Europe On Your Doorstep: Get there by car

Lake Maggiore is a highlight of the Ticino region
Lake Maggiore is a highlight of the Ticino region

Europe On Your Doorstep

Visit Europe by car & embark on an active holiday

Whether you're planning to cross The Channel by car and visit France from the UK, drive to the Italian Riviera from the Netherlands or get down to the Swiss mountains from Scandinavia, when our window of travel opens up again it's reassuring to know that Europe is on our doorstep.

You may be keen to take an active holiday as soon as you have the option. At UTracks we can turnaround your booking fairly quickly and if you have access to the use of a car, you can find yourself in a completely different environment before you know.

On a centre-based walking or cycling holiday, you park your car in the village that is your base for a few days and explore the surrounding area under your own steam. Get out every day to see more of a specific pocket of France, Italy or Switzerland.

Check out the below regions that are within easy reach by car for a lot of us.



Bikes at Chaumont castle The Hospices of Beaune, Burgundy, France |  <i>Ewen Bell</i> Ardeche swimming pool indoor

Loire Valley

Also known as Valley of the Kings, the Loire, France’s longest river, is the historic heart of the country. With bikes, maps and detailed route notes in hand you can discover at your own pace the ‘playground of the kings’. Think forests and medieval towns and the famous imposing châteaux of Chambord and Cheverny, known for their beautifully landscaped gardens.

Book the 5-day Loire Valley Castles cycling trip. Driving distance to Blois from
London ± 7 hours | Berlin ± 12 hours | Copenhagen ± 15 hours | Venice ± 11 hours


On the Massif Central, above the broad valley of the Rhone, lies a walker’s paradise of hills where the Ardeche, Loire and Haute Loire regions meet. It is a land of steeply terraced slopes, half-hidden valleys and tumbling streams, where massive ruined farmhouses seem embedded into the landscape. This Ardeche ramble is based in a specially designed hikers hotel at the foot of Mont Mezenc, in a village that has the highest altitude of all the towns in the Central Massif.

Book the 8-day Walking in the Ardeche trip. Driving distance to Les Estables from
London ± 11 hours | Berlin ± 13 hours | Copenhagen ± 18 hours | Venice ± 9 hours


From Dijon in the north to Santenay in the south, the Route des Grands Crus runs through many of the great appellations of Burgundy wine, hence the name of the route. Punctuated by nearly 40 picturesque villages and little towns, it is divided into two sections: the Côte de Nuits is the land of the great red wines, while the Côte de Beaune is where Chardonnay reigns supreme. Explore this region of France on a short cycling break based in Beaune.

Book the 4-day Burgundy Highlights cycling trip. Driving distance to Beaune from
London ± 8 hours | Berlin ± 10 hours | Copenhagen ± 15 hours | Venice ± 8 hours



The ascent above Gindelwald will prove to be very rewarding in terms of views Cowbells and prayer flags in the Swiss Alps Cycling on the relatively flat trails of the Ticino region in Switzerland


Situated at the convergence of three of Switzerland’s major passes, the village of Meiringen is famous for the Reichenbach Falls, a spectacular cataract that was the setting for the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes. A place for anyone who wants to see the real Switzerland, walks here encompass all grades from gentle strolls to high ridges. From your base in Meiringen, a superb integrated network of cablecars, postbuses and trams takes you in all directions to start a new day of walking.

Book the 5-day or 8-day Panoramas of the Swiss Alps walking trip. Driving distance to Meiringen from
London ± 11 hours | Berlin ± 9½ hours | Copenhagen ± 14 hours | Venice ± 6 hours

Ticino Lakes

Ticino, Switzerland’s southernmost canton, is the only canton where Italian is the sole official language and represents the bulk of the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland. The beautiful palm tree lined lakes of Maggiore and Lugano are within easy reach from the comfort of your spa hotel. Via a mix of daily activities you can be surrounded by snowy peaks and glaciers, admiring the spectacular Swiss mountainscapes. The medieval city of Bellinzona, the region’s capital, is known for its three UNESCO-protected castles, while the peaceful Botanical Gardens on the easily accessible island of Brissago are home to over 1,600 plant species. Experience the Italian side of Switzerland on a centre-based trip that is suitable even for novice cyclists!

Book the 6-day Ticino Lakes Cycle trip. Driving distance to Losone from
London ± 12½ hours | Berlin ± 9½ hours | Copenhagen ± 15 hours | Venice ± 4 hours



Climber making her way up the Via Ferrata in the Dolomites Explore the Italian lakes on a centre based walking trip |  <i>Elizabeth McKay</i> On Lake Como

Via Ferrata

The original Via Ferrate (‘iron roads’) were routes across the Alps which were used by the Italian army to carry munitions and supplies to their allies during World War I. Back then they made difficult ascents across steep terrain achievable in relative safety; today they provide the most dramatic viewpoints across the Dolomites. There are thousands of trails winding their way between the jagged mountains. Experience walking high in the cliffs between atmospheric ‘rifugios’ and take in incredible mountain views, with soaring limestone spires as a stunning backdrop and returning each evening to our hotel in the Hochpuster Valley.

Book the 7-day guided Via Ferrata hiking trip in the Dolomites. Driving distance to Hochpustertal from
London ± 15 hours | Berlin ± 9 hours | Copenhagen ± 15½ hours | Venice ± 3 hours

Lake Como

The great lakes of northern Italy have been a popular holiday destination since Roman times, evidenced by the array of lavish villas and sumptuous gardens which line their shores. This flexible itinerary uses the old tracks which cross the mountains on the west side of Lake Como. Still in use today by the locals to reach the alpine pastures ('Monti'), they have been transformed into a series of way marked trails offering breathtaking views. Stay in Menaggio which offers fabulous views of the lake.

Book the 5-day Lake Como walking trip. Driving distance to Menaggio on Lake Como from
London ± 13 hours | Berlin ± 10 hours | Copenhagen ± 16 hours | Venice ± 4 hours

Whether travelling as a family, just with your partner or with a larger group of friends, centre based holidays offer the utmost convenience: having to unpack only once. Reach these places in Europe by car for more flexibility.


> View all centre-based holidays with UTracks


Centre-based, Italy, France, Switzerland, Coronavirus

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