The ultimate European driving road.
Updated: Mar 9
Forget everything you heard before about roads: the ultimate/perfect driving road doesn’t really exist. However, we know a few driving roads that get pretty close to perfection. But hold on tight, the Stelvio Pass is not on top of this list.
The title "world’s best driving road" is a pretty useless term. The conditions make a road good or bad. Everything from the quality of the tarmac to the amount of traffic, the weather, the views, your overall itinerary and the bending degree of each curve will influence your personal driving experience. Not to forget the most essential ingredient, your personal driving abilities and the car you chose to drive.
All the scenic roads in this article have been test-driven by us many times under different conditions at different times of the year and we would never dare to create a ranking for them. Every time we drive a road it feels different from the last time – even if it was just for the car. Exactly picking the right car will add to your enjoyment.
Especially supercars have to be chosen wisely for every terrain. While a Ferrari Portofino is perfect on Tuscan roads, a Lamborghini Aventador won’t make you happy. We know what drivers (really) want and always share our recommendations and honest opinions. Some people of course don't listen and have to learn it the hard way. Most people have a specific road that needs to be kicked off their bucket list. On top of the pass they then often realize it needs more than a TV series on BBC to choose the right driving roads. Also if you’ve never driven a proper alpine pass before maybe try something a little less challenging than a Ferrari 488 on the Stelvio Pass.
This is why we choose to put the Black Forest High Road on top of all other roads in this article. The high road is perfectly paved with long fast sweeping curves and a wide lane that also can forgive little driving mistakes while sweeping through the beautiful rolling hills of South Germany. The B500 Road (or the germanic term “Schwarzwaldhochstrasse”) goes all the way the spa-town of Baden-Baden in the north to the Swiss border in the south and can easily linked with the scenic drives in Switzerland.
Switzerland is naturally the next chapter of this article. Here you find the "BIG3" – maybe you heard of the three alpine passes in the central Swiss Alps that perfectly join up together. It is almost like the Swiss tried to step up in quality with every pass they built. Let’s start with the Furka Pass – well known for Sean Connery chasing down the pass in an Aston Martin DB5 as James Bond in 1964. It’s the narrowest pass of the three and can be a little scary. That’s why on our driving tours we put the Furka Pass towards the end of the drive when you gained enough confidence driving the other much wider passes.
The Grimsel Pass with impressive 38 kilometres of pure driving pleasure in a stunning alpine scenery feels very differently. If driven on the inside of the pass you won’t feel the 2164 meters above sea level and you can fully enjoy the fantastic views.
In the distance on the other side of the mountains you can guess already the Susten Pass. The spectacular road is clear of snow from June till October and the finest driving road we know in the Swiss Alps (we’re based in Zurich - trust us we know). The Susten requires several stops – don’t miss out on the many photo opportunities – fill your Instagram feed with them and us the hashtag #epikdrives if you liked the road.
In the South of France towards the Alps Maritimes and only a little more than an hour from the sea-side town of Cannes at the French Riviera the Route de Thorenc makes a painting like impression. The road is part of en whole ensemble of scenic roads we include in our French Riviera, Provence and Monaco Driving Tour called the Gorge Verdon Circuit.
The optional drives over the Mount Ventoux Pass in Provence and the Col de Turini near Monte Carlo do the rest to make this driving tour an unforgettable driving experience.
In beautiful Austria not to far from Salzburg the Grossglockner Alpine Road a truly majestic road stuns us every time we go there. Like most of the high alpine passes in Austria it costs money – € 36,50 to be exact – but who cares, for that kind of driving experience we pay every Euro with a smile. For your money you will get the highest surfaced mountain pass of the country, the chance to visit a glacier and 36 turns stretching over very impressive 48 kilometres. All that wrapped up in an incredible alpine panorama.
In Scotland is a road that’s often forgotten in the many road rankings you find on the web. The Old Military Road sits north of Edinburgh and is a gateway into the unique landscape of the Scottish Highlands and towards the legendary NC500 Route. The 90 kilometres road is relatively easy to drive if you already used to drive on the left. The far bigger challenge for us every time we are there is to clear all the Whiskey distilleries without trying anything. The price you have to pay for driving on of the greatest roads in Europe.
To find Croatia on this list will come as a surprise to most readers. But we have a pretty good reason. The passes and coastal roads down the Mediterranean Sea have been a real mind blowing experience. Doing our first time test-drive for a small group we fall in love with all the beauty on this road and the peaceful area. On the actual tour event with the clients we ennobled the road with the presence several Ferrari.
The Stelvio Pass, first announced to be the best road in the world, then downgraded to probably what you would call the second best road on earth by the British TV series TopGear. Since then the Italian pass is only worth to be driven early mornings, when motorhome owners are still cooking coffee. The road became way to famous. But when approached via the scenic high alpine pass from Switzerland, the Stelvio can be the cherry on your cake.
A little harder to reach for the many driving enthusiasts in central Europe are the Carpathian Mountains in Romania – home to the Transfagarasan and Transalpina High Road Combo. There is only a little time window to explore the two passes as most of the time they remain closed or partly closed for the harsh weather conditions up there. Snow in August isn’t impossible. Please stop worrying about your safetyin Romania. The country is part of the European Union and has seen supercars before.