Leisure travel was the true reason why the automobile was born. The automobile was never conceived as exclusively a machine that could take you from point A to B.
It was made because we needed something to explore our world, set our minds free and in the process and unlock a zillion other emotions that were hitherto unknown.
Furthermore, as man explored more and more, he discovered that a straight road for the automobile was the most mundane means to explore the world around him. So he made roads that
This post outlines the 6 most beautiful driving destinations in Europe that’ll satiate your lust for the open road, and then some
Grossglockner High Alpine Road (Austria)
This is one of those roads that exist for the sole purpose of giving you a good time. Opened in 1935 amidst a time when Austria was still recovering from the catastrophe that was World War 1, this road now is a series of bends that will take you for a joyride around the Alps and it certainly helps things if you have a top down roadster. Of course, you can get a suitable rental vehicle in the connecting towns of Bruck and Heiligenblut. Grossglockner High Alpine Road – the name comes from Austria’s highest mountain, which directly translates to Mother Nature Nirvana in the purest sense.
Suggested duration: More than 3 hours
Trollstigen (Troll’s Footpath) (Norway)
If you have a petrolhead lurking somewhere inside you that had always wanted to be a rally racer but couldn’t because of the dangers posed by the sport or simply because your forte lay somewhere else, this is the road to be. The Trollstigen is narrow, full of steep curves and hairpin bends that rise sharply to reach the pinnacle that has nicely built walkways through which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley. The road is just a small part of the Geiranger – Trollstigen road in Norway so if you’re feeling the need to explore more all you need is a bit more fuel and the road will reward you.
North Coast 500 (Scotland)
North Coast 500 – Yes, as the name suggests, it is a 500-mile road that doesn’t really lead anywhere. It starts at Inverness Castle in Scotland and ends there. With that in mind, there must be a pretty solid reason to build a 500-mile road that basically comes full circle. Fortunately, there is. We are not going to give you any spoilers except mention that it is one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world, and was featured in the 3rd season of the Grand Tour, where Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters took 3 classic sports cars around that circle. You have to see it to believe it.
Transfăgărășan – Transfagarasan Highway (Romania)
This may not be the longest of stretches, 56 miles to be exact, but the Transfăgărășan is a mountain road that will reward you if you love the wild outdoors. It has everything. A glacial lake, forests, wide open vistas to a gigantic valley and a lovely road that was built upon the sacrifice of many military personnel and civilians in the 1970s. When you’re there, you can see how and why all that sacrifice was worth it. Jeremy Clarkson in his Top Gear days hailed it as the best driving road in the world, and that’s saying something.
Ullapool to Durness (Scotland)
Again, this is a route that will reward you if you are after wilderness, coasts, castles and vast green landscapes that shout peace and tranquility to free you from your everyday stresses. You have to take a detour to get to this route though,(Google Maps, step aside). The detour happens right after Ullapool when you take a left to get to the coastal road, and is a thing of beauty and joy forever. Along the way you will pass through Ardvreck Castle and Loch Assynt, which have legends associated with them too. (Psst.. we hear they are haunted, but no spoilers here). Recommended if you have an open top roadster. If you don’t, rent one.
Bernina Pass (Switzerland)
The Bernina Pass goes right back to the 15th century, when it was primarily used as a trade route between Switzerland and Italy. Now, it has turned into snow laden attraction for the lovers of mountains and anything that speaks the language of Nature. If the desire to see the Alps has been in your bucket list for long, the Bernina Pass is surely up there checking off that list. Of course, the road that leads up there is picturesque, but if you ever feel like you need to sit back in a quaint carriage sipping your tea, while the Apls behold themselves from the window, there is the Railway route too, and just so you know, it has been given a World Heritage status by UNESCO.
So there you have it. The six most beautiful driving routes in Europe. Anyone who knows Europe knows that it was the cradle of the automobile. It only makes sense that they would know how to build a beautiful road to ply that automobile on. So the next time you’re done with your boardroom meetings and meeting deadlines, you know where the next flight should be. Happy driving!