The world is a big place and there’s literally a whole world of motoring out there, so why would you want to limit your motoring life to just UK roads?

Maybe because there are countries like Thailand and Libya where laws regarding drunk driving and speeding are enforced with about as much vigour as a docile sloth.

But on the plus side, there’s Sweden and Spain, which have some of the safest roads in the world.

We delved into this in our recent ‘best and worst countries to drive in’ feature but if you’ve booked a break on the continent this summer, which European countries offer the best driving roads?

Stelvio Pass

Stelvio Pass

You may remember a few years ago that Top Gear hailed the Stelvio Pass [pictured] on the Italian Swiss border as ‘one of the finest roads in the world’, with Clarkson describing it as ‘15 miles of asphalt spaghetti, draped on an alp’.

Comprising 48 hairpin bends and climbing to a height of just over 9,000 feet, it is certainly one of the most extraordinary stretches of tarmac.

Gotthard Pass

Gotthard Pass

But Jalopnik reckon Jezza and co were chatting rubbish, claiming it’s not even the best road in Switzerland, let alone the world.

While the Top Gear crew would have closed off the road during filming, if you or I made the trip to Stelvio Pass, we’d be very disappointed, at least that’s what Jalopnik suggest in their first-hand account.

They paint a less glamourous account, encountering an uncomfortably narrow road, littered with RVs, buses and dawdling drivers. And those hairpins? Repetitive and boring, apparently.

Instead, motorists would reap more joy on the wider, faster and more scenic Gotthard Pass.

Jalopnik concedes that while no Swiss road is truly free from traffic, at least Gotthard boasts fewer blind spots and has enough width to accommodate overtaking. It also has its fair share of hairpins and fast turns, as well as some straights where you can really get your foot down.

Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse

Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse

Heading to Austria any time soon? Then the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse is well advised for any sports car and motorcycle nuts. This 30-mile stretch between Bruck in the Salzburg valley and Carinthia takes in 36 testing hairpin bends and climbs to 2,504 metres.

There are breathtaking views too, with the chance to gaze across a range of 37 mountains at certain points.

Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse

The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse takes about an hour to navigate, if you hammer on through without any stops. Treacherous conditions mean it is closed between November and May, and even when it is open, dense fog can hamper visibility.

Verdon Gorge

Verdon Gorge

A little closer to home is the Verdon Gorge circuit in France – often referred to as Europe’s Grand Canyon.

Stretching for 115 miles with drops of 2,000 feet, this hilly route demands care, frequent stops and a brimmed petrol tank – fueling stations are scarce along the route.

Col de la Bonnette

Col de la Bonnette

Sticking with France, the Col de la Bonnette in the French Alps is another remarkable road.

With a peak of 2,807 metres, it is the highest road in Europe and as with Stelvio, some of the route gets very narrow, but it is considered to be a bracing test for anyone who loves driving and wants to discover what their car is capable of.

Military Road

A939

No plans of heading overseas in the short-term? No problem, one of Europe’s finest roads is right here in the UK: Military Road in the heart of Cairngorms National Park – west of Aberdeen – in the Scottish Highlands.

Plonked in the middle of nowhere, the A939 offers bare landscapes, rollercoaster-like drops and seemingly endless views over mountains. There’s hardly any traffic too.

Have we overlooked your favourite driving road? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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