Road trips are one of those iconic ways to travel – a chance to unwind, to let loose, to embrace freedom and all that travelling has to offer, especially when it’s all under your control. But when the world is your oyster, where should you go?

Here, we round up seven of the best road trips in the world to inspire your own adventures. Let me know where you go!

Ring Road, Iceland

The national road is 1,332km (or 828 miles) long and runs around the island. Normally people plan to drive it over a week or two, depending on how often you plan to stop. And with all the beauty you will see, I bet you want to stop more often than you might imagine! It’s pretty hard to cruise on past waterfalls, canyons, glaciers and cliffs without pulling over for at least a quick look, if not more.

Iceland has four seasons, each of which are equally wonderful depending on when you time your visit. Winter might be the most beautiful because the northern lights are more visible, but it’s also the most difficult. The temperature will drop below zero and some roads might not be passable due to ice and snowfall.

Summer is the most popular time for road trips in Iceland, and it’s the season that I would probably choose myself. Even then, though, it’s important to pack enough clothes and suitable options, because the forecast can change as often as every 15 minutes! If you plan to stop in a hotel every night, rather than camp, make sure you book your accommodation well in advance. It gets busy in Iceland and the choices for accommodation are not as wide ranging as you might think.

Find out why Iceland is a great place for a couple’s getaway here

South Island Circuit, New Zealand

New Zealand is considered as one of the most beautiful countries in the world and deservedly so. With a stunning landscape, wonderful long beaches, geysers and good wine, there’s a lot to love. I definitely don’t have to try hard to convince Lord of the Rings fans to visit this beautiful place.

You could drive the full circuit of the south island on roads like The Great Alpine Highway, Haast Pass and Crown Range road. Or, why not plan your road trip to visit places like the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and the Paparoa National Park. You’ll never forget such stunning, dramatic scenery.

Garden Route, South Africa

You’ll find the Garden Route, a 300km-long road squeezed between mountains and the Indian Ocean, on the south west coast of South Africa, between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. If you’ll be taking a road trip along this route, make sure you allow at least four days to immerse yourself in the varied and beautiful South African landscapes and its mild climate.

The Garden Route gets its name from the lush green and unique types of vegetation and many beautiful lagoons and lakes that line it. You will get to see wonderful mountains, rocky shores, sandy, deserted beaches and charming little towns. And it’s not only about the flora! Don’t forget that you’ll have the chance to see some incredible wildlife as you drive.

South Africa made it onto my travel bucket list, so if you’re still not convinced it’s worth a road trip, you should probably check out why right here.

Road to Hana, Hawaii

Short but spectacular, this road is located on Maui, a Hawaiian island. With 600 twists and turns and 50 bridges, it’s safe to say that this small road packs a lot into its short, 109km length. Little wonder that it is the number one attraction on the island!

With every turn comes different perspectives on volcanic landscapes, stunning waterfalls, cliffs descending steeply into the turquoise ocean. Beaches with red and black sand and lush rainforests with exotic vegetation. Make sure you will plan a stop at Ke’anae Landing Fruit Stand, famous for having the best banana bread on the island. This is one road trip where the journey is every bit as brilliant as its destination, if not better.

California Route 1, USA

I drove this road from San Francisco to Los Angeles (800km). You can also take it from Seattle to San Diego, if you prefer. Be prepared to be unbuckling your seat belts often though! I literally had to stop every five minutes to take a photo of the road and its surrounding cliffs and bridges. The Bixby Bridge in particular is one not to miss.

Driving along, you’ll see mountains on one side and ocean on the other. Make your main attraction Big Sur State Park, which offers unbeatable views. We divided the drive across two days to give us time to explore the ocean towns of Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Malibu.

Great Ocean Road, Australia

This scenic 219km route stretches all the way along the ocean in Southwestern Victoria, giving you views across some of the most stunning national parks in Australia. Empty beaches and striking rock formations will join you along the way.

The 25-mile drive to Apollo Bay with Cape Otway Lighthouse and Campbell National Park and its limestone rocks called the twelve apostles are highlights. It might not be the longest road you ever drive on a road trip, but it’s worth it just to see the amazing rainforests and gigantic surf. The road also has a monument dedicated to victims of First World War, created by soldiers who came back home.

