The ultimate overseas adventure must be a road trip. Just you, your mates, and a car. Oh, and of course a map (or satnav) and some money. See where the road will take you. Go explore Europe. Awesome. As you drive along in Europe, you’ll notice the differences in petrol stations and the snacks you can buy there. Each country has typical local (greasy) snacks to give you some extra energy to continue on your European road trip. And here are some of our favourites.
In case you’re wondering… Yes, these typical road trip snacks are also available in a vegetarian version. We’ve listed those as well, where available.
Italy: flatbread with ham (“piadina con prosciutto crudo”)
As Italy is a country where food is sacred, flavours are strong, and quality is high, even at motorway petrol stations. Petrol stations are turned into little supermarkets and delis in Italy. Extremely good barista made coffee is cheap (€1 for espresso) and snacks are yummy. You can select from a range of sweet items but also savoury snacks and sandwiches.
Our all-time favourite in Italy is the “piadina con prosciutto crudo”, a kind of a flat bread served with ham. Sounds simple but the taste is amazing. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get these throughout Italy as it’s a local dish of the Northern part of the country. But if you have a chance go for the piadina. Ham is one of the best options to go for but there are much more toppings to choose from, also vegetarian (Parmesan cheese & rocket lettuce). Your Italian road trip will be a super yummy road trip.
Germany: schnitzel on a bread roll
Did you expect to see any other snack at German petrol stations? Just like Italy petrol stations in Germany are more like little supermarkets combined with a deli. Coffee is mostly made by machines, just like in Holland. You can either go for a complete meal or choose from a range of sandwiches.
And our favourite sandwich is, of course, the schnitzel sandwich. A piece of schnitzel on a bread roll with some special schnitzel sauce on it. Have it cold or heated. Yummm. It’s the perfect road trip food in Germany.
Netherlands: sausage rolls
The Dutch love their greasy food at gas stations. Bouncy meatballs are a thing of the past and nowadays you’re able to get better quality food and more variety at Dutch gas stations along the motorway. But the classic meatball never disappears. There are even new variaties available, like a vegetarian meatball (NoMeat Ball) made by the Vegetarian Butcher.
Another Dutch classic is the sausage roll (called “saucijzenbroodje”), a piece of meat wrapped in puff pastry. You can eat these sausage rolls warm or cold but most petrol stations serve them hot. And yes, there are also vegetarian sausage rolls (NoSausage rolls) made by the extremely popular Vegetarian Butcher brand.
However, you won’t find any barista made coffee at petrol stations in the Netherlands. All coffee is machine made. You’ll find Wild Bean Cafes at some BP petrol stations but the coffee is still machine made. The good news is that nowadays there’s heaps of choice in fresh sandwiches, like the ones in the UK (just with different toppings). And also there are little bakery shops that serve freshly baked sandwiches, created to your liking. You won’t go hungry on your road trip in Holland.
United Kingdom: sammies & crisps
The UK is renowned for its sandwiches and meal deals. Simply pick a sandwich to your liking, add crisps and a drink and you’ll have an affordable and yummy meal. Enough to keep you going on your road trip through the UK.
Our favourite is either the classic (vegetarian) Ploughman’s sandwich. And don’t forget to go for a take-away barista coffee from Costa or any of the other proper coffee place that can be found in those food courts along the motorway.
Tips for planning a road trip in Europe
When you’re planning a road trip don’t forget the music. As most radio stations in Europe have DJs talking in their own language through the music, it might be a good idea to bring your own music. Connect your (hi-res) player or smartphone to the stereo of your rental car or campervan via AUX cable, Bluetooth or FM-transmitter. Have a great road trip.