There is no better way to explore the world than to have the freedom of moving at your own pace and having the flexibility to change your itinerary as you please. So we asked some experienced travellers to not only come up with the best road trips in the world, but to also let us in on why it should be added to your travel bucket list.
In this collection you will find some of the most famous road trip locations around the world, the ones you will most likely already have seen or heard about, but some other suggestions are sure to surprise. They sure surprised us.
Now let’s finish packing the car (or Campervan) and get this show on the road. We begin with what must surely rate close to the top of the list of the world’s best road trips, and having experienced this ourselves, it has every reason to rate so highly.
Australia and New Zealand Road Trips
South Island, New Zealand with Thais from World Trip Diaries.
The South Island of New Zealand is the perfect place for a road trip: it’s safe, the roads are (almost all of them) in great condition, and it’s incredibly beautiful.
It usually starts in Picton, where the ferry from the North Island arrives. Right there, you’ll probably take the stunning Queen Charlotte Drive. Even if you aren’t, you should. From Picton, drive to Golden Bay. Then Kaikoura with its adorable fur seals and on to Christchurch (with a stop around Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo – stunning! It’s worth the extra drive!).
Then, on the way to Dunedin, stop at Moeraki Boulders – a beach with huge round rocks. Invercargill is next, with a stop in Bluff, the Southernmost point of the South Island. Then you can choose a city in the Southern Lakes region, they’re all stunning.
I personally recommend Wanaka or Arrowtown, but Queenstown and Kingston are beautiful too. Don’t forget to pay a visit to Milford Sounds on the way there, though! Glacier Country is next: Franz Josef is a bigger town than Fox, but either is great and close enough for a visit.
Hokitika has beautiful beaches with incredible rock formations, and from there, a stop in sunny Marlborough to end the trip. While there, visit a winery and enjoy a sunny and (relatively) warm day even during summer.
The South Island has so many amazing road trip itineraries the hardest decision is which places you have to leave out.
- Queenstown – the home of bungie and considered the adrenaline capital of the world.
- Milford Sound – stunning natural beauty and a place of serenity.
- Fox / Franz Josef Glaciers – a helihike to walk on the glacier is an incredible adventure.
Northern Territory, Australia with Melissa from Thrifty Family Travels.
Over this 1600 kilometres (1000 miles) you will visit some of the most beautiful, as well as some of the harshest, landscapes in the Australian Outback.
Along the way you will met some of Australia’s friendliest people in as you fill up in road houses located in towns with some of Australia’s smallest populations. You will also be fascinated by the culture of the Aboriginal people.
Leave Darwin for Litchfield National Park. The park is home to gorgeous waterfalls and natural swimming pools like Wangi Falls and Florence Falls as well as the 4 metre Cathedral Termite Mound.
On day 2 as you make your way to Katherine, stop at the area by the Adelaide River and join a cruise to see crocodiles in the wild. Spend a full day in Katherine to enjoy the spectacular Katherine Gorge. Joining a Katherine Gorge cruise is a must do! Other activities in the area include bush walks, swimming and kayaking.
Leave Katherine for Mataranka. Here you can relax in the beautiful hot springs of either Mataranka or Bitter Springs. The following day is a long one as you make your way to Tennant Creek. Stop at the famous and quirky Daly Waters Pub for lunch.
Day 6 sees you reach Alice Springs. Along the way, make sure you stop at Devil Marbles. On your final day enjoy the sights of Alice Springs. From here consider extending your 7 day road trip to visit iconic Uluru or you can do a massive day trip from Alice Springs.
- Visit the spectacular Katherine Gorge
- Swim in crystal clear natural hot springs
- Appreciate the harsh conditions of the Australian Outback
Tasmania, Australia with Delphine from Lester Lost.
Last year, I took a road trip from Hobart to the Bay of Fires via Cradle Mountain, in Tasmania. I flew into Hobart and headed to River Derwent on the A10 in just over two hours.
You will soon be in very rural country, with farms and orchards. At River Derwent begins the drive through the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Due to its unique flora and fauna, Tasmania is a major nature conservation area, and the wilderness covers a fifth of its surface. The wilderness areas can be very remote, however the drive to Queenstown takes about two hours and will give you a very good introduction to a unique and precious natural space. A stop at the Vale of Belvoir is a must to admire the view!
