What’s better for the soul than the pairing of a superb car and a thrilling stretch of road? Europe is home to a great number of jaw dropping roads with stunning scenic views. Taking to these top roads in the right car simply takes it to a whole new level.
But what truly makes a road amazing to drive on? Well, we like a good mix of things. There’s the view of course -- a panoramic backdrop will elevate any driving experience, no matter the car you drive. But if you’re a car lover, you’ll want a little bit of a challenge in parts. A road that allows you to up the revs, take on swooping corners and cruise peacefully in the right places is ideal for us.
Then there’s the traffic. Europe may well be home to many beautiful drives, coastal routes and mountain passes alike, but if they’re clogged up with tourist busses and slow moving traffic, the experience won’t be the same.
That’s why we often hit the road in the early morning! There’s nothing quite like speeding along an empty stretch of beautiful road as the sun makes its way into the sky, dying everything gold for miles around. That, we feel, is really living.
Of all the gorgeous, unforgettable drives we’ve been on, here are our Top 6 Driving Roads in Europe:
Full disclosure: We haven’t yet had the chance to drive on the fabled Transfagarasan in Romania’s Carpathian mountains, so we can’t comment -- but it’s still on the bucket list. If you’ve been there, let us know in the comments how it was!
Grimsel - Furka Pass, Switzerland
Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash
You way well recognise these images from the James Bond film Goldfinger. The now fabled Hotel was a major location for the film. The Grimsel and Burka Passes offer up just over 70 kilometers of stunning, thrilling and at times, let’s be honest, scary driving! Located over 2,000m meters above sea level, these roads are all about tight hairpin turns, made even more challenging by the distractions of amazing scenic views.
Photo by Dave Ruck on Unsplash
Since the entire road isn’t so long, we prefer to take it twice, slow and then fast! Once for the thrill, and once again for the views.
Photo by Cooper.ch, CC BY 2.5
Stelvio Pass, Italy
Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash
Located in the far north Alps of Italy near the Swiss border, the Stelvio Pass is the stuff of motoring legend. 46 hairpin bends complete with jaw dropping views make this a thrill ride if ever there was one.
Photo by Jean Wimmerlin on Unsplash
It can get very busy during the day though, with tourist buses and hundreds of other motorists. Therefore, the Stelvio Pass is something we’d highly recommend taking to in the early morning.
Photo by Graziano De Maio on Unsplash.
Wild Atlantic Way, Republic of Ireland
Photo by Steve Wilson on Pixabay
Frankly, it’s always shocked us that the west coast of Ireland rarely features on the top driving roads lists! The Wild Atlantic Way begins in the northwest of the country in County Donegal and runs all along the coast, overlooking cliff tops to one side and endless views on the other. It comes to a finish in the deep southwest of County Kerry.
Photo by Peter Mitchell on Unsplash
It’s not always ideal for speedsters though, as some of the roads are a little rutted and narrow. But in terms of the natural surroundings, this is one of the continent’s most magical roads. The main highlights are the vistas of Doolough Valley in County Mayo, and the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. And if you’re feeling super adventurous, take your car into the Black Valley in Killarney National Park, where narrow swooping roads are the order of the day.
Côte D’Azur, France
Photo by Gerhard Bögner from Pixabay
The French Riviera, or Côte D’Azur, is quite simply majestic. Picture driving in a classic car, with the roof down, along the picturesque mediterranean coast of Southern France, through hotspots like Cannes, Saint-Tropez, Saint-Maxime and Monaco.
Photo by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay
Perhaps the most scenic drive is through the three Corniches between Nice and Menton. Winding through pine forests from the high mountains to the glistening ocean, the Grande Corniche, Moyenne Corniche, and Basse Corniche boast some of the most dizzying, but truly awe-inspiring driving on the continent.
Col de Turini, France
Photo by Speedholics
Famed for being the location of the Rally of Monte Carlo, the Col De Turini is a mountain pass high in the French Alps. It’s very popular with cyclists, and the road itself can be hazardous, so fair warning on this one. Trest the road, and the cyclists, with respect though, and you’re in for one one the greatest driving experiences of your entire life.
Photo by Speedholics
The road is chock full of tight, winding hair pin turns set against stark rock faces and cascading waterfalls. It’s best to drive this road in summer though, as the harsh alpine winter can render the road icy or snowy. Not only that, but a dense fog can come over the region in the winter months. Try it in summer and you’re guaranteed stunning views over the south of France.
The Adriatic Highway, Croatia
Photo by FMedic_photography on Pixabay
Also known as the Jadranska Magistrala, these roads are in perfect condition, and are surrounded by amazing scenery. The Jadranska Magistrala stretches from Rijeka all the way to Karasovici on the Montenegrin border. Picture stark mountains and rock faces on one side, and the twinkling Adriatic sea to Italy on the other.
Photo by Taneli Lahtinen on Unsplash
In close to 700 kilometers of driving, we guarantee that you’ll not experience a single significant period of boredom.
So there you have it, our favorite top 6 driving roads in Europe. If there’s anywhere you’d like to give us a heads up about, please comment and let us know.
Even better, if you’d like to share some amazing road trip images, check out our contributors page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured!