lavish retreat. Monumental yet tasteful architecture, authentic decor, a crystal-clear bay with a top-rated beach bar, and the hot springs themselves, of course, all attract international tourists as well as locals. 

The exclusive getaway is open all week from 8 AM to 6 PM. Admission costs around 5 EUR, paid upon entrance. If you want to use the sunbeds, you’ll have to spend at least 5 EUR in the cafe.

If thermal baths aren’t exactly your thing, why not drop by simply to enjoy the views? Photo by Dimitri Houtteman

WaterPark in Faliraki

A short 5-minute drive south from the Kallithea Springs will take you to Ammoudes, a beachfront resort. There are various attractions here, including the Faliraki public beach, though the WaterPark remains the absolute highlight.

From thrill-seekers to families with small children, everyone will find activities suitable for them at the WaterPark. Choose from a variety of waterslides, pools, and attractions.

The WaterPark is open all week between 9:30 AM and 7 PM. 

1-day admission costs 24 EUR per adult and 16 EUR per child. Purchase tickets either upon entry or online.

A scenic coastal drive on the East Coast of Rhodes. Photo by Erik Karits

Anthony Quinn Bay

Another stop worth making on your way to Lindos is the spectacular Anthony Quinn Bay, named after the great Mexican-American actor. It features a small beach surrounded by the rocky bay perfect for sunbathing (sunbeds are available), clear water ideal for swimming, and scenic surroundings.  

Photography by Denimeij

Taverna Epta Piges

This marvelous lunch spot is located a little further inland, though the delicious food and serene scenery are well worth the detour.

Head to Taverna Epta Piges, located within the beautiful Seven Springs, for an unforgettable culinary experience. This taverna is a must-visit on any Rhodes itinerary.

The tavern features an outdoor area set in the heart of the Seven Springs, providing spectacular views to accompany your meals. Taverna Epta Piges serves the finest Greek cuisine, meals are made from locally-sourced ingredients and are cooked to perfection. Give it a shot!

After lunch, feel free to explore the picturesque Seven Springs itself.

Rentalmoose order tip: Taverna Epta Piges is famous for their juicy grilled meats, why not try a steak? Perhaps order a portion of Dolmadakia, minced meat and rice wrapped in vine leaves.

Taverna Epta Piges is open all week from 9 AM to 11 PM.

Tsambika Beach

If you’ve enjoyed your time at the Anthony Quinn Bay, just wait until you see this! Tsambika Beach looks straight out of a fairytale, with golden sands spanning the shore and plenty of activities.

You can rent a sunbed and umbrella for just a few euros, or go for a swim in the pristine water. Adrenaline junkies can rent jet skis or participate in one of the various exciting watersport activities.

There are various waterfront restaurants (taverns), snack bars, and a casual beach club, too. 

Despite its popularity, Tsambika Beach is hardly ever crowded, even during the summer months. You can leave your rental car right by the beach.

Acropolis of Lindos

The Acropolis of Lindos is perhaps the most fascinating archeological site in all of Rhodes. The hilltop remains date back to the 6th century BC. The walk up from modern-day Lindos can be exhausting, but the fascinating Acropolis is well worth it. 

Alternatively, you can get a donkey ride to the top for less than 10 euros, though animal rights activists urge tourists not to do so.

Once you’re atop the hill, you can explore the remains of ancient Lindos, including the ruins of the monumental Athena’s Temple, or photograph the panoramic coastal views. 

Admission to the acropolis of Lindos costs 12 EUR per adult and 6 EUR per child. The site is open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM.

Photography by Kirkandmimi

Taverna Kamariko

Another evening on a Greek island means another unforgettable dinner in an authentic tavern. When you get hungry in Lindos, head to Taverna Kamariko near the heart of town. Leave your rental car at the hotel and feast on regional specialties accompanied by a glass of aromatic ouzo.

The tavern is open all week between noon and 3 PM (lunch service), and 6:30 PM and 11 PM (dinner service).

Where to stay in Lindos?

Mitsis Lindos

Sophisticated travelers should consider booking a room at the prestigious Mitsis Lindos. The monumental 5-star hotel features a fantastic beachfront location, modern rooms, a spa, an outdoor pool, a private sandy beach, and Italian decor both inside and out.

Mitsis Lindos is an adult-only hotel.

Lambis Studios

Looking for the best budget hotel in Lindos? Give Lambis Studios a shot. The 3-star property offers well-equipped rooms, an outdoor pool, a snack bar with pool tables, and a good location near the heart of town, all for a reasonable price.

Next on your Rhodes itinerary: Prasonisi, 55 minutes

Prasonisi- South of Rhodes

Photography by Ri Butov.

After a night in the town of Lindos, make your way south towards the southernmost tip of Rhodes.

Mojito Beach Bar

Take a break from driving at Mojito Beach Bar, one of the trendiest hangouts in this part of Rhodes, located around half an hour away from Lindos. Cool down in the crystal-clear sea, relax on the sunbeds or enjoy some of the snacks and drinks while listening to lounge music in the background. 

Mojito Beach Bar is open all week from 8:30 AM until midnight.

 Prasonisi

This peninsula is loved by windsurfers and kiteboarders. During low tide, the small island is connected to Rhodes by a slim trail of golden sand, which vanishes as the tide rises. The peninsula is a perfect spot to see sunsets, try out kiteboarding, or sit back and enjoy the views.

If you’re interested in windsurfing, you can rent equipment or book lessons through Prasonisi Center.

Prasonisi Peninsula during low tide. Photo by postcardtrip.

Once you get hungry (or thirsty), step inside one of the beachfront taverns or laid-back bars. Lighthouse Tavern is one of the best eateries in Prasonisi.

Next on your Rhodes itinerary: West & Central Rhodes, 4 hours

West of Rhodes

The absolutely spectacular clifftop castle of Monolithos photographed by Ri Butov.

As you leave Prasonisi behind, follow the main coastal road along the west coast of Rhodes. This part of the island, much like the other coast, is dotted with exciting attractions. The first one is around 50 minutes away from Prasonisi. Make sure you see them on your Rhodes itinerary.

What should you see in the West of Rhodes?

Castle of Monolithos

The ruins of the Castle of Monolithos (pictured above) are a spectacular sight, and an absolute must on any Rhodes itinerary. The remains of the 15th-century castle are situated on top of a cliff, opening up to astonishing views of the sea.

Keep in mind that you will have to use your imagination to picture what the castle must have looked like back in its glory days, as it isn’t exactly well-preserved. Despite its condition, the ruins are most definitely worth seeing. Wear comfy shoes, there is some hiking to be done!

The ruins can be accessed 24 hours a day. Admission to the ruins of the Monolithos Castle is free of charge.

Rhodes is a photographer’s paradise and the Castle of Monolithos is just one of many unique photo opportunities.

Kritinia Castle

The Kritinia Castle is just around 40 minutes away from the ruins of the Castle of Monolithos. The Kritinia Castle dates back to the 1470s and was used by the Italians as a base back in the 20th century. Hence, the ruins are a mix of architectural styles from different periods of time,

Just like the Castle of Monolithos, Kritinia Castle can be accessed 24 hours per day with no entrance fee.

If you don’t have the time to see both Kritinia and Monolithos castles, pick the latter one. The Castle of Monolithos is arguably better for a short visit, due to its scenic setting.

Mussolini’s Villa

After the Castle of Kritinia, head inland towards the mountains. Take the winding roads up to the summit of Profitis Ilias, the highest point of Rhodes. The scenic drive will take you all the way to the summit, where you can explore Mussolini’s abandoned villa and spend the night in a chalet-style hotel.

The now-abandoned villa was supposed to be Benito Mussolini’s summer retreat where he would spend his retirement. However, the Italian dictator was executed and had never actually visited the villa.

Today, what’s left of the monumental villa has become one of the top spots for urban exploration in Rhodes. The eerie villa can be explored both inside and out. As the building isn’t maintained or taken care of in any way, shape, or form, its condition is getting worse every year. Get a chance to see it before it’s completely ruined.

Paraga Restaurant

Are you looking for the best food in Rhodes? The ultimate Greek culinary experience? Head down to the Paraga Restaurant in Apollona, just 10 minutes away from the summit of Profitis Ilias. 

Paraga is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in Rhodes that serves authentic Rhodian cuisine. The restaurant itself is located in a traditional home, making the entire experience even more unforgettable.

Rentalmoose order tip: When in Greece, you can’t go wrong with juicy Souvlaki, or grilled meat. Paraga serves incredible lamb chops.

The restaurant is open all week from noon until 8:30 PM, 9 PM on Saturdays.

Elafos Hotel

The top of the mountain is home to the charming Elafos Hotel, where you can pop in for dinner or spend the night. The 3-star property features rooms with scenic views and an onsite cafe. 

The chalet-style hotel in the mountains is a dramatic change of scenery from the coastal parts of the island.

Another look at the Castle of Monolithos and its spectacular surrounding area. Photo by Milengga.

The Valley of The Butterflies

Continue following the chicanes until you reach The Valley of The Butterflies. Just like the name suggests, this stunning nature park is home to thousands of butterflies. Sadly, tourism reduced the butterfly population, yet the valley still remains a must-see in Rhodes.

The colorful insects are attracted by the sweetgum tree forest (the only natural forest of oriental sweetgum trees in Europe!) and the valley’s humid climate. Guests can stroll around the park and admire vibrant butterflies of practically all colors.

The park is open all week between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Admission tickets cost just 5 EUR, children can enter free of charge.

Koskinou

Before you get back to the city of Rhodes, consider stopping at the picturesque village of Koskinou, a beautiful hilltop village just 5 kilometers away from Rhodes Town. 

Koskinou is favored among photographers for its beautiful whitewashed buildings with colorful front doors, countless mosaics, and green courtyards. The narrow streets are perfect for an afternoon stroll.

Step inside Almiro Gliko in the heart of Koskinou for a refreshing snack before leaving.

Drop-off

For maximum convenience, drop off your rental car at Rhodes International Airport right before leaving. Browse through car rental options that support airport drop-off via Rentalmoose.

DON’T HAVE A CAR YOU CAN TAKE ON A ROAD TRIP? NO PROBLEM!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure. This Rhodes itinerary is perfect to follow by rental car.

On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

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Post your pictures from your trip following our Rhodes itinerary and tag #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

panoramic view of the heart of florence large basilica and hills in background during sunset

Tuscany By Car- Italy Road Trip Itinerary

Experience the best of Tuscany by car during this fascinating Italian road trip around Tuscany. Plan your perfect Italy road trip with Rentalmoose.

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Florence to Poppi- 60 kilometers (40 miles)📍  

Poppi to Arezzo- 40 kilometers (25 miles)📍 

Arezzo to Siena- 60 kilometers (40 miles)📍 

Siena to San Gimignano- 40 kilometers (25 miles)📍 

San Gimignano to Livorno- 80 kilometers (50 miles)📍 

Livorno to Pisa- 30 kilometers (20 miles)📍 

Pisa to Florence- 80 kilometers (50 miles)📍 

390 kilometers (240 miles) in total

Tags: Travel guide, Italy, Scenic Driving, History, Short Trip

The bucket list of every traveler. Picturesque cities full of historical landmarks, delicious cuisine, aromatic wine, scenic roads, and immaculate natural beauty. Tuscany has it all, and this travel guide takes you through the absolute best of it during an exciting Italian road trip.

This road trip itinerary takes you on a journey through the most scenic parts of Tuscany, exploring the best of what this region of Italy has to offer.

Begin with a day of sightseeing the historical landmarks in Florence, then let the scenic roads take you through hills and valleys off the main tourist tracks until you reach the peaceful towns of Poppi and Arezzo before arriving in Siena for the night.

On the second day, admire the “medieval skyscrapers” of San Gimignano and feel the Mediterranean breeze in the port town of Livorno. Later, make one last stop in Pisa before returning back to Florence.

How long does it take to complete this road trip?

The total driving distance is below 400 kilometers, with roughly an hour of driving between each stop.

That said, Rentalmoose recommends dedicating two days for this road trip, plus an extra day to explore Florence, at the very least.

To explore each spot thoroughly, add overnight stops in Siena and Pisa.

