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What's your best driving experience in Europe?

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Oct 2nd, 2015, 11:42 PM
  #1
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What's your best driving experience in Europe?

I love driving in Europe. I live in Australia where cars are expensive, speed limits are low and the police are well equipped, which simply means driving isn't much fun here. So for me to be able to go to e.g. Germany and drive a luxury car at insane speeds for a hundred Euro's a day seems too good too be true. And I can assure you I have made the most of the opportunity whenever it has come up (and paid the price for it - don't try this in France, kids).

So, where do you drive if you can take any car you want on any road you want in Europe, if you love driving? Here's two of my favourite drives - does anyone have any other suggestions?


1. The road from Brussels to Rotterdam.

This is a really fun drive when you just want an excuse to "flog the crap" out of a car The drive overall takes a bit under two hours, but most of it is spent driving in a straight line in freeway conditions, but with traffic lights and speed cameras about every five kilometers. Sounds terrible? Its not. Its amazing fun. Especially at about 5am. Every five kilometers you get to slow down or stop, then when the light goes green you floor it. Over and over again. Just don't tell the car rental people what you have planned..


2. The road from Luxembourg to Brussels.

I once got the opportunity to do this drive very late at night, after a Chemical Brothers concert. It was somewhat surreal. For over an hour the car sat at 200km/h thanks to the cruise control (it didn't go any higher), with me driving "by wire" using the satnav because we were going so fast that the headlights were useless. All good though, its a straight line the whole way. Surreal though, as I said. I imagine it must be something like what it's like to drive one of the high-speed trains like the Thalys or ICE. A whole lot off fun in other words.

Any suggestions for my next drive?
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 01:36 AM
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Which road from Brussels to Rotterdam? It is pretty much motorway all the way, and dead boring what is more.
200km in the Netherlands or Belgium (and probably Luxembourg too) will lose you your licence and your car.

Driving in on European motorways is horrible, and boring and can get downright dangerous because of that.

How about the road from Nice to Jausiers over the Col de la Bonette, or any other mountain pass for that matter, even some in the Vosges or Eiffel offer great hairpins to negotiate. Much more challenging driving than foot to the metal mindless speeding.
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 03:34 AM
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The drive to Rotterdam was on the A12 (I think, this was an unplanned trip done wholly via satnav). And yes its probably a bit of a dull drive if you're not just using it to have a bit of a play with the car's accelerator. I wasn't doing 200 on that particular drive either btw (I should probably have added that I've had some professional training, track time etc i.e. don't do this if you don't know what you're doing if at all).

Thanks for the tip re Nice - this is actually the area I have in mind for my next Europe driving adventure, it helps to have a few names to start my research with.
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 03:52 AM
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I'll add one more drive, one of a very different nature: the drive from Ibiza Town to San Antonio, just before sunset (drinks at Cafe del Mar, of course!). Ibiza island is basically a big hill sticking out of the ocean. It has a road going across it, up one side of the hill and down the other. There's a tunnel at the peak of the hill that the road runs through. If you time the drive just right, you drive through this tunnel staring into this blinding bright light at its end. When you finally reach the end and emerge into the dazzling silvery sunset light, well, its pretty magical
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 04:55 AM
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Well if you just want speed you need to stick to those sections of the German autobahn which still have no limit.

As far as I am aware other roads in europe all have limits and although for us (locally our highest speed limit is 55 and traffic often makes that impossible, although there are places farther south in Jersey where you can do 70 without being stopped - mph, not kph) the 80 mph legal is a little better. (It's frustrating since I have a little sports coupe that will do 170 mph, but there's nowhere her to drive that way.)

But we do try to find areas of the autobahn without limits and will do 130 or 140 (mph) in our rented Audi - but are usually quickly passed by people in large Mercedes or actual sports cars (Ferraris, etc).

One of the drives we enjoyed most was the cliff road on the Amalfi Coast - although speed is certainly not a part of it. But it does require a good deal of skill - as evidenced by the large number of driver's mirrors that have been knocked off against the rock wall and sit on the edge of the road.

Also fun is the Grande Corniche between Nice and Monaco - although if you prefer you can do the Moyenne or even Basse Corniche. The first is memorialized in To Catch a Thief - with Cary Grant and then actress and later Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 07:33 AM
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I cannot imagine driving that fast from Luxembourg to Brussels, because I know that road and even if it were legal, it is not in good enough repair to maintain a speed of 200 km/h.

Frankly, I do not understand this obsession with speed, and I am very glad that the authorities have cracked down all over Europe and are now enforcing cross border fines. While they cannot revoke a foreign licence, they can immobilise your vehicle and prevent you from driving anymore in the country.

If you really want to get arrested fast, try speeding down the A7 Autoroute du Soleil in France.
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 07:42 AM
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'Every five kilometers you get to slow down or stop, then when the light goes green you floor it

using the satnav because we were going so fast that the headlights were useless.'


