Ever wondered what the coolest road trips are? Picture the scene, you’re cruising along a dusty highway, windows down, your favourite playlist on the car stereo as you whizz past miles of spectacular scenery without a care in the world. There’s a real sense of freedom and romance to be had with a classic road trip, especially if your drive includes dramatic scenery, quirky pit stops, exciting roads and fun passengers. I’ve compiled a list of the coolest road trips as recommended by fellow travel bloggers so that you can discover some of the best drives in the world!There's a real sense of freedom and romance to be had with a classic road trip, especially if your drive includes dramatic scenery, quirky pit stops, exciting roads and fun passengers! Click To Tweet
Route 66, USA – Independent Travel Cats
Route 66 is probably the most famous road in the world and makes for an iconic American road trip. Route 66 was over 2,5000 miles long and stretched over 2,500 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Although Route 66 was officially decommissioned as a highway in 1985, it has remained a popular historic driving route in the United States ever since. The road takes you through major cities, small towns, beautiful landscapes, and quirky roadside tourist attractions.
This is a route Laurence and I know well and what we loved most about the drive is the changing nature of the landscapes, food, and people along the drive and visiting the small towns along the way. Each day was different! We drove the route over 2 weeks and this is the length of time we recommend and you can see our suggested Route 66 road trip itinerary for a day-to-day guide to this trip!
Great Ocean Road – Pip and the City
In my almost 15 years of travel, I have been lucky enough to undertake some pretty spectacular road trips. One of the stand out drives for me is the famous Great Ocean Road route in Australia. The 151-mile route follows Victoria’s dramatic south-west coastline and has a diverse range of scenery, as well as many points of interest and some fabulous ‘selfie spots’.
Drive past sheer ocean cliffs to view untouched surf beaches, quaint small towns and intriguing rainforests. Some of the must see places along the route include the iconic Twelve Apostles, [now only eight], these massive limestone formations have eroded over time to form very photogenic columns. You should definitely also check out the Cape Otway lighthouse and Californian redwood trees in Beech Forest.
The River Road, West Texas USA – Sol Salute
While getting to isolated West Texas is a pretty epic road trip all on its own, there’s one particular stretch of highway there that’s worth a bit of extra effort. The locals refer to it as the most beautiful highway in Texas. Highway 170 connects the Terlingua Ghost town and the city of Presidio. It hugs the Rio Grande the entire way, which has earned it the nickname The River Road. The views of the Chihuahua Desert, both in the United States and Mexico, are stunning. If you’re a hiker, you’re in luck. This road trip takes you through Big Bend Ranch State Park. Entrance is free and there are a few desert hikes that are worth the effort if the weather isn’t too hot. This drive is a great way to visit both Big Bend National Park and Marfa, two gems hidden away in the West Texas desert.
Road tripping in Namibia, Africa – Full Suitcase
Road tripping is our favourite way to travel and ideally, it’s focussed on natural landmarks and beautiful sceneries. One of the most memorable road trips we ever took was a 4-week adventure in Africa covering all the must-see places in Namibia.
Icefields Parkway, Canada – It’s Not About The Miles
The Icefields Parkway in Alberta Canada is one of the most scenic road trips in the world. The 146-mile route connects the hamlet of Lake Louise with the town of Jasper and runs through some of the most stunning scenery in the Banff and Jasper National Parks. The area is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so designated for its natural beauty.
Along the route, you will see several gorgeous alpine lakes with their surreal blue colour. At the Columbia Icefield, you can take the Ice Explorer ATV to the Athabasca Glacier and actually walk on the ice. How cool is that? At the Glacier Skywalk, you can hang out on the glass-bottomed walkway high above the Sunwapta Valley. As you drive along the road, you’ll have to keep picking up your jaw as each curve reveals new vistas that are simply stunning. Drive this route in the summer to enjoy good weather and easier driving conditions and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings!