The Pan-American Highway

This 48,000km ( 30,000-mile) highway starts in Patagonia in South America and ends in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, right on the Arctic Ocean. It’s the world’s longest driving route, with just one small hiccup in Panama.

Connecting 17 different countries, multiple climates and running through big mountains, vast valleys and deserts, this is the road trip to take if you crave variety. You will get to see places like Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua and Arenal volcano in Costa Rica. There are also charming town stop-off points, like Cuenca in Ecuador or Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

If an American road trip has caught your eye, find out all the details and secret finds that I discovered during my three-part USA road trip. Find out about the first stage here, exploring California here and taking to the Apache Trail and Grand Canyon here.

What road trips make it onto your travel bucket list?

20 COMMENTS

  1. All of them look amazing, great selection. The only road trip from this list that I have done is the Ring Road in Iceland which was an adventure by itself. Hope to do more road trips in the following years.

  2. The Great Ocean Road is absolutely spectacular! I’m dying to drive the Garden Route and visit New Zealand & Iceland as well one day – the open road is calling!

  3. Hey Adrianna,

    You had me at Iceland! I really want to go there and that sky is just breath taking. I’ve heard really great things are California one and hope to drive it this fall when I visit a friend.

  4. Yes, a thousand yesses for these. The Ring Road has been on my list since 2015 when I was there last, and did a Westfjords region road trip. Very much like your California Route 1 description, I was stopping every 5 minutes (okay, maybe 10 :)) to grab a shot of the absolutely incredible surroundings. I reeeeaaaaally want to get back there soon. But it’s looking like 2019 for me at the earliest 🙁 Great post though! I had no idea about the drive in NZ, and that looks amazing. Bucket-listed for when I finally get to that end of the world!

  5. I’m reading so much about Iceland of late. I really hope to check out the ring road myself someday!
    NewZealand looks gorgeous with the snow capped mountains, blue sky and greenery!
    Great Ocean Road in Australia has been in my wishlist for sometime now. Hope to head to Australia soon!

  6. Oh wow, Australia and New Zealand look about as amazing as you could imagine them to be! But all the routes are going on my bucket list for sure 😀

  7. Have you been on all of these road trips? Lucky you! I’ve of course been on the 1 many times since I’m a Californian but also did the Great Ocean Road and the road to Hana. I never tire of road trips to gorgeous locations! 🙂

  8. For me, the road trip in Iceland is the one. I been to the island before but now I am thinking of either driving or cycling (or maybe even running) the ring road. I like to set myself a challenge 🙂

  9. Excellent choices. I haven’t done any of these road trips myself besides the California Route 1, which was actually my first trip ever outside of Europe. I loved it but I am really looking forward to the South Island Circuit in New Zealand. I had no idea they were famous for their wine though! You should also check some worldwide famous road trips located in Central Asia and Pakistan, like the Pamir Highway and the Karakoram Highway. They are absolutely stunning. Cheers, enjoy.

  10. Those do look amazing, especially the first one in Iceland! I have yet to see Aurora Boreale. A few others that I would add are a road trip through Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Sevilla, Madrid), through Quebec, through Malaysia and through Northern Laos 🙂

    Himashal Pradesh in India as well but its too dangerous to do it without experience on windy roads with crazy people driving!!

  11. I´ve done two of them (Road to Hana & California US No 1) It was just incredible. The others look stunning as well. I´m into Alaska anyway, so the Panamericana could be something for me, too. Awesome post and stunning pics. Good job

  12. Without doubt Iceland is top of my list – desperate to get in a car and just see all the colours, lights and natural world in its raw beauty! You’ve made me want to book now, just got to convince hubby to drive!

  13. I’ve done the Iceland, Pan American, California and Hawaii roadtrips, my favourite was definitely the Pan American, especially Patagonia. From the list of those I haven’t done, I’d like to do New Zealand first.

  14. this is great thanks for the tips! I haven’t done a proper road trip yet and going on my travels soon, the Iceland, Australia and Hawaii trips look gorgeous… I think Iceland views would be stunning!

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