Road Trip Extensions

Northern Italy

Continue your Italian adventure even further and drive up north to Milan. Explore the fashion capital of the world, stroll down the streets of Lake Como, swim in the crystal clear Lake Garda, and more! Click here for the Northern Italy Travel Guide.

Southern Italy

You can also extend the adventure and explore the picturesque Southern part of Italy. Drive across the Amalfi Coast, go beneath the ground and hike in the eerie catacombs in Naples, or relax at one of the pristine beaches. Check out the Rentalmoose Southern Italy Travel Guide.

When is the best time to visit Tuscany?

The best time to visit Tuscany is right before and directly after the tourist season peaks in the summer.

Consider going on this trip between April and May or September and October, when you can still enjoy a bit of the summer weather without massive crowds.

The weather is the hottest between June and August, but it is also the peak of the tourist season.

Why should I book a rental car in Tuscany?

Tuscany is one of the best destinations to pick for an Italian road trip. Some of the less popular destinations, such as Poppi or Arezzo, lack a convenient public transport connection. What’s more, there are tons of spots between the suggested stops that are waiting to be discovered, including local villages and scenic vineyards.

The roads are also well-developed and offer spectacular views along the way. What more could a road trip lover ask for?

When driving in Italy, keep in mind that it is common for others to squeeze into extremely tight parking spots. An occasional scratch here and there could happen, therefore Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car in Tuscany.

Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.

Can tourists drive in Italy? 

Absolutely! Tourists in Italy need an International Driving Permit to drive here unless they have an EU-issued domestic license. These can easily be obtained in your local country and are mandatory for non-EU driver licenses when driving in Italy.

Where can you get an International Driving Permit? How much does an IDP cost? Check out this blog post to learn all you need to know regarding International Driving Permits.

Driving in Italy for the first time might be quite a hectic experience. Getting around large cities is chaotic and driving around tight cobblestone streets can be a nightmare.

On top of all this, the locals don’t really seem to be following the speed limits.

Speeding is common among drivers in Italy. Tourists in Italy have to pay the fine on the spot to the police and can additionally be charged by the car rental company. 

Going up to 21km/h over the limit on the highway will cost you around 150 Euros, while breaking a “no-parking” rule will cost you around 80 Euros.

Traffic in Italy is on the right-hand side of the road.

Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into this exciting Italy road trip!

Florence

florence skyline city view from above during sunset colorful basilica and mountains in background. See Florence during our Italy road trip itinerary around Tuscany

Photography by Meipakk/Pixabay.com

Your Italian road trip across the incredibly picturesque region of Tuscany begins in an equally charming city of Florence. Despite its size, Florence feels like a little welcoming village. Rentalmoose recommends spending at least a day in this fascinating city before departing further.

For maximum convenience, pick up your rental car directly at the Airport of Florence. Car rentals that support airport pick-up can be found via Rentalmoose.

Once you’ve got your car, it’s time to explore Florence!

What is Florence famous for?

Galleria Dell’Accademia

Florence, like all of Italy, has an extremely rich history which is reflected in the region’s attractions.

When in town, you can’t skip the Galleria Dell’Accademia, a world-class gallery that hosts some of Europe’s most precious artwork.

While the museum is home to some admirable Florentine paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries, the undebatable highlight is the “David” statue created by Michelangelo.

The iconic statue has made the Galleria Dell’Accademia the most frequently visited museum in Florence, it’s best to book your tickets online ahead of your visit. 

Driving in Florence- ZTL Area

Driving within Florence can get very expensive if you don’t pay attention to the road signs. The historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For this very reason, the heart of Florence is a part of the ZTL area.

What is the ZTL area, you ask? You can only drive inside with a proper permit (it’s very likely that your rental car won’t come with one). If your hotel is within the ZTL, you may come in for a limited time in order to unload your car. In that case, be sure to let your hotel know that you’re arriving by car.

What is the best car park in Florence?

Santa Maria Novella

The best place to park your rental car is at the Santa Maria Novella train station. Drop your car off for roughly 2-3 Euros per hour and stroll down to the city center.

Florence Cathedral

Head to the monumental Cathedral, the third biggest church in the entire world. Observe the decorative facade that dates back to the late 13th century, or step inside and explore the interior of the historical structure.

Admission to the Cathedral itself is free of charge, but you will need to purchase a ticket to access the nearby museum, baptistery, dome or bell tower.

Ponte Vecchio

Walk south from the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral for roughly 10 minutes until you reach Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence connecting two banks of the Arno river.

The bridge has been a symbol of the city for centuries. The present Ponte Vecchio was constructed in the 1300s after a flood destroyed its previous version, though the initial Ponte Vecchio dates back as early as the 900s. 

Today, the bridge is a vibrant tourist hotspot lined with cute souvenir shops and prestigious jewelers, where you can purchase some glamorous Florentine necklaces, rings and more.

Trattoria Sabatino

Visit the Trattoria Sabatino for a traditional Italian dining experience. The eatery has been serving delicious regional dishes ever since it first opened in 1956 and has become one of the favorites among locals and tourists.

The family-run trattoria is surprisingly affordable, too. You can order a meal for less than 5 euros.

Where can you stay in Florence?

Luxury travelers should consider staying at Villa La Vedetta, a prestigious 5-star villa-turned-hotel near Florence. Choose from one of the elegant rooms and suites, relax at the outdoor terrace that overlooks the city or go for a dip in the outdoor pool. The hotel’s incredible restaurant is worth mentioning, too.

Traveling on a budget? The city is scattered with unique hotels that are relatively affordable, keeping in mind that Florence is one of the most expensive cities to visit in Italy.

That said, consider booking a room at the historical Palazzo Guadagni. The 3-star hotel is situated in a palazzo that dates back to the early 1500s and is just a walk away from Ponte Vecchio. Elegant rooms and great service aside, the hotel’s Loggia roof bar offers sensational views of the city.

Next on your Italy road trip: Poppi, 1 hour 20 minutes

Poppi

medieval tower and buildings in poppi town surrounded by trees and green fields in tuscany italy on a cloudy day

Photography by Joakant/Pixabay.com

Depart Florence and follow the scenic SR70 route across the endless greens. After a little over an hour, you will reach the charming village of Poppi.

Is Poppi worth visiting?

Poppi is a tiny village with less than 10000 inhabitants, hence it is often overlooked by tourists traveling around Tuscany. The reality is that the cute village is definitely worth visiting, especially to see its historic castle without hordes of tourists.

Castello dei Conti Guidi

The winding streets will take you to the Castello dei Conti Guidi, a local landmark in Poppi. The 13th-century castle remains very well-preserved and can be explored both inside and out. The top of the tower opens up to panoramic views of the town and its scenic surroundings, making a perfect photo opportunity.

Open daily until 6 PM.

Badia San Fedele

After exploring the castle, make your way to the Badia San Fedele just a stroll away. The historic abbey was home to monks from Vallombrosa and was constructed back in the 10th century.

Today, it is one of the most significant landmarks in the Casentino valley. The structure is also filled with precious artwork which is worth at least a quick peek. The peaceful church is the perfect spot to simply relax and enjoy the silence.

Gelateria Paradice

No trip to Italy would be complete without an ice cream stop in a local gelateria (Italian ice cream cafes), and Poppi happens to be home to Gelateria Paradice, one of the best in the Casentino valley.

Open between 11 AM and midnight, closed on Mondays.

Next on your Italy road trip: Arezzo, 40 minutes

Arezzo

empty piazza grande main square in italy well in foreground and medieval  buildings in background during sunrise in arezzo italy

Piazza Grande photographed by Elena/Pixabay.com

The 40-minute drive from Poppi, though not the most scenic in this journey, is immensely fun. Follow the winding roads of SP70 and SP71 until you reach Arezzo, another sweet Italian town worth visiting.

What can you do in Arezzo?

Piazza Grande

Observe the life of the city at Piazza Grande, the true heart of Arezzo. Admire one of Tuscany’s best-preserved medieval squares, surrounded by colorful buildings full of local eateries and shops.

The cozy streets around the square make it the perfect spot to wander around and discover local treasures.

Cinema fans will likely recognize Piazza Grande, as the opening scenes of “La Vita E Bella”, the 1997 award-winning film by Benigni, were shot right here. 

Arezzo Antique Fair

Take part in the famous Arezzo Antique Fair, one of the biggest fairs of this kind in Italy. The fair attracts hundreds of exhibitors from across the country. Stroll around the fair, as there are thousands of antiques, including priceless books, artwork, and jewelry.

The fair takes place every first Sunday of the month and the Saturday before.

Arezzo Cathedral

Don’t forget to drop by the 15th century Arezzo Cathedral. Admire the well-preserved medieval facade or step inside the monumental building, where you will find beautifully painted ceilings, the Gothic tomb of Guido Tarlati and a precious portrait of Mary Magdalene.

The Piazza del Duomo by the cathedral is the perfect spot to photograph the panoramic views of Arezzo, as it is the highest point in town.

Admission to the church is free of charge.

Next on your Italy road trip: Siena, 1 hour

Siena

torre del mangia red brick medieval tower symnetrical photo seen from nearby square in siena italy

Photography by Samuele Schiro.

The historic center of Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Similarly to Florence, this part of the town can’t be accessed by car as it is a ZTL area.

Rentalmoose recommends leaving your car at the private Il Campo Car Park, located within walking distance of the center of Siena. There are nearly 600 spaces available and the hourly rate is around 2 Euros.

Piazza del Campo

Once you’ve left your car, walk to the monumental Piazza del Campo. The unique shell-shaped square serves as the heart of the city ever since it was first constructed in the 13th century.

Feast your eyes on the well-preserved historical buildings or pop by the local cafes and eateries. The fact that the square is less busy than the heart of Florence makes the streets of Siena even more enjoyable to get lost in.

Palio di Siena

Piazza del Campo is turned into a horse racetrack and the famous Palio di Siena race takes place two times every year. The highly anticipated race is the biggest event in Siena, and one of the most significant gatherings in the entire country.

Check the official website for the schedule and more details on ticketing.

Torre del Mangia

Travelers can, and quite frankly should, climb the stairs to reach the top of Torre del Mangia. The monumental tower stands 87 meters above the ground and provides some of the best spectacular views in all of Tuscany.

Keep in mind that you have to cover 400 steps to reach the top. The journey to the top can get tiring, but the views are absolutely worth it!

La Taverna di San Giuseppe

All the sightseeing will probably drain your energy, visit La Taverna di San Giuseppe for a lunch stop. The menu is made up of lots of regional dishes from Tuscany as well as other parts of Italy.

Try some of the locally-made, fresh pasta or choose from a selection of Italian wines. The delicious cuisine was appreciated by critics and has earned the restaurant a spot in the Michelin guide.

Siena is packed with historical sites waiting to be explored, that’s why Rentalmoose recommends making at least one night stop in this history-filled city.

Looking for the ultimate luxury hotel near Siena?

Consider booking a room at the Castel Monastero. The prestigious 5-star resort is situated in a renovated monastery around 20 kilometers east of Siena. Choose between elegant rooms and suites, relax in one of the three outdoor pools or enjoy a massage in the spa and wellness center.

Castel Monastero is the go-to secluded getaway in the heart of the Tuscan countryside.

An affordable alternative in Siena would be the Relais la Corte Dei Cavalieri. The 3-star hotel features classy rooms, free wi-fi and a perfect location near the heart of Siena. Keep in mind that the hotel doesn’t provide a private car park for guests.

Next on your Italy road trip: San Gimignano, 50 minutes

San Gimignano

medieval brick towers in sam gimignano skyline city view from a distance and green tuscan fields landscape in foreground

Photography by SilvanoCosta/Pixabay.com

The next stop on this Italian road trip is San Gimignano, a wonderful town known as “The City of Towers”. Over 70 towers were constructed here in the 12th century. Sadly, just 14 remain today, though the site remains spectacular nonetheless.

Is San Gimignano worth a visit?

Sam Gimignano is quite literally the embodiment of Tuscany: a historical hilltop town surrounded by green vineyards and fields. If you’re on a road trip through Tuscany, you simply can’t skip it.

Scenic old architecture in Sam Gimignano, often called the medieval manhattan, a small town in Florence Italy. See it during our Italy road trip itinerary around Tuscany
San Gimignano at night is unbeatable.

