CAR FANATICS need holidays too – but they might not want to go a whole week without fitting in any driving.
Serious drivers will make the pilgrimage to the ’Ring at least once before the old age or the DVLA revokes their licence, usually making a holiday out of trip itself.
Contrary to popular belief it’s not a racing circuit, well… not most of the time at least. It’s actually a de-classified toll road which means anyone can roll up and have a go around 13 miles of what’s known as the Green Hell for £13 per lap.
While speed limits are removed, road rules still apply so no undertaking or dangerous driving and if you do have or cause an accident you’ll be required to show your insurance, pay through the nose for barrier repairs and can be prosecuted under traffic laws.
Despite the inherent dangers of charging around a circuit deemed to hazardous for the world’s best drivers since the mid-seventies, anyone who’s been will tell you it’s worth trekking deep into the Eiffel mountains for.
Tail of the Dragon
Roughly 11 miles of twisty and undulating forest road and 318 bends make up the Tail of the Dragon or Deals Gap.
Bikers and car clubs love to gather on the Tennessee and North Carolina state line to tackle the Dragon, but as it’s a public highway most are careful to stick to the limits and enjoy the sweeping bends and scenery, rather than seat of the pants wheel work.
As long as you don’t get tangled up with any daredevil bikers it’s a serenely enjoyable stretch of road especially if visited on a weekday when traffic tends to be lighter than weekends.
The stretch has often been used in the movies, and film buffs might like to know it takes in the infamous dam that Harrison Ford’s character leapt from in the film, The Fugitive.
The Stelvio Pass
At more than 2700m it’s the fourth highest section of paved road in the Alps, but is number one when it comes to scenery.
The pass can be found in the Italian Alps near the Swiss border and is regularly visited by drivers and cyclists wanting to test their respective mettle.
Once at the top the reason for slogging your way around the 48 hairpin bends of the northern face – each numbered with its own tombstone-like stone marker – becomes clear.
Magnificent views across some of the Alps most famous mountains make it worth winding your way off the beaten bath.
Be sure to head over in summer though, it’s closed during the winter months as snow and ice at altitude make it impassable.
Pacific Coast Highway
As its name suggests, the Pacific Coast Highway runs alongside the Pacific Ocean on America’s scenic and tourist enticing West Coast.
To make matters confusing for pasty legged British tourists different sections of the road have different titles: State Route 1 pops up on road-signs as will US Route 101 intermittently.
But starting in San Diego then following the coastline north past Los Angeles and San Francisco is simple enough and you’ll road-trippers will find a selection of freeway and twisty coastal roads to tackle.
With innumerable sections of stunning coastline and beach to enjoy, plus highlights such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Laguna Beach, it’s a holiday in itself.
Lands End to St Ives
You don’t have to travel abroad to find quality roads with plenty of scenery and history – the B3306 Cornish coast road from Lands End to St Ives is a prime example.
Visitors can follow in the initial footsteps of thousands of Lands End to John O’Groats eventers, but there’s no need to try and set any records. Far better to admire the coastal scenery for an hour or two as you meander through the historic villages around the twisty, hilly and occasionally livestock strewn lanes.
For wheelmen it’s also a rewarding few miles, with testing uphill switchbacks, steep drops, loose surfaces and excellent visibility along some stretches to work up an appetite before you hit St Ives for an ice-cream.
Don’t blame us if you have a close encounter with a tractor though.