Another two hours and you’re in beautiful Cradle Mountain, going through a more barren scenery due to copper mines around Queenstown. After a hike around the iconic Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain, the drive will take to Launceston via Sheffield and its street art, in three to four hours. After a stop in Launceston, your next drive is to Binalong Bay via Scottsdale and Derby, in three hours.
After rural countryside and remote hills, the Bay of Fires is an extraordinary find and such a change from what you’ve seen so far… With its sugar-white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and striking orange rocks, the Bay of Fires is just as pristine as the wilderness inland. The return to Launceston will take about two and a half hours.
- Tasmanian Wilderness
- Cradle Mountain
- Bay of Fires
North Island, New Zealand with Samantha from Have Seat will Travel.
Our road trip around the North Island of New Zealand is quite possibly the best road trip I have ever experienced!
We started in Auckland and drove to Matamata, Rotorua and Lake Taupo before ending back in Auckland. Seven days is not a lot of time to cover so many cities but thankfully
they’re only a few hours apart from each other!
Matamata was our first stop and home to the famous Hobbiton movie set! Spend half a day wandering the grounds and taking in the view before heading to Rotorua! They offer canopy tours, a luge track, hot springs, a Maori village and Rainbow Springs which offers you an up-close look at Kiwis!
After you’ve enjoyed a couple of days in Rotorua, head south for Lake Taupo. Here you will find the incredible Maori drawings carved into cliffs on the lake! Don’t forget to stop at craters of the moon as well for an eerie walk through a geothermal field. When you’re heading back North, do not miss Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. You will find incredible geothermal pools like nothing you’ve ever seen before!
When venturing back to Auckland, you’ll find lots to see and do around this city! You can take a ferry to Waiheke Island, shop down Queen Street, bungee jump off the sky tower or check out one of the many beautiful parks they have to offer. Seven days is plenty of time to hit these cities but if you have more time there is so much more to see!
- Hobbiton movie set.
- Thermal Springs.
- Maori culture.
Africa Road Trips
Southern Namibia with Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads.
Southern Namibia the land of sand and sun where rainfalls are very rare guests and every day is sunny.
This road trip starts at Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world, and finishes 1400km later in Swakopmund, a beautiful German town on the shore of Atlantic Ocean.
For this trip you need rather a Jeep or 4×4 as most of the route is on gravel roads. Driving a sedan is possible, but you’ll have a very bumpy ride. Be ready for long days of driving as distances between places in this part of the world are big and often there is nothing around for hundreds of kilometres.
It’s important to keep an eye on your fuel tank and better to have a Jerry can with you because you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere for hours in 40C heat without petrol.
Though it may sound a bit rough this is definitely one of the best road trips anywhere. The landscape gives you a feeling of being on a different planet. Camping is a budget way to travel Namibia and a great chance to sleep under the darkest sky and the brightest stars you can find anywhere in the world.
- Fish River Canyon
- Red-sand dunes and Dead Valley of Sossusvlei
- Flamingo colony, Walvis Bay
Kenya with Patrick from German Backpacker.
The vast wilderness of Kenya offers amazing opportunities for what we consider the best road trip of our lifetime – but be prepared for a real adventure! I was lucky to explore Kenya by car and although you’d need several weeks to experience the country, a 7-day road trip will show you some of the highlights on offer.
Your road trip starts in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, which you should leave quickly to explore the beautiful countryside that awaits you. After a half-day drive west, you’ll arrive in the Masai Mara National park – probably the greatest place in the world for safaris and one of Kenya’s biggest wildlife attractions.
You can drive through the national park on your own, but it helps to hire a local guide at the entrance. Lodges can get very expensive inside the park, so consider camping or staying outside of the park if you’re on a budget. It’s one of the few places in Africa that you are almost guarded to see some if not all of the big cats.
Continue your journey up north to Lake Naivasha and spend a day in nearby Hell’s Gate National park for wildlife spotting and incredible rock climbing. From there, drive further north towards Nanyuki, which is on the edge of Mount Kenya – the second highest mountain in Africa! Close by Ol Pejeta Conservancy gives you the opportunity for some further wildlife and is a great choice if you’re on a budget.
