There’s nothing that sparks that relaxed, not-a-care-in-the-world feeling, quite like gathering up a few friends or family members, cranking up the radio, and hitting the open road. For some ideas on where to go, here are some of the world’s most beautiful drives.
The Atlantic Road – Norway
Although it’s technically only 8km long, Norway’s Atlantic Road demands inclusion on any list of the world’s greatest road trips, purely for the amazing architectural structure of the road itself, which seems to almost defy gravity. Add to that some stunning coastal scenery, winding through low bridges looking out onto an endless sea, and this drive is an absolute winner. The Atlantic Road itself links the two towns of Kristiansund and Molde, and was awarded as Norway’s ‘Construction of the Century’ in 2005. For the full experience, drive the extended Atlantic journey, beginning approximately 30km southwest of Kristiansund, and ending 47km north of Molde.
There are plenty of vantage points along the way for seal-spotting, and if you’re lucky, perhaps even a passing whale. The Atlantic Road is also a great destination for fishing enthusiasts, with a number of excellent spots to bring in a good catch. Leave the car behind for a few hours, or even a full day, to take advantage of a daily tour operating from the Stromsholmen Sea Sports Centre, or from Haholmen island.
Route 66 – United States
No road trip bucket list would be complete without a journey along the iconic Route 66, the most famous highway in the world. You’ll need to set aside a little time for this one, as the full stretch is approximately 4,000km. Starting in Chicago, Illinois, the ‘Rock n Roll’ Highway winds through the states of Missourie, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, winding up in Los Angeles, California.
What makes 66 such a great driving holiday is that there is truly never a dull moment – many of the attractions were specifically designed with the road-tripping holiday-maker in mind, and are literally right by the shoulder of the highway. It’s pretty hard to miss the larger-than-life Gemini Giant, Tow Tater, Blue Whale or The Big Texan as you cruise on by, feeling the wind in your hair – of course, don’t forget to keep your eyes on the road! When you need to get out and stretch the legs, some of the most iconic and famous sights in the US will be right at your doorstep – or should that be, car door? Route 66 passes through the Gateway Arch of St Louis, the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert and Santa Monica Pier, just to name a few.
Great Ocean Road – Australia
One of the most beautiful drives in the world can be found right here on our doorstep, the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. The journey covers about 250km of some of the world’s most spectacular coastline, along the rugged south-east of Victoria, from the pretty surfing town of Torquay, to the village of Warrnambool. The world-famous Twelve Apostles are a natural highlight, and for a bird’s eye view, take a break from the road for a few hours, and embark on a helicopter flight. The Great Ocean Road region is also home to dense rainforest scenery, with towering trees and enormous green tree ferns filling the Great Otway National Park. There’s also an abundance of wildlife to be discovered, from schools of dolphins swimming around the waters of the secluded Otway Bay, to the kangaroos and koalas who populate the volcano at Tower Hill. After a long day sightseeing, relax over an evening glass of local wine, at one of the area’s many vineyards, sampling fresh seafood caught straight from the nearby ocean.
Amalfi Coast – Italy
As you’re cruising along the charming Italian coastline, don’t be surprised if you’re struck by a sense of familiarity – this particular piece of road has provided the backdrop for numerous car adverts, and more than a few Hollywood movies. It’s not hard to see why – it’s often described as the most romantic road in the world. If you’re after a relaxing road trip for your honeymoon, look no further. Fill up on the world’s very best pizza in Naples, then head south to begin the snaking, winding journey through the seaside towns of Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and Sorrento. Although less than 70km in distance, this is the kind of trip where you’ll want to stop, breathe deep, and take your time. Spend a while exploring medieval towers, the trail of sandy beaches that are dotted along the coast, as well as some of the very finest cuisine in Italy, with a choice of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Picos de Europa – Spain
One of the great drives of the world, and certainly Europe, the Picos de Europa region of Spain rewards road-trippers with spectacular scenery at every twist and turn. The dramatic mountain range is the highest on the Spanish Atlantic Coast, and this trip is perfect for those who are looking for a bit of a challenge and adventure, with many narrow, twisting bends. There are many endangered species that lurk in the area, including the Asturcon (rather like a miniature pony), and the Iberian brown bear. The area can technically be covered in a single day, about seven hours driving time, but ideally, spend three or four days exploring this wonderous mountain region, as a few diversions off the main road are well and truly worth it. The easiest place to start the journey is in the city of Santander – from here, head to Panes, and you’ll soon be in the heart of dense mountain forest, overlooking clear river streams, and tiny villages dotted along the landscape below.
for more tips, talk to your local, personal travel manager. Visit http://www.travelmanagers.com.au/ptm-search/