The Optimal Europe Road Trip

There are ferries involved. 

As part of our continuing Road Trips series, today we bring you this map visualization work from Michigan State University PhD Candidate Randy Olson. Though Randy specializes in biologically-inspired artificial intelligence and evolutionary processes (awesome), he seems to really enjoy maps. And planning.

Have you ever wanted to drive across an entire country, or even continent? If so, Randy’s got you covered. Inspired by a Business Insider article on must-see European locations, Randy plotted out the locations (that could be reached by car) and utilized a combination of Python script and Google Maps API to compute the route for the 45 destinations.

The trip covers 26,211 kilometers, which comes to around two weeks of driving. If you actually want to spend some time out of the car, it might be time to take that sabbatical since you’d need a couple months, at least. Not to mention the trials and tribulations of crossing multiple mountain ranges, bodies of water and international borders.

Of course, this route crosses recently examined cities like Paris, London and Milan. If you’re going to be taking a road trip in those areas anytime soon, we recommend Easter Weekend. For most western European cities, it was one of the least active weekends for all of 2014.

Not already living or planning on vacationing in Europe? No problem: Randy’s put together optimal road trip maps for the entirety of the United States and South America. Check out his articles for more on Randy’s science, plus interactive versions of each of the maps.

Remember, no matter where you’re road tripping, Waze will always give you the quickest and safest route. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be looking at all sorts of road trips all over the world as we move closer and closer to the Summer traveling season. Have any requests? Leave a note for us in the comments.