I was reading one of the travel supplements over the week-end (pretty sure it was in the Independent) about some of the world’s best car journies. I have to admit that I haven’t driven through Asia, the sub-continent, the bulk of Africa, Australia, Russia and Eastern Europe. Oh and South America. So many of the recommendations were a little beyond my personal experience. But I am pleased to say that we had driven a number of the routes and just loved each one of them. I could scratch them from my personal list of things to do before I die but would actually prefer to do them again if chance allowed.
Here are my top five drives:
1. San Francisco, across the Golden Gate bridge, through the Napa wine country, the old gold mining cities, down through Yosemite and the sequoia forests, across the Mohave desert and down to Palm Springs, up to LA then north along the Pacific highway all the way back up to SF. We did it in 5 glorious days and it was indescribably beautiful. Best car: a lot of driving so something big and comfortable but with a soft top (compulsory) for the Ocean-side drive. One of the Audis would be cool.
2. Also in N America; Seattle up to Mt Ranier and along the NE Pacific coast to stunning Vancouver, taking in the islands and orcas en route. Sensational views. Best car: something fun but offering decent cover from the elements – maybe a Japanese cross-over SUV – the Qashqai feels about right.
3. The Corniche – riviera coast from Toulon, past St Tropez, Cannes, Nice and on to Monte Carlo. There are 3 main road routes low, medium and high and if you can avoid the lorries and the tourists, it’s sublime. I did it with my family when I was a kid – our first visit abroad. You could say it was a little different from the Fylde coastline. You’d need a proper car for this journey; an old Aston might be rather nice (as if!) or a Jag; something David Niven might have chosen.
4. The south west coast of Ireland – the Kerry ring, Dingle Bay – dozens of great memories and the best bars in all the world. Something rugged for the drive, maybe a Land Rover or a Discovery, and a local chauffeur would be handy.
5. The west coast of Scotland from Glasgow, up through Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Lochs Leven and Linnhe, Fort William, past Ben Nevis and on to Mallaig to catch the ferry to Skye. We did it with friends whilst at university – the highlight of a very wet week under canvas. A great but comfortable 4×4 for this journey (unlike the shaky but much-loved old Ford Anglia we did it in) – choose from the Volvo, BMW or VWs perhaps. How time’s change.
I could have done more; the route around Lake Como is hard to beat (in an Alfa surely) and there was a fantastic trip around the vineyards and coastline of South Africa which was great fun. Because of the wine it’d be nice to drive something quirky, chic and very French in this case. Or maybe a funky little 4×4 like the Kuga or Rav4.
Hey if you’ve done a car journey that was equally enjoyable please let me know. Car suggestions would be equally welcome!