If you’re looking for a true adventure in the Kenyan countryside, head north from Nanyuki into the wild Samburu country and hike the holy Mt. Ololokwe, which offers stunning views into the wild northern frontier of Kenya and beyond, before making the long drive back to Nairobi.
Important note: Some of the streets you’ll drive on will be dirt roads, so a 4×4 (including spare tires!) is necessary especially when self-driving in the national parks.
- Witnessing two cheetahs attacking a herd of wildebeests in the Masai Mara
- Hiking up Mt. Ololokwe in Samburu county
- Rock climbing in Hell’s Gate national park
Morocco with Michele from Legging It.
For us, the best road trip was the 1000 km round trip from Marrakesh through the Atlas Mountains to Ouarzazate and across to the coast of Agadir then on to Essaouira.
This trip gives you a real sense of the vastness of Morocco and shows the diversity of both the people and landscapes. We have left plenty of time to stop and take in the sights and enjoy the amazing food on offer, so don’t be in too much of a hurry to get to your next destination.
From the amazing vistas as you cross the Atlas Mountains to the film sets in Ouarzazate, spectacular coastlines and the laid back life in Essaouira you get a true taste of Morocco.
- The Atlas Mountains- views that go for miles
- Ait-Benhaddou – a town made of mud.
- Essaouira- famous for its seafood and stunning blue boats.
South Africa with Cristina from Travel for Wildlife.
South Africa is arguably one of the top countries for road trips. This road trip covers great mountain scenery, game reserves, and national parks, and ends right at the Pacific Ocean, so pack your binoculars and your swimming suit.
Leaving Johannesburg, head northeast towards the town of Graskop. From here join the Panorama Route, which is a great road trip on its own, and one of the main attractions in South Africa. Spend the day stopping at Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, and Bourke’s Luck Pot Holes.
After marveling at the geology of this incredible part of South Africa, head east towards Kruger National Park and enter through the Orpen Gate, which you can reach before the gates close. Spend the next two days watching wildlife while making your way down to Kruger’s South Gate.
After your time at Kruger drive south along the Swaziland border where your next stop is Ithala Game Reserve. Ithala is mountainous and apart from a great variety of wildlife, you can see some of the world’s oldest rock formations dating back to 3,000 million years.
Leaving Ithala join the N2 south toward Durban. In this short stretch of road many incredible game reserves and national parks are well worth the visit. uMkhuze Game Reserve, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and Lake St. Lucia, being the last one only a 3h drive from Durban. For a taste of Zulu history stop at one of the many Zulu heritage points, like King Shaka’s Grave or Mgungundlovu.
- Blyde River Canyon is quite a sight!
- Camping under the stars at the unfenced campsite at Ithala.
- Don’t leave Durban without trying a Bunny chow!
Asia Road Trips
Tibet with Talek from Travels with Talek.
We began our journey in Xining in central China. The road to Lhasa on the central China route is isolated and you can travel for miles without seeing a soul.
Mostly we drove through deserts and windy plains. In several locations construction crews seemed to be still building the road even as we approached. This would have made a great commercial for the Toyota Land Cruiser.
Occasionally the local police would stop us and check our documents. As we got closer to Tibet the inspections became more frequent and thorough. At Qinghai lake, we camped by the lake in tents. We killed and roasted a sheep for dinner. The mayor of the nearby town came over to our camp. I thought maybe we had violated some town ordinance like “no butchering sheep within city limits” but he just wanted to welcome us. We shared our sheep dinner and Baidu (Chinese liquor) with him.
I don’t think I have ever seen such a dark night or such a beautiful starlit sky as I did that night by the lake. The tents were all identical. People would leave their tents in the middle of the night to relieve themselves then come back and enter the wrong tent so all night we kept hearing annoyed sleepers complaining.
Throughout the trip our guide kept warning us that soon we would arrive at the highest point on the trip and confirming we had our altitude medication. Fortunately, we did. Although we did feel the effects of the high altitude, at least we didn’t end up prostrate across the car seats gasping for breath while someone administered oxygen, as some of our companions did.
The high point of the trip, literally, was 5,231 meters high, or 17,628 feet. To put this in perspective, Mount Everest is 29,029 feet high. This is the highest I’ve ever been without an aircraft. At this point it was hard to breathe and we had to walk very slowly because any exertion would exhaust us immediately. It was also incredibly cold. We kept throwing on layers and layers of whatever clothing we found. Still, there was a little feeling of triumph at having made it this far in reasonably good shape.