Torre Grossa

As the town is known for its 14 dramatic towers (a sort of medieval skyscrapers, if you will), the only way to begin exploring it is by climbing the highest one of them.

Head to the Torre Grossa, the 54-meter tower was built in the 1300s and is proudly representing the city to this day. The climb, similarly to Torre del Mangia in Siena, is quite lengthy. Just like in Siena, the rewarding views from the top make the effort absolutely worth it.

A 2-day admission pass costs below 10 Euros per person and includes access to all museums in town.

Gelateria Dondoli- the best Gelato in San Gimignano

Try the city’s best gelato (Italian ice cream) at the Gelateria Dondoli. The award-winning ice cream parlor remains one of the favorites among locals, the frequent lengthy queue proves it. Gelateria Dondoli is conveniently situated near the heart of town along Piazza della Cisterna.

The Gelateria also offers ice cream classes, during which you will be taught to make your own delicious gelato. Click here for more details.

Gelateria Dondoli has the best gelato in San Gimignano, perhaps the best gelato in all of tuscany. Gelato is Italian ice cream.

La Rocca

San Gimignano is famous around the world for its aromatic white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Head to La Rocca for a one-of-a-kind wine experience. Discover the history of the region’s wine during a fascinating interactive exhibition.

Of course, guests can try the wine as well, or book a more-detailed guided tour. Find all of the details on the official website.

Next on your Italy road trip: Livorno, 1 hour 20 minutes

Livorno

rocks on livorno coast calm sea and coastside building during sunset in tuscany italy

Enrico Nunziati/Pixabay.com

After exploring the hills and never-ending greens of Tuscany, it is time to head to the coast. Drive for around an hour and twenty minutes until you reach Livorno, a port town along the western coast of Italy.

What is there to do in Livorno?

Terrazza Mascagni

Feel the breeze of the Mediterranean as you wander down the Terrazza Mascagni, a wide waterfront terrace in the southern part of the city. The area acts as a promenade and is a favored hangout by locals.

On-street parking is available on the main road right by the waterfront.

Observe the sun setting over the horizon or pay a visit to the nearby Livorno Aquarium. Examine the exotic sea creatures daily from 10 AM. Admission to the aquarium costs up to 17 Euros per person. 

New Venice

Did you know that Livorno has its own Venice? In the 1620s, the city desperately needed an expansion plan. The area between the existing districts was separated by moats, the architect’s workaround was copying Venice’s design and using waterways instead of roads. The newly designed district was then named “New Venice”.

Today, it is one of the most picturesque parts of the city. Take a boat tour or stroll around the neighborhood on foot.

Don’t miss the Fortezza Nuova, a historic fortress in the heart of the district.

La Perla dell’Ostricaio

As you are in a port town afterall, it only makes sense to try some fresh local seafood for lunch. Head to La Perla dell’Ostricaio, one of the best seafood restaurants in Livorno just a walk away from Terrazza Mascagni.

Rentalmoose order tip: Try the locally-caught fish, shrimps or octopus.

Open all week between noon and 3 PM for lunch, then between 7 PM to midnight for dinner. 

Grand Hotel Palazzo Mgallery Livorno illuminated by the sunset. the best 5 star luxury hotel in Livorno italy
La Perla Dell’Ostricaio is located at the beautiful Grand Hotel Palazzo MGallery. Looking for the best hotel in Livorno? Spend the night here.

Next on your Italy road trip: Pisa, 30 minutes

Pisa

The famous leaning tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy. The tower can be seen during our Italy road trip itinerary around Tuscany


Is Pisa worth visiting?

A short 30-minute drive will take you to Pisa, the city that’s home to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, along with other historical treasures. As overcrowded as the city gets during peak tourist season, its landmarks are certainly worth visiting.

Where to park in Pisa?

Via Camneo

Rentalmoose recommends dropping off your car at the Via Camneo private car park, just a short stroll away from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The car park, as of 2020, costs 2 Euros per hour.

Another major historical town in Italy means more inaccesible ZTL areas. Be cautious not to enter the limited-access center of Pisa, or you might end up paying a hefty ticket.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Once you’ve left the car, walk towards the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the most significant landmarks in the entire world. Admire the monumental tower from Piazza del Duomo, a photo of you holding up the leaning tower is a must, too!

For around 20 Euros, travelers can climb the stairs atop the tower for the best views of Pisa. Lots of people want to do it, so expect long queues. 

The Cathedral

Walk across the Piazza del Duomo to the massive Cathedral. In fact, it was the biggest church in Europe at the time of its opening in the 14th century. You can admire the well-preserved, decorative interior completely free of charge, too.

The cathedral is surrounded by beautiful green lawns, where you can sit down and relax after all the driving all while admiring the heart of Pisa.

Baptistery of San Giovanni

Another major landmark along the Piazza del Duomo is the Baptistery of San Giovanni. The round structure dates back to the 1100s and stands at over 50 meters above the ground.

The monumental building blends in together with the equally beautiful Cathedral and, of course, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Ristorante Le Bandierine

Once you get hungry, be sure to visit the Ristorante Le Bandierine. One of the best regional restaurants in Pisa, Le Bandierine is especially famous for its incredible spaghetti dishes.

The restaurant is just a walk away from the Arno river, which is another spot worth visiting when in Pisa.

Le Bandierine is open daily for dinner between 7:30 PM and midnight.

Next on your Italy road trip: Florence, 1 hour 10 minutes

Drop-off

Drop off your car at the Florence Airport right where you picked it up. Browse through car rental companies that support airport drop-off via Rentalmoose. Don’t want your Italian adventure to end? Extend the trip to the North of Italy, or the stunning Southern Coast.

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next road trip in Italy. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next road trip in Italy online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

oludeniz blue lagoon turquoise sea with boats sandy beach and green trees aerial view

The Sunny Turkish Riviera- Turkey Itinerary by Car

A trip through the sunny Turkish Riviera with Rentalmoose. Explore the best of it with our curated Turkey itinerary.


Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Antalya to Goynuk Canyon– 40km (25 miles) 📍 

Goynuk Canyon to Phaselis and Olympus– 60km (40 miles) 📍

Olympus to Adrasan– 10km (6 miles) 📍

Adrasan to Fethiye– 200km (125 miles) 📍

Fethiye to Marmaris– 140km (85 miles) 📍

Marmaris to Bodrum– 170km (105 miles) 📍

620km (385 miles) in total

Tags: Travel guide, Drop-off at another location, Turkey, Beaches, Summer, Short Trip

This travel itinerary takes you on a road trip across the Turkish Riviera, starting in Antalya going to Bodrum through beautiful beaches, scenic driving roads, and authentic Turkish towns. 

The road trip is roughly 600km in total and is divided into various sectors ranging anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 and a half hours.

Rentalmoose recommends dedicating at least three days for this adventure, with two overnight stops along the way in Adrasan and Marmaris. Add more overnight stops to make the most out of this Turkey itinerary.

What is the Turkish Riviera?

 The Turkish Riviera, also called the Turquoise Coast, is a beautiful region in the southwestern part of the country. This part of Turkey is famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear water, exclusive hotels, delicious cuisine, and ancient history. It is vastly underrated among international tourists!

Why is the Turkish Riviera worth visiting?

 This part of Turkey is perfect for travelers who adore the sun, wonderful beaches with crystal clear water, and monumental views. The Riviera has a lot of various attractions for families, couples, groups of friends, and solo travelers. 

No matter if you choose to stay in a chic hotel or a budget hostel, there are plenty of options to choose from at different price points.

Business Insider has referred to Bodrum (the finishing point of this journey) as the perfect under-the-radar luxury tourist destination for 2020, surpassing hotspots such as Bali or the Greek island of Mykonos. Explore the beautiful Turkish Riviera with our Turkey itinerary!

Is Turkey safe for tourists?

The US Department of State has ranked Turkey the second-lowest level of risk for tourists, except for regions near the Syrian and Iraqi borders, which have gotten higher risk ratings. The western part of Turkey remains safe for tourists.

Turkey is, however, one of the most seismically active countries in the world. It is recommended to be familiar with the safety procedures if an earthquake does occur.

Road Trip Extensions

Extend your road trip and discover the region even further! When you’re done exploring the Turkish Riviera, fly over to Athens and choose to drive across mainland Greece, or visit Santorini.

Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Turkey to Rhodes! Click here for the Rentalmoose road trip guide to Rhodes.

Why should you get a rental car in Turkey?

A rental car is definitely the go-to type of transportation for this road trip. The points of interest along the way are located within driving distance of each other, and getting a car will be a lot more convenient than traveling by bus. 

The freedom to roam around, change courses, or extend your road trip is only available when you travel by car. There are also beautiful views along the coastal roads and the traffic isn’t as heavy as in major cities, such as Istanbul or Adana. Lastly, car rentals are relatively cheap in Turkey.

When booking your rental car, do not forget to add excess coverage provided by Rentalmoose for extra protection. After picking up the car, be sure to take check-in photos of the vehicle and qualify for a 50% discount from the excess cover fee.

Can tourists drive in Turkey?

Yes! As long as your driving license is in English, you can drive in Turkey with a foreign license for up to three months. If your license isn’t in English, you will have to get an International Driving Permit before heading off for holiday. Drivers younger than 18 are not permitted to drive in Turkey at all.

Check out this blog post to learn all you need to know about International Driving Permits.

The driving limits in Turkey are 50km/h in urban zones, 90km/h outside cities, and 120km/h on highways.

Speeding is a common occurrence in Turkey, police pay a lot more attention to drink-driving rather than excessive speed.

If you do happen to get caught for speeding or a different minor offense, you might have to pay your fine on the spot. 

The fines for exceeding the limit by less than 30% are around 170TL (23 Euros). Getting caught driving at more than 30% above the limit will result in a 350TL (47 EUR) penalty.

Driving under the influence is not tolerated in Turkey. Police often carry out routine checks to check if drivers are sober, especially during the weekends. Do not drink and drive.

Traffic in Turkey is on the right side of the road.

HGS- The Highway Toll System in Turkey


There are no paid sectors along this road trip. However, your rental car will most likely come equipped with an electronic HGS device that will automatically be billed when passing paid highway sections. Most rental companies will sum up this fee when returning your car, the cost will depend on the amount of paid sections you have driven through.

There are no paid HGS sectors along this route.

When is the best time to visit Turkey?

Rentalmoose recommends visiting the Turkish Riviera between May and June or September and October. The weather is hot and sunny this time of the year, perfect for a swim in the Mediterranean or wandering around the streets of Bodrum. It is also the peak of the tourist season, so expect some destinations to get crowded. 

Antalya can get so hot during the summer that it can become unbearable for tourists who are not used to this type of harsh climate.

Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into this Turkey itinerary!

Antalya

altinkum beach in antalya turkey riviera coast colorful light

Altinkum beach in Antalya.

 Welcome to the sunny city of Antalya! Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly at the airport and heading down into this fascinating city.

What to do in Antalya?

Kaleiçi

Begin by exploring the coastal Old Town, the true heart of this city. Don’t hesitate to get lost among the historical Ottoman mansions, as the cobblestone streets are lined with cafes, restaurants and boutiques. The Kaleiçi district is the perfect place to discover a traditional part of Antalya.

Turkish Breakfast

Trying the world-renowned Turkish breakfast is a must during your stay in the Turquoise Coast. Head to Vista Restaurant, located steps away from the sea, for delicious breakfast and aromatic tea, all while enjoying panoramic views of the Mediterranean.

Konyaalti Beach

For a bit of relaxation, pay a visit to one of the city’s dreamy beaches. Rentalmoose recommends heading to Konyaalti Beach in the western part of town. 

This pebble beach stretches for around 5 kilometers and is known for its clean water and lots of cafes and restaurants in the area. 

It is popular among both tourists and locals, so it may not be perfect for travelers who are looking for a quiet and secluded spot.

This public beach can be accessed for free. You can also rent a sunbed for just a few Turkish Lira (between 1 and 2 Euros).

Next on your Turkey itinerary: Goynuk Canyon, 40 minutes

Goynuk Canyon Adventure Park

goynuk canyon turkey whitewashed stone turkish riviera

Goynuk Canyon near the resort town of Kemer.