Scenic drives in Sicily – The Globetrotter GP
North Island, New Zealand – Travel Breathe Repeat
Last year, we were lucky enough to spend a month in New Zealand. We planned the most epic road trip we’d ever taken, making our way from top to bottom across both the North and South Islands. New Zealand’s North Island is sometimes passed over in favour of its southern sibling. And while the fjords and glaciers and wildlife that grace the South Island’s landscapes are truly unmissable, we enjoyed ourselves just as much on the North Island.
We spent 12 days on the North Island and started in Auckland and ended in Wellington, passing through Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough along the way. We saw Maori villages, geothermal parks, serene lakes, black sand beaches, waterfalls and of course, sheep. The drive treated us to beautiful scenery including all the rolling green hills you could dream of. We also treated ourselves to delicious local coffee and wine and craft beer. When we got to Wellington, we were excited to move onto the South Island but also sad to leave the North behind.
Cape Point Peninsula, South Africa – My Adventures Across The World
One of the nicest things to do in Cape Town is going on a road trip that goes all around the Cape Point Peninsula. It’s an easy, pleasant day trip from the city, that takes to some fabulous points of interest in the region. The first stop is typically Hoots Bay, at a port where it’s possible to take a short boat trip to visit a Cape fur seal colony – though keep in mind some seals can be seen in the harbour too!
Other stops include Boulders Beach, a gorgeous small beach with crystal clear waters and white sand where there’s a protected colony of penguins; and Cape Point Peninsula National Park. Finally, a stop on Cape of Good Hope is a must: there’s a beautiful trail that goes all the way to Cape Point Lighthouse, from where there are gorgeous views of the coast and it is possible to admire the local wildlife – baboons can be spotted, and depending on the season even whales.
Road trip in Chaing Rai, Thailand – The Sabbatical Guide
Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail, Scotland – Adventures around Scotland
Grand Tour, Switzerland – Arzo Travels
Route 1 Maine, USA – Travels With Talek
Maine, the uppermost state in the northeast of the United States, is breathtakingly beautiful no matter what time of year. Spring brings you wildflowers bursting into a rainbow of colours. Summertime offers street fairs, warm beaches, cool ice cream and lush greenery. Winter is very special with its winter sports and picturesque villages covered in blankets of snow. But when it comes to autumn, it is a truly special time of year. Fall offers a kaleidoscope of foliage in blazing colours; fiery reds, mellow yellows and warm orange.
Drive along route 1 going north from Kennebunkport to Acadia National Park and you will see why it is considered to be one of the most picturesque drives in the U.S. The drive takes about four and a half hours and you should take several days to complete it. A long, slow drive is really the only way you can really appreciate all the area has to offer. The charming and welcoming New England villages you will encounter on the trip offer great seafood, delightful bed and breakfasts and a wide selection of things to do. Go around late September to mid-October as this is the best time to capture the turning foliage and the weather is delightful. But you will be sure to enjoy the stunning beauty of the area any season.
South Island New Zealand – Life Of Doing
New Zealand has the most gorgeous landscapes in the world and the best way to see them is on a road trip. We spent one week exploring New Zealand’s South Island and loved it. The route started in Christchurch and ended in Queenstown. Along the way, we went to Lake Tekapo, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, Wanaka, Te Anau, Fiordland and National Park/Milford Sound. It was wonderful to slow down, enjoy the photogenic scenery and stop whenever we wanted to. On our frequent stops, we saw hundreds of adorable sheep munching on grass, we also went hiking and snapped photos of the turquoise lakes. Sometimes we were the only car on the road in remote locations which was a nice change from the crowds in the city centres. We want to go back to New Zealand and drive through this beautiful country again.
Cruising through Provence, France – Les Berlinettes
The Mongol Rally – Tea Cake Travels
When I tell people that I drove a car from the UK to Mongolia in 3 months via Iran and Turkmenistan across 21 countries in total…their faces pause, screw up and then express back utter confusion. I get it. Sometimes my face does that too. I can’t quite believe I did it either. In the name of madness, challenge, absurdness, charity and pure adventure, I just had to attempt this challenge when I found out about The Mongol Rally. Running once a year, this event is all about making it to Russia alive, whilst driving a car which has an engine size of 2.1 litres or less. It’s ridiculous, but like nothing I have ever embarked on before. You will meet locals you will never forget and learn what it means to work as a team and believe in the power of kindness and sheer luck. Do you dare try it yourself?