That post is quite provocative.
FIrst, if you want to drive like a maniac, do it in your country, not in ours. If you want to kill yourself, please don't involve anybody.
Second, do you really want us to believe that 200 km/h is so fast that the headlights are useless ? And that you'd rely on instruments.

Either you are a complete fool or you take us for fools.

For your next drive in Europe I recommend a road going to a cemetery.
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 09:02 AM
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Here some inspiration for very much no 200 km/h roads:
http://www.swide.com/food-travel/tra...ast/2013/07/09
and
http://www.inyourpocket.com/buchares...Highway_55534f
Drive carefully!
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 09:06 AM
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Sorry Matt, none of that sounds like fun to me. I have enjoyed driving in what was eastern Germany, where the government has spent a lot of money upgrading the roads but there is distinctly less traffic than there is round the Rhein and Ruhrgebiet but chasing round Luxembourg and Belgium at top speed in the middle of the night doesn't really float my boat.
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 09:37 AM
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Book a turn round the Nurburgring, if you want to go fast.
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 09:45 AM
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Sorry - would never drive this way at night. IMHO it's really safe only on well-paved and designed roads in good weather with clear visibility and minimal traffic.

That said, under those conditions we have been passed by larger Mercedes doing 150 or 160 and seen them passed by real sports cars probably doing 200 - in mph, not kph.
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 11:46 AM
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If you're out-driving your headlights, maybe you should see your eye doctor about your cataracts. As said above, stay away from me.
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Oct 3rd, 2015, 07:21 PM
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My most memorable drive was two days going from Chamonix to Nice on the roads closest to the Italian border. But it is not fast.

I actually had another memorable drive in the center of Yugoslavia on mountain dirt roads in the rain, but I would not recommend that to anyone.
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Oct 4th, 2015, 06:35 AM
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August 2008... Nice to Andorra in a Passat TDI. As far as Perpignan was just boring autoroute but once we got onto the smaller roads heading up into the Pyrenees it was a pure joy to be behind the wheel. The Passat is no sports car but the turbo diesel works well at higher altitudes with lots of torque and the turbo ramming plenty of the thinner air into the engine. I'd like to go back and spend a week between Perpignan and Andorra.

Close second... a couple of days later driving Carcassone to Le Puy en Velay. Again the first leg of the drive was autoroute but that section ended at Millau and the amazing viaduct. The real fun started once down in the Gorges du Tarn.
If you love to drive this will keep you smiling! https://goo.gl/maps/fCiZ65R9tiM2
We climbed up out of the gorge at Ste-Enimie and while the drive was on larger faster roads to Le Puy they were still a lot of fun outside of towns and villages. I'd like to spend a week on the Millau-Le Puy part of that drive too.
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Oct 4th, 2015, 12:04 PM
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Good to know that Carbon is being converted into CO2 so that children will live in a collapsing Earth so that people can fly around the world and drive fast....

Just saying
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Oct 4th, 2015, 12:45 PM
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Well, Matt, my best driving experiences in Europe could not be more different from yours. I've had the thrill of gunning it down German autoroutes, but frankly, it eats up so much energy it's exhausting. I also once took one of those Michelin-marked "dangerous" roads (the ones marked with red and white stripes on the map) from Florac to St-Enimie, along the paths the shepherds take for the transhumance, and it was hair-raising trying to pass any other car that came in the other direction. Then, after turning onto the main road around the Gorges de Verdun, and being already hedged under a large overhanging rock, came face to face with a convoie exceptionelle, and spent a full 40 minutes inching past him. Getting to Ste- Enimie and having a beer was one of the glories of that vacation.

My favorite driving experiences here are getting in the car on a golden late fall afternoon or evening with the cerfs prancing in the fields and the sunset looming lavender and rose and the locals gathering chestnuts and cèpes by the side of the tiny little D roads, and winding my way around tiny little spiraling lanes from village to village. Speed is irrelevant. I'd rather watch every blade of grass and every falling walnut go by, every wild goat wandering along the lane, every plonk of a ripe fig as it splats on the road.

A chacun son gout.

PS, if you're headed for the Périgord, shout out a warning.
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Oct 4th, 2015, 12:46 PM
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O.k., I am German and sometimes I have a fast rental car and I am driving at night on a deserted autobahn and yes, my GPS system has recorded a maximum speed of 228 km/h...

For a safe real fun drive go to the Nürburgring and drive the racing track!!!
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Oct 4th, 2015, 11:57 PM
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Brussels to Rotterdam? You can't be serious. The drivers in and around Brussels are the worst that I have ever experienced in Western Europe.

I agree about the Nürburgring.
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Oct 5th, 2015, 12:55 AM
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'The drivers in and around Brussels are the worst that I have ever experienced in Western Europe.'

I agree. And I'm there 3 days a week at least, count me in.
But less people driving at night, we go to bed early.

St Cirq, it is 'les gorges du Verdon' - les gorges de Verdun have all been cut in 1916.

Mvg.
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Oct 5th, 2015, 07:21 PM
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Isn't Ste Enimie at he bottom of the Gorge du Tarn?
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