If anything could ever amount to the feeling of being on an airplane looking down at the world below, it’d be the views from behind the wheel of a vehicle while touring some of the most spectacular places known to the planet. Unfortunately, you aren’t quite 37,000 ft above sea level or even above solid ground for that matter, but these road trips are really the most thrilling you could ever embark on.
Situated in Wales, Snowdonia is very popular all year around. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? A remote seventy-mile drive that sweeps you up through the mountains is about as magical as you can get – apart from travelling through the air and above the clouds! Like many modern tourist locations, Snowdonia has plenty of pretty little mountain villages, coastlines, moors and waterfalls for you to take in.
You’d rather just keep going and be one of few to say you did the drive all-in-one, right? Don’t. You are much better off tackling Snowdonia in stages, which is easier to do since there are places to stay overnight or just for a quick stop; whichever you prefer. Begin the drive at 1925 fantasy village, Portmeirion, where there is plenty of accommodation and then head on through to Porthmadog, Tremadog and finally, Rhyd.
Up in the Lake District, Hardknott Pass is amongst the most dangerously exciting road trips to embark on at any time of the year; the signs at the beginning of the route read: ‘Extreme Caution. Narrow Route. Severe Bends’, which puts into perspective just how much fun you’d have when facing these roads – or adrenaline, if you get a kick out of looking past sheer drops and sharp bends around coastline cliffs.
Begin the experience at Little Langdale, making your way through the twisting Wryness Pass and follow the network of hairpin bends – stop frequently for a steady breathing pace and to admire the views, of course. Then, you reach the end part; the daunting descent and test of man, machine and brakes. The best part is that when you reach the end, you can turn around and do it all again.
North Coast Drive
Starting in Belfast, the North Coast Drive offers 130 miles of picturesque coastal views all around. After unwinding your way through each point of the North Coast Drive, you will find yourself heading towards the bright city lights of Derry – there are plenty of places for you to stop and rest too. Derry is Ireland’s single remaining walled city, which you can explore as part of your drive along the North Coast.
Head North from Belfast where the M2 touches the Causeway Coast Route, and just past Carrickfergus Castle is where the landscape becomes a little crazier than you may anticipate; don’t look back. Out there in isolation is Garron Point, after which you are left to climb the steep roads into remote Glenariff Forest Park where all on ground level become tiny little specs in the far distance.