On the last morning we drove into the city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. We made it!
- Camp out under the starlit Tibetan sky.
- Prepare for and experience the high altitude.
- Share a meal with the local Tibetan folk.
Taiwan with Anne and Clemens from Travellers Archive.
Taiwan might not be the usual road trip destination, but this makes it one of the best road trips to experience. We started our road trip in Taiwan’s capital Taipei and then made our way around the country anti-clockwise.
It took us nine days to circle the entire country and to end up in Taipei again. Taiwan is a true highlight when it comes to road trips. Not only are the signs super easy to understand, but also is the network of streets organised in a way, that also tourists can get it right away. Thanks to the speed limit of 110 km/h, you also do not need to be scared of speeding cars as there are none.
Our first trip was from Taipei to the popular Sun Moon Lake, which had a distance of 260km and was totally worth it. Sun Moon Lake is absolutely stunning. The lake is surrounded by temples and pagodas, a gondola takes you over the lake and cute little boats offer the perfect cruising experience.
From here we went 162km down South and ended up in Tainan. After Tainan, we went to Kaohsiung, a big city that is home to many great night markets. Whether it’s octopus, sweet pancakes or tofu – Kaohsiung is true foodie paradise. Taiwan’s eastcoast is home to stunning landscape highlights, such as the Kenting Nationalpark. From Kenting we went to Hualien, Taroko and Jiaxo.
Especially Taroko should not be missed on a road trip through Taiwan as this is where the famous Taroko Gorge is located. After nine days, we ended up back in Taipei.
- Sun Moon Lake
- Night markets in Kaohsiung
- Modern, artsy districts in Taipei
Flores Island, Indonesia with Daniele and Elena from Cycloscope.
Flores is an Island of the East Nusa Tenggara archipelago in Indonesia, mainly famous for the Komodo National Park, the only place in the world where you can see the Komodo Dragons and a diving Mecca.
Not many know though, that there’s much more to see in Flores. On this relatively small island, there are 17 volcanoes, 6 different language, cultures and costumes still tied to the old traditions, and last but not least, stunning beaches.
Taking a road trip from Labuan Bajo to Maumere (or the other way around), will bring you up above 1,000msl and back to the seashore for 4 times in about 500km, the views are constantly jaw-dropping, and the local culture is unique, traditional villages are scattered everywhere around.
It’s difficult to underline the highlights of this road trip since the whole route is gorgeous: Ruteng with its scenic spiderweb rice paddies, the traditional village of Bena, near Bajawa, where Christianity melts with ancestral beliefs, the Kelimutu crater lakes, so close to each other but so different in colors.
And then the white sands of Koka beach and the black ones of Ende, the perfect shape of the nervous volcano Inierie (2,245msl), the pristine jungle all around.
We did this route by bicycle, it was exhausting but so rewarding that we still dream of those landscapes. If you want to try yourself check our beginner’s guide to bike touring. If instead, you prefer a motorized means of transport, you can rent a motorbike or a car both in Labuan Bajo and Maumere.
- The traditional village of Bena (Bajawa)
- Kelimutu crater lakes (Moni)
- Koka Beach (Paga, Maumere)
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Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan with Joan from Against the Compass.
Built at the beginning of the 20th century by the Soviet Union, the Pamir Highway or M-41, as it was called during the Soviet times, is a road that links Osh, a southern city in Kyrgyzstan, and Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
What once was an important Silk Road route linking today’s Afghanistan with the rest of Asia, today, it has become one of the most awesome and amazing road trips on Earth, as the Pamir Highway goes through the Pamir range, the third highest mountain range in the world but, at the same time, the wildest and most remote.
Going over 4,600 meters at Ak-Baktal pass, the Pamir Highway is home to some of most striking mountains you will ever see, which means that, here you will find plenty of trekking opportunities, as well as endless natural places to visit as well.
- Alay Valley (Kyrgyzstan) – At 3,200 meters above sea level, this is dreamy valley which marks the border with Tajikistan and the actual Pamir range.
- Karakul (Tajikistan) – Here you will find the largest lake in Tajikistan, as well as the remains of old Soviet tanks.
