Col de Turini
Col de Turini, France
The Col de Turini in the Maritime Alps of France has been named as one of the worlds’ greatest roads and is something of an engineering masterpiece. The 24km pass cuts through the mountains between Sospel and La Bollene with 34 impressive hairpin bends to navigate as you climb up to 1607mts. The pass is famous for the Monte Carlo Rally which is staged here every year and it is often also used as a stage of the Tour de France cycle race.
Although the views are wonderful this is not a drive for the faint-hearted and to drive the Col de Turini in a motor home you will need to have some experience, and choose your time carefully as the pass can be very treacherous in winter when the roads are covered with snow and ice. It would also be best to avoid this stretch of road during the peak holiday season in Summer – the best time to take a slow and leisurely motor home drive along the Col would be spring and autumn.
It is easy to reach the Col de Turini from Nice or Cannes on the French Riviera, and when you reach the bottom of the pass you will be able to see parts of the road snaking around the mountains above you. Along the way, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, you will come across the Notre Dame De La Menour, a church dating from the 17th century, which enjoys probably the best view in the Alps. Have a break here to imbibe the stillness and breath-taking views.
From this viewpoint, the road starts to descend to Sospel, a little town that dates back to the 5th century, but was unfortunately very badly damaged during WWII when the Germans tried to thwart the French Resistance. Today you can visit this historic town and see the remains of a tower that was part of the 14th century town walls. If you want to spend a night or two in Sospel there is a Campsite – Domaine Ste Madeleine – from where you can do some walking, hiking or cycling. There are also a few small ski resorts at the top of the pass if you do decide to visit in winter.
The drive back to Nice or Cannes in the other direction is just as impressive and offers a different perspective of one of the most spectacular roads in Europe.