The World's Most Thrilling Driving Trips

departures drives

Photo: Courtesy Bentley Motors Limited

This post originally appeared at Departures.Cruising the open road in a high-performance exotic car is a fantasy that knows no borders. Whether it’s driving the French Riviera, California’s coastline or the Las Vegas Strip, these trips are all the more spectacular in a Rolls-Royce, Corvette or Lamborghini suited specifically for the experience.

Take, for example, driving Croatia’s Istria peninsula, which is loaded with attractions like the well-preserved Roman amphitheater in Pula, charming harbor town of Rovinj and mountain medieval fortress of Motovun, birthplace of Formula 1 racing legend Mario Andretti. The drive itself is memorable; however, it reaches new heights in a 2012 Bentley Continental GTC.

Bentley, of course, has a well-deserved reputation for luxury, but the British car manufacturer ups the ante for open-air touring with a convertible that seats four passengers in unrepentant comfort. Plush leather seats are only the start. There’s a neck warmer vent in the headrest that gently blows warm air around your upper body, so even if there is a slight chill in the air, there is no need to put the top up. Double-glazed windows reduce wind noise so you don’t have to shout when you point toward one of the many scenic vistas along this stretch of the Adriatic coast.

It’s not a problem if an ocean stands between your Aston Martin and a famous stretch of road: just rent a car. In Europe, Edel & Stark, which offers VIP concierge service, can provide you with anything from a Mayback to a Range Rover. (Prices vary, but a Porsche 911, for example, is $3,250 per day.) If you’re staying stateside, Gotham Dream Cars, in New York, can arrange for you to drive not one but six dream cars in one day, for just under $1,000.

Herewith, eight spectacular drives behind the wheels of iconic cars. Now the only thing standing between you and the asphalt is a pair of driving shoes. We recommend Tod’s.

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This story was originally published by Departures.

New York City in Six Luxury Cars

Why settle for driving one exotic car when you can drive six in a single day? Gotham Dream Cars organizes its Dream Tour driving adventures over a 150-mile route that takes about five hours. Drivers switch between each exotic vehicle at designated intervals, and there are special familiarization briefings for each car to maximise enjoyment.

Gotham specialises in featuring cars with big, powerful V-10 and V-12 engines, and the list of manufacturers includes Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Bentley. Lunch is included. The best part is not having to worry about parking. $895; gothamdreamcars.com.

Source: Departures

California's Highway One in a Corvette

From its iconic beaches to its massive redwoods, a drive on the twisting Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to San Francisco is one of the most scenic routes in the U.S. And nothing screams classic California lifestyle like a Corvette convertible.

The new 2010 Grand Sport Corvette has a V8 engine with 430 horsepower. All you need to bring is some Beach Boys music and a surfboard to stick out the back.$499 per day; carefreelifestyle.com.

Source: Departures

Germany's Autobahn in a Porsche

Look into the side-view mirror and there's nothing there. Blink and there's a super-car bearing down on you at fighter-jet speeds. Germany's 12,200-kilometer Autobahn is not for the faint of heart, but on a road where speed limits don't exist (except around cities), there is no bigger thrill.

That makes it the dream road for car buffs. Rent a Porsche 911 from Edel & Stark in Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf or Frankfurt. Chief Operating Officer Benedikt Luchinger recommends the Munich-to-Prague route, as there is less traffic and the road is in very good condition. $1920 per day with a 300-kilometer limit;edelstark.com.

Source: Departures

French Riviera in a Rolls-Royce

There is a certain time of year on the French Riviera when you have to shuttle between the Cannes Film Festival and the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco just because there are so many parties to attend.

Platinium Cote d'Azur will put you behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe if you're looking for a Princess Grace moment in Monaco or a sportier Maserati GT Coupe for a spin around the F1 circuit a la Tony Stark in Ironman 2. There are many other choices as well. Drophead Coupe is $7,800 per day;platinium-ca.com.

Source: Departures

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