Formula 1 2013: the best Grand Prix travel destinations

Want to see Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton race? Follow our quick guide on the best cities to watch F1 events in, and what else to do while you're there...

There’s nothing like the roar of a Formula 1 engine, the smell of grease and the sound of a screaming Grand Prix crowd. Your F1 experience doesn’t have to end at the small screen: travel to the Formula 1 destinations for glamorous parties and sightseeing galore this spring/summer…


Shanghai, China

Race dates: 12-14 April

What to see: Shanghai’s spaghetti roads, 22 million people and diverse architecture make for a fascinating visit, here you can see the future and the past all in one city. The spectacular skyline in Pudong is well worth a look, with the Shanghai World Financial Center (aka the Bottle-Opener) sitting in the clouds, the bulbous spaceship-like pink Oriental Pearl Tower and video projections on the Aurora Plaza. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Huangpu River, see the grand British colonial buildings along the Bund.

Can’t get there? Watch the race live on BBC and Sky Sports F1 (race starts 8am GMT Sunday)

=Visit Shanghai with Radio Times Travel from click here for more details

Barcelona, Spain

Race dates: 10-12 May

What to see: The Circuit de Catalunya is a half an hour’s drive from the region’s capital and one of the most vibrant cities in the Mediterranean. Visitors can fill up on local paella, delve into an incredible art scene and see work by Spanish greats Gaudi and Picasso up close. Then lounge around on the beach or climb Montjuïic for a view over the throbbing city beneath. If you’re feeling lazy, a trip on the 1450 metre long harbour aerial tramway is highly recommended: it leaves from the port and ascends the looming hill every 15 minutes.

Can’t get there? Watch the race live on BBC and Sky Sports F1 (race starts 1pm GMT Sunday)

Visit Spain with Radio Times Travel from click here for more details

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Race dates: 24-26 May

What to see: This tiny decadent European city is the glamour and gambling Mecca of Europe. Race weekends here have to be seen to be believed. During the Grand Prix, officials shut off public roads and turn the place into a playground of speed. By day crowds line the streets, watching cars zoom around its dangerous and hilly narrow twists and turns, by night they flock to the city’s bars, yacht parties and gourmet restaurants. When you’re not rubbing shoulders with the rich, make a visit to the impressive Grottes de l’Observatoire. On the site of this small astronomical observatory, there’s a prehistoric limestone cave network with a beautiful garden of stalactites and stalagmites.

Can’t get there: Watch the race live on Sky Sports F1, highlights on BBC (race starts 1pm GMT Sunday)

Visit Monaco with Radio Times Travel from click here for more details

Montreal, Quebec Canada

Race dates: 7-9 June

What to see: After the races, explore this 31-mile-long island of Canadian and French culture. Here you’ll find boho hangouts, a bubbling indie music and art scene and some incredibly decent restaurants. When locals aren’t swanning around the place looking Parisian-cool, they’re picnicking at Beaver Lake, surfing the Lachine Rapids and cycling on the riverside trail. However, no trip to the city is complete without a visit to Old Montreal’s cobbled streets and famous church – the Notre-Dame Basilica, with its dramatic gothic exterior and golden starred ceiling.

Can’t get there: Watch the race live on BBC and Sky Sports F1 (race starts 7pm GMT Sunday)

Visit Montreal with Radio Times Travel from click here for more details

Silverstone, England

Race dates: 28-30 June

What to see: Pair your visit to the track with a trip to the nearby Elizabethan manor house Canons Ashby. Inside the historic structure you’ll find Jacobean wall paintings, plasterwork and tapestries. Outside, the cultivated gardens were remodelled based on Sir Henry Dryden’s 19thcentury records of the estate. If you’re feeling active book a beginners skiing or snowboarding lessons at the nearby Milton Keynes Snozone – a giant fridge filled with real snow and a 170 metre slope. Or tackle the Jungle Parc, near Northampton. Here vistors can play Tarzan in a ironstone quarry – the tree tops within its 83 hectares have dozens of thrilling high-wire obstacles.

Can’t get there? Watch the race live on BBC and Sky Sports F1 (race starts 1pm GMT Sunday)

Go to Siverstone and the British Grand Prix with Radio Times Travel from £329, click here for more 


Images courtesy of Alamy, Nazarenko Maxim, Nigel Cox, David Iliff, Mark McArdle and Wiki Commons