We recently published an article on our top 10 roads, we started with No. 10-8, here is our next installment with No. 7-5. As always if you have any additions don’t hesitate to let us know, the easiest way is to sign-up to our e-mail subscription.
#7 – Col du croix / Swiss
Hold onto your hat for this wild and bumpy road, with amazing turns, closest thing to a roller coaster we have ever driven! Actually great fun, if a little bumpy, rises to around 1800M, the climb up is smoother, and generally nice views, including a wonderful stretch of around 10 granite grey peaks, with some nice pastures, plenty of cows. The ascent is where the fun starts, bumpy, twists, a real test of you and the car. We have actually rated 5 star even though the road is a long way from perfect, but I actually think that is what gives this road such a special appeal.
#6 – Route Napoleon / France
The current Route Napoléon, first opened in 1932, follows the route taken by Napoléon I (Napoléon Bonaparte) in 1815 on his march from Elba to Grenoble. Napoléon had abdicated in April of 1814 and gone to Elba (history). In March of 1815, he began his journey with the intention to overthrow Louis the 18th. The historical aspect makes this road even better, Napoleon traced the route through the Alps leading to fabulous scenery and views.
The route itself begins in Grasse, the route then continues all the way to Grenoble over 150km away, tracing its way through both the Alps Maritimes and the Alps. The road itself is a fantastic design, with cambered corners and fantastic scenery. In contrast with the mountain passes this route is more designed for speed and the ability to really appreciate the performance of the car.
The advantage of the road is that it is much the same smooth rhythm from beginning to end, so you can appreciate any part of the road without needing to confine yourself to one specific part. The smoothness of this route makes it a fantastic driving experience for anyone, which along with the scenery makes for a truly thrilling driving experience with many photo opportunities.
We recommend coming off the route Napoleon towards the “gorge de verdon”, a French version of the Grand Canyon, at over 730M up you can see down into the gorge, a fantastic experience at 40km from the route Napoleon.
For a slightly more testing drive, head through the Col du Labouret, then onto Lac de Serre Poncon – the descent being slightly more challenging, and the scenery just as rewarding. The road is challenging at high speeds, but not as technical as some of the mountain passes, however for the scenery and the flowing driving style definitely one of our top 10.For people after a real driving challenge, this might not be for them, but if you love the fast, sweeping and open roads, this stretch of Route Napoleon is really worthwhile tackling.
#5 – Route 500 / Germany
hhh the Black Forest and it’s seemingly endless number of sweeping trails and deserted roads, a bikers and drivers dream. One of it’s finest is the northern stretch of the elevated Schwarzwald Hochstrasse, route 500. A road that combines glass smooth sweeping sections elevated above the forest with a dramatic switchback run back through the forest to Baden Baden. WARNING. The only minus to this road is because it is a pretty major road (for the forest) it can be busy – therefore, rise early to enjoy at its best!
When driving the Black Forest, be warned, some trails are considerably better than others so it’s worth doing some research first. In particular many roads pass through small village after village (with little to see at each) giving you little time to get into a good driving rhythm. In our opinion some of the best trails pan out from Baden Baden in the north, and the Schwarzwald Hochstrasse is one of the best, and certainly most open, of these.
Our drive takes you south to north, starting in Knibes, finishing Baden Baden, but can equally be run in the opposite direction, and you might just like to turn around and do it again anyway.
The Schwarzwald Hochstrasse one of the most beautiful elevated sections of highway in the Black Forest region. The initial stretch is fast, smooth and sweeping, with fantastic views on either side, and of course straight ahead – you need to watch you speed though as it certainly draws you in. A few stretches of the road take you through some fairly dense forestation, but the road always remains wide, sweeping and fantastic to drive. Near its highest point around Hornisgrinde there are some wonderful elevated views, and plenty of lay-byes to park up and take in the views.
The final stretch drops down towards Baden Baden, and at times feels like you are on a race track, the road goes deep through the forest with dozens of tight switchback turns, with race track barriers, it really is a great drive down all the way to Baden Baden.
The only minus side is that route 500 this is a pretty major road so can (compared with other parts of the forest) be occasionally a little busier, but put that to one side as it’s one of the easiest roads to overtake on, or, better still, plan your journey along it early morning, the views either side from it’s elevated position are truly stunning, especially with an early morning mist settled across the forest!
This is road a great introduction to the Black Forest, and basing yourself in Baden Baden means you are perfectly placed to explore the hoards of smaller, tighter and twister roads right on your doorstep.
Keep tuned for the next installment, and of course our #1 road!!
Until next time……