GERMANY: Rhineland and Hessas
Rhineland is a group of charming towns and beautiful cities connected by the iconic Rhine River. This is a road trip that is truly worth every traveler’s time. Start off in Cologne. Drive down the historic city and visit the Cologne Cathedral. Visit Frankfurt for a modern take of the Rhineland. If you’re up for more castle explorations, then drive four kilometers northwest of Kalkar and follow the signposts to Schloss. This is akin to driving down a Fairy-tale Road where green ivy creep through the walls and balconies of Rapunzel-like towers and balconies. You will find pastures swathed in green and lovely parks with ancient trees and funky modern works of art. Visit the flamboyant castle of Schloss Augustusburg. You can go on a leisurely stroll in its dramatic promenade.
Just 40 kilometers west of Frankfurt is Hesse. Hesse is known for its town capital Wiesbaden. Expect more historic attractions, verdant parks and experience the 100-year-old thermal bath.
Mendoza is a beautiful bustling city in Argentina. Mendoza is a perfect blend of the modern, laid-back, and cultural. It is 1050 kilometers west of Buenos Aires and northwest of Chile. Drive down its tree-lined streets and buzz by its cosmopolitan sidewalk cafes, pretty plazas with bubbly running fountains. It’s the city that never sleeps –practically alive from sunrise to sunrise. The whole of Argentina knows Mendoza as the wine country. Drive down its beautiful vineyards and hunt for the latest vintage wine to accompany your dinner. Driving to the outskirts will bring you to a beautiful place of skiing and rafting in the close by Andes.
Tasmania continues to dazzle the world with its beautiful and unique island. It’s the next adventure to be had. Experience the vast wilderness. Drive down the Seven Mile Beach and dip in its refreshing waters. Drive to the Narawntapu National Park where wildlife abounds. Don’t forget to stop by the Tamar Valley and get a dose of really good food and sip some of the best-tasting wine and cider from Down Under. It’s not just about the wildlife in Tasmania; you will also get to taste some new hip and urban cool artsy vibes from its capital Hobart. Taking a break from your driving would mean more bushwalking, rafting and cycling.
The curious traveler will always be rewarded as he travels through the Basque Country. You will find mountain crests kissing the clouds, awe-inspiring rocky coves, and the sophisticated, multi-ethnic, broad-based cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao. The small villages in the Basque Pyrenees are filled with secret cider houses that serve the traditional 5 lbs. beef prime rib cooked in a wood-fired oven, while you can fill your glass with cider right from the barrel tap. Drive down to Bodegas Palacio, roughly one kilometer from Laguardia and visit the wine cellar to wake up the oenophile in you. Try not to get one sip too many because you will be driving down the Rioja Wine and visit the quaint village of Laguardia and get to feel life in the old world. You might have to pull over and park as the streets are narrow but charmingly medieval. Drive down south towards the Vitoria and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the country. Set another day to explore the coast of the Basque Country. Drive down the Bilbao river road and then over the Bizkaia Bridge – the oldest in the world. The road will take you to the beautiful coastal village of Bakio. Next stop is the beautiful San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Then down the road is fishing village of Bermeo. Drive down its charming narrow streets. Grab a quick delicious lunch. You will reach Gernika village in your next stop.
Set another day to visit the nooks and crannies of the old town plazas in Asturias. Oh the pleasure of discovering passages leading under the beautiful houses and neighboring streets. Enjoy the little town squares and modern sculptures and its colorful market scene. You ought to drive down the long sandy cove in Playa del Silencio and enjoy its astonishing waterfronts. Drive down 15 kilometers west of Cudillero and follow the signs. You need to pull over and walk down towards the beach for a good half of a kilometer.
Galicia is another roadtrip worthy place in Spain. Experience its lipsmacking dishes, explore its Celtic links, and enjoy its wild beaches. You should never miss the magnificent rias — drive down the 1200-kilometer coastal road and enjoy the breathtaking view of the estuaries. Make sure you go down the Rias Baixas facing the Atlantic Ocean and the Rias Altas facing the Cantabrian Sea. Like its Atlantic cousin Brittany, Galicia is a also a region prized for its great cider, which you can enjoy in any coastal restaurant.
