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The world's greatest driving roads

Col du Galibier – French Alps

Photos © Colcorsa

Col du Galibier is up in a remote region of the Graian Alps in France, on the famous Route des Grandes Alpes that includes several scenic drives in the French Alps. Rising 2,645 m above sea level this road is the sixth highest paved mountain pass in the Alps. When you stand at the top the only thing you can see is a panoramic view over mountains - and some picture perfect road curves.

Driving the Col du Galibier

Drive Col du Galibier in the summer and you will most likely have to share the road with drivers and bikers. Col du Galibier is often the highest point in Tour de France races and for that reason it attracts road cyclists who wish to put their skills on test. If you however choose to do what I did, and wake up early late in the season before the pass closes for the best chances to get to experience it alone, you might be in for a treat. That early morning second day of October it was almost like an abandoned road in the middle of nowhere. I continued north over more passes en route to Switzerland, but traffic never increased on any of the mountain roads.

Most of us know what it is like to drive on a busy pass, and for that reason you learn to really appreciate those moments when it almost feels like someone closed the road for you. Climb up higher, hairpin corner after hairpin corner, and when you reach the top you are only halfway through the challenge. Both sides of Col du Galibier look beautiful. Start from north and the road rises up after Col du Télégraphe and Valloire at an average of 6.9%, or drive from Col du Lautaret in south and experience some of the best corners uphill.

The fact that you need to drive over other mountain roads to even get here makes it even more fun, because who would not want scenic drive after scenic drive. The best landscapes are experienced at 2,645 m and above, if you are up for a hike. A diamond in the French Alps!

Experience the road on a driving tour

At Colcorsa we specialise in exciting road trip adventures in Europe, and we’d be happy to plan you the perfect driving tour that includes the fabulous Col du Galibier. We have two tours going into the French Alps – one from Geneva and one from the French Riviera, where you’ll spend 3 days behind the wheel of the performance car of your dreams – and we can extend either of these tours with two extra days of driving, to include the Col du Galibier. However we’d also be happy to design bespoke itineraries to suit your individual travel arrangements, and even one-way trips. Our team would also be happy to assist if you’re just looking for a rental car for your holiday to the French Alps – in our fleet we have a large selection of sports cars and supercars.

Please note: For roads that close in the winter season the map might not display the correct route if you’re viewing it when the road is still closed.

Road trip stories

If you’d like to see more photos of this beautiful road you can have a look at blog posts below, with galleries from our team’s previous road trips.

Col du Galibier Jaguar F-Type Coupe R 

Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe R on the Col du Galibier
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