After leaving Antalya, take the D400 highway south towards the resort city of Kemer. This coastal highway will take you to destinations within the Kemer region.

 Adventure junkies can stop at the Goynuk Canyon near Kemer, a local adventure park with zip lines and a canyoning safari. Thrilling zip lines combined with the park’s natural beauty make the Goynuk Canyon an unmissable spot.

 The attraction owners recommend staying in the park for at least 2 hours in order to fully enjoy it. Tickets can be purchased here or upon entrance.

Next on your Turkey itinerary: The ruins of Phaselis and Olympus, 1 hour

The historic ruins of Phaselis and Olympus

phaselis nothern harbor ruins on beach at turkish riviera

The remains of the northern harbor of Phaselis. Wikimedia Commons

Phaselis

 Phaselis was an ancient Greek and Roman city, its history dates back as far as 700 BC. The remaining ruins lie just 16 kilometers south of Kemer. 

Once there, you can discover the ruins of three ancient ports, aqueducts and many more. You can also go for a swim on the beach located within the ancient city. Admission costs less than 40 Turkish Lira (6 EUR) per person, tickets can be purchased directly upon entrance.

Next: Olympos, 40 minutes

Olympus

The Ruins of Olympus are older and more popular among tourists. Located just minutes from Adrasan, this ancient city cannot be missed. 

Its history dates back to the second century BC and has been abandoned since the 15th century. These ruins are not preserved as well as Turkey’s most popular ones, such as Ephesus or Göbekli Tepe, though they are definitely worth at least a short visit. 

You can also enjoy the local beach. Admission costs less than 30 Turkish Lira (4.5 EUR) per person and can be bought directly at the entrance, just like in Phaselis.

Next on your Turkey itinerary: Adrasan, 15 minutes

Adrasan

adrasan sandy secluded beach calm sea large mountains turkey riviera

A beautiful beach in Adrasan surrounded by monumental mountains.

Adrasan Sahil

 Continue along the D400 from the Phaselis until you reach the small village of Adrasan. Drive down to Adrasan Sahil, an absolutely breathtaking pebble beach surrounded by the mountains. 

Go for a swim in the crystal-clear water, or sunbathe on one of many sunbeds, available for just a couple Turkish Lira (below 2 Euros).

Admission is free of charge, you can leave your car directly next to the beach for just a few Turkish Lira (less than 2 Euros) per day.

 Where to stay in Adrasan?

ADA Boutique Hotel

Rentalmoose recommends staying at the ADA Boutique Hotel, a boutique hotel just a minute away from the beach. The hotel features a pool and restaurant, as well as free parking for guests.

Arikanda River Garden Hotel

Another hotel worth considering in Adrasan is the Arikanda River Garden Hotel. This cozy hotel consists of just 10 rooms. The location is perfect, just steps away from the private hotel beach.

There is a beautiful restaurant atop the river that serves breakfast as well as traditional Turkish dishes, along with plenty of options for vegetarians.

Next on your Turkey itinerary: Fethiye, 4 hours

Fethiye

This is the longest non-stop driving segment of this trip. Leave Adrasan and head west on the D400 for around 4 hours, until you reach the picturesque Butterly Valley.

 If you wish to make a stop along the way, Rentalmoose recommends going to Kaş. Head into the heart of this village and step inside Natur-El, the best restaurant in town. Have a sip of Turkish coffee or a round of delicious Turkish breakfast.

Kelebekler Vadisi- a dreamy beach in Fethiye

kelebekler vadisi butterfly valley turkey aerial view secluded sandy beach boats turquoise sea turkey riviera
Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons.

 The Butterfly Valley is a stunning valley near Fethiye. Don’t get confused by the name, as the butterflies have become a rare sight. 

Pay a visit to the Kelebekler Vadisi beach, where you will find turquoise water just like in the Maledives. Visit the beachside bar for a refreshing beverage or snack. 

This small spot can get crowded during peak season, it is definitely not the most secluded beach in Turkey. As Kelebekler Vadisi is a public beach, entry is free of charge. Sunbeds are available during the season for under 10 Turkish Lira.

Next on your Turkey itinerary: Blue Lagoon, 15 minutes

Blue Lagoon- The Mediterranean Maldives

oludeniz blue lagoon aerial view turkey turquoise sea sandy beach turkish riviera

Aerial view of the Oludeniz Blue Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon is perhaps the most popular tourist hotspot in the Fethiye region and one of the most valuable gems in all of Turkey. 

The lagoon is famous for its sandy beaches and clear, turquoise waters. Rent a canoe and travel across the lagoon, or stay on dry land and sunbathe. 

Head into the inner side of the lagoon, where you will find authentic Turkish restaurants, cafes, and bars. The water is full of wildlife and available attractions include snorkeling and paragliding. 

The Blue Lagoon is in a protected National Park, entrance costs below 10 Turkish Lira (less than 1.5 EUR) and can be paid in cash upon entrance. Parking costs around 30 Lira (4.5 EUR).

Next on your Turkey itinerary: Marmaris, 2 hours 10 minutes

Marmaris

marmaris town skyline panoramic view with sea in background turkish riviera

The city of Marmaris on the shore of the Mediterranean. Shot by Alpcem/Pixabay.com

 Drive along the D400 for about two hours until you reach the city of Marmaris.

What to do in Marmaris?

Marmaris Castle

Begin by exploring the center of the city. Park your car next to the Marmaris Castle and stroll around the area on foot. This castle is one of just a few in Turkey that has been turned into a fascinating museum.

History lovers can enjoy the interior daily from 8:30 AM to 7 PM, with admission tickets priced at 14TL that can be purchased upon entrance. 

Grand Bazaar

Shopping fans can walk across the center to the Grand Bazaar. This market is filled with shops where you can purchase all sorts of souvenirs, jewelry, leather goods, and clothing. 

Cleopatra Island

 Tourists can also take a day trip to the popular Cleopatra Island. Day trips by boats are operated by various carriers directly from the city, you can purchase tickets directly when boarding the boat. There are different durations of the trip, depending on which operator you choose. Pricing starts at 100TL per person.

What are the best hotels in Marmaris?

If you are planning to stay the night in Marmaris, which Rentalmoose highly recommends, consider staying in one of the hotels listed below.

Casa De Maris

 Casa De Maris is a luxury 5-star resort hotel meters away from the beach. It offers chic rooms, a big pool, unique architecture, and a complimentary carpark. Book your room here.

Uysal Beach Motel

Uysal Beach Motel is a cheaper alternative within the city. This hotel is directly on the seashore and includes air-conditioned rooms, free parking and a bar on the ground floor. Book your room here.

Next on your Turkey itinerary: Bodrum, 1 hour 20 minutes

Bodrum

bodrum whitewashed traditional buildings and blue sea boats turkish riviera

 The final leg of this journey goes from Marmaris to Bodrum. Take the D550 up north and then continue via the D330 until you reach the city.

What to see in Bodrum?

 Bodrum is the go-to tourist hotspot in the Turkish Riviera. Luxury hotels, incredibly fresh seafood, all-around shopping, and a vivid nightlife scene, you name it. Bodrum has it all.

Bodrum Castle

 Begin by strolling around the Bodrum Castle and port. This part of town is full of life, packed with cafes, shops, and restaurants.

You can take various day trips by boat straight from the port, going to secluded bays and islands. There are many operators to choose from, Rentalmoose recommends going with My Way Boat Trip.

Karafaki Restaurant

 For lunch or dinner, head down to the Karafaki Restaurant, just 30 minutes away from the heart of Bodrum. Dining with a panoramic view of the Aegean Sea is a truly mesmerizing experience.

Huqqa

If you fancy trying out Hookah, there are many shisha bars to choose from. Rentalmoose recommends Huqqa Bodrum, one of the best hookah cafe chains in the world.

There are tons of different flavors to choose from, along with colorful drinks and food.

Bodrum is filled with attractions and spots worth visiting, so Rentalmoose highly advises staying in town for a couple of days to experience what it has to offer.

Drop-off

Your rental car can be dropped off directly at the Milas-Bodrum Airport for maximum comfort. Rental companies that support drop-off in a different location can be found via Rentalmoose.

alhambra monumental palace in granada spain with sierra nevada mountains in background illuminated by sun during sunset

Andalucia by Car- Spain Road Trip Itinerary

This travel guide takes you on a road trip across Spain’s Andalucia region, starting in Malaga before continuing up north to Granada and Ronda, then heading back down to Costa del Sol, Marbella and to the tip of Europe: Gibraltar. Explore the best of Andalucia with our Spain road trip guide!

The route then winds back up to Malaga. The recommended duration for this trip is at least 3 days, with the first night in Malaga and an overnight stop in Granada and Marbella.

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Malaga to Nerja– 60km (40 miles) 📍 

Nerja to Granada– 95km (60 miles) 📍

Granada to Antequera– 100km (60 miles) 📍

Antequera to Ronda– 90km (60 miles) 📍

Ronda to Marbella– 65km (40 miles) 📍

Marbella to Gibraltar– 80km (50 miles)📍 (9.55 EUR Highway Toll)

Gibraltar to Malaga– 140km (90 miles) 📍 (9.55 EUR Highway Toll)

630km (390 miles) total

Tags: Travel guide, Spain, Costa del Sol, Southern Europe, Beach, Summer, Short Trip

Planning- Before You Leave

Before you set off on your Spanish road trip to Andalucia, take a look at some of the essential information listed below.

Why should you visit Southern Spain?

Andalucia is an exciting part of Spain in Southern Europe. The region is known for its beautiful beaches on Costa del Sol (Coast of The Sun), rich multicultural history, beautiful landscapes and mouth-watering food. This trip is perfect for travelers who enjoy beaches, sightseeing and Mediterranean delicacies.

Simply put, it’s the perfect destination for your summertime road trips.

When is the best time to visit Spain?

Costa del Sol has an average of 300 sunny days every year. The water in the Mediterranean is the hottest during the summer, however, it is also warm enough for swimming in late Spring and early Autumn. The water temperature gets colder in the west of Costa del Sol, as the Mediterranean mixes with the Atlantic.

 The perfect time for a road trip to Spain, while avoiding the summertime crowds, would be between April to early June, as well as late August to October.

Why to get a rental car in Spain?

The points of interest along this road trip are located within driving distance of each other. It’s best to travel by car during this trip to Spain.

Although most milestones on this journey could be accessed by public transport, it is nowhere near as convenient as traveling by rental car. That’s what makes Andalucia the perfect destination for a road trip in Spain.

 Scenic routes along the coast and mountain pass roads make this road trip one of the best driving tours in this part of Europe. 

For extra peace of mind during your trip, Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car. What’s more, you can qualify for a 50% discount from the excess cover fee if you take check-in photos when picking up your rental car.

Road Trip Extension to Basque Country

Your road trip in Spain doesn’t have to end in Andalucia.

Drive north for around 8 hours until you reach Bilbao, a fascinating city known for its delicious cuisine and rich history. Then, make your way across the Basque region before finishing in Bordeaux.

Click here for the Rentalmoose travel guide to Basque country and plan the ultimate Spanish road trip.

Can tourists drive in Spain?

Spain is a member of the European Union, therefore most foreign driving licenses are accepted as long as the driver is 18 years old and above. International Driving Permits are recognized, but not mandatory. 

Check out this blog post to learn more about International Driving Permits.

Make sure to follow the speed limits carefully when driving around Spain. There are lots of speed cameras set up all over major roads, some of them are nearly impossible to spot.

International tourists are required to pay their fines on the spot, or online via the DGT website. Keep in mind that if you decide to pay online, the price will be two times higher. Speeding tickets range from 50 to 250 Euros, depending on the excess speed and the road type.

Excessive speeding can land you in jail. If you are caught going over 201km/h on the motorway or over 111km/h in an urban zone, you will either receive an enormous fine based on your salary, or will be sent to prison for up to 6 months.

Traffic in Spain is on the right-hand side.

Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into your Spain road trip itinerary!

Málaga

malaga city panorama stadium green park harbor sea in background sunny day spain

Your road trip in Spain begins in the second biggest city in Costa Del Sol, Málaga. This exciting city has transformed from being a gateway to Andalusia into a vibrant hotspot packed with cultural experiences, local cuisine and vivid nightlife all waiting to be discovered. 