- Alichur (Tajikistan) – The place which has registered the lowest temperature in Central Asia (-60ºC). In Alichur, you can do from yak trekking to the Marco Polo sheep safari, a Central Asian sheep which has the size of a cow.
Northern Thailand with Melissa from Thailand Hill Tribe Holidays.
This 600km road trip which starts and ends in Chiang Mai, travels through the most mountainous and forested province in Thailand. It offers some of the best scenery and authentic culture in the country.
Day 1) From Chiang Mai take the 1095 route to Pai (approximately 130km). There are some tight and steep curves, as the road traverses through the mountains before arriving at the idyllic valley town of Pai.
Day 2) Spend the day enjoying the sights of Pai such as; Pai Canyon, hot springs, and the night market. From Pai head west on the 1095 road to Mae Hong Son, which passes through Soppong. The road is windy, with sweeping mountain landscapes and steeped in lush forests.
Day 3) Spend the day enjoying the sights and soaking up the Shan (ethnic minority) culture of Mae Hong Son town. The main attractions here are Jong Kham Lake and Doi Gong Mu temple.
Day 4) From Mae Hong Son town take the 1095 road north (for approximately 10km) to the Chinese village of Mae Aw by the Myanmar border, and then to Ban Ruam Thai village.
Day 5) Head back to Mae Hong Son and take the 108 road south to Mae Sariang (approximately 164km). The half-way point on this leg is the quiet backwater town of Khun Yuam.
Day 6) Spend the day enjoying the quaint backwater town of Mae Sariang by the Yuam river. Go on a trek or take a boat trip down the mighty Salawin river on the Myanmar border.
Day 7) From Mae Sariang take the 108 road east back to Chiang Mai. Enjoy the final leg and last of the mountainous scenery. After the half-way point at the town of Hod, it’s straight highway all the way back to Chiang Mai.
- The night markets of Chiang Mai
- Meeting the Hill Tribe people
- Taking a boat ride along the river
Jordan with Kekti from Dotted Globe.
Jordan is the one cultural road-trip that every traveler needs to take in. The ideal itinerary for a Jordanian road trip starts in Amman, where car rentals are easy to find.
From Amman head over to Petra via Kings Highway, a charming road as old as the hills themselves. Make a couple of stops along King’s Highway at Madaba, Mt. Nebo, and Karak. At Madaba you will see the oldest surviving map of the Holy Land and Mt. Nebo is where Moses had his first view of the Promised Land.
Karak’s Crusader Castle is the largest in Jordan and magnificent. Karak is also a great place to try some mansaf, Jordan’s national dish. King’s Highway then passes through the beautiful Wadi Mujib and winds down in Petra.
Petra, one of the World’s 7 Wonders, is the reason most people visit Jordan. Keep a day or two to explore and hike the incredible sights of Petra. After you have had your fill of Petra, continue along King’s Highway to Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is a surreal red rock desert landscape that offers camping, rock climbing, and dune bashing opportunities.
From Wadi Rum, drive on to Aqaba for snorkeling and diving in the Red Sea. Then continue on the Dead Sea Highway to take in a Dead Sea mud bath and float on the highly saline waters.
Your last stop before returning to Amman at Jerash. At Jerash you will find some of the most well-preserved Roman ruins outside of Europe.
- Petra – See the majestic rock-cut city of Petra, one of World’s 7 wonders
- Wadi Rum – Desert camp in a Bedouin tent in a stunning, alien landscape
- Dead Sea – Float on the Dead Sea and take in a rejuvenating Dead Sea mud bath
Vietnam with Mike from Live Travel Teach.
If you are looking for an ultimate road trip than look no further than Vietnam. This country is famous for its motorbikes which can be easily bought and sold for $200-$300 and willing mechanics to fix your bike for just a few dollars.
This 7 day journey was the highlight of my 6 week adventure driving a motorcycle across Vietnam Top Gear’s also found the Hai Van Pass to be “one of the best coast roads in the world!” Your journey starts on coastal roads before taking you along the Ho Chi Minh Trail into luscious jungle-covered mountains.
Bikes can be loaded onto buses or trains too if you’re in a hurry!
Starting in Hoi An and if you’ve got time, take a day or two to explore the countryside with a scenic drive through the farmland, along the beach or a longer trip to My Son Sanctuary. If you’re on a tight schedule then jump on your bikes and ride for Hue immediately, the drive is only 130km but it could easily take you the whole day because you’re going to want to stop at least once on the Hai Van Pass!
