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.
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.
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.