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The Best Cities to Drive In

While some cities can conjure up images of heavy traffic and blaring horns, there are cities in which it is a pleasure to drive. Having the freedom to take your car to the Scottish Highlands or even across the border into Germany, Denmark or Sweden opens up a world of opportunities.

In this article, we look at some of the best cities to drive in worldwide, whether you’re taking your own car or hiring one abroad.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is arguably one of the most unique travel destinations in the world. Its colourful houses and remote location make it extremely exciting cities to visit. After exploring Reykjavik, head out into the wilderness on Iceland’s ring road, which covers the entire country. The road connects all of the main attractions including Seljalansfoss Waterfall, Snaefallsnes Peninsula and the city of Reykjavik.

Dundee, Scotland

As you can simply hop into your car and hit the road, Dundee is one of the most appealing cities on the list. Set on the Firth of Tay estuary in eastern Scotland, Dundee’s unique blend of historical sites and modern city life keeps things interesting. From Dundee, you can explore the east coast up towards Aberdeen or down to Edinburgh. The Cairngorms National Park is also just an hour’s drive away, offering some of Scotland’s wildest roads.

Kansas City, Missouri

With a fairly low amount of traffic and 16.8% fewer car accidents than the national average according to research by CJ Pony Parts, Kansas City is considered to be one of the best cities to drive in. Straddling the border with Kansas, the city is famous for its jazz heritage and is a cultural hub. Visit the 18th and Vine Jazz District and enjoy some delicious barbecue food on your road trip before venturing out to explore the remote landscape of America’s Midwest.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is considered to be one of the safest cities to drive in, along with its neighbour Sweden. As Denmark is such a small country, driving through it is one of the best ways to see everything it has to offer. Copenhagen itself is fairly easy to drive through, though you may wish to hire a bicycle to take in the beauty of the waterfront. Be sure to visit Denmark’s sweeping beaches and national parks. If you have time, take the 45 minute journey from Copenhagen to Malmo, Sweden.

Inverness, Scotland

Although it’s a city, Inverness has an almost tranquil air about it. This is most likely due to its proximity to some of the country’s wildest and most spectacular natural sights. Inverness can be found on the northeast coast and is considered to be the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. Visit the old town, home to a 19th century cathedral, or the contemporary Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Take your car for a spin to the remote town of Ullapool on the west coast, or head to the otherworldly landscape of the Isle of Skye.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

According to driving app Waze, Amsterdam is one of the best cities for driving in the world. By compiling the driving experiences of 50 million users in 32 countries and 167 metro areas, Waze created the first ever ‘Driver Satisfaction Index’. Amsterdam features fourth on the list behind the U.S cities of Phoenix, Greensboro and Dallas. The survey focused on traffic level by frequency and severity of traffic jams, road quality, driver safety and driver services, among other factors.

However, driving straight into Amsterdam’s city centre is not recommended (as is the case with most large cities) because the roads around the city are fairly easy to navigate.

The world’s most congested cities

While there are many incredible cities to drive in, there are also some which you may regret rolling into. Navigation company TomTom published a list in February 2017 featuring the most congested cities in the world. In first place is Mexico City with a congestion level of 66%, closely followed by Bangkok, Thailand at 61% and Jakarta, Indonesia with 58%.

The congestion level is defined by TomTom as the ‘increase in overall traffic times when compared to a free flow situation (an uncongested situation)’ according to an article by Business Insider.

The top 10 are as follows:
1. Mexico City, Mexico
2. Bangkok, Thailand
3. Jakarta, Indonesia
4. Chongqing, China
5. Bucharest, Romania
6. Istanbul, Turkey
7. Chengdu, China
8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
9. Tainan, Taiwan
10. Beijing, China

While TomTom’s data shows that China is one of the worst countries overall for traffic congestion, most of the cities with the least traffic congestion are in the United States. The research puts Dayton Ohio, Knoxville, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Cleveland, Tulsa and St. Louis among the cities with the lowest congestion levels.

If you’re preparing to drive overseas, make sure you understand the basic rules of the road and always keep emergency supplies with you for long road trips. Take a look at our guide on essential items to keep in your car for inspiration.

Image Credit: Vasenka Photography

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Posted on 15th January 2019 at 2:15 PM

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