When you get to Hue you’ll have to pick between royal palaces, tombs, beaches, and even an abandoned amusement park. Driving into the mountains you’ll soon find the Ho Chi Minh trail and the toughest roads of the journey. The jungles encompass the mountain roads near the Laos border as you approach Khe Sanh Combat Base. Spend the night there then get up early for a long driving day through the mountains to Phong Nha where you can explore some of the world’s largest caves!
- Try the national pastime of motorbike riding
- Be brave and experience all the incredible food
- Feel the history
South America Road Trips
Argentina with Claudia from My Adventures Across the World.
Argentina is a country of huge distances so road trips there are hardly recommended, unless one is willing to drive for hours on end without meeting a soul, or properly equipped for any emergency.
One of the few places in Argentina that are suitable for road trips is the Andes in the northwest, through the beautiful Quebrada de Humahuaca. Indeed, renting a car here allows visitors to slowly visit all the interesting villages and stop wherever they want to admire the unique, breathtaking landscape.
Starting point: Salta
Salta is an excellent starting point. The city itself has a few interesting attractions. One of them is the MAAM (Museo de Arquelogia de Alta Montana), which offers insights into the Inca culture (including that of sacrificing children). Other places to visit in town are the pink Cathedral and the Iglesia de San Francisco.
First stop: Purmamarca
Leaving Salta, head north towards Jujuy and then continue driving towards the Quebrada de Humahuaca. The first stop here will be Purmamarca, a tiny village of no more than 600 people, at around 2200 meters above sea level. Purmamarca is set against the beautiful Cerro de los Siete Colores, a colorful mountain. The village itself is completely red thanks to the adobe used for its buildings. There’s a lovely market that is nice to browse.
Second stop: Tilcara
At 2450 meters above sea level, Tilcara is a picturesque village where it is nice to stop for a day or two. It is pleasant to walk its streets and get infused in the local atmosphere, but there also is an archaeological site to explore, the Pucarà. In February, there’s a fun carnival which sees several music bands walking around the village to gather people with their incessant music. It becomes a huge, fun street party.
Third stop: Humahuaca
On the way to Humahuaca, make a quick stop at Maimarà, a village entirely built in adobe, set against the beautiful Paleta del Pintor (the painter’s palette) mountain, then cross the Capricorn Tropic line. Humahuaca is at almost 3000 meters above sea level. The village, larger than the rest in the Quebrada, has a beautiful church and a lovely, busy local market.
Before heading back to Salta to conclude the road trip, make sure to push along towards the Salinas Grandes, a salt lake where the bright white color makes the perspective in pictures completely skewed.
- Visit the market of Purmamarca
- Explore the lovely Humahuaca
- Take fun shots at Salinas Grandes
Europe Road Trips
East Central Europe with Allan from Live Less Ordinary.
Our East Central road trip took place in winter, but these parts of the world are fascinating at all times of the year, and while the main focus was the mountains, pokey European villages, and scenery throughout, we also stayed in some of the more majestic cities as markers along the way.
The road trip starts out from Krakow in Poland, to create a loop around, although any destination on this list could be the start and end point. Throughout we also take detours, although the main route follows south through the Tatra mountains into Slovakia, en route to the borders of Hungary and its capital Budapest.
This would be our first major city stop, before following past the stretches of Lake Balaton to the borders of Slovenia, where Lake Bled is definitely the highlight (although the Alps begin here and the mountain landscapes are equally as fascinating throughout). Next we cross the Austrian borders as we continue to our next port point in Salzburg, although Hallstatt is very much a stop to see along the way.
From Salzburg we then cross to the Czech Republic and to Cesky Krumlov which is the most dreamlike destination in the winter to visit. We then followed another stretch back to Krakow. So this would be the basic route, covering the iconic destinations of east-central Europe, and it can be covered in 7 days.
However, we stretched it over 18 days travelling in all directions and covered 9 countries and countless fascinating scenery. There are many great places in Europe but we feel this is one of the best road trips you can drive.
- Eat through the Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov
- A stroll around the perimeter of Lake Bled
- The Castle Hill Funicular to explore Budapest’s old town (Buda)
Wales with David from Delve into Wales.
