Holidays Behind The Wheel: Top Trips For Keen Drivers

When you’re a keen traveler, there are few gifts on Earth better than being able to drive. Wherever you live in the world, it’s possible to hop behind the wheel and see somewhere new - although , for those who live on islands, a ferry may play a part in the process. Of course, driving can be a tiring process, and some of the longer drives you take may be sapping, but for what you get at the end of it, that seems like a fair trade-off.


Then, sometimes, there are journeys that are enhanced by being a driver. Places you can go which will live long in the memory for the breathtaking scenery or beautiful architecture, for sure - but which are made into something truly special by the experience that they bring for the person behind the wheel. There are some truly magnificent road trips and driving holidays to be had out there, and below we will look at some of the most special, along with some additional fun and sights that can be enjoyed while there.


Transfagarasan Highway, Romania



Most roads are of importance because they help you get from where you are to where you need to be. That’s a pretty defining factor, usually. However, you may not find Arges in Romania to be a perfect hub for your holiday, and you may very well have no reason to visit Cartisoara, around 150 miles away. These towns have their attractions, but it is what lies between them that makes this trip truly special - the Transfagarasan Highway, built between 1970 and 1974 for seemingly no real reason other than its position in the Carpathian Alps making it a great road to drive.


So great is it, in fact, that since an appearance on BBC TV show Top Gear in 2009, Transfagarasan has become one of Romania’s most-visited tourist attractions. Measuring more than 150 km in total, it is a bending, dipping joy to behold - the mountain views all around you will be beautiful to see, but the road itself is the star here. Along the road, if you ever feel like stopping, you could pause to visit Capatenii Pamantului, home to Poienari Castle - the imposing and real-life home of the famous Vlad Dracul. From hairpin bends to hair-raising terror, there’s plenty of reason to take some time out here.


Off-roading in Peru


Anyone of a historical mindset will jump at the chance to check out Peru, home to the remaining vestiges of the Incan civilization and many of its most remarkable attractions. It’s also a place where any driver would be glad of the chance to fit some XXR 527 wheels and get in some serious off-roading. The deserts of Paracas offer a vast expanse to let your vehicle get some work in, while a powerful vehicle is a necessity if you’re to drive the Inca Trail. Which you will want to do, as it has Macchu Picchu at the end of it.


Close to Machu Picchu, beyond the rainbow mountains, you will find the city of Cusco, and it is worth pointing your car in that direction. The city was once the capital of the Incan empire, and visiting it today offers the chance to see some of the influences of that civilization alongside some worthwhile remnants of the Spanish colonization that ran the country from 1572 to 1821. Of particular note here are the independent shops and chic coffee bars of San Blas, and the colorful street market at San Pedro, both of which contribute massively to the soulful, the charming vibe of Cusco.


Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way


Pixabay (CC0 Licence)


Although much of the attention on Irish holidays are focused towards the east coast where Belfast and Dublin can be found, the west coast is the one that looks out onto the Atlantic, and it has more than a few attractions of its own. The road starts in Northern Ireland, in the decidedly inland city of Derry, but moves towards the coast in time to let the driver check out the rugged headlands of Donegal, and then works south from there. On its way, you’ll see cliffs and a wind-blown coastline that explains the “wild” part of the name perfectly.


As you head south, you’ll pass through Galway, a city immortalized in song by Bing Crosby among others (and you’ll understand why when you see it). You’ll also get to experience Killarney, which may be the quintessential coastal Irish town. You can stop off here if you’re a keen angler, as it has some of the best sea fishing spots on the entire island of Ireland. The ideal place to finish off in is Lisdoonvarna. Though it has a population of just 739, the spa town is renowned for - among other things - its annual matchmaking festival, which takes place every September.


Route 66, Chicago to LA


 This one may be cheating - the actual Route 66 as currently recognised merely runs across the middle of New Mexico. However, the historic Route 66 can be extended to take in a trip starting in Chicago and working steadily west to Los Angeles. There is a lot of straight-line driving to be done here, and it’s not a challenging drive, but the feel of history and the culture that has grown up around the road can be felt over every inch of its asphalt.


You can start on Adams Street in Chicago - after first having experienced some of the Windy City’s incomparable street food - and from there, the list of landmarks includes a memorial to Will Rogers, the legendary Cherokee-born humorist and actor. A stop-off at the Grand Canyon is also considered traditional, but for many people, the drive itself is the entire point. Visiting small diners and pausing in small towns along the way, you’ll get a sense of the sadness of the route, which ceased to be so lively when interstate highways became a thing. Take some time to enjoy the sights and sounds in those places - some of these towns have experienced real hardship since Route 66 fell from grace, and their charm merits some attention.


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