Travel

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Nine of the world's best road trips - start your engines for these spectacular drives

'Remarkable Road Trips' is a new book featuring the world's top scenic drives. Here, its author, Colin Salter, picks nine of his favourites...

Troll's Path in Norway, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).
Troll's Path in Norway, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).
Panoramic view of Atrani at the Amalfi Coast
Colin Slater's Remarkable Road Trips (Pavilion Books).
Monument Valley, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).
Nürburgring Nordschleife, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).
Iceland's ring Road, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).
Bolivia's Road of Death, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).
The North Coast 500, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).
Australia's Twelve Apostles, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).

Colin Salter

Short or long, town or country, mountain or coast, road trips have several advantages over other forms of travel.

You see far more of the land through which you drive, instead of flying far above it. You are in control of your route and can stop at will. And you can go a lot further than you can by bicycle or on foot.

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From hairpin bends in Italy and Norway to the ‘Road of Death’ in Bolivia and Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, here are nine terrific (and sometimes terrifying) road trips for your travel diary.

1. Amalfi Coast Road, Italy

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Panoramic view of Atrani at the Amalfi Coast

Length: 86km, 54 miles

Start: Salerno

Finish: Sorrento

Highlights: Minori, Ravello, Positano, the Sirenuses, Sorrento

Trip Notes: The Amalfi Coast Road traverses an area described by UNESCO as a classic Mediterranean landscape that offers outstanding scenery and displays diverse cultural and historical influences. It’s also great fun to drive.

More: The Italian Bucket List: 25 things to do in Italy before you die!

2. The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

Length: 2,500km, 1,600 miles

Start: Kinsale, Co Cork

Finish: Inishowen Peninsula, Co Donegal (or vice versa)

Highlights: Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Connemara, Westport, Ballyshannon, Fanad Peninsula.

Trip Notes: The Wild Atlantic Way celebrates the rugged extremities of Ireland’s Atlantic-carved west coast, a landscape as dramatic as any in Europe.

3. Nürburgring Nordschleife, Germany

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Nürburgring Nordschleife, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).

Length: 21km, 13 miles

Highlights: Blind corners, motor racing history

Trip notes: With a similar vintage to the Monaco GP circuit, there is no more historic race track existing in its original format than the exhilarating Nürburgring Nordschleife.

More: Top 10 Irish Drives: The best scenic road trips in Ireland

4. Monument Valley Arizona, USA

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Monument Valley, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).

Length: 17 miles, 27.4km

Start/Finish: Oljato–Monument Valley

Highlights: A monumental photo opportunity.

Trip Notes: An ancient valley of towering red-rock pinnacles, isolated buttes, colossal mesas and wide open spaces, Monument Valley is one of the USA’s iconic landscapes, little changed in 3,000 years.

5. Ring Road, Iceland

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Iceland's ring Road, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).

Length: 1,300km, 800 miles

Start/Finish: Reykjavík

Highlights: Geysir, Gullfoss, Skógafoss, Svínafellsjökull, Jökulsárlón, Mývatn, Goðafoss, Akureyri.

Trip Notes: Iceland has a landscape like no other place in the world. Lying over an active fault in the earth’s crust, it is still being formed by volcanic movement — a true land of ice and fire.

6. The Road of Death, Bolivia

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Bolivia's Road of Death, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).

Length: 93km, 58 miles

Start: La Paz

Finish: Coroico

Highlights: La Cumbre Pass, Río Elena, Mono Zip Line, Coroico.

Trip Notes: When the Inter-American Development Bank declared the North Yungas Road in Bolivia to be the most dangerous road in the world in 1995, it became a magnet for thrill-seekers. Some 25,000 people now travel its precipitous route every year — just for fun.

7. The Great Ocean Road, Australia

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Australia's Twelve Apostles, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).

Length: 243km, 151 miles

Start: Melbourne

Finish: Warrnambool

Highlights: Anglesea, Split Point Lighthouse, Apollo Bay, Great Otway National Park, The Twelve Apostles, London Arch.

Trip Notes: A drive along the south coast of Victoria takes you through lush rainforest, across towering cliffs and along surfing beaches to die for. The Great Ocean Road is steeped in history too, and the fertile coastal land is rich in local produce.

8. North Coast 500, Scotland

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The North Coast 500, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).

Length: 500 miles, 800km

Start/Finish: Inverness Castle

Highlights: Bealach na Bà, Poolewe, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Ullapool, Ardvreck Castle, Lochinver, Inverpolly, Smoo Cave, Dornoch.

Trip Notes: The North Coast 500 is not a road trip for a driver unsure about the width of their vehicle or reversing. It follows the rugged coast of northern Scotland on roads which are often little wider than a single vehicle, with small fishing villages and ruined castles dotting the mountainous landscape along the route.

9. Trolls’ Path, Norway

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Troll's Path in Norway, as featured in Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter (Pavilion Books).

Length: 55km, 34 miles

Start: Åndalsnes

Finish: Valldalen

Highlights: Stigfossen waterfall, Trolls’ Ladder hairpin bends, Trollstigen Visitor Centre, Kongen and the Dronninga mountains.

Trip notes: According to Norse mythology, some species of trolls roam the countryside at night but turn into mountains as the sun rises. Perhaps it’s best to stick to daylight hours when driving Norway’s worryingly narrow Trolls’ Path.

NB: Remarkable Road Trips by Colin Salter is published by Pavilion Books, £25. This story originally appeared in The Irish Independent's Lineout magazine (Sept 2019).

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