Travelling in winter is an essential pleasure for all fans of road trips. The road runs fast, perhaps snow-lined, through picture-perfect landscapes seen through windows slightly misted up at the edges. Sometimes, in winter, it is as if the cold makes the asphalt more compact and suitable for our tyres, which of course must be of the winter variety suited for the weather, and particularly snow tyres in the mountains.
Double the driving pleasure by heading off to destinations that make your road trip even more rewarding with hairpin bends and straights on which to engage engine and tyres in an exciting combination of motoring, discovering new places and having fun. Here is a list of places to drive to in your car during the Christmas holidays in search of chilly temperatures and creamy white skies.
1. The Grand Tour of Switzerland
Our first destination for a winter road trip starts here on one of the most beautiful scenic routes in Europe, which crosses twelve UNESCO World Heritage sites and touches twenty-two lakes, for a total of 1643 kilometres. Many complete the Grand Tour of Switzerland in a week and most often in summer. But it is actually in winter that the route has its best to offer with its breath-taking mountain landscapes and bends that open the view across crystal-clear lakes surmounted by snowy peaks and the thick forests typical of the Swiss Alps. With no equals in the world, you can drive through the snowy valleys and visit the beautiful towns of the area. The ideal route from Italy starts in Chiasso and from here leads to Lac des Joux, which is one of the most spectacular naturalistic sites in the entire Alps. Low gears are often a must but there are also plenty of fast stretches of road for your engine to catch its breath.
2. Val di Funes, Dolomites
Val di Funes in Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy, is one of the most picturesque and exciting valleys to reach by car. The road is a non-stop sequence of breath-taking curves which climb up through the mountains to enchanting villages, such as Tiso, San Valentino, San Giacomo, Santa Maddalena, Colle and the most important town of the area, San Pietro. The roads through the valley are smooth and bendy, perfect for putting your winter tyres to the test. Despite being surrounded by snow nothing can hamper your driving fun.
3. The Lofoten Islands, Norway
How about a drive to Northern Europe? Some say that the route on the Lofoten Islands in Norway is by far one of the most beautiful in the world. The road climbs between steep fjords often edging along white beaches, reminiscent of the tropics. The road unexpectedly crosses soaring bridges from one fjord and another. Slow down to see the Norwegian sea below you stretching out to Iceland. There is a lot of snow in this corner of the world at this time of year but it tends to be compact and dry also because it is not in winter that it snows the most. The blanket of snow, however, makes the landscape even more fascinating with the typical red Norwegian houses built entirely of wood standing out on the white background. You cannot always reach Nusfjiord, which is one of the most beautiful fjords in Norway, in winter but the road is still worth it. Needless to say, snow tyres and chains are mandatory.
4. Romantische Strasse, Germany
The name says it all evoking medieval villages, castles and fanciful landscapes. The “Romantic Road” is in Germany just a few hours' drive from Italy. Along the approximately 370 kilometres of the theme route, you will find magnificent villages and dreamlike countryside but despite being surrounded by nature, the road is close to perfect with not even a pothole to endanger your set of tyres. The “Romantische Strasse” starts in Füssen and goes all the way to Würzburg from the Bavarian Alps to the Main Valley. From the breath-taking Alps, you will touch on abbeys, castles and splendid Gothic monasteries, which are often visible directly from the road.
5. The hills of Siena, Tuscany
Tuscany in Italy is an ideal destination for winter road trip fans, thanks to its bendy roads with perfect gradients that allow a cheerful pace and ideal grip on the tarmac. To name just one of the many routes in this area, we recommend the one that goes to the charming village of Monticchiello with its enchanting winter landscape that looks like a Nativity scene.