Driving around Europe Featured

Countless luxury destinations are open to exploration by car
by 13 December 2010

Exploring Europe by car is an amazing experience. Given, in most countries you have to drive on the right side of the road, but you will be compensated for that small adjustment by stunning scenery, excellent service and delicious cuisine. Of course it is important to pick the right destinations, but Europe is full of possibilities especially when you consider how small distances are between destinations compared to elsewhere in the world.

So where to go to first? How about a drive along the Austrian `Hochalpenstrasse` or `High Alpine Road` where you can drive leisurely up a mountain pass beside the highest mountain in Austria, the Grossglockner (3.798 m) with absolutely stunning views of the Alps and the Hohe Tauern National Park. You would start your drive in the magical city of Salzburg driving south into The Tyrol and passing Kaprun on the way, before making your way 48 kilometres over the mountain pass with panoramic views at up to 2.504 metres altitude. On your way to your final destination Villach in the south of Austria you will pass through the picture-postcard perfect village of Heiligenblut. And of course this being Austria, you will love the friendly service, excellent facilities and sumptuous cakes. However, the road is only open between May and October.

Or how about a drive down the Loire Valley in France? The Loire River, which flows through the heart of France, is also called the Queen of Rivers in France for good reason. Along its banks are vineyards, countless châteaux, charming villages and numerous restaurants serving delicious French cuisine. You could start your drive in Paris, taking time to linger and explore its seductive charms, before setting off south towards Nevers to follow the river to historic places such as Orléans and Angers.

Of course, if you enjoy wine and great scenery the island of Majorca is a must-see. Although the south coast has been developed for tourism the west and north coasts in addition to the interior are enchanting. You will find small, but stylish boutique hotels and restaurants to rival anything you might find in the trendy capitals of Europe. Moreover, you will enjoy the small country roads, which allow perpetually changing views over sea, coast and orchards.

However, if you want to go for something more familiar why not head for the United Kingdom where there are no language barriers and cars drive on the left? An absolute must is a drive through Scotland going north from Edinburgh into the interior towards Perth, the Grampian Mountains and Fort William on the west coast of Scotland. Tourists are said to drive at about 30 km/h here due to the scenery, not the quality of the roads! From Fort William the road goes north east along the famous Loch Ness to Inverness, the capital of the Highlands.

But who says driving has to be adventurous? How about a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing drive along summer country roads in the south of the UK? You could pick up a rental car at cheap car rental Heathrow and head south towards Brighton, England`s quintessential spa town. From there you would drive along the coast before heading back inland to Horsham and following quiet country lanes to Winchester with maybe the odd stop at an old country inn soaking up that good Old Country feeling.