01/08/2016

Travel through unspoilt natural beauty

  • Goldcar has prepared a selection of national parks in southern Europe that can be visited by car
  • To enjoy nature in its purest form the region of Provence, Piedmont or the Cantabrian Mountains are destinations in France, Italy and Spain noted for their picturesque landscapes. These places hide some of the most beautiful routes for a road trip, a way of travelling that allows you to discover many secret places at your own pace.

    Goldcar, the leading company in holiday car hire, has put together a selection of some of the most amazing national parks located in France, Italy and Spain, perfect for touring by car. There are also some tips so you not only enjoy these wonderful environments but also their gastronomy and culture too.

    France

    Mercantour, a park between the mountains and the sea

    In the region known as PACA, Provence - Alpes - Cote d'Azur, there lies the Mercantour National Park. A park where you can see the final mountains at the end of the Alps before diving down into the Mediterranean, definitely a unique enclave between the Mountains and the sea.

    In its six valleys and twenty-eight towns, where you can drive through the beautiful roads that cross the mountains, Mercantour reveals endless artistic and architectural treasures of the Roman, medieval and Baroque period.

    This overflowing unadorned charm of nature has a number of stops that should not be missed. One of them, Daluis Gorges, is dubbed the ‘Colorado de Niza’. A canyon 6 kilometres long formed by the river Var and located at the highest point in the park. Only the bravest will be able to peek at this dizzying sight, an exceptional location offering outstanding views.

    Italy

    Grand Paradise, discover some exotic species of animals

    Named Gran Paradiso National Park in 1922 this place became the first protected area in the country. Located between the Aosta Valley, in north-western Italy and the Piedmont region, this picturesque natural setting, where you´ll find varied fauna, offers a different scene for every season. In addition to the Ibex, the symbol of the park, visitors can find Alpine chamois, marmots, hares, partridges, eagles, deer, foxes and even wolves. A variety of species that make this natural place an incredible destination.

    From the park you can easily access road to the city of Aosta. An ideal place to stroll through the pedestrian streets surrounded by restaurants and shops, where you can also admire monuments of Roman and medieval times such as the Arch of Augustus, the Cathedral, the square of Émile Chanoux or the collegiate church dedicated to San Ursus of Aosta.

    Spain

    Picos de Europa, unique on the continent for skiing and surfing on the same day

    Established in 1918 as the first national park in Spain, the Picos de Europa is set in the regions of Asturias, Leon and Cantabria. A landscape of green meadows and rugged peaks that hides centuries of history, tradition, culture and gastronomy. A tour through narrow mountain roads and curves that will delight all driving enthusiasts.

    A must on the way is to stop at Cangas de Onis, famous for having been the capital of Asturias for many years and for its spectacular Roman bridge which crosses the River Sell and dates from the Middle Ages. To please the palate there´s nothing better than visiting Arenas de Cabrales, about 20 kilometres away, and entering the caves where cheeses are left to ferment. For those who enjoy heights there´s the Fuente Dé cable car which climbs up to 1450 meters from where you can discover the highest roads and even feel the snow in summer. A place where silence reigns, ideal to discover for yourself.

    Lovers of car travel will enjoy the countless nooks and crannies in the Picos de Europa and sports enthusiasts can, weather permitting, ski and surf in the same day.

    Spain:

    goldcar@grayling.com

    +34 91 522 10 08

    France:

    maitland@maitland.co.uk

    +44 20 7379 5151

    ongoldroad.com

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