Spa – Frankfurt
16 September – 5 October 2013
After a hugely successful Tour of Europe in 2012, we are ready to run an improved version again in 2013. The concept of the tour has not changed and that is to hit as many of the motoring icons as we could in one trip while still allowing time for side trips, shopping, fine dining and the odd day to chill out and rest.
In no particular order this tour visits: Ferrari, Siena, Porsche, Portofino, Monaco, Spa, Col de Turini, Nurburgring — Nordschleife, Route Napoleon, The Pistenklause, Red-Bull Hanger, Cinque Terra, Stelvio Pass (twice), St Bernard Pass (both), Furka Pass, St Moritz and so many special little places that you will have to come along to find.
As with all Driving Adventures tours, this trip is all about having a good time. Nice cars, good friends, brilliant roads in some of the most beautiful locations on earth in company with like-minded adventurers.
The tour represents the highest standards of organisation, first-rate hotels and exquisite dining. There are even road books, detailing the exact route (although an up to date Sat-Nav system is essential). I will also be there as a guide to smooth the way and ensure that each guest has the best experience possible.
These are events organised as rallies, but without the restrictions and limitations of a competition event. There is no competition timing. Guests are given detailed road books that explain the correct route as well as a short history of the areas traveled. Roads are selected for the driving enjoyment. Unlike competition events, guests will be free to set their own agenda for the day.
You can choose between a sleep-in and a leisurely breakfast or an early start with stops along the way to more closely inspect the local colour or you could short-cut the scheduled route and hurry to you destination for a swim or spa before dinner with the group. You can even arrange to skip a night or two to take in a special side trip. It IS your holiday.
The tour package includes:
- all Hotels and breakfast each morning, some dinners,
- a new Peugeot RCZ lease car,
- 2 economy flights from Sydney or Melbourne to London, and
- return flights from Frankfurt and lots more.
The schedule is:
Monday 16 September – Stavelot
We gather in Stavelot for a welcoming dinner at our small family run hotel that just happens to have an amazing restaurant. The Goodwood Revival winds up the day before, so there is time to have a relaxing drive from the UK. What better way to kick of our adventure!
Tuesday 17 September – Stavelot
The plan is for an easy start today to let everyone catch their breath before we pick up the pace. Our hotel is on the doorstep to the Spa circuit, so we will be checking out the legendary circuit including the heart-stopping Eau Rouge and the public roads that were once part of the old 14km circuit. Have a look at the movie Grand Prix to pick a few landmarks.
Wednesday 18 September – Stavelot – Nurburg – 200 Km
Short-cut – 107 km – 1 hr 45 min
The only way to follow up Spa is to head to the Nurburgring. The plan is to head through the Ardenne Forest to the village of Nurburg and the Schmitz family hotel, the Tiergarten. We will do a tour of some of the spectator points around the Nordshleife before heading onto the 20 km Green Hell for a few fast laps, IF the circuit sorts out their financial problems. Dinner is at the Pistenklause amongst the memorabilia of countless races at the legendary circuit.
Thursday 19 September – Nurburg – Zuffenhausen – 315 Km
Now that you are warmed up it is time to hit the Autobahn for quick unrestricted run to Zuffenhausen and the Porsche museum, home to an amazing array of cars that trace the history of Porsche. We have also been promised a dinner at Restaurant Christophous. I will confirm this ASAP.
Friday 20 September – Zuffenhausen – Sirmione – 631 Km
Leaving Stuttgart it is back to the Autobahn and into Switzerland and our first look at the Alps. Today we will take the relaxed route along the autobahn and some amazing tunnels before we head into Italy. We will skirt the chaos that can be Milan and head to the stunning Lake Garda. Our hotel is in Sirmione on the lake and is a hotel spa so you can indulge yourself in their mineral water pools.
Saturday 21 September – Sirmione – Maranello – 160 Km
Time to hit the Autostrada as we head through the Italian countryside towards Modena and the brilliant new Enzo Ferrari Museum and then onto Maranello the home of Ferrari. There is time to visit the Ferrari museum before checking into our hotel which is straight across the road from the Ferrari Gates. Dinner is next door in the Cavallino Restaurant which is stepped in Ferrari history.
Sunday 22 September – Maranello – Borgo Scopeto – 230 Km
Short-cut – 210 km – 2 hrs 30 min
Take to the mountains on a brilliant drive into Tuscany. We will use an old Ferrari test route through Polinago. This is a wonderful drive on Italian back roads. We wind our way through plenty of mountain villages before we drop down into Tuscany on our way towards Siena. Our accommodation is the beautiful Realis Borgo Scopeto. A converted winery, parts of which are over 1,000 years old. It famously stared as a country estate in the movie Letters to Juliet.
