Having driven many miles in many countries we thought it time to look back and put down a list of our top experiences .
1 – Albania’s Unpredictability
If you are planning to visit Albania, it is a land of driving extremes. From the baking heat, standstills and ample use of horns in Tirana, to sleepy country A-roads that turn into dirt tracks with no warning. Throw in the fact that there is not one map that gives a clue as to where you are going and as a driver you are kept constantly on your toes.
All this really means, however, is that you are all the more alert and receptive to enjoy the ample rewards. Try the SH38 Road through the Shtam National Park, winding, cliff-hugging roads though a beautiful national park, or the SH8 all the way up the coast from the Beach resorts of Sarande to the Llogara National park with some glorious Mediterranean views:
2 – Romania’s Transfagarasan
Romania’s Transfăgărăşan Highway has more than once been called the “best road in the world“. It is true that it was the one time that I wished for a faster car. We fully agreed that it is an exhilarating road, but it was the views, not the corners that made it for us.
3 – Morocco’s Cirique du Jaffar
High in the Atlas mountains, there is the old Berber Caravan Route known as the Cirque Du Jaffar, we did it as part of a 127km off-road route recommended by Chris Scott through the morocco high atlas. Although hair raising at the time, the beauty and remoteness of the area, as well as the sense of accomplishment made for an unforgettable experience.
Having wound and titled our way down the most precarious part of the track, edging round boulders and constantly being rolled in my top-heavy land rover towards the colossal drop below and tearing a tyre open on a rock in the process we finally reached the bottom. Only wanting to stop and take a deep breath, we were not in the best of spirits when swarms of local children jumped on and in every nook and cranny of the car; demanding ransom in the form of “bon-bon” (sweets), unfortunately we had not foreseen this, and very conscious of the fact that my tyre was soon to render the car undriveable managed to give them some change and get going again. In retrospect, all very much part of the fun, but a good tip to those going the same way; be armed with a glove box full of sweets.
4 – The Pyrenees – Playground for the Adventurous
If you are looking for things to do in Spain, away from sunbathing by the coast, we have had some amazing times over the past few year exploring the Pyrenees off-road and the more we do, the more endeared we become. The views are stunning the roads and tracks amazing and the opportunities for wild camping plentiful. you cant beat going up with some supplies and ample time and just seeing where the day takes you. One particular road to get you started is the N-260 from Ripoll to Puigcerda. Stunning views and an all round beautiful drive.
5 – Montenegro Kotor To Durmitor – A Better View Around Every Corner
This was just one of those drives, on one of those days, where everything is just right. The drive is stunning as it is, starting with the brilliant views back over the stunning Kotor Bay, and passing through mountains, lovely little villages and beautiful blue lake-lands. To add to our experience when we did this drive, we passed a huge forest fire and saw hundreds of people parachuting overhead. Top it all off by ending the day with a beer sitting atop the Tara Canyon and it is a day I will remember for a very long time.
6 – Morocco – Plage Blanc and the Untamed Atlantic Coast
The rugged, beaten Atlantic Coast of Morocco, south of the tourist resort of Agadir (with the exception of the odd fishing village such as Sidi Ifni) is un-populated and un-tarmacked all the way to the border with the disputed territory of Western Sahara. I have debated putting this experience further up the list, my experience may be slightly marred by the fact that we set of with only quarter of a tank of fuel, slightly underestimating the distance and sparseness of the area. Despite this, it is a beautiful area and incomparable for a 4 x 4 enthusiast. Just be sure to wash the salt off your vehicle afterwards.
7 – Andorra – Taking a 4×4 to the Pistes
If it were not for the ski lifts overhead, you would not know that another person existed when in some of the further flung stretches of the Pyrenees. Spending a day pointing your land rover at the top of a mountain and then chugging it up ski slopes and tracks to get there, however, is a great way to spend a day. Combine this with brilliant wild camping and enjoying being awoken by grazing wild horses and it is a weekend you wont soon forget.
8 – Romania – Danube Delta – Floating Platforms and Sinking Roads
The Delta where the majestic Danube opens out into the Black Sea, is one of the most important eco-systems in Europe. It is a great place to visit, completely different to all other wilder areas I have ventured. Navigation off the beaten path is not easy, however, and it is a place better explored by boat as even a land rover cannot access the majority of it. Try using this well situated camp-site as a base and exploring by a combination of floating platforms and hired boats for a memorable experience of the area.
9 – Dune Driving – Erg Chebbi
In terms of a driving experience, flying over sand dunes in a 4×4 is high on every offroaders list. My main tip; weight is key, even with huge 12 inch tyres and low pressures, our 3 ton land rover struggled. Still, once I had the hang of it and had shoveled more than my share of sand, we had a blast.
10 – Spanish Coast
When you imagine Spain’s Mediterranean Coastline, you mainly think of Costa Del Sol style resorts, but hard as they have tried to gain tourist revenue from every inch of the coast, there is a lovely uninhabited stretch south of Valencia, that is only accessible by tracks and provides access to incredible wild camping and fishing locations inches from the beach.