 Once you arrive, pick up your rental car directly at the airport for maximum convenience and head down into the city. 

What to do in Málaga?

Mercado Central

Rentalmoose loves local food markets. We think they’re one of the greatest ways to take in the hustle and bustle of any city or town. No matter whether you’re in Athens, Cameron Highlands, or Tallinn, the local market is the vibrant heart of the local life.

Indulge yourself in local culture at Málaga’s famous central market, Mercado Central. This authentic Andalusian market has a rich history, it has once been a storage warehouse, weapon’s arsenal, and military warehouse, before becoming a local market once again in the 1800s. 

Mercado Central is perfect to satisfy your local shopping needs, here you can find anything from fresh olives or fruit through to souvenirs and jewelry. 

Mercado Central is a great place for lunch, head into one of the food stalls for local seafood or North African pastries. You can leave your car opposite the market at this multi-story carpark for 15 euros per day.

Museo Picasso

Find out first-hand why Pablo Picasso fell in love with this part of Spain. Head towards the heart of the city and admire pieces from Spain’s most famous painter in Museo Picasso

The venue itself is breath-taking, as the museum is situated in a renovated 16th-century mansion. Inside, there are over 120 works made by Picasso alongside various temporary exhibitions. The museum is open daily from 10 AM, admission tickets cost 9 Euros and can be purchased here.

I recommend going in the afternoon, no sooner than 3 PM, as there are a lot more visitors in the morning.

Playa Pedregalejo

Take a break from the busy city and relax on one of the city’s sandy beaches. Visit Playa Pedregalejo, a long sandy beach in the eastern part of Málaga

Take a dip in the sea or sunbathe. Costa del Sol gets an average of 300 sunny days per year, so you can be sure it won’t rain.

For a post-beach day meal stroll over to El Balneario, where you can enjoy fresh seafood right by the shore. Click here for the menu.

seafood fresh grilled squid vegetables on white plate spanish food


What are the best hotels in Málaga?

As Málaga is filled with attractions, I recommend spending at least one night in town before continuing on. Travelers who want to enjoy the comforts of a 4-star hotel with a pool, fitness center and a perfect location near the Centro district will feel at home at Barcelo Málaga. Prices start at 96 Euros per room.

Gran Hotel Miramar

Sophisticated travelers looking for the most top-of-the-line experience available in Malaga can stay at Gran Hotel Miramar.

This luxurious 5-star hotel offers anything a guest can look for in the perfect hotel: spacious and chic rooms, a spa and wellness center, a restaurant serving delicious food, a bar, and great service. This high standard does come with a hefty price tag, rooms start at 250 euros per night. 

When you’ve spent enough time in Malaga, it’s time to head out and begin your road trip in Spain!

Next on your Spain road trip: Nerja, 45 minutes

Nerja

nerja beach aerial view blue sea water walking street palm trees buildings spain costa del sol

The first leg of the journey is a scenic coastal drive along the Mediterranean to Nerja. The city of Nerja is one of the most popular hotspots in Costa del Sol, and it is easy to see why. 

It is Spain’s paradise for beachgoers with a variety of beaches, from secluded coves to wide, vivid beaches in the heart of town. Nerja, however, offers a lot more than sandy beaches, as you are about to discover.

What is the best beach in Nerja? 

Burriana Beach

The most frequently visited beach in Nerja is Burriana Beach. Located east of the town, this sandy beach is filled with seashore restaurants, bars, and shops as well as watersport activities.

You can try to park your car along the streets for free, though on-street parking is usually full during peak season. There is a public car park available right by the beach entrance, average cost is around 2 euros per hour. 

Playa del Pino

Crystal-clear waters make the Playa del Pino a perfect spot for snorkel and diving fans. This quiet beach is more secluded, with zero seashore restaurants or frankly any other facilities. Clothing is optional, bear this mind if you do not wish to see nudists.

Frigiliana

After a calming stay at the beach, drive up to the village of Frigiliana, just a few kilometers away from Nerja (click for directions). Beautiful, whitewashed houses and picturesque streets make up Frigiliana, renowned as the most beautiful village in all of Costa del Sol. 

Stroll around the streets and feel as if you’ve been taken back in time by this authentic town. Your rental car can be dropped off at the public car park right across the street.

Nerja Caves

Beaches are certainly not all Nerja has to offer, and the Nerja Caves (Cueva de Nerja) and Frigiliana village are the prime examples. 

This massive, 4-kilometer long cave system is a must-see in Costa del Sol. Admission tickets cost 11 Euros and are definitely worth every cent. You can purchase tickets right here.

Next on your Spain road trip: Granada, 1 hour 20 minutes

Granada

granda alhambra palace with mountains in background during sunset spain tourism

Drive east out of Nerja and then north along the A-44 until you reach the city of Granada, a historical city at the foot of Sierra Nevada. It’s a must-visit during any proper road trip in Spain.

What to see in Granada?

The Alhambra

Begin your tour of Granada by visiting the most popular monument in the entire country: The Alhambra. This monumental palace is a true Spanish treasure. 

It used to be a fortress, and it served as the residence of Nasrid sultans between the 13th and 15th centuries. As this palace is very popular among tourists from across the globe, I recommend visiting near closing times. 

Admission tickets cost 14 Euros and can be purchased here. The Alhambra is open daily from 8:30 AM to 8 PM (6 PM in winter, between October and March).

Generalife

Next, head over to the Generalife. These colorful gardens are especially lively in spring, but visiting during any other season will be just as breath-taking. 

Within the gardens, you will find lots of monumental fountains and pools as well as the Generalife Palace. If you are planning to visit the Generalife as well as the Alhambra, you can purchase combined tickets for a reduced price. Generalife Gardens tickets cost 7 Euros per person and can be bought here

Flamenco shows- a must

Flamenco is essentially the heartbeat of Granada. The city is packed with beautiful Flamenco Shows that are often accompanied by delicious local dinner. 

There are lots of venues to choose from, one of the best in town being the Zambra Maria la Canastera, located in the traditional Sacromonte neighborhood that is another attraction in itself. 

The 1-hour show takes place in a traditional whitewashed cave and is performed daily. Tickets cost 24 Euros per person and can be bought via flamencotickets.com.

Where to stay in Granada?

The absolute best place to stay in Granada would be the Parador de Granada. Located in a 14th-century palace, the venue itself is astonishing and rich in history. Its excellent location is directly within the Alhambra. It does not get better than this. The rooms start at 230 euros per night.

Gar Anat Boutique Hotel is a more economical choice for travelers on a tighter budget. This cozy hotel is in a perfect location within the city’s central district. The building itself is a restored 16th-century hotel. The Granada Cathedral (another tourist attraction worth visiting) is just minutes away. The rooms start at below 100 euros per night.

Next on your Spain road trip: Antequera, 1 hour 20 minutes

Antequera

antequera alcazaba fortress castle fields in background spain

Head west out of Granada and follow the A-92 for about a hundred kilometers. After roughly an hour and a half, you will reach “el corazón de Andalucía” (the Heart of Andalucia), the city of Antequera.

What are the best places to visit in Antequera? 

Antequera is a city often referred to as the heart of Andalusia, and it is perfect for travelers who are keen on history, natural beauty and, of course, delicious cuisine.

Alcazaba of Antequera

Begin by visiting the Alcazaba of Antequera (pictured above), a historical fortress near the center of the city. It was built in the 14th century to counter the Christian Army, which was advancing towards Antequera from the north. 

This monumental fortress remains a historical gem. Guests can step inside the interior and explore the fortress by themselves or get a guided tour. Admission costs 6 Euros per person and can be purchased upon entrance. There is a 50% discount for kids between 7 and 16 years of age, and children below 6 years old can enter for free.

Parking (public) is available right outside the walls of Alcazaba.

Torcal de Antequera

An absolute must-see during your visit is Torcal de Antequera. This national park west of the city features unbelievable, natural rock formations that can be experienced on different hiking trails. 

The trail network includes many hikes that can be walked through for free, there are also guided tours that can be booked via the official website. The national park is home to the Iberian Ibex, which can be seen across the area. Free parking is available beside the entrance.

Where to dine in Antequera?

Foodies certainly won’t be disappointed in Antequera, as there are lots of local restaurants to choose from. Whether you’re craving a delicious Paella, Gambas Pil Pil or a slice of Jamon Serrano, the city has got you covered! 

Head over to Restaurante Plaza de Toros for a tasty local meal. This magical restaurant is located in a bullring, dining here is a once in a lifetime experience. Delicious Mediterrreneanen food and an out of this world atmosphere guaranteed!

Next on your Spain road trip: Ronda, 1 hour 20 minutes

Ronda

ronda spain cliff bridges and waterfall town costa del sol

Ronda has got to be one of the most beautiful towns in all of Spain. Located on two monumental rocks, there are historical bridges that connect the two districts.

The best views of Ronda

There is a quiet spot where you can get the best ground-level views of Ronda, I recommend going there before heading into the city. 

Drive up to the viewing point. Take caution, as the drive there can be tricky: it’s a rather tight dirt road with steep slopes. 

Once you get to the viewing point, park your car and enjoy the scenic views of the bridges, the rocks, and vineyards in the surrounding area in this picturesque spot.

Next, head up into town. You can leave your car at one of the public car parks in the historic part of Ronda, the rates are around 2 euros per hour. Continue strolling on foot and walk over to the Mirador de Ronda viewpoint, this time to get a view of the region from above.

After getting the best panoramic views at Mirador de Ronda, take a walk to the Bullring

Which bullring is the oldest in Spain?

Plaza de Toros

Ronda’s bullring called Plaza de Toros was the first one ever built in Spain, back in 1785. The controversial show now takes place just once every year, there are multiple guided tours every day that tour the historical arena. 

If you are interested in learning about the history of bullfighting, visit the Bullring Museum. Admission costs 8 euros.

De Locos Tapas

After strolling around the magical town, go for a taste of delicious local food in De Locos Tapas, one of the best tapas bars in Ronda. This restaurant serves some of the best delicacies in town, therefore it can get quite crowded. I recommend booking in advance right here.

Ascari Race Track

Visting the Ascari Racetrack is a must for every car enthusiast in the area. The resort includes a private racetrack, often rated as one of the best in Europe, as well as a country house.

There are multiple racing experiences you can book. Each one includes at least 80km of track driving, a professional instructor, a mechanical team and equipment, a garage tour, and food and beverages.

Next on your Spain road trip: Marbella, 1 hour 10 minutes

Marbella

marbella puerto banus port yachts luxury boats on blue sea whitewashed buildings in background costa del sol

Head south from Ronda, along a scenic mountain pass down to the coastal city of Marbella.

What can you do in Marbella?

Marbella is Costa del Sol’s hotspot for luxury, featuring ports filled with enormous yachts, luxury clothing stores, golf courses, fine dining restaurants and expensive villas overlooking the city.

Puerto Banus

Begin with a visit to Puerto Banús, the city’s vibrant modern center. Stroll through the marina and admire massive luxurious yachts, or go shopping in one of the marina’s countless high-end boutiques. 

Puerto Banús is the hotspot for nightlife, if you are visiting in the evening you can head into one of the local clubs or bars.

La Sala By the Sea is a great beach club minutes away from the marina, where you can enjoy exceptional drinks and food on the beach. Sunbed pricing starts at 15 Euros per person and can be booked via the official website.

Golfing in Marbella

Golf is extremely popular for both locals and tourists in Marbella, there are over 30 golf courses in the city to choose from and La Quinta Golf and Country Club is one of the most popular ones. 

This 27-hole course is one of the most attractive courses in the region and is suitable for both beginners and advanced players. 

Pricing starts at 100 euros, though there are various sales and discounts throughout the year. This country club also features a Best Western hotel. Prices start at 150 euros per night.

Where is the best party in Marbella?

Playa Padre

When you are looking for a nightlife, then the hidden gem for that is Playa Padre. It’s a small and stylish place where mostly locals go or the people who know it. Some well known DJ’s have performed here, such as Solomun and Black Coffee.

It’s hard to find for tourists, which makes it even more exclusive. If you are into house music then this is a paradise. Best parties on Sunday evenings, check out the Playa Padre website and social media accounts for upcoming events.

Where to stay in Marbella?