Road trip in Andalusia, Southern Spain – Surfing the Planet
When you mention Andalusia, most people first think about the great cities there, such as Granada with the fabulous Alhambra or Seville and Cordoba with their gems of Arabian and Gothic architecture. Nevertheless, there are also many picturesque villages in Andalusia, which are great road trip destinations. A good idea is to follow the villages and small towns that belong to the cultural route called Caminos de Pasión that goes through villages of major religious importance.
The highlights of this trip include the lovely white village of Priego de Córdoba that looks to come out of a fairy tale. There’s also Osuna, with some of the most picturesque squares and streets in Andalusia and where the bullfight arena was used in the filming of Game of Thrones. Of course, you can’t leave out Carmona either, one of the loveliest villages in the Province of Seville with fabulous architecture and fascinating views.
Blues Highway, USA – Lena On The Move
If you are a jazz and blues lover, consider a self-guided road trip on the historical Blues Highway (Route 61) from Memphis to New Orleans. Driving along the Mississippi Blues Trail, you will find over 150 markers as well as several blues-related museums that tell the stories of significant blues contributors and how their circumstances influenced the blues movement.
In the evenings, walk-in Memphis with your feet ten feet off of Beale, dance the night away at jazz clubs on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, or enjoy some authentic live music in the small bars around Clarksdale where legendary blues musicians like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong used to rock out scatting and playing the saxophone. Whether you’re a blues fan or a casual traveller in search of an exceptional trip, you’ll undoubtedly have a musical and cultural adventure on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
The Garden Route, South Africa – This Travel Guide
East Coast Australia – Walk My World
A road trip up the East Coast of New South Wales has long been a favourite with travellers visiting Australia. Starting at our favourite city in Australia, Sydney and finishing at the world-famous hippy surf town of Bryon Bay, it’s a true classic. You can keep it all about the beaches as most people do, or detour through the countryside along the Waterfall Way. Exploring this long stretch of coastline is a chance to see iconic wildlife, epic waterfalls and stunning beaches.
Some of the highlights include the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, slowing down the pace in beautiful Yamba or checking out the incredible waterfalls in Dorrigo. The trip takes about nine hours from start to finish (excluding detours) and several car hire companies offer one-way rentals. If you do this in the winter (June – September in Australia), you also have a great chance of seeing humpback whales from numerous locations along the way.
Pacific Coast Highway, USA – Fun in Fairfax VA
Driving through Montenegro – Kami and the Rest of the World
Exploring Sri Lanka in a Tuk Tuk – Our World To Wander
North Coast, Scotland – Finding The Universe
The North Coast 500 is an epic road trip that loops for five hundred miles from the city of Inverness right around the north coast of Scotland. It’s an incredible driving route that takes in some of the best of Scotland, from rugged highland hills through to spectacular white sandy beaches, winding mountain roads and cute villages. Along the route, you have the opportunity to stay in everything from a castle to a campsite, and attractions range from royal residences to puffin lookout spots to ancient, iron age burial grounds. It’s a route that really has something for everyone, whether you’re a fan of culture or just love getting out into the wilderness! Check out our seven day North Coast 500 itinerary for more ideas for your adventure!
Normandy, France – Sometimes Home
Our initial motivation for travelling to Normandy, France was to embark on a WWII day tour. A family member had landed on the beaches of this gorgeous region during the war and we’d heard good things about its current status as a vacation destination. After a lot of research, we decided renting a car and staying for a few days was the best way to explore the area. We drove between beautiful cities, including Bayeux, Honfleur and Eretat. An unexpected perk of the trip was how gorgeous the main road, N13, is. (It connects all the northern cities in Normandy and was very useful during the war as its path dates back to medieval times.)
