TAKE THE HIGH ROAD

Europe’s ac­ces­si­bil­ity and beau­ti­fully var­ied scenery make it ideal for a Bri­tish Air­ways fly- drive get­away

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Best Road Trips -

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.

Ital­ian ad­ven­tures

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.

'VS UIFS BàFME

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

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