Top five roads to drive: Europe edition
From winding mountain roads to acceleration-inducing highways, here are five roads to include in your summer itinerary.
With the holidays fast approaching, the daily reality of fluorescent-lit office confinement becomes increasingly burdensome. While we are always hard at work, occasional lapses in concentration do occur. In these (very rare) instances, some light summer planning may take place. And more often than not, these plans revolve around where to take our cars in the summer.In an attempt to water two tulips with one hose, we compiled a list of some must-drive roads. This way, time spent looking for the perfect European road trip to drive our Polestars, actually counts as work. With google street view as our guide, we begin our digital journey through Europe in Southern Germany. The German wine route stretches 85 kilometres from Bockenheim in the north to Schweigen in the Palatinate region. Known for its Riesling production, we recommend bringing a designated driver, as the road will take you through world-renowned vineyards and wineries. But the aromatic tipple is just one of many things that will make this road worth your watt. Scattered with Disneyesque castles, the Palatinate region is home to the largest contiguous forest in Germany. With excellent hiking trails, the route offers scenic views from both inside and outside the car. On top of that, the area has been certified as a sustainable destination since 2020, checking all our boxes.We continue our Wi-Fi-enabledjourney across the border and into Switzerland. Nestled in the Alps lies the Nufenen Pass. This road will leave you feeling like you’ve driven right into an Ian Fleming novel, with hairpin turns framed by towering mountains. It’s often said that the journey is the destination, and while this is true when driving through the Nufenen Pass, reaching its highest peak is a reward in and of itself. From the summit, you have views over the Gries Glacier, as well as the Finsteraarhorn, rising 4,274 metres above sea level. Once you have taken in these views, the climb down is a mix of long straights and switchbacks. This is a 37 kilometre drive that will leave you with severe decision-making anxiety regarding which picture to post on Instagram.
Let’s take our satellite-supported expedition to the north of Portugal, where we find the N-222. Voted as one of the best roads to drive in the world, the N-222 runs along the Douro River, taking you from Peso da Régua to Pinhão. Along the way, you can experience the beauty of the Portuguese countryside while crossing three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the riverside area of Porto, the Alto Douro wine region and the Vale do Côa rock engravings. Just like the German wine route, this is a journey that is just as enjoyable from behind the wheel as it is outside the car.Last year we were in the city of Ronda in southern Spain, where we explored the A-397 from Marbella to Ronda. Simply put, the Andalusian hills are some of the most beautiful terrain we have driven. In need of a challenge, we thought we’d look for more roads in the area that could match the road to Ronda. And that’s when we found the N-340 from Adra to Malaga. Since construction, this forgotten gem has experienced a significant decrease in traffic over the years, making the coastal road a driver’s delight. You will cruise along the Spanish coast, with the Mediterranean to your left, and Spanish mountains to your right. We recommend downloading a Julio Iglesias album and sliding your sunglasses to the tip of your nose as your cruise, while others queue on the highway.Far from the sunny beaches of Spain – and the towering Swiss Alps – we find our final must-drive road: Vildmarksvägen. Located in the north of Sweden, “The Wilderness Road” is the highest road in Sweden, reaching 879 metres above sea level. As the name suggests, this road takes you into the heart of nature, where you will share the road with everything from reindeer to bobcats*. The road is built like a circuit and offers 500 kilometres of beautiful fauna, which, thanks to Sweden’s Right of Public Access, is yours to explore freely. And don’t let the absence of civilisation discourage you and your electricity-dependent car. There are enough charging stations to get you around the circuit with ease.As these five roads will demonstrate, where you drive is just as important as what you drive. It’s time to swap the computer screen for the windscreen and experience the true unadulterated pleasure of driving.* Although the chances of spotting a bobcat are as close to zero as you can get, driving a silent EV gives you at least a chance.