The A470 road trip through Wales is special because it runs from one end of the country to the other, south coast to north coast, from the capital, Cardiff , to the seaside resort of Llandudno.
It runs through some of the most spectacular scenery in Wales, and is also a great introduction to the country, passing through two of its three National Parks. You could drive the A470 end to end in around four and a half hours, but this is a drive best savoured over a few days, with a few stops each day.
It starts outside the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, before passing Cardiff Castle and making its way through the suburbs, passing the fairytale Castell Coch before the run through the South Wales Valleys, once the country’s industrial heartland.
After passing below Pen y Fan and the Brecon Beacons, you drive through rural Mid Wales, starting with the remote upper Wye valley which continues past the tiny market town of Rhayader.
The mountains are suddenly taller and steeper around Dinas Mawddwy, as you begin the climb up Bwlch yr Oerddrws, where you enter the Snowdonia National Park. The mountains are especially imposing around Blaenau Ffestiniog, and you pass beneath the keep of Dolwyddelan before passing the tourist hub of Betws-y-Coed.
From here it’s a gentler run up the green hills of the Conwy valley, with a glimpse of Conwy Castle before the final run inland to Llandudno, where this epic journey ends at a humble seaside roundabout.
- The run through the Brecon Beacons, especially from Storey Arms down to Brecon.
- The climb up Bwlch yr Oerddrws, ‘the Pass of the Cold Door’, revealing Cadair Idris at the top.
- The drive through the dramatic slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog and the climb out of it up the Crimea Pass, revealing Moel Siabod and the Lledr valley below.
Andalucia, Spain with Inma from A World to Travel.
A couple of Winters back, we flew to Andalusia, in the sunny South of Spain, to road trip our way around its many highlights.
Once the crowds are gone, the prices back to normal and the heat ceases, it’s time to visit the beautiful, lively and full of history Southern part of Spain. Whether you would like to stick to one place in a nice resort in the coast or go all the way for an one week Andalusian road trip as we did (head there for lots of budget and destination-specific tips!), this area has everything you need to spend some time.
Places like Malaga, Tarifa, Cadiz, Sevilla, Ronda, and Granada will make your low season holidays some to remember!
- The coast path between Malaga and Cadiz, where windy Tarifa stands out as a must-see destination on its own.
- The ‘Caminito del Rey’ hiking trail – once named the most dangerous one in the world.
- Sierra Nevada snow-capped mountains.
Republic of Ireland with Erin from Downbubble Travels.
The Republic of Ireland makes for one of the best road trips you will ever take! Most notably for its scenery and picturesque tiny towns linking your route such that most stretches are never more than 3 hours of driving at a time.
Driving Ireland is also quite easy and accessible making it suitable for all ages and budgets. Generally speaking no special equipment other than a car, a map and a raincoat are required!
This 7 day road trip is a round trip from/to Dublin , which we suggest spending at least the first day exploring. Day 2 head to historic Galway and explore by day and night. Day 3 see the Cliffs of Moher by morning and the town of Dingle in the afternoon, stay in Killarney that night. Day 4 awake early to drive the Ring of Kerry. Halfway along this famed route at Portmagee, you can stop to take a boat trip to Skellig Michael. Drive the other half of the Ring of Kerry route by afternoon, stopping in Kenmare.
Day 5 explore Blarney Castle and gardens, including kissing the Blarney stone! Day 6 take in the beautiful and historic (settled by Vikings) city of Cork then on to the last town in which the Titanic made port; Cobh. Day 7 return to Dublin, making a stop via Waterford, the home of the eponymous crystal of which it is the famed producer.
- The Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most famous natural attractions standing at a sheer drop 120m above the Atlantic Ocean and home to diverse birdlife including Atlantic puffins.
- Boat tour to the dome-shaped sixth century monastic buildings on Skellig Michael, Ireland’s (currently) only UNESCO World Heritage site, made recently famous by featuring in Star Wars – The Force Awakens.
- Local tradition holds that he who kisses the Blarney Stone shall receive the gift of the gab! Worth the knee-shaking climb up through four castle floors to lean back out over the battlements!
The Faroe Islands with Megan from Megan Starr.
The Faroe Islands are a dream for a seven-day road trip. The Faroes consists of eighteen islands all connected by bridges, ferries, and undersea tunnels, all of which are surprisingly affordable.
