Lake in Scottish Highlands

1 - Take the High Road

Glasgow to Applecross, Scotland

The 200 mile drive begins in Glasgow, sears through the Highlands, and emerges to the magnificent west coast. It is truly one of the world’s most beautiful journeys. From the tranquility of Loch Lomond to the rugged majesty of Rannoch Moor and Glencoe (true Braveheart country), the scenery and wide-open roads is an unforgettable combination for car or motorcycle.

The most direct route from here is to head north to Invergarry, then west towards the Kyle of Lochalsh and the final zigzag stretch to Applecross. An undoubted highlight is the climb over the 926m Bealach na Bà, or “Pass of the Cattle”, which winds its way through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula.

Roads between the valleys with beautiful surroundings

2 - Alpine Perfection

St Gotthard Pass, Switzerland

If you’re driving to or from Italy during the late spring, summer or early autumn, then ignore the fetid St Gotthard tunnel and take one of the oldest and most beautiful Alpine mountain passes instead. There are some great twists and turns to spice up your drive, fabulous views and fresh mountain air to enjoy plus a fascinating museum and decent restaurant at which to break your journey. Travel in spring and you get the added bonus of experiencing the fabulous contrast of warm sunshine, blue skies and deep snow at the sides of the road.

Sea over bridge with beautiful surrounding town

3 - Wine Heaven to Green Hell

Mosel Valley to the Nürburgring, Germany

The Mosel Valley is one of the most scenic and historic areas in all of Germany. One of the longest tributaries of the Rhine, the Mosel meanders for 325 miles, from Trier on the German-French border through steep-sided valleys terraced with vineyards and dotted with fairytale castles.

Koblenz sits at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine, and also marks the point where you should head for Nürburg (45 miles away) and the incredible Nürburgring race circuit – nicknamed the Green Hell – that encircles the village. Operated as a one-way toll road, you can arrive and drive the greatest racetrack of them all, or simply visit the new museum and hotel complex.

Clean road in open surroundings

4 - Fantasy Island

The Mountain Course, Isle of Man

An absolute Mecca for motorcyclists, every May the Isle of Man’s Mountain Course plays host to the legendary TT races. At 37 miles it’s widely regarded as the ultimate test of courage for bike racers from around the world. Fortunately you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the rolling scenery and panoramic views as you tackle the mountain itself. It’s well worth stopping at the famous TT pits in Douglas and pause to consider that the fastest racers lap this unforgiving road circuit at an average speed of more than 130mph.

Road between the mountains with beautiful nature surrounding

5 - Far From the Madding Crowd

Nice to the Col de Vence, South of France

It’s an easy 30-minute drive from the glamorous seaside city of Nice to the craggy, sun-bleached Col de Vence high in the Alpes-Maritimes. Skirting remote mountain villages where you’ll find a deliciously rustic lunch, the road clings to the vertiginous rock face and even passes through holes and tunnels in the mountain itself en route to the 900+m summit. The Col de Vence is an unforgettable drive that rewards you with fabulous views to the far-distant Côte d’Azur to the south and an endless network of other equally breathtaking mountain roads to explore.

More in Motorists

Storm warning

We take to the wettest place in the United Kingdom, discovering some of the best roads in Europe.