Whether it’s a driving holiday in an exotic location or a jaunt in the fresh air of nearby countryside, sometimes filling the tank, rolling the windows down and taking a drive is exactly what the doctor ordered. Both Britain and Europe boast some great scenic drives that will have your camera clicking away non-stop and the stresses of daily life long forgotten.
The Scottish Highlands are home to some of the best scenic drives in the whole of the United Kingdom. A vast wilderness, crowned with imposing mountains, everlasting lochs, glens and forests. Dotted with ruined castles and ancient cairns, the Scottish Highlands really are storybook material. Travel along the A9 from Glasgow to Inverness where you will be taken away by the isolation and beauty of the highlands. If you can time it, driving through this area in twilight is something truly magical.
The Black Mountain Range on the west side of England’s Breacon Beacons National Park is a stunning drive. The winding 12-mile stretch of the Black Mountain Road (A4069) dips and twists and climbs along, reaching 1,617 feet above sea level, which provides some fantastic views across the national park. It may be a short drive, but its visitors will be rewarded.
The Lakes District in Cumbria, England is an area of immense natural beauty that attracts hundred of thousands of tourists every year. The lush countryside, beautiful lakes and quaint villages are the perfect antidote to city stress. For a wonderfully tranquil and picturesque drive, take in the lakes along the round route from Kendal, on the A5284 and make your way through Ambleside, Keswick and Windermere.
In Wales, you will not find more scenic roads than those winding through Snowdonia National Park (or Eryri as it’s known in Welsh). To really explore the best of this area, set off from Betws y Coed and make your way along the A4086 towards the Snowdon summit, through the Pass of Llanberis on a deep ascent into the mountains and on to Beddgelert where you will find yourself right in the heart of Snowdonia.
Further afield, Europe boasts some of the most picturesque drives in the world, perfect for a driving holiday.
One of the most famous is Italy’s impressive Amalfi coast. Starting at Sorrento, wind, squeeze and nerve your way along the 31 miles of narrow passes and hairpin turns this coastal drive is famous for. Along the way you’ll pass through quaint whitewashed fishing villages perched on the cliffs, teased by sandy coves far below and discover olive and lemon groves all the while accompanied by the most magnificent azure horizon.
The Amalfi Coast drive can be chaotic, so take your time with it. It should be a leisurely adventure, savoured and not rushed. This drive is not for the fainthearted plus Italian’s are known to be crazy on the road, treating street signs and road lines as mere suggestions. It’s recommended you opt for the full car insurance cover with your rental for this particular road trip!
Another great Italian drive is the Great Dolomite Road, or the Grande Strada delle Dolomiti. This 65-mile stretch high in the north of the country runs from Belluno to Bolzano and provides incredible views of the majestic Dolomite Mountain range.
For a real medieval fix, the Romantic Road in Germany ticks all the boxes. The 220-mile stretch in southern Germany, from Wurzburg to Fussen, boasts ancient walled towns, picturesque villages, rural countryside where time’s stood still and dominating fairytale castles such as the Neuschwanstein and the Burg Harburg. As the incredible fortress of the Alps comes into view towards the end of the journey, you know you’ve just experienced something very special.
The Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos in Andalucía is quintessential Spain. The ‘Road of the White Villages’ serves up authentic Spanish fair; aging white villages, flamenco and tapas bars, olive groves and world class wines and red stretches of dusty Spanish countryside. Wind the window down and breath in the orange blossom. Thankfully, tourist buses haven’t suffocated this stretch of road yet so you still feel like you are exploring on your own.
Another great European drive is through the romantic Loire Valley in France. Saturated with chateaus and wineries, it’s easy to drive through and has so much to see and do.
Driving along the open road with fresh air and fabulous views is a great way to escape, so treat yourself with the coolest rental you can afford (roofless makes it all the more special) and drive.
Jennifer Adams is a part of the digital blogging team that write about subjects like lifestyle and finance such as car insurance, on behalf of a growing number of insurance companies, to keep up to date with the latest in industry news.