As Marbella is the top luxury destination in Spain, incredible hotels are a common sight. Travelers looking for the best 5-star hotels have plenty of options to choose from, I recommend the Villa Padierna Palace. This lavish resort includes 130 rooms, suites and villas surrounded by 3 golf courses, pools, and a spa center. Rates start at 250 euros per night.

A more budget-friendly alternative would be The Urban Villa, 10 minutes away from the city. This hillside villa offers 5 suites with incredible views, as well as a semi-secluded location, authentic food, and a pool. The rooms start at 70 euros per night.

Next on your Spain road trip: Gibraltar, 1 hour 10 minutes

Gibraltar

rock of gibraltar big mountain on small island city in background sunny day calm blue sea

Drive down the AP7 from Marbella to Gibraltar. The tolls along this route add up to 4.3 euros and can be paid directly as you are driving through. 

A toll-free alternative (around 20 minutes longer) would be the coastal A7. Although the drive is longer, practically the entire route runs along the coast, so panoramic views are guaranteed. 

As Gibraltar is a British territory, there is a passport control upon entry and exit, and you might find yourself stuck in a long queue during the weekends. You can leave your car at La Linea Car Park in Spain and walk over to Gibraltar on foot, too.

What are the attractions in Gibraltar?

Rock of Gibraltar

The most famous attraction in Gibraltar is the gigantic Rock of Gibraltar. You can drive up atop the famous rock by car, although this drive is recommended for experienced drivers. 

The way up is an exciting tight road filled with alpine-style hairpins and steep slopes. At the top, you can enjoy panoramic views of Gibraltar, Spain and Africa. 

You can also take the Gibraltar Cable Car. The ride up takes 6 minutes and costs 16 pounds per adult and 7 per child.

The Main Street

After visiting the Rock of Gibraltar, head down to the Main Street in the heart of town. The vivid streets are lined with all sorts of restaurants, pubs and shops. 

Some duty-free products, such as perfume, are available at lower prices than in Spain. After shopping, head over to Cafe Rojo for a British lunch, open from 10 to midnight Tuesday to Saturday. Your rental car can be parked here.

Next on your Spain road trip: Malaga, 2 hours

Return to Málaga via the AP7.

On the way back to Malaga, you can stop for an unforgettable lunch or a dinner in Los Marinos Jose Restaurant, which is located after Fuengirola. It is one of the best seafood restaurants in Spain.

Drop-off

Enjoy a few more days in the sunny city or return home. Your rental car can be dropped off at Malaga Airport for maximum convenience. Browse through car rental options via Rentalmoose.

Don’t have a car you can take on a road trip in Spain? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next Spain road trip. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next road trip in Spain online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

Magical white disney neuschwanstein castle in a green forest on a sunny day

The best day trips in Munich, Germany by rental car

The best day trips from Munich, Germany by rental car.

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (the distance is one way) :

Munich to the Neuschwanstein Castle- 110 kilometers (70 miles)📍  

Munich to Salzburg and The Eagle’s Nest- 180 kilometers (110 miles)📍

Munich to Nuremberg- 170 kilometers (105 miles)📍

Munich to Stuttgart- 230 kilometers (140 miles)📍

Munich to Passau- 190 kilometers (120 miles)📍

880 kilometers (550 miles) in total + returns to Munich

Tags: Travel guide, Day Trips, Germany, Short Distance

Bavaria is considered one of the best places to visit in Europe. Visit fairytale castles, Nazi-hideaway-turned-restaurants, medieval towns and a lot more on the best day trips from Munich.

This travel guide takes you on short day trips from Munich. Alternatively, you can change the itinerary into a single road trip between each milestone. Rentalmoose recommends adding a few days to explore The Black Forest, you won’t regret it!

Planning- Before You Leave

Before setting off on the best day trips from Munich, take a look at some essential information listed below.

When is the best time to visit Southern Germany?

Enjoy the hottest weather when you visit during the Summer. Keep in mind, however, that the tourist season peaks in the heart of Summer (July through August). During that time, some attractions might get overcrowded. If you go during the “shoulder season” before or after the Summer, you may be able to catch the best weather without the hordes of tourists.

Trip Extensions

Munich is only a few hours away from the picturesque Black Forest, one of the most underrated travel destinations within Germany. Extend your trip and drive through the scenic Black Forest High Road, wander around the ruins of a monastery and observe the tallest waterfall in the country, before heading off to Switzerland. Click here for the guide.

You can also head south into the Swiss Alps and explore the glorious mountains, drive up to the top of Europe or ski in the world’s most prestigious resorts. Check out the Swiss Alps Travel guide and plan your ideal road trip.

Why should I book a rental car in Germany?

Germany, especially the southern part of the country, is absolutely perfect to be discovered via a rental car. The toll-free German highway network (Autobahn) is very well-developed and maintained. What’s more, spectacular roadside views are guaranteed around Neuschwanstein, Salzburg and the Eagle’s Nest.

Germany and Austria are both members of the open-borer Schengen zone, therefore border crossing is quick and hassle-free. When driving in Austria, you are required to have a highway vignette. The routes suggested in this guide avoid highways in Austria. In this case, a vignette is not necessary.

For extra peace of mind during your road trip, Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car. Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.

Can tourists drive in Germany? 

Absolutely! Tourists above the age of 18 can freely drive using a foreign driver’s license for up to 6 months, without the need for an International Driving Permit.

When driving on the German Autobahn, remember to stick to the right lane unless overtaking. Some segments of the Autobahn have no speed limits, it is especially crucial not to block the overtaking lanes on unrestricted segments.

Speed limits are enforced quite strictly in Germany. You may come across well-hidden radars, especially in urban zones. Pay attention to road signs at all times and stay within the limit.

If you do happen to get a speeding ticket, you will be pleased to hear that the fines are rather low.

Getting caught at 11-15km/h (6.8-9.3 MPH) above the limit outside of urban zones will result in a 40 Euro ticket.

Germany, as well as Austria, have right-hand side traffic.

Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into the best day trips in Munich!

Munich

munich old town medieval church seen from above next to traditional bavarian buildings on a cloudy day germany. Enjoy the best day trips in Munich with Rentalmoose

Photography by Ian Kelsall.

This adventure begins in one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. The picturesque city is loved by tourists for its medieval architecture, rich history, plentiful cultural venues, and various outdoor activities. Football fans are in for a treat, as Munich is home to FC Bayern. 

This city will serve as the base for your day trips from Munich. Make sure you explore the fascinating city first, before setting off on Munich day trips.

For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from Munich Airport, Munich Hauptbahnhof Train Station, or the central bus station. Browse through rental companies that support airport pick-up via Rentalmoose.

Don’t forget to take check-in photos using the Rentalmoose app once you’ve picked up your rental car to qualify for a 50% rebate from the excess coverage fee. 

Is Munich worth visiting?

Absolutely! Munich is a fascinating historic city that is filled with attractions for history lovers, art aficionados, foodies, photographers and shoppers of all kinds. Also, don’t forget the region’s football culture and intense matches that take place at the world-class Allianz Arena.

When in Munich, you can’t skip a visit to the Marienplatz, a historic square that has been the heart of the city since the 1100s. Admire the golden statue of the Virgin Mary in the middle of the square or grab a coffee at one of the local cafes. Stroll around the area and feel the real medieval vibe.

Foodies should definitely head to the Viktualienmarkt just a walk away from the main square. The former farmer’s market has been around for hundreds of years and has all sorts of deliciousness in store for you, ranging from local Bavarian specialties to exotic fruit.

The market operates between Monday and Saturday from 10 AM onwards. Closed on Sundays.

When visiting Marienplatz and its surroundings, it’s best to drop off your rental car at one of the spacious multi-story car parks located just a short walk away from the heart of the city.

Rates vary between 2 and 6 Euros per hour.

Wandering around the glamorous Munich Residence, the stunning structure was originally built in the 1380s. The vast majority of the residence was destroyed during the Second World War, though it has been carefully reconstructed in the 1980s.

Today, the complex consists of 130 charming rooms and 10 colorful courtyards. Admission costs below 10 EUR per person, tickets can only be purchased by cash or credit card upon entrance.

Oktoberfest

If you’re visiting Munich in the second half of September, be sure to drop by the famous Oktoberfest. The festival is filled with countless food stalls, theme park rides, local souvenir shops, parties, and parades.

Of course, the highlight is beer which is available all over the place. Check for details on the official website.

Experience Bavarian cuisine and hospitality at the Hofbrauehaus. The famous beer hall has been welcoming guests since the late 1500s and is the favorite go-to tavern among locals as well as tourists.

Guests can choose from a variety of local Bavarian dishes and beverages (including non-alcoholic beers).

Rentalmoose order tip: Be sure to try the favorites, such as Pretzels and Wiener Schnitzels.

What are the best hotels in Munich?

Luxury travelers should consider checking into the Mandarin Oriental Munich. The elegant 5-star hotel in the heart of Munich’s Old Town features prestigious rooms and suites, as well as luxurious amenities such as a spa and wellness center and a fine-dining restaurant that offers a mix of exceptional Japanese and Peruvian cuisine.

In the summer, guests can relax at the terrace that offers panoramic views of the area.

Traveling on a tighter budget? The Achat Hotel Muenchen Sued might be the perfect choice for you. The 4-star hotel offers modern, well-equipped rooms as well as a fitness center, a restaurant, and a bar, all at an affordable price tag. A private car park is available for hotel guests.

Once you’ve spent enough time in the city, begin your Munich day trips.

First day trip from Munich: Neuschwanstein Castle, 1 hour 50 minutes

Neuschwanstein Castle

neuschwanstein white magical disney castle on green hill forest greenfields and lake in background germany bavaria. See it during a short day trip from Munich with Rentalmoose

The Neuschwanstein Castle is a magical structure located less than 2 hours away from the city, making it the perfect destination for a day trip from Munich.

Why is Neuschwanstein Castle famous?

The fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous castles in the entire world, commissioned by King Ludwig II in the 19th century. 

King Ludwig II was known for fairytale-like buildings, and the Neuschwanstein Castle remains the most famous structure commissioned by him. The king was meant to live in the castle, but he ended up dying before getting the chance to move in. 

The magical Neuschwanstein Castle has been a symbol of Germany ever since. It even inspired Walt Disney’s fairytale castle found in Disneyland parks.

Admire the castle and its scenic surroundings from the nearby viewpoint, or head to the Skywalk to observe the view from a different perspective.

Afterward, head to the ticket center in the Hohenschwangau village near the castle, as it is the only place to purchase tickets to the Neuschwanstein Castle.

The admission to Neuschwanstein Castle costs below 15 Euros per person, children younger than 18 can enter free of charge. Walk through the castle’s monumental rooms and decorative chambers.

 After a visit to the castle itself, travelers can hike across the monumental mountains surrounding the castle. Hike along the allgaeu hiking trails. Be sure to bring your camera with you, as there will be plenty of scenic viewpoints along the way!

If you’re lucky, you might spot some of the local wildlife too.

Next day trip from Munich: Salzburg, 1 hour 50 minutes

Salzburg & The Eagle’s Nest

salzburg town on two banks of calm river surrounded by alps seen from distant field in snowy winter

Photography by Gerald Lobenwein.

What is Salzburg known for?

After a day of exploration at the Neuschwanstein castle, make your way over to the Austrian border and the picturesque city of Salzburg. The famed city is known for being the birthplace of Mozart, and plenty of attractions in town pay homage to the great composer. 

The drive from Munich to Salzburg takes less than 2 hours one way, consider taking the A94 and then the B20, it will cost you just around 10 more minutes but you will avoid Austrian highway tolls (vignette).

The best place to begin your Salzburg exploration is the Old Town, one of the largest UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites on the planet and one of the best-preserved historic districts in this part of Europe.

Stroll around the busy streets, admire the magnificent baroque and medieval architecture or step inside one of the local cafes for a refreshing coffee. 

The Old Town (Altstadt in German) is the perfect spot to satisfy your shopping needs, too. Head to Getreidegasse, where the picturesque street is lined with stores selling anything from souvenirs and antiques to high-end clothing and jewelry. The area is filled with eateries and cafes, don’t hesitate to visit some of them for a slice of freshly-baked cake or an aromatic tea. 

