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Highways
to heaven

Dodge the traffic and tourists with these three refreshing alternatives to well-worn road trips,
says Jessica Benjamin.
Start dreaming now…

AN ALPINE SPIN

Instead of: The Amalfi Coast
Try: The Stelvio Pass, a winding road through the Italian Alps that’s perfect for summer cruising.
Start: Bolzano, home to an impressive medieval city centre. Visit the Museum of Archaeology to see Ötzi the Iceman, who lived between 3400 and 3100 BC and whose preserved body was found frozen nearby in 1991. Spend the night at Hotel Weihrerhof, a lakeside hideaway nearby. Rooms from £235

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Pit stop: The Grand Hotel Bagni Nuov in Bormio. Check in to this candy-coloured masterpiece (Wes Anderson vibes ahoy) and soak up its old-school opulence. Rooms from £215
Finish: Across the border in Switzerland’s St Moritz, the glitzy ski resort that’s as beautiful in summer as it is in winter. Fill your boots at Hanselmann bakery with a ‘mountain breakfast’ that’s as hearty as it sounds.

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Hanselmann bakery

CAPE EXPECTATIONS

Instead of: The Garden Route, South Africa
Try: The West Coast, a wonderfully photogenic coastal track.
Start: The Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, at the foot of Table Mountain. Dine at the esteemed Pot Luck Club, on the sixth floor of a former biscuit mill — watch out for its killer cocktails.
Rooms from £222

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Pit stop: Babylonstoren, a Cape Dutch farm in the Franschhoek wine valley offering farm-to-fork cuisine. Stay in the Farmhouse for chic simplicity. Rooms from £400
Finish: At Paternoster, a traditional fishing village where you can indulge in Wolfgat’s award-winning cuisine. Its sittings are small so book ahead — it’s worth it.

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The view at Wolfgat

A BREATH OF FRESH EIRE

Instead of: The Pacific Coast Highway, California
Try: The rugged Wild Atlantic Way in West Ireland, the longest coastal road in the world (1,600 miles, no less).
Start: West Cork in the south. Take in the spectacular ocean scenery at Inchydoney Island Lodge, then head to An Teach Beag pub in Clonakilty for a raucous night of music.
Rooms from £187

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Pit stop: Galway. Rest at Ballynahinch Castle, where you’ll find a mountain backdrop and an in-house salmon fishery. Rooms from £295
Finish: Donegal in the north, winding your way across the bay to see the famous Sliabh Liag, the country’s highest sea cliffs. Tour the distillery while you’re there to discover the true — ahem — spirit of Donegal.

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An Teach Beag pub