Opinion: What makes a “Great Road” truly great?

We’ve all got our own favourite stretches of road. Whether it’s your usual Sunday morning blast or the destination for an epic road trip, some stretches of tarmac are just more tantalising than others. But what is it that makes a Great Road truly great?

Corners are obviously the key. While a flat out charge down some perfectly straight autobahn may amuse once in a while, what most of us really want from our perfect route is a delectable selection of curves, tailored (ideally) to the dynamics of your particular Porsche 911.

Tight hairpins, medium-speed radii and fast sweepers are all required to fully test man and machine (and put a smile on the face of any Neunelfer enthusiast). However, a meandering route is nothing if the scenery it passes through isn’t up to scratch.

Tail of the Dragon

A truly great road, therefore, is often found in a jaw-dropping location because, when you’re eyes aren’t fixed on the road, there’s nothing better than slowing it down a bit and soaking up a stunning vista or two.

Coastal routes are good (although often exposed to the elements) but mountain passes are the pièce de résistance. The plunging topography can help the driving experience too; perfectly flat roads are, quite simply, boring.

Of course, if you’re on a grand driving tour, you’ll want the roads to deliver you to a desirable destination. The Col de Vence would still be fantastic if it ended in Slough, but the finish line near the Mediterranean coast adds a little more cachet to any road-based adventure.

Route Napoleon

With the glamorous elements taken care of, there are then the more mundane considerations, such as the surface quality or the volume of traffic. We’ve all been stuck in a queue of cars just wishing they could all disappear and let you enjoy the open road…

Personally speaking, my perfect “Great Road” would have a seemingly never-ending succession of tight and medium-speed turns (with the occasional flat out sprint) to keep me working hard at the wheel.

It’d wind its way through the mountains, with a few blind crests to test my mettle, before delivering me to a delightful seaside stopover where I could catch my breath and do it all over again. I haven’t found this mythical road yet but, I suppose that’s just another reason to get out and drive.

Do you have a favourite stretch of road? What would your perfect driving route look like? Share your tales of tantalising tarmac in the comments below, or join the debate on our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

Kvarken Archipelago

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