Parking around Salzburg’s Old Town can be stressful, especially during the weekends when the area gets extremely busy. Rentalmoose recommends dropping off your rental car at this Contipark car park, just a short walk from the heart of town. Most of the city’s best attractions are located within the Altstadt, it’s best to leave your car at the car park and continue exploring on foot.

Stroll around the vibrant Old Town until you reach Mozart’s Residence situated on the Makartplatz. The residence was reconstructed after it had been completely destroyed during World War 2.

Today, Mozart’s Residence is a museum filled with the great composer’s memorabilia, as well as a variety of facts about the artist’s family life and the house itself. A visit is an absolute must, not just for Mozart fans.

Open daily between 9 AM and 5:30 PM.

The Eagle’s Nest

the eagle's nest restaurant and nazi hideout structure at steep mountain top in germany

The Eagle’s Nest photographed by John H.

As your day trip from Munich comes to an end, make a slight detour and visit one of the most unique attractions in the region, located in Germany right next to the Austrian border.

The Eagle’s Nest was constructed as a mountain hideaway during the Third Reich era. The eerie structure has since been turned into a unique restaurant atop the mountain. Indulge in regional German cuisine while admiring breathtaking views of the Alps, or enjoy the cool breeze at the outside terrace.

History fans can book a guided tour around parts of the former Nazi hideaway that are off-limits to restaurant guests.

The Eagle’s Nest strategic location makes it impossible to reach by car. Travelers can either hike up to the building (roughly 2 hours one way) or leave their cars at the Documentation Center car park and take the bus up to the end of the road. From there, walk through an eerie tunnel and take the elevator up to the top.

Private cars can’t go further than the Documentation Center. What’s more, the Eagle’s Nest is seasonal and remains closed in winter. 

Next day trip from Munich: Nuremberg, 2 hours

Nuremberg

nuremberg medieval weinstadel structure next to river and green trees on a hot sunny day in germany

Photography by Bluefish_Japan/Pixabay.com

Did you know that one of the oldest cities in all of Bavaria lies just 2 hours north of Munich? The city’s historical significance dates over 900 years back. It’s a perfect destination for a day trip from Munich.

Is Nuremberg worth visiting?

Most definitely! The charming medieval city was bombed during World War II and has been carefully reconstructed. Today, it looks better than ever. The historic streets are absolutely perfect to get lost in.

Begin by exploring the heart of the city’s historic district. Drop off your rental car at the Hauptmarkt car park (current rates on the website) and explore the area on foot. Get a photo by the Weinstadel (photographed above), a medieval wine warehouse.

Admire the structure’s facade and wander around the area, as the warehouse itself is not open for public viewing.

For a panoramic view of the heart of Nuremberg, walk to the Kaiserburg Castle in the northern part of the Old Town. Apart from stunning views of the area, the 11th-century castle has major historical significance.

The castle used to be one of the most important buildings of the Holy Roman Empire and remains one of the city’s landmarks. Photograph the exterior or step inside for a tour revealing the castle’s fascinating secrets. Current admission costs can be found here.

Bratwurst Roeslein

Foodies will find themselves in paradise in Bratwurst Roeslein, the world’s biggest sausage restaurant located in the heart of Nuremberg’s old town.

The eatery has been serving delicious sausages ever since it first opened in 1431 and remains one of the best spots to get a taste of real Franconian cuisine, both traditional and with a modern twist.

Open daily between noon and 8 PM.

Explore the less-comfortable, infamous part of German history at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in the southeastern part of Nuremberg. The vast majority of the large complex can be explored by visitors, guests can also gather insight at the exhibition located inside the Documentation Center.

The Rally Grounds serve as a reminder of the horrendous part of German history during World War II.

Next day trip from Munich: Stuttgart, 2 hours 30 minutes

Stuttgart

porsche museum main building modern architecture seen from nearby street at night time

Photography by Gabriele Bendler.

Why should you visit Stuttgart?

Stuttgart is on the bucket list of many tourists as it can be considered the birthplace of the automobile. The city is home to the headquarters and factories of two German automotive tycoons: Mercedes Benz and Porsche. The city also offers a wide array of attractions beyond automobiles. The attractions make Stuttgart perfect for a day trip from Munich.

An absolute must-see in Stuttgart is the famous Mercedes Benz Museum. The museum consists of over 1500 exhibits covering 16 500 square meters in total. Learn about the automobile first invented by Carl Benz in 1886 and the invention’s fascinating journey to the modern era.

The engaging exhibits make the museum an exciting spot worth visiting, not just for die-hard petrolheads.

Continue your journey through automotive history when you visit The Porsche Museum. Although much smaller than the Mercedes Benz Museum, it is just as captivating.

Admire more than 80 iconic Porsche automobiles. Some date all the way back to the 1800s, whilst others are among the rarest in the world.

Porsche enthusiasts (or Porschephiles, if you will), can even book an unforgettable drive in a modern Porsche. Details available here.

Art enthusiasts can’t skip paying a visit to the Staatsgalerie. The gallery first opened in the 1840s and holds some of the best artwork in the entire country. Inside, guests can find temporary exhibitions as well as a permanent collection of pieces by artists such as Salvador Dali, Rembrandt, Picasso or Henri Matisse.

The museum in itself is worth mentioning as well, as the artworks are placed inside a monumental Neoclassical building with a Post-Modern extension added in the 1980s.

Next day trip from Munich: Passau, 2 hours

Passau

passau small old town medieval buildings and white decorative church seen from across river with cruise boats

Photography by Kathian Leviasa.

What to do in Passau?

Passau is a cute historic city situated by three rivers, hence it’s often referred to as “The City of Three Rivers”. Located minutes from the Austrian border, Passau is another perfect day trip from Munich.

The charming town is famous for its architecture, which is a mix of gothic and baroque styles, as well as its stunning natural setting between mountains and on the banks of three rivers.

Drop off your rental car here and stroll around the historic part of town on foot.

Step inside the local Glass Museum, which hosts the world’s largest and most diverse collection of Bohemian glass. Admire the collection all week between 9 AM and 5 PM. Admission costs below 10 Euros per person as of 2020.

Continue wandering around the picturesque heart of Passau until you reach the Cathedral of St Stephen. The monumental baroque church is magnificent both inside and out.

Inside, among the decorative interior and historic artwork, guests can find the largest pipe organ in all of Europe and the second-largest in the world. The instrument is a spectacular sight, consisting of over 17 thousand pipes and is magical to see and hear.

Every day at noon (except Sundays), concerts take place at the cathedral. Consider arriving early to purchase tickets as they are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis, the ticketing booth opens around two hours prior to the concert.

Enjoy a regional lunch at the Wirsthaus Bayerischer Loewe, one of the best local eateries in Passau. The restaurant is located in the heart of the old town and serves delicious German dishes, such as various types of local sausages, Schweinshaxe, Schnitzel and more!

Open daily until midnight, including Sundays.

Once you’ve ticked off all the best day trips from Munich, it’s time head back. For maximum convenience, drop off your rental car directly at the Munich Airport right before leaving. Car rental companies that support airport drop-off can be found via Rentalmoose.

Don’t have a car you can take on day trips from Munich? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your day trips from Munich. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your day trips from Munich online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

long sandy beach and wavy blue ocean off the great ocean road on a clear sunny day in victoria australia

Australia Road Trip Itinerary- Great Ocean Road

Australia’s Great Ocean Road by car, a road trip itinerary in Australia.

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Melbourne to Torquay- 100 kilometers (60 miles)📍  

Torquay to Lorne- 50 kilometers (30 miles)📍 

Lorne to Kennett River- 20 kilometers (12 miles)📍 

Kennett River to Apollo Bay- 20 kilometers (12 miles)📍 

Apollo Bay to Twelve Apostles- 90 kilometers (55 miles)📍 

Twelve Apostles to Colac- 80 kilometers (50 miles)📍 

Colac to Melbourne- 150 kilometers (95 miles)📍 

510 kilometers (320 miles) in total

Tags: Travel guide, Scenic Road, Australia, Short Distance

Drive down one of the most scenic roads on the planet. The Great Ocean Road will take you along the dramatic coast of Western Victoria, located in South Australia. Experience the surf culture, fly in a World War 2 airplane, spot koala bears and admire spectacular natural wonders. This Australia road trip truly has it all!

This travel guide takes you on a South Australia trip starting in Melbourne. Drive southwest until you get to Torquay, the country’s surfing capital. 

Catch the waves at Bells Beach and hop on the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay through Lorne and Kennett River, where you might just spot furry koala bears. 

Next, make your way to the spectacular limestone pillars named the Twelve Apostles. After a helicopter tour of the coast, drive inland across volcanic landscapes until you get to Colac, a quiet countryside town. Relax at the lakes, climb the Red Rock for the best view and head back to Melbourne.

Without a doubt, this is one of the best road trips in Australia you can take.

Planning- Before You Leave

Before setting off on your South Australia road trip, take a look at some of the essential information listed below.

How long does it take to complete this road trip?

The total driving distance of this South Australia road trip is around 500 kilometers (310 miles) and can be covered in two days, with one overnight stop in Apollo Bay.

Of course, if you want to thoroughly explore each town consider adding extra overnight stops in Torquay and Colac.

Personally, I found one overnight stop to be sufficient for this trip.

When is the best time to visit Australia?

Keep in mind that the seasons in Australia are switched (Summer is between December and February).

It’s best to go to South Australia right before the summer or directly after it finishes, when the weather is still warm enough to swim in the ocean, yet the crowds are smaller compared to the summer when the tourist season peaks.

Go during the Easter Weekend if you’re planning to attend the Rip Curl surfing championship in Bells Beach near Torquay.

Extend your Australia road trip to Sydney and New South Wales

Your Australian road trip doesn’t have to finish after driving down the Great Ocean Road. Why not see the East Coast of Australia, too?

In fact, Rentalmoose recommends adding a few extra days to drive up Princes Highway all the way to Sydney in New South Wales. That way, you can see the spectacular East Coast of Australia.

Admire more of the spectacular natural beauty in New South Wales, enjoy whale watching tours or lap a racetrack.

There are plenty of attractions waiting for you, click here for our Sydney to Melbourne travel guide and extend your road trip to see the East Coast.

Why should I book a rental car in Melbourne?

A rental car is the definite go-to means of transport for this trip. The Great Ocean Road is considered one of the absolute best scenic driving roads in the entire world, providing absolutely spectacular views practically anywhere along the way.

Road trips in Australia are great, you will find yourself stopping at overlooks and pullouts practically nonstop along the spectacular coastal roads.

There are various viewpoints where you can stop that would have been impossible to access without a car. Not to mention the ability to alter your itinerary, detour or extend the trip whenever you please, which is only possible when traveling by car. The best way to see Australia is during road trips by car.

For extra peace of mind during your road trip, Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car.

Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.

Can tourists drive in Australia? 

Yes! You can drive with your foreign driver’s license for up to 3 months in Australia, as long as it’s in English. If your driver’s license is not in English, you need to obtain an International Driving Permit prior to leaving.

Where can you get an International Driving Permit? How long is it valid for? Check out this blog post on International Driving Permits that answers any questions you might have about this document.

The traffic laws in Australia are strictly enforced. Driving under influence is completely unacceptable and can land the offender in jail. 

In terms of speeding penalties, the Department of Transport and Main Roads claims that the average speeding ticket is $210, which equals just below 130 euros. Going less than 13km/h over the limit will cost you $177 (105 EUR).

Traffic in Australia is on the left-hand side of the road.

Now that you’re all set, it’s time to jump into this exciting South Australia road trip itinerary!

Melbourne

melbourne skyscrapers modern architecture and trees seen from across river with three parked boats during sunset

Photography by Alf Scalise.

What is Melbourne known for?

Welcome to one of the largest cities in the country and the capital of Victoria, Melbourne! Melbourne is a great starting point for different road trips in Australia.

The vivid city is known for its cultural scene, multicultural diversity, vibrant nightlife, and trendy vibe. Pick up your car directly from Melbourne Airport and begin exploring this fascinating city.

Queen Victoria Market

Observe the daily life of Melbourne at Queen Victoria Market. Wander around the busy stalls selling anything from fresh produce to antiques and precious collectibles, all while catching a glimpse of the historical venue.

COVID-19 Update: The Winter Night Market may return in June 2021.

