TAKE THE HIGH ROAD
Europe’s accessibility and beautifully varied scenery make it ideal for a British Airways fly- drive getaway
One of the most alluring aspects of travelling to the continent is the prospect of experiencing different destinations at ever y turn. And on a road trip, with scener y gently rolling past you and the ability to take things at your own pace, the journey can be as rewarding as the destination. On a fly-drive or multicentre holiday with British Airways and Avis, Europe’s greatest road trips open out in front of you, ready to be enjoyed.
An efficient way of taking in Italy ’s attractive combination of ancient architecture, charming hospitality and idyllic Mediterranean coastline is a multi-centre drive encompassing Rome, Tuscany and Pisa. Avis has a wide range of vehicles to suit parties of all sizes and budgets, from small and compact to roomy SUVs, and if you’re starting in the lively streets of Rome, something small and nippy may be in order. Rome’s abundance of historical riches includes Vatican City and the opulent Sistine Chapel within it, the dramatic Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum in all its atmospheric vastness. When the time comes to leave the capital, hop into your Avis vehicle of choice and head north on the E35 to Florence, and its rich Renaissance aesthetic. Here, visit the imposing Galleria degli Uffizi, home to the world’s biggest collection of Renaissance art. For the most scenic route, venture north towards the Tuscan coast, through rolling hills and south through quaint seaside towns such as Massa and Viareggio, until you reach Pisa. As well as the world’s most famous architectural error, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you’ll find the exquisitely detailed Duomo cathedral and accompanying Battistero (Baptistr y) here.
A Spanish lap of honour
The Spanish region of Andalucía is another ideal canvas for a road trip. Begin in Seville, a city that revels in the contrast between old and new. Visit the Unesco-listed Real Alcázar – an impressive palace combining Christian and Moorish architecture originating from the 10th centur y. Over at the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes museum, you can see 17th-century paintings, and for a more modern artistic pursuit, check out the locally divisive Metropol Parasol. This giant undulating sunshade, designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer, is said to be the largest wooden structure in the world. From Seville, head north-east to Córdoba to see the Mezquita mosque – a multi-arched masterpiece and fitting reminder of Spain’s diverse histor y. Further overtures to its Moorish past lie in Granada, specifically the Alhambra palace, replete with ornate stone car vings. Conclude your trip in Málaga, a bright spark on the Costa del Sol where you can visit the Museo Picasso Málaga for a unique insight into the city ’s favourite son, as well as the 16th-centur y cathedral on the site of an old mosque. The lure of Malagueta beach may also prove irresistible.
Cruising the Côte d’A zur
Is there a more apt location in the world to tr y Avis’ range of luxur y cars than the French Riviera? You certainly won’t look out of place in glitzy St Tropez, which makes the ideal starting point for your jaunt through the south of France. Take in the modern art collection at the Musée de l’Annonciade and enjoy the views from the 17th-centur y stone fortress Citadelle. Nice, the unofficial capital of the French Riviera, is just under two hours’ drive up the coast. Stroll through Vieux Nice, all delis and cafés adorned with turquoise shutters. Its pièce de résistance is the Cours Saleya, a lively market square with large, seductive floral displays including fuchsias and dahlia. A little out of town lies the Musée Matisse, which houses an eclectic assortment of works by Henri Matisse, who died here in 1954. For a luxurious finale, carr y on the short distance to the tiny principality of Monaco, where you can take a chance in the world-famous Casino de MonteCarlo, or catch a glimpse of royal life at the Palais Princier de Monaco. For a taste of life before high society rolled in, head up the cliff to Le Rocher, an old town full of medieval lanes, seemingly a world away from the bejewelled glamour below.
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British Airways and Avis can make your fantasy road trip a reality pretty much anywhere, whether it’s an American dream of Route 66, the Great Barrier Reef drive in Australia or the coastal majesty of Cape Point in South Africa.
CLOCKWISE The hills of rural Tuscany; arches of the Plaza de España, Seville; evening on the river in Florence; St Tropez from above; Table Mountain in the distance in Cape Town, South Africa