If you’re into driving and you have that urge to just get out and explore the world, then I’ve put together the perfect road trip list for you. Some far and some close, it just gives you the option as to how far you want to travel away from wherever it may be that home is.
So, without further ado, I’ll refrain from beating about the bush and get straight to it. Here’s the top 4 European road trips that you simply Have to do (in my opinion of course).
The Military Road, Isle of Wight
This is a trip that will take you around the southern tip of the Isle of Wight from east to west and after a while of driving past the lower reaches of St Catherine’s Down, curving along the Blackgang Chine you’ll be greeted by stunning panoramic views of the south-west coast of the island which will just curve up ahead of you into the sunset.
This stretch is known locally as the Military Road and this particular stretch of the A3055 was built in the 19th Century when there was a perceived threat of invasion from Louis Napoleon. However, it now provides one of the most spectacular stretches of coastal road in England and if you’re starting your road trip from the UK, this is one not to be missed.
Verdon Gorge Circuit, France
This is one that you may want to only consider if you trust in your driving ability or if you’ve got a sturdy car or a 4×4 as it’s a somewhat challenging route in parts. Not too far away from the UK, this road trip will take you over to France.
You’ll find yourself in Provence, one of the most seductive regions of France and it’s a trip that gently rises at first but then it will lead you sharply up on some rather testing rustic roads on your way to villages like Tourtour which are so high up not for views but for defence and when you get there, you understand their past to a point with the vaulted streets and ramparts that are a stark reminder of their past.
Higher up from Tourtour though are the Verdon Gorges which in some people’s eyes (mine included) are Europe’s version of the Grand Canyon. With drops of 2,000ft directly down, you’ll be glad you went in a 4×4 (if that’s what you did), with the big chunky 4×4 tyres working overtime to keep you firmly on the road and not finding yourself coming a cropper to the 2,000ft drops which make this place, arguably, the continent’s most dramatic place to come and drive.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austria
This is one to visit if you like to let loose a little and put the pedal to the metal. The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is a big, big favourite with sports car and motorcycle enthusiasts alike. As proof of this, Top Gear took a BMW M3 GTS to the High Alpine Road to give it a full test run in 2012 when Top Gear was still something everyone enjoyed.
When you hit this road, you’ll be flying through a range of 37 different mountains and you’ll also pass through the Hohe Tauren National Park whilst climbing a crazy 2,504 metres and also navigating a number of tyre-squealing hairpin bends which will undoubtedly test your driving skills.
One place of note to stop off at on your way through the Grossglockner is the Alpine Nature Show Museum which highlights the area’s natural ecosystems and also the Building of the Road exhibition which is right next to Fuscher Lake and recorded the severe challenges faced by the labourers who, in 1935 engineered this quite extraordinary road.
North Coast 500, Scotland
This is another route that has been used by Top Gear for their TV series but this was the new Top Gear presenters, not everyone’s favourite oldies in Clarkson, May and Hammond. It was in fact Rory Reid who was out there driving a Mustang but it broke down and he gave a local mechanic a bit of a surprise when they called for help.
Anyway, that’s by the by. If you want a taste of genuine Scottish Highlands life and breath taking views, the North Coast 500 is the place to go. The route is (unsurprisingly) 500 miles and it a circular trip that skirts the top of the United Kingdom and captures all the mysticism and romance that the area has to offer.