Monday 23 September – Rest Day
The Borgo Scopeto is too good a place for just one night, so take the day to rest up after a big week on the road or head out to explore the medieval walled towns of Siena or San Gimignano.
Tuesday 24 September – Borgo Scopeto – Portofino – 315 Km
Short-cut – 278 km – 3 hrs 15 mins
Back on the road through the Tuscan countryside. The route winds a little more than necessary thanks to the rather unique Italian mapping system but we do manage to drive around the walls of San Gimignano. There is then some brilliant driver’s roads before hitting the Autostrada around Pisa. Next stop is the brilliant stretch of coast that is the Cinque Terre before continuing onto the Hotel Splendido in Portofino. If you are going to spoil yourself. This is the place.
Wednesday 25 September – Portofino – Monaco – 215 Km
A nice short day. There is plenty of time to soak up the Hotel Splendido or wander around Portofino village. Then blast up the Autostrada through the 160 tunnels to Monaco. An added bonus for our visit to Monaco is that we will be there during the Monaco Boat Show, a must see.
Thursday 26 September – Rest Day.
Explore Monaco, do a little shopping OR take a drive on some famous Monte stage roads, up the Col de Castallino and Col de Turini in the mountains behind the Principality.
Friday 27 September – Monaco – Grenoble – 330 Km
This is one of the world’s great drives, The Route Napoleon to Grenoble is so named because Napoleon marched this route on his way to Paris, after his escape from Elba in 1815. He may not have appreciated it at the time but this is a rollercoaster of wide sweeping corners. It is lightly trafficked, has brilliant scenery and is more fun than should be allowed. The only problem is talking yourself into stopping to take pics and soak in the scenery.
Saturday 28 September – Grenoble – Martigny – 300 Km
Short-cut – 193 km – 2 hrs 50 min
Into the Alps at last. The day starts with a run up the heavily Policed Autobahn to Albertville before taking to the alps along a very scenic drive through Beaufort. We drive both St Bernard Passes, Petit then Grande, on the way to Martigny.
Remember the Muira at the start of the original Italian Job? Well, this is the road.
Sunday 29 September – Martigny – St Moritz – 315 Km
The day starts with an easy run down a stunning glacial valley. Mountains loom on either side sprinkled with castles and ancient battlements, you are not at home now. Highlight of the day is the mighty Furkapass, followed up by the Oberalppass on our way to St. Mortitz.
Monday 30 September – St Moritz – Rest Day
Saint Moritz is way too good a place for an overnight stop, so we have scheduled a rest day. You can lounge, head into town for some shopping or indulge in the full list of adventure activities on offer. Should be fun!
Tuesday 1 October – St Mortiz – Bormio – 230 Km
Short-cut – 101 km – 1 hr 50 min
This is THE day, if there is a hint of petrol in your blood, this is the day you will talk about for years. Leaving St Moritz we warm up on the 2,315 metre Albulapass. Next stop is Davos, where we pick up the road that Top Gear made famous. The Fluelapass climbs to 2,383 metres, Ofen Pass takes you 2,149 metres but they are just warm ups for the 2,757 metre Stelvio and yes it is everything they say it is. Just below the Stelvio is the Ski Resort of Bormio where we will recover for the night.
Wednesday 2 October – Bormio – Cortina d’Ampezzo – 261 Km
If the Stelvio was not enough yesterday, we do it all over again 1st up this morning. From the summit we take to the Umbrail pass a much more pleasant alternative to the north ramp of the Stelvio. We then loop around and into the spectacular Dolomites for another stunning days drive.
Thursday 3 October – Cortina d’Ampezzo – Salzburg 248 Km
More of the Dolomites today as we head north and into Austria and the stunning Red Bull Hanger. Before we venture there we have another highlight of the tour, the mighty Grossglockner, ranked in the top handful of enthusiasts roads in the world. Climbing to 2,460 metres on the highest mountain in Austria. This is one to enjoy.
The Red Bull Hanger is home to an amazing collection of cars and planes as well as a number of bars and restaurants all set in a wonderful piece of modern architecture. We will dine here tonight in the May Day Bar.
Friday 4 October – Bormio – Igls – 356 Km
Short-cut – 189 km – 2 hrs
Our final day in the Alps and what better way to wind up an epic adventure that a re-run of the Grossglockner before heading through Kitzbuhel and then the Autobahn into the village of Igls for our final dinner together.
