From soaring skyscrapers to medieval palaces, and beaches where the sand trickles gently onto the streets, the cities of the world are as varied as they are captivating. But which ones are the best to explore from behind the wheel of your own car? Here’s our top ten.
Drive along the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge for views out across the city’s picturesque harbour and the equally iconic Opera House. After you’ve cruised the city streets, head away from the centre towards the Northern Beaches to catch some sun or a few waves.
If world famous landmarks are your thing, you don’t need to look any further than our very own London. Yes, it can be faster walking along certain streets at times, but there are few places in the world where you can see sights that rank alongside the likes of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and the London Eye.
Drive across the Brooklyn Bridge for spectacular views on your way to the heart of Manhattan. Gaze down over the East River towards the Statue of Liberty, and see the Empire State Building rise up in front of you. You might get stuck in traffic downtown, but there’s usually plenty to keep you entertained on the sidewalks.
Rio de Janeiro
Driving into Rio, the moment you catch a first glimpse of the city’s remarkable Christ the Redeemer statue is a moment you’ll never forget. But just as impressive is the jaw-dropping coastline that Rio’s perches on, with the city’s harbour ranking as one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders. Framed by the twin peaks of Morro da Urca and Sugarloaf Mountain, cruise alongside the Copacabana on your way to Ipanema, before deciding which beach to settle on.
If Rio’s all about the natural beauty, then Vegas is quite the opposite. It’s still a fabulous place to behold though - as you’re told by the sign that welcomes you as you drive into the city. Cruise along the Strip past those monstrous hotels and casinos, and make sure you drive back along Las Vegas Boulevard at night when the bright lights illuminate the desert sky.
A pleasing blend of sweeping coastal views and stunning Gothic, Romanesque and Modernist architecture, you’ve got the Balearic Sea to one side and one of the world’s most atmospheric cities to the other. After cruising past beaches like Nova Icaria and Barceloneta, you’ll have to park up if you want to visit the city’s most famous street, as La Rambla is pedestrian-only on its way from Plaça de Catalunya to the Columbus Monument.
The French capital stakes its claim to be the most romantic city on Earth, and the majesty of its streets was captured in the 1976 short film C'était un Rendezvous. Recreate those eight minutes of driving pleasure with your own bon voyage through Paris, taking in world renowned sights such as the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Élysées, en route to the Place de la Concorde.
Another city that was immortalised in film, the car chase in the 1968 classic Bullitt starring Steve McQueen is one of the most famous sequences in cinematic history. Drive into San Fran from the north across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge with Frisco Bay to your left and ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’ blaring from your speakers, before exploring those steeply inclined roads at a more leisurely pace than Mr McQueen.
Wedged between water and mountains, Vancouver has a spectacular setting on the west coast of Canada. The city’s grid system makes it easy to navigate when you’re driving along, but make sure you also catch a ferry over to the breathtaking Vancouver Island, and venture up into the neighbouring mountains too.
If you’re arriving in Melbourne along the M1 from the west, you’ll get a great view of the city’s skyline as you head into town. Cruising through the city centre’s easy, as the streets are named after British monarchs. Hop from King Street to William Street, then Queen Street to Elizabeth Street. Use the Princes Bridge to head across the Yarra River to beachside St Kilda, going for a quick lap around Melbourne’s Albert Park F1 circuit on your way.