The beauty of France lies in its resolutely well-known culture interlaced around its village squares, al fresco cafes, and menu-laden chalkboards in cozy small town bistros. A road trip down the road of Paris, Normandy and Brittany is a surefire pleasure to any traveler.
Begin in Paris. Visit the iconic landmarks. Non-negotiable of course is The Eiffel Tower. Drive down the horse-chestnut tree lined street of the Champs-Elysees. Visit the lily ponds in the gardens where Monet
painted. Get inside the Louvre. Enjoy the gastronomic delights of France outside the bistros of Paris…drive down the markets and gobble down freshly baked croissants from the neighborhood boulangeries.
Set another day to drive to Versailles – experience the grandeur of the palace that ends all palaces. Plan a trip to Bordeaux and taste the best wines from the best sommeliers. Put the Provence on your travel plans and visit the charming melon, olives, peach and cherry farms down south. Or visit the French Riviera.
Driving along the Channel coastline will bring you to Normandy. Where verdant knolls and grassy fields wonderfully blend with the billowing waves of the Channel. Visit the D-Day Beach at the north of Bayeux. You will find many things American in the Normandy shores – the American cemetery and American memorial honoring the heroes of WWII. Drive down the countryside and you’ll see charming dry-stone farmhouses roosting on cliff edges and open fields.
Taste their butter and soft Camembert cheese and drink some of Normandy’s famous apple cider. Smell the salty trace of the sea. Enjoy the cobblestone roads and stunning Gothic cathedrals and castles. The prime jewel is of course Mont Saint Michel, where you can enjoy some fantastic food and cider.
Look towards the ocean and drive through the dense magical woods down to Brittany. Watch the waves crash against the granite coast. Try their heavenly seafood fare and wash it down with Muscadet wine. Enjoy some shabby chic fun and cocktails at the Nantes warehouse. And finally, eat at a creperie, a true Brittany institution, delighting yourself in a gourmet buckwheat crepe followed by a sweet crepe for desert, all while drinking a bowl of cider, or a “bolée” as they call it there.
If you’re intereste in a roadtrip through these regions, there is a great French site with itinerary, unmissable stops, and charming accommodation along the way: http://www.larouteducidre.fr/
The ultimate pleasure is to be lured by smooth roads, spectacular views, old castles and unspoiled villages – straight off a fairytale book. Oh forget about dodging the tourist-y places. Everything is awesome – the old and the new. Grab a map, plot your route, make a travel time frame and hit the road now.
Start off with London. You must drive up the Tower of London Bridge (important note: the London Bridge is different form the Tower of London Bridge), and visit the Tower of London, the Buckingham Palace, the Parliament and don’t forget to say hello to Big Ben. For off-the beaten track exploits—you must drive down to the Portobello Road Market and peek through the shops and stalls. Drive down Brixton Village to soak up some renaissance feel. The next day, you must see the Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath. You can do this all in one day. Windsor Castle is home of the Royals for the past 900 years. The town is delightful to say the least. From there, drive down further back in time and travel through the verdant Wiltshire rolling hills and visit the Stonehenge near Salisbury. Be enthralled by the mystery of the stones in that plain 5,000 years ago. Then off you go to Bath. Enjoy the beauty and elegance of Bath. Hands down, Bath is the most beautiful and captivating Georgian city – with its lavish architecture and charming streetscapes. Drive down the Pulteney Bridge and visit the Roman Baths to see the ancient world’s spa.
Going further down in the south west direction, you will ride through Somerset, a historic cider producing region in the UK. Read this article for a tour of the best cider farms in Somerset.
Then, drive down the long stretch of unending coastline in Cornwall. Visit the fishing ports, the granite breakwaters, the hidden coves and tree-covered rivers, and ancient market towns. Drive down the southeastern shore and visit the Loch Ness. Who knows you just might spot the ‘monster’. Set another day to drive across the Chiltern Hills to Oxford. Get inspired, discover tradition, and satisfy your intellectual snooping in this lovely city. Drive next to Canterbury and snoop through their abbeys and museums and cathedrals. And of course, if you’re a huge Beatles and football fan, drive down to Liverpool.