Saturday 5 October – Igls – Frankfurt Airport – 500 Km
An easy 500 Km run on Autobahn will get you to Frankfurt with plenty of time to spare before you flight home or head anywhere your heart desires.
Driving Adventures is David Thomas. David has been passionate about driving since he was old enough to hold a steering wheel. He has driven from London to Sydney, through the Andes and much of South and Central America, across deserts and deep into rainforests. He has won rally stages in the Himalayas. Raced successfully at Bathurst and taught thousands of people advanced driving skills through his own school and as head of the NSW Police Driver Training School. He has driven in movies and videos and has been organising and conducting tours since 1990. If anyone can show you how to have a good time in a car, it is David.
David has been joined for the European tours by old friends Global Connection, as travel partners. I have been working with Global Connection for many years now and decided to get them involved with this trip to assist you all with the complex travel plans. As you will see below, they have explored all the various travel options on your behalf to save you time and money. They will be able to assist you with all of your travel needs for the European Driving Adventure. Regardless of whether you would like assistance with booking flights, arranging a quality rental car, organising pre and post tour options or perhaps sorting out travel insurance, Global Connection will be glad to assist you.
Feel free to contact the Managing Director, Mr Mark Swift directly on (02) 9922 7777. He will be happy to help you plan the Driving Adventure of a lifetime!
Mark can offer professional advice from licensed travel agents on such a complex tour. Global Connection is a member of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) which means you are dealing with a fully licensed travel agency, bonded by the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) to ensure your financial protection.
Global Connection is also in the unique position of being able to offer you impartial advice. Unlike the major travel agency chains, they do not maintain preferential arrangements with travel suppliers in an effort to boost their profits. Rather, they rely on their quality of advice and service to increase their customer base. Having been around for more than 16 years and continuing to flourish despite the emergence of online travel, it’s clear that they must be doing something very right indeed. So if you’re wondering what airline you should fly with, which hotel to book or perhaps what time of year to travel, you can trust that you will receive the right advice from the team at Global Connection.
One of the real lessons of the 2012 tour was the sense of leasing the amazing Peugeot RCZ for the tour, picking up when you arrive in London and dropping off at Frankfurt the Peugeot is a brilliant choice, fun to drive, it handles well goes reasonably well has plenty of luggage space and proved to be the best choice for the tour. This year I have included the cost of a new RCZ in cost of the tour. Of course if you wish another choice to drive we can organise a reduction reflecting the cost of the RCZ.
An alternative you may wish to consider is to buy a car in Europe, use it on the trip and then ship it back home. Financially this can be very attractive if you pick the right car. I have an arrangement with a company in the UK who will carry out a pre-purchase inspection, arrange delivery and service the car before the tour, then ship it home afterwards.
The cost of the tour includes 2 return flights, Sydney to London, returning from Frankfurt to Sydney on Ethiad Airways. You can option upgraded seats, stopovers or different destinations. Business Class Tickets on the same flights are also available.
Our original plan was to include the Goodwood revival as part of the tour, however Goodwood have taken every hotel room within a 60 Km radius. This makes it impractical to plan a group visit to the event. I will be attending and have secured a couple of rooms 15 minutes from the circuit that I am happy to offer to those who book to be on the tour. If you would like to attend I am happy to organise tickets to the revival and a few dinners over the weekend but with the exception of the rooms mentioned above, I cannot promise accommodation close to the circuit.
I have scheduled the run through the Alps to be late in the season on purpose, mainly to avoid the traffic that can choke the best passes at the height of summer. The risk is that an early storm can cause the closure of both the Stelvio and the Grossglockner any time after the end of September. We are planning to use these roads on the 2nd – 4th October. It has been over 20 years since either pass has been closed this early in the season and in recent years they have been closing in early November. I believe that the schedule represents an acceptable risk but a risk nether the less.
The tour, including Return Flights, A new Peugeot RCZ lease car, 22 nights accommodation, a cooked breakfast each morning, and a comprehensive road book detailing the entire route is priced at $27,000 per car/couple. Every effort will be made to maintain the advertised pricing but any large movement with the exchange rate may require an adjustment.
As there are very limited places available, places on the tour will be allocated on a first in basis. To secure a place you will need to provide an initial non-refundable deposit of $9,000. A further payments of $9,000 will then be due on 1 March 2013 and 1 July 2013.
There are 2 ways for you to book. You can always contact David or if you prefer to book through a fully licensed travel agency contact:
02 9922 7777
For any further information, please call (0418 473 916) or email David at any time.