If you’re in town around the summer, attend the seasonal Night Market held every Wednesday from 5 PM onwards.

Queen Victoria Market is open until 3 PM on weekdays and 4 PM on weekends, closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.

A car park is available along Queen Street between Therry and Victoria streets.

Melbourne’s trendy laneways and arcades

Melbourne is packed with cool laneways and shopping arcades lined with local bars, restaurants, and shops, all of which are just begging to be explored.

Wander around the glamorous shops in The Block Arcade or step inside one of the grungy cafes at Centre Place.

No matter which laneway you stumble upon, you will experience the trendy vibe of Melbourne.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Stroll down the colorful gardens, admire the diverse and exotic flora or go for a picnic in the vibrant green lawn. In the summer, catch a movie at the outdoor cinema or dive into the local art scene when you examine pieces at an outdoor exhibition.

Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens are open daily between 7:30 AM and 6:30 PM.

Admission to the gardens is free.

Looking for more attractions in Melbourne? Check out the Sydney to Melbourne Travel Guide, where I highlight some of the best Greek cuisine in town as well as Melbourne’s best hotspot for art lovers.

Melbourne will surely keep you busy for a few days, that’s why Rentalmoose recommends spending at least one night in town before setting off on your road trip.

Where to stay in Melbourne?

Luxury seekers should consider spending the night at the 5-star Park Hyatt Melbourne. The elegant hotel offers over 200 stylish rooms and suites overlooking Fitzroy Gardens, as well as luxurious amenities such as an indoor pool and a spa and wellness center. The hotel’s location in the heart of Melbourne makes it the perfect spot to set out and explore the city. A private car park is available at an extra cost.

If you’re looking for a hotel that offers panoramic views and luxurious facilities without breaking the bank, consider checking into the Imagine Marco Hotel.

The resort features modern serviced apartments with panoramic city views, a convenient location near the city center and extra amenities such as an outdoor pool and barbecue equipment.

A private car park is available at an extra cost.

Next on your Australia road trip: Torquay, 1 hour 20 minutes

Torquay

torquay long sandy beach bright blue calm ocean natural beauty of australia. See it from the Great Ocean road during this Australia road trip itinerary around Victoria.

Your first stop is a coastal town around an hour west of Melbourne. Torquay is one of the country’s hotspots for surfing, and the watersport culture has become a crucial part of the local heritage. It is also the beginning of the Great Ocean Road.

Australian National Surfing Museum

Torquay is known as the country’s capital of surfing, be sure to pay a visit to the Australian National Surfing Museum. Discover the history of Australia’s surfing and beach culture, examine historical surfboards or walk down the Hall of Fame.

The museum is open between 9 AM and 5 PM all week. Admission costs below $15 AUD (8.4 EUR).

Scenic flights

Adrenaline junkies should go to Torquay Airport, where they can book thrilling Adventure Flights over the coast in a vintage WW2 open-cockpit airplane.

Admire the coast from above or get spun around during an aerobatic flight. No matter which flight you pick, it will surely be an unforgettable experience.

Browse through available packages on the Adventure Flights website.

Bells Beach

Head out of Torquay and continue along the coast. After just a couple of kilometers, you will reach the famous Bells Beach.

The beach is a well-known surfing spot, if you’re an experienced surfer you will absolutely love it. The beach is surrounded by cliffs, providing a spectacular backdrop to admire.

Visit Bells Beach during the Easter weekend when the Rip Curl Pro surfing event takes place and spectate as the world’s best surfers ride the enormous waves.

Next: Lorne, 50 minutes 

Lorne

lorne crystal blue ocean view and nearby tree branches seen from viewing point above a cliff. See it from the great ocean road during our australia road trip itinerary.

Drive along the absolutely breathtaking Great Ocean Road, there are plenty of lookouts on the way where you can carefully watch the dramatic coastline.

After around 40 minutes, you will reach the seaside town of Lorne. This tiny town only has around a thousand inhabitants, but during the peak of the tourist season those numbers rise up to over ten thousand.

Guests can feel the ocean breeze at the outdoor seating area or listen to live music on weekend nights.

Open daily from 12:30 PM.

Teddy’s Lookout

As you drive out of Lorne and get back on the Great Ocean Road, be sure to drop by Teddy’s Lookout.

The viewpoint offers panoramic views of the dramatic coastline, the turquoise ocean and Lorne’s Scenic beach. Drop your car off at the nearby car park and hike for just a couple of minutes to the viewpoint itself. 

Next on your Australia road trip: Kennett River, 30 minutes

Kennett River

cute smiling koala sleeping on a tree in Kennett river, australia. It is one of the must-see spots along the great ocean road in victoria.

Continue along the Great Ocean Road for another half hour until you reach Kennett River. Although not the biggest town along the coast, the area is a popular stop among tourists for one specific reason: wild koala bears.

Where can you see Koala bears in Kennett River?

Spotting wild koala bears is, much like seeing kangaroos, an absolute must if you’re planning one of the best road trips in Australia.

Kennett River is the best place along the Great Ocean Road where tourists can spot koala bears in the wild. The region’s large population of furry koalas can be spotted just a hike away from the main road.

Stroll down the Grey River Road, walk across the Manna Gum forest as the bears will likely be sleeping up in the gum trees. What’s more, the forest is packed with all kinds of exotic birds and colorful parrots that are worth mentioning as well. 

Continue up the Grey River Road, after roughly 5 kilometers you will reach a scenic picnic ground in the Grey River Reserve. The grounds are equipped with wooden barbecues where you can grill your meat.

Keep an eye on the nearby trees, you might spot more furry koalas! The picnic ground itself is often visited by fascinating wildlife, get ready for unique encounters.

Relax after the hike at Kafe Koala, a local cafe near the coast and just off the Great Ocean Road. Enjoy freshly-made delicacies, an affordable and tasty lunch, or an aromatic coffee in the colorful outdoor garden frequently visited by exotic parrots.

Open all week from 7 AM to 7 PM.

Next on your Australia road trip: Apollo Bay, 30 minutes

Apollo Bay

car on scenic coastal road near beach and blue ocean in australia great ocean road apollo bay in background. See the scenic great ocean road during our australia road trip itinerary.

Follow the twists and turns of the Great Ocean Road for another 30 minutes until you reach Apollo Bay, the final stop for the day.

Great Ocean Walk

Hikers will surely enjoy their stay here, as Apollo Bay is the beginning point of the 91-kilometer Great Ocean Walk. The trail leads all the way to the monumental 12 Apostles and takes hikers across sandy beaches, bushlands, and rainforests with spectacular views at every step of the way.

Those who want to experience the walk without dedicating 6 days to hike the entire trail can try out shorter segments.

Cape Otway Lightstation

Be sure to drop by the Cape Otway Lightstation. The station was built back in 1848 and remains the oldest surviving lighthouse in all of Australia.

Learn about the lighthouse’s fascinating history, including why it was named “The Beacon of Hope”, during a daily history talk at 11 AM, 2 PM and 4 PM.

Then, photograph the spectacular views of the ocean from atop the tower.

Book your tickets online right here.

The tower is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Before you decide to call it a day, go to La Bimba for dinner. The restaurant strongly supports local produce, essentially anything on the menu is locally-sourced, freshly-prepared and absolutely delicious.

La Bimba serves dinner from 6 PM to 9 PM, closed on Tuesdays.

Where to stay in Apollo Bay?

Spend the night at the beachfront Seafarers Getaway. The beachfront resort features 20 lodges and units with spectacular ocean views, an outdoor deck, barbecue facilities, and beach access. The convenient location right by the Great Ocean Road is worth mentioning, too. Plus, a free car park.

When you stay in Apollo Bay, you can enjoy the perks of a beachfront location without breaking the bank.

Travelers on a budget should check-in at the Apollo Bay Waterfront Motor Inn, a beachfront resort that features oceanview rooms and villas. A car park is available at no extra charge.

Next on your Australia road trip: Twelve Apostles, 1 hour 20 minutes

Twelve Apostles

twelve apostles limestone cliffs near ocean coast small waves on a clear summer day in australia

Make your way down the Great Ocean Road for a little over an hour until you reach the main highlight of any road trip in Australia, the magnificent Twelve Apostles.

The natural wonder is best admired during the sunrise and sunset when the dramatic light adds to an even more magical experience. During that time you might be able to spot little penguins as well, if you’re lucky.

Admire the Apostles from the main viewing platform and observe as the water crashes into the massive limestone pillars. Some travelers might be surprised when they start counting the Apostles, as only eight of the pillars remain today.

Photographers looking to get the perfect shot will be happy to hear that the viewing platform can be visited nonstop 365 days per year. Admission is free of charge.

12 Apostles Helicopter Tours

Get a view from above during a scenic helicopter tour. Head to the heliport near the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre just across the road from the viewing platform and book your sightseeing helicopter flight.

Guests can choose from a selection of different packages that vary in flight length, the longer tours offer more sightseeing opportunities along the coast such as the Otway Lightstation or the Moonlight Head. Check the official website and book your unforgettable tour.

Port Campbell

As you continue along the Great Ocean Road, stop for lunch at 12 Rocks in Port Campbell, just 10 minutes from the Twelve Apostles.

The family-run bar offers some delicious meals made from local ingredients, a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, and panoramic views of the Port Campbell Foreshore.

Open daily from 9:30 AM, lunch service begins at noon. 

London Bridge

Don’t miss some out on some of the other landmarks around the Twelve Apostles, such as the famous London Bridge.

Drive a few minutes west of Port Campbell to see the monumental landmark. Originally a natural bridge connected to the mainland, the London Bridge collapsed in 1990. In effect, two tourists were stranded on the just-formed island and had to be rescued by air.

Photograph the formation from the viewing platform 24 hours per day, all year. Admission is free of charge.

Next on your road trip in Australia: Colac, 1 hour

Colac

panoramic view of colac lakes and fields in australia on a cloudy day

Photograph from Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons.

Get off the Great Ocean Road and head inland on your way back to Melbourne. This part of the journey, although not as dramatic as the coastal road, is a fascinating look inside the Victorian countryside among volcanic plains and lakes.

Alternatively, you can travel back to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road once again and revisit some of your favorite attractions along the coast.

What is Colac known for?

Colac, a small town around 150 kilometers south-west of Melbourne, is known as “the gateway to the Otways” surrounded by volcanic landscapes.

Lake Corangamite

Be sure to visit Lake Corangamite, the largest salt-water lake in the country. The natural setting is completely different from the dramatic coastline along the Great Ocean Road, hence it is definitely worth a visit for the total change of scenery. Admire the views, observe as local fishermen try to catch fish or go for a dip in the lake.

Red Rock Scenic Lookout

Admire the panoramic view of 30 volcano crater lakes from the Red Rock Scenic Lookout. The green lake-filled landscape makes for a perfect backdrop for photos. There are also BBQ facilities and a children’s playground near the lookout, where you can unwind before continuing on to Melbourne.

Post your pictures from the lookout with #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a rental car free of charge! Click here for details! The lookout is open to the public 24 hours a day, there is no admission cost.

Lake Colac

Relax at Lake Colac, a large lake right by the town itself. The lake is the center for fishing and water activities of all kinds. Swim in the lake (the average depth is below 2.5 meters), sunbathe on the shore or have a go at fishing. The shore near the town is the busiest, head away from Colac to find more secluded parts of the lake.

Colac Botanic Gardens

Wander around the vibrant Colac Botanic Gardens. Hike down the trails, examine the colorful flora or have a picnic in the green lawns. Take your kids to the local playground, spend time with friends at the barbecue area near the east end of the gardens or go to the local Botanic Cafe located inside the historic curator’s cottage from the 1920s. 

The park is open daily between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Next: Melbourne, 1 hour 50 minutes

Drop-off

For maximum convenience, drop your car off directly at the Melbourne Airport when leaving. Lots of car rental companies support airport drop-off, browse through available options via Rentalmoose

Road Trip Extension

Your Australian adventure doesn’t have to finish here! Extend your trip and continue along Princes Highway up to Sydney, seeing the picturesque East coast of Australia along the way. Click here for the Rentalmoose travel guide from Melbourne to Sydney.

Don’t have a car you can take on Australian road trips? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next road trip online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

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