There’s no billboards or advertisements to be found on N13 and it’s smoothly paved and well marked. Nothing litters the highway – it is simply beautiful scenery for miles. It serves as the main road that will take you east to west in the area; whether you venture off to explore the small towns or not you’ll inevitably travel along it a lot in this area of France! We were lucky enough to be there in May when the yellow canola fields were in full bloom. We ventured to Normandy for its history but the road trip itself was a blast and absolutely an attraction in itself.
Issan, Thailand – Live Less Ordinary
Due to its lack of tourist infrastructure, hard-to-come-by English speakers, and just the overall vastness of the Northeastern parts of Thailand (Isaan), the region remains almost untouched when it comes to tourism. And this really does work to its advantage for the adventurous, as it is just fascinating to explore the rich cultures, and somewhat lost traditions, away from the traditional tourist trails.
But to do so, personal transport is pretty much essential, at least to make the most of these rural landscapes, and the far-flung attractions dotted throughout. Where some of the better areas would have to be along the border regions with Cambodia, where the ancient Khmer Highway leads across from its neighbours, where it includes the famous temples such as Angkor Wat. But similar temples and ruins are also found on the Thai side of the border, including the Phanom Rung Historical Park in Buriram, as well as the Phimai Historical Park in Korat.
Transalpina freeway road trip, Romania – The Traveling Tulip
One of the best road trips I ever took was in my home country, Romania. One day, I decided to drive on Transalpina, Romania’s highest freeway. Getting from Bucharest to the start of Transalpina is a road trip in itself, but once you start driving down Transalpina, you will forget everything there is. As it crosses the Carpathian Mountains, the road is winding, perfect for a drive. You have some exquisite scenery to enjoy, from typicalRomanian houses to forests and lake views. As you climb higher, the curves of the road become tighter and soon you’ll find yourself thanking the men who built this road in this amazing spot. The views from atop are one of a kind and there are a lot of places to stop and take some photos. With the photos as proof, all that is left is to brag at home about the magnificent road trip you had.
Sydney to Melbourne, Australia – Wicked Walkabout
Roadtripping in Spain – Traveling Bytes
If you are a curious traveller on a hunt for the ‘spirit of Spain’, a Spanish road trip is what you need, with imposing castles, fiery flamenco, amazing wines and scenery. If you have ever wondered from where Spaniards get their strength, resilience and adventurous spirits, crossing the country from sunflowers-filled Andalucia to the bustling streets of Barcelona would open your eyes. The diversity of the land is incredible. From the Moorish past of Jerez to endless olive groves, to wine yards coupled with crooked windmills, to the jagged-edged Montserrat mountain range near Barcelona this road trip is an unforgettable experience.
Tasmania, Australia – My Walk In The World
Raw. Pure. Serene. Sometimes compared to New Zealand due to its natural beauty, Tasmania is a small island off the southern coast of Australia. With its relatively small population, this state is largely undeveloped and wholly beautiful. It provides the most intimate experiences for nature lovers to explore national parks without the crowds of visitors. Renting a car from the Hobart airport allows immediate access to the road – with only two hours between most notable sites it’s easy to see the island in as short as a week. Whether deciding to circumnavigate clockwise or counterclockwise, make sure to visit Freycinet National Park, Bay of Fires, Cradle Mountain National Park, Mount Field National Park and Bruny Island.
Silk Route, India – Travel Crusade
One of the most coveted road trips which I undertook last year, was through the hilly arcades in Silk Route at Sikkim India. The road was a 32 strip serpentine passage which
is not found anywhere in the country and was a treasure hunt for me and my entourage. The trip was a 6 hours drive from the capital city of Gangtok and we managed to reach the destination in the afternoon. The road was a tough one among steep curves and high altitude lakes and untarnished mountains of the Eastern Himalayas. The road trip was one of the biggest achievements of my life as I learnt some tough driving in these narrow boulevards by controlling the speed and brakes in a timely manner.