For anyone who loves to get away from it all with a driving holiday, caravanning can be an irresistible concept. Hire a caravan and car or a campervan, hit the road and let it take you to unknown destinations.
A bit of planning doesn’t go astray though, and here are a few ideas to whet your appetite for an overseas road trip.
Roaming around Canada in an RV is one of the great pleasures of the maple nation. Everywhere you look, there is sublime natural scenery, no matter what time of year.
Spring or summer are good times to trace a particular caravan route, along the Alaska Highway. Meander through soaring mountain country and mind-bogglingly beautiful lakescapes.
Along your journey from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Watson Lake, Yukon, you’ll encounter spectacular attractions:
- Dawson Creek is considered ‘Mile 0’ and is the official starting point of the Alaska Highway. Drop by the Visitor Centre for an interesting history lesson.
- The Fort Nelson Heritage Museum, also in BC, has a distinct transportation theme. License plates, antique cars and trucks and even mineral samples are on display.
- The Sikanni Chief Falls Protected Area includes a 30-metre waterfall whose roar can be heard from quite far away.
- Liard River Hot Springs offers a warm and welcoming respite for any traveller needing to stretch their legs. Soak in the thermal waters to unwind like never before.
- At Watson Lake, you’ll find Sign Post Forest, an ever-expanding collection of location signs that are contributed by visitors from all over the world.
At the Alaskan end of the highway is the Delta Junction where you can pop in to the Knotty Shop for Alaskan souvenirs including handcrafted wood items.
The 2,237-kilometre highway is one of the top caravan routes around the world because it’s safe with good road surfaces. Towards the Alaska-Yukon border, there are plenty of curves and gradients to be aware of. Most importantly, be aware of moose. Be ready with your passport, international driver’s license and vehicle documentation for the border crossing.
Remember TV chef Jamie Oliver cruising around Italy in a Kombi van, filming his adventures and recipes along the way? Well he wasn’t exactly a pioneer because caravanning around Italy is a big deal.
The Adriatic Coast stretches from the Slovenian border down to the tip of the boot’s heel. In the north, pick up your campervan at the airport in beguiling Venice and journey down the coast to Lecce.
Here’s what you may like to experience along the way.
- Set up camp in Rimini and head to Skypark where the whole family can embark on a treetop adventure. Try Geocaching, a high-tech treasure hunt, or make like Tarzan and explore the incredible climbing, free-falling and rappelling activities.
- Further down the coast is Ancona, the capital of the Marche region and a city of monuments and cathedrals. Visit the Arch of Trajan which dates back to 115 BC or Italy’s very own Pentagon, the five-sided, 18th-century Lazzaretto of Ancona, built for Pope Clement XII in the mid-1700s.
- A visit to Pescara is not complete without a shopping trip. The upmarket Italian fashion boutiques make for dreamy window-shopping but there is also a flea market where you can shop for local cheeses and meats, jewellery and antiques.
- Stop off in Bari, a progressive, urbanised city with exciting nightlife and even an opera house.
- Feast on seafood in Brindisi where the octopus, prawns, mussels and fish are abundant. Or, take a cellar tour and wine tasting at Tenute Rubino.
When your caravan route delivers you to Lecce, nicknamed the ‘Florence of the south’, you’ll be amazed by the ornate Baroque architecture of the palaces and churches. Pick up a traditional cartapesta (papier-mâché) sculpture, for which the town is known.
The Adriatic Coast is a safe, scenic journey with lots of towns and villages along the way. With loads of campervan facilities, it stands to reason that it’s one of the top caravan routes around the world.
The Germany Fairytale Road sounds absolutely enchanting and the 600-kilometre journey from Hanau (birthplace of the Brothers Grimm) to Bremen in the north lives up to the promise.
If the idea of gingerbread houses and magical castles seems irresistible to you, then you’ll agree with it being named one of the top caravan routes around the world.
Established in 1975, the best time to visit is spring when the valleys are blanketed in flowers in full bloom. You can actually drive the Fairytale Road in less than a day but stop and visit the delightful attractions for the best fun.
- Treat the kids to rodent-shaped cookies made by local bakeries in Hamelin, the home of the Pied Piper.
- Bremen is the same town of Town Musicians of Bremen A bronze statue in the town’s centre features the four animals standing on each other’s backs. The front hooves of the donkey are shiny from being touched by visitors for good luck.
- The fictional Sleeping Beauty slumbered for a hundred years in the 650-year old Castle Sababurg before being brought back to life by a kiss from a prince. Today, you can visit the restaurant and café, the glorious rose gardens and take the Sleeping Beauty tour.
- In Trendelburg, the mediaeval castle that was the inspiration for the Brothers Grimm fairytale Rapunzel boasts a moat and drawbridge and of course, the 40-metre tall tower where Rapunzel let down her hair.
Collect your campervan from Frankfurt Airport, bundle the family in and head straight for the Fairytale Road. Pick up a tourist guide so you don’t miss seeing the Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood attractions. Look out for parades, markets, character statues and concerts.
No matter where you choose a caravan route around the world, the whole family is sure to enjoy the journey.
You have your own transport so you can travel freely on your own schedule, and you are, for the most part, self-contained.