Forget flying, the best way to see a country is to drive it. When you travel by plane you are dropped into your destination without any geographical context.
Why would you stay in a hotel for a week when you can set your own agenda, and find adventure in a car? Get in the car and you can get to see the place in detail, stop off spontaneously at interesting places, and avoid the hassle of unpacking at every destination.
But some of you don’t need convincing. If you love driving then you’ll already be planning the route for your summer road trip. There are plenty of great places to drive in Canada. But here are my favourites from Europe and the United States:
Fly into Venice and you cruise towards the mountains of South Tyrol, where you’ll find open, empty roads leading you to beautiful scenery of green mountains punctuated by picture-box villages. A great place for foodies; thanks to its location, South Tyrol offers a “best of” of Italian and German gastronomy.
Highlands of Scotland
You won’t believe the wild landscapes of the glens of the Scottish Highlands until you see them. Start in Glasgow and cruise between the lochs in the Trossachs National Park, then take off through Glencoe towards Ben Nevis, or fly into Inverness for an even more dramatic route. The further north you drive, the wilder the scenery, the fewer cars — and other signs of life — you’ll see. But one thing stays consistent, the perfect quality of the roads. Check for routes at www.visitscotland.com/guide/inspirational/itineraries.
For a romantic road trip, cruise between the stunning towns that cling to the cliffs of the Amalfi coastline along the bay of Naples. The nail-bitingly-high, winding coastal road offers thrilling views and challenging drives as the locals are foolhardy on those scary corners.
West Coast of America
A good road trip involves breathtaking landscapes and surprising variety, and they don’t come better than this.
Drive up the West Coast of America and you’ll take in the long empty roads, Joshua trees and the barren landscapes of Arizona, the staggering vision of the Grand Canyon, the glamour and glitz of Las Vegas, the hectic cruising lifestyle in Los Angeles and Hollywood, the lush greenery of the Napa Valley, the famous rolling roads of San Francisco up through the Redwood forests to hip city of Seattle and the refreshing mountains of Oregon. Phew!