Last month, we gave you an overview of sightseeing in Europe via Corvette or rental car. Traveling by Vette (our favorite, but the most expensive, approach) typically requires sending your pride and joy to the Continent, since rental Vettes are difficult to come by. Shipping by sea (vs. plane) is the least expensive method, but it requires time, patience, and, most important, a reliable shipper. We recommend buying shipping insurance to cover any damage that might occur during transit. Your Corvette must have a clear title with no lien, or you will need written permission from your loan company before transporting it to Europe.
You'll also need to obtain auto insurance during your trip. Some companies, such as USAA, offer European coverage if you insure with them. We suggest contacting your agent to see if such coverage is available. If not, blanket auto-insurance riders are available for one month and are usually priced at $800 to $1,000.
If the prospect of shipping your Corvette seems daunting (or simply too pricey), you can always rent a car from a large rental agency such as Hertz or Avis. These companies have offices throughout Europe, and you can even make your rental reservations ahead of time on the Internet. On the few occasions we've been forced to take this route, we've always chosen diesel-powered vehicles to minimize our fuel expenses and purchased supplementary insurance from the rental company to reduce our liability during the trip.
With a valid passport in hand, your next step is to decide where you want to go and for how long. What follows is an example of a recent seven-day European trip we took that included stops in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. As you'll see, we packed a lot into our short, but very enjoyable visit. Here's a day-by-day overview of our trip:
We arrived at Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam and took the hotel shuttle bus to our hotel (Best Western Bastion Hotel Amsterdam Airport). After checking in, we picked up our pre-reserved rental car and drove into town. We toured the city by car using our GPS and visited both the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. After a nice dinner in Amsterdam, we went back to our hotel to recover from our flight.
Seeing Corvettes on this trip was a must, so we drove 85 km (56 miles) north to Andre Boer's amazing Corvette Museum in Wezep (www.autobedrijfandreboer.nl). Boer has about 60 Corvettes on display, from '54 to C6 editions, and is a very friendly host who speaks excellent English. After our visit we drove 247 km (153 miles) to Hasselt, Belgium, where we spent the night at a hotel we found on the Internet. Hasselt is 20 km (12.5 miles) southwest of Circuit Zolder (www.circuit-zolder.be/en). The historic, 3.98-km (2.492-mile) Zolder circuit opened in 1963 and was home to the Belgium Grand Prix for many years. Next, we headed 97 km (61 miles) to Spa, in Belgium. Famous for its hot-spring baths, this city also boasts beautiful architecture and a casino. We reserved a hotel in advance for our planned two-night stay.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is located 10 km (6 miles) from the city of Spa and held its first race in 1922 (www.spa-francorchamps.be). Over the years, the circuit has grown smaller due to safety concerns, and today it measures 7.004 km (4.352 miles). It's one of the most challenging circuits in Europe due to its twisty turns and pronounced elevation changes. A Corvette C6.R won the 24 Hours of Spa in 2007 and 2009. After walking around the circuit, we headed to the Spa Racing Museum in Stavelot. The museum is located in an old abbey and is a worthwhile stop (www.abbayedestavelot.be/hp/pre_home.htm). It features an amazing collection of famous racing cars as well as two other non-racing exhibits. After a full day, we headed back to our hotel in Spa.