September 18, 2019

The World’s Best Cities for Scenic Drives

Discover Car Hire questioned over 2,500 tourist drivers to find out which cities they enjoyed driving in the most and least. 

Gran Canaria took the top spot followed by Izmir, Cairns, Kefalonia, Split, Bourgas, Knock, Ponta Delgada, Johannesburg, with Warsaw rounding out the top 10. 

The research also showed the cities that are least popular with tourist drivers. On the top of the list is Dubrovnik followed by three UK cities: London, Glasgow and Belfast. 

  • One of the three highest-rated cities for driving (with a staggering 9.7 satisfaction rating) is Izmir, on Turkey’s west coast. The bustling markets and back streets, ancient monuments, and the azure Aegean Sea make Izmir must for any eager explorer.
  • Cairns, on Australia’s east coast, also topped the poll for city driving satisfaction. Known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, respondents described Cairns as a ‘tropical paradise’ that offers an expanse of mountains, sea and beautiful views.
  • Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, came out joint top in the highest-rated drives.

The research also reveals what makes a great driving experience. 

Of the top 20 best places to drive in the world, six are island destinations, including destinations on the Canary Islands, the Balearics, the Azores and Cyprus. 

Ponta Delgada, the capital of São Miguel in the Azores, is one destination cited time and time again as a firm favourite. With its whitewashed buildings, narrow cobbled streets and crystal clear waters, a staggering 105 people surveyed gave Ponta Delgada an average score of 9.6 city driving satisfaction.

Of course, having a car gives the freedom to drive between cities and explore countries in their entirety. The research uncovered the countries that offer the highest number of top city driving experiences: 

  • Italy tops the poll, with seven of its city destinations achieving a satisfaction rating of 7.5 or higher out of 10, including Milan, Venice and Rome.
  • Spain is joint top, with mainland destinations such as Barcelona and Malaga appearing alongside its islands as firm customer favourites.

If you’re planning a trip across the UK, Edinburgh is the highest-ranked city, with an overall score of 9.2 out of 10, beating rival city Glasgow, which still earned a respectable 7.3. However, London came bottom of the poll for UK driving, only managing to notch up a total of 6.8 out of ten.

One Irish destination that you may not have considered is Knock in County Mayo. With an average score of 9.6 out of 10, respondents praised its beautiful scenery, quiet roads and tranquil pace of driving.

Dmitrijs Zaznovs from said: “Overwhelmingly, our research has shown that drivers care about beautiful surroundings and scenery, with coastal roads and picturesque countryside helping to create memories that will last a lifetime.

“Respondents also said that the quality of road surfaces (e.g. lack of potholes) and ease of driving (for example, good signposting and easy navigation) all contributed to their top experiences, as did being able to hire a car quickly and efficiently when arriving at an airport.”

The car hire comparison company’s research also showed things we like least about city driving. These are poorly maintained roads, angry local drivers and difficulty in finding a parking space.

The least popular city to drive in is Dubrovnik, with the lowest score of 6.7.

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