“You can’t take that up there”

Top 7 places to take your motorhome (if you’re feeling adventurous)

It’s important to know your limits, both those of the vehicle & the driver(s) & it has taken us nearly a year of full time motorhome travel to learn ours but as the saying goes – “life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”. Here’s some of our favourite places that took us right to the edge of our comfort zone!

Peloponnese, Southern Greece

Starting off in Greece, one of our favourite countries for motorhoming: The Peloponnese is a peninsula connected to the Greek mainland by the Corinth Canal in the east and Patras in the west. Although there weren’t any heart-in-mouth moments, we had three weeks of constant twisting roads, overhanging mountain passes and roads that have a habit of turning into gravel without any notice – more than enough reason for the area to make the list!

If you’re brave enough to take the challenge, you can look forward to beautiful beaches, historic towns (we especially recommend a stop off in Sparta!), tiny mountain villages and incredible views at every turn.

Difficulty 5/10
Reward 6/10

Driving through the Greek mountains

Malta
When we started looking at ferries to go to Malta to visit friends, the general response from our research on the internet was “just don’t”. The roads are narrow, traffic isn’t forgiving and wild camping isn’t strictly allowed, none of which are great for travelling in a motorhome! Thankfully for us, all those things make Malta not too different to our home on the little island of Jersey.

Having said all of that, we’re glad that we went anyway. Almost all of the towns were built many years ago and so aren’t at all accessible to large vehicles, but even on foot, or by bicycle, it’s well worth a visit. The bus service in Malta is pretty good too. The Blue Grotto, the capital city of Valetta and St Paul’s Bay are a must-see, in our opinion.

Top travel tip: if you’re going to Gozo (the island next to Malta) leave the motorhome in Malta. We hired quad bikes in Gozo and we’re glad we did; the roads over there are too hardcore even for us but are just perfect for exploring on quad bikes!

Difficulty 7/10
Reward 6/10

Mount Olympus
A visit to Greece wouldn’t be complete without a trip up Mount Olympus. Whilst we didn’t drive all the way to the top, finding our way up to the first lookout in a 7.5m motorhome was interesting, to say the least. At the base of the mountain is a village called Litochoro, and the route to the lookout point (according to Google maps) goes straight through it. The roads in Litochoro are narrow, the balconies overhang the road and there’s often a car parked in exactly the wrong place as you come around the corner. We eventually found a gravel track that took us to the lookout point, but not before the villagers had gathered to find out who the idiots in the motorhome were!

You can check out our ascent attempt on our YouTube channel but it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t have even tried it at the start of our trip. The restaurant at the lookout point served amazing Souvlaki and was the perfect place to start hiking from the following day.

Difficulty 8/10
Reward 8/10

Mount Olympus

The mountains of Montenegro
Although we didn’t get to spend as much time in Montenegro as we’d have liked, our drive down the coastline of the country was eventful enough to gain a place on this list! Many of the coastal roads weren’t finished as we drove through, including one occasion where we turned a corner and came face to face with the digger that was laying the road foundation of the actual road that we were driving on! (No signs or anything, just one guy working on the road…).

The mountain passes were usually two-way and single track, but that didn’t stop the articulated lorries using them. Try to pull in as far as you can, fold the mirrors in and let the driver on the outside do the work. They’ll let you know if there’s not enough room!

Difficulty 8.5/10
Reward 7/10

Monachil, Granada
Monachil isn’t the first place on most people’s travel itinerary, but taking that trip just outside of Granada is a must-see, in our opinion! We spent a few weeks in the mountains during coronavirus quarantine and for rugged, natural beauty it’s hard to beat southern Spain. Dirt tracks and winding roads are often the only way to reach the most magnificent views & most secluded parts of an area without hiking for hours. We have learned that the best places are often at the end of “the path less travelled”. You can find the video of our coronavirus hideout here.

There’s also quiet spot at the Embalse De Negratin where we spent two weeks at the start of the covid-19 outbreak, miles from civilisation and the rest of the world. It might not have been the best situation, but it was a fantastic (and peaceful) place to stay.

Difficulty 9/10
Reward 8/10

Embalse de Negratin, Spain

Trollstigen
Trollstigen is a mountain road in Norway with 11 hairpin turns, carving up the side of a mountain in western Norway. If you believe the internet, Trollstigen is a very difficult, very dangerous road that is almost impossible in a motorhome. Sometimes called “the most dangerous road in Norway”.

The road is fantastic and it’s an impressive feat of engineering, but I can’t help but feel it was over-hyped. Like many mountain passes, taming Trollstigen was just a case of engine braking, planning ahead and knowing where the passing points were.

Full disclosure, we got up early (at 5am) to drive Trollstigen as we wanted to do some filming and the hour after sunrise is typically the best time to record. The lack of traffic may have made things slightly easier, but even Geiranger (a short distance down the road from Trollstigen) was more challenging, in my opinion. Both are totally worth it for the incredible views though! See what you think, the video is here.

Top tip: Get up early. Empty roads mean that you can stop to take some awesome photos, plus you can pretend to be the bus driver from The Italian Job without getting in trouble.

Difficulty 6/10
Reward 9/10

Trollstigen, Norway

The final and most challenging road that we’ve had to drive in the past year goes to…

Tronfjell, Norway
Tronfjell is the second highest roadway in Norway, standing at 1,611m above sea level. We subscribe to the philosophy of “If we can reverse out of it, we can drive into it”, and Tronfjell pushed that to the limit. All of the reviews said that it was possible only “for four wheel drive cars”, but during our research we spotted a sports car and a motorhome amongst the photos at the top of the mountain, so we knew that it was possible. As we discussed our “plan of attack”, the rain and low-hanging fog continued and we weren’t sure if we should continue – eventually we decided that we should, worst case scenario I’d have to reverse the motorhome back down the mountain!

We knew that maintaining grip was going to be the most difficult part; we needed low gears and constant revs. We passed a couple in a converted transit van contemplating the ascent, shortly after we started, although we eventually pulled over to let them attempt the climb first. The gravel track became steeper and more difficult to drive the further up we went, although to our credit, we only had to stop and re-attempt one part of the track (when I missed a downshift and couldn’t get going again). The last two kilometers were spent weaving backwards and forwards as we struggled to keep our momentum up, but eventually, we made it. Getting up there was much more difficult than getting back down.

The driver of the van was surprised that we made it up, but was happy that we were there. The low-lying fog was now eye-level fog, and the transit van eventually left. We decided to sleep at the top of the mountain and face the -6°C overnight temperatures. It’s just as well we did – the views the next morning were breath taking! You can see that video on our YouTube channel too.

Difficult 10/10
Reward 10/10

Tronfjell summit views

We love going to adventurous places with our motorhome. Where’s the best place you’ve ever been? Recommend us some extreme roads and we’ll see if we can make it happen!

Waterfall, Trollstigen, Norway

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