From Route 66 to the French Riviera, what are the best road trips to take?

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The Atlantic Road, Norway, suffered many setbacks during construction due to severely adverse weather conditions.

Photo by CHG // CC BY 3.0.

Cars have proven to be very useful in terms of logistical and pragmatic solutions. They enable long and short-distance travel in a convenient manner. Sure, running a car can sometimes be pricey, but considering how many people drive, it’s clear the benefits outweigh the costs.

Forget the practicality though. Yes, their primary purpose may not be for pleasure, but as we know driving can be extremely fun. Ask any petrolhead and they’ll tell you that a decent car combined with long, empty stretches of road immersed in beautiful scenery is as close to perfection as you can get. So here is a small selection of those types of roads. It’s just up to you to find the perfect car for the journey.

French Riviera

Most parts of the French Riviera are fairly spectacular, but one gem that stands out more than most is Monaco. First made famous in the mid-19th century for being a popular gaming destination, Monaco has since adopted more things it’s famous for, such as an annual F1 race (first held in 1929) and a seemingly infinite amount of luxury yachts. Its stunning coastline, absorbing wealth and historical sites make it well worth a stop for an hour or two while on your journey.

The rest of the Côte d’Azur isn’t too shabby either. One thing that will attract many car-lovers to drive in the area apart from the obvious natural beauty, is the spectacular range of cars that you’ll see. Wealth is an abundance on France’s  south coast. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Maseratis. You name it, they’ll have them all. There are few better places to have a drive than the South of France.

Germany autobahn

Germany’s autobahns are known for their safety, despite there being no speed limit for the majority of the highways.

Photo by Tarboosh // CC0 1.0.

Forget about scenery, interesting locations or bucket-list destinations, Germany’s autobahns are special for different reasons. Sure, you will see some nice places, but the most appealing thing about travelling on the autobahns is the speed limit – or lack of. In urbanised areas, speed limits are enforced, but the majority of the roads only have advisory limits of 130kmh (81mph).

As well as being able to drive extremely quickly, there are a few other positives that make the autobahn a must to have a drive on at some points. Firstly, they are very well maintained. It’s not like non-German highways are littered with giant potholes in the roads, but the autobahns offer the definition of a smooth ride.

There’s also no tolls and very little police observing bypassers, which means no frustrating stops and drivers have the freedom to not have to worry about anything but driving. Finally, German drivers are some of the most skillful in the world. Every driver in the country must pass a vigorous exam consisting of a difficult multiple choice test and must take a number of lessons, including on the autobahns themselves. It can cost up to $2000 dollars, and also involves first aid training. Therefore, there should be no need to worry about dodgy drivers veering into your lane or dangerously undertaking.

The Atlantic Road

In what is most definitely Windows-screensaver material, Norway’s Atlantic Road is more than just your everyday highway. It’s a road that spans across the Norwegian Sea, and connects one region of Kristiansund to Molde. It took just under six years to build, and finally opened in 1989. In total, it took ten years for construction costs to be paid off in full, with the majority being paid for by the toll – which was subsequently eradicated in 1999.

Over time, it’s evolved into more than just a connection of two places. The Atlantic Road has become a popular tourist attraction and is even preserved as a natural, cultural heritage site. Some sources claim it’s one of the best drive to take in the world and we most certainly agree.

Route 66

Running from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, Route 66 is said to be one of the original highways in the US. It was established in 1926 and at the time acted as a transportational path from central America to the West Coast.

It’s since become an iconic route that takes drivers through all different aspects of American society, from the rural and remote towns that resemble something out of a wild-west film, to the built-up urban cities . The total length of Route 66 is 3940 km (2448 mi).

The main appeal of Route 66 for a driver is that you’ll see so much of such an enormous, interesting country. Although it can be done in two weeks, if you take double that time, it gives you a chance to really see what the US has to offer. Depending on the season, a lot of the route can often be quiet. You won’t quite always have the entire road to yourself, but at the same time you won’t be queuing for hours in traffic either.

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