While on a map it may seem feasible to try to tackle all islands in seven days, I highly recommend picking no more than one per day and exploring those islands thoroughly. There are so many hiking opportunities, roadside attractions (in the form of sheep and waterfalls!), and other sights to see that you don’t want to make yourself feel rushed during your trip.
Most people that go to the Faroes head to the exact same places and don’t get off of that route at all. I think it is great to do a bit of being ‘on the path’ and a little bit of being ‘off the path’ for sustainability purposes. One of my trip highlights was a ferry ride to one of the southern islands called Sandoy, an island that doesn’t really receive any tourism.
By going to a place that isn’t on most people’s itineraries for the Faroes, we got to interact with locals and we had every single place we visited all to ourselves. It was spectacular. A few must-see locations that are ‘on the path’ are Gjogv, Tjørnuvik (my favorite place!), Kirkjubøur, Klaksvik, and Kalsoy.
A road trip to the Faroe Islands will leave you humbled and be pining to book a ticket back to explore more!
- Exploring the islands by ferry.
- Escaping the tourist crowds.
- Incredible scenery.
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North Coast 500, Scotland with Natasha from The World Pursuit.
One of the most amazing road trips in the world is the North Coast 500. The North Coast 500 is 500 miles of stunning scenery through the Scottish Highlands.
The route usually starts in Inverness or Applecross and goes all the way around. Along the route, you’ll find stunning and dramatic cliffs, beautiful beaches, plenty of sheep, and a decent amount of distilleries to enjoy Scottish whiskey.
I never knew how beautiful Scotland was until I embarked on this trip, and I believe that’s what made it so special. The Highlands is one of the most surreal places I have ever been to. The start points are easily accessible from Edinburgh , where many people fly in and out of Scotland.
The trip is completely doable in seven days however I would recommend 10 to immerse yourself completely.
- John O Groats
Slovenia with Alex from Size Jinx in One.
There are many adventures to be had out there and one of the most different and enticing is located in a small country that sits in Central Europe, Slovenia. With its thick green forests, the snow-capped Alps, everything within close proximity, it’s hard to resist.
Day one, Kranjska Gora. Here you have Slovenia’s largest alpine ski resort, go ski. Day 2 you’ll arrive in Bled, here you can find an iconic church located on a glacial lake and the Triglav National Park.
Day 3 is Soča and this place is just awesome, and you’ll easily get your fix of adrenaline here. Bovec on the 4th day. Rafting, canyoning, kayaking, zip lining hiking, don’t forget to take a break in-between.
On day 5 you’ll experience Postonja Caves – with its awesome rich colourful rock formation, along with a chandelier as you enter the cave, it’ll be one to remember.
Day 6, Škocjan Caves, with Limestone pools and stalactite formations, you’ll be amazed. You’ll make it to the capital on day 7, Ljubljana. With its enchanting cobbled streets, this town features old bridges, along with 19th-century buildings that survived the earthquake of 1895.
- Postonja caves – with its awesome rich colourful rock formation.
- Bovec. Rafting, canyoning, kayaking, zip lining, hiking. Perfect for the adrenaline folks out there.
- Lake Bled, this place is impressive and . with mountain scenery surrounded by forests, a little island sits in the middle of the lake with a small church.
Switzerland with Arzo from Arzo Travels.
Road trips in Switzerland are different. They are epic, they are amazing! A 7-day road trip in Switzerland can definitely be one the best road trips of your life!
Each year in summer I travel to Switzerland by car – the first year it was out of necessity and now it is of pure joy. If you plan a road trip in Switzerland you must know… you will want to stop everywhere because there is just extremely beautiful scenery, so keep your camera close and plan in some time for extra breaks.
Switzerland is small so you might be able to see quite a lot in 7 days – however, there is not one fixed route but many smaller ones which are also called the Grand Tour of Switzerland, but make sure to add the routes I mention below when doing a Switzerland road tripping (p.s. try to avoid motorways and use the smaller country roads instead).
Even with stops, you will be able doing each of the tours within a few hours, but some of the routes are in the mountains so drive carefully! It is Switzerland, so no rush!
- Drive along the Axenstrasse around Lake Lucerne
- Drive along Lake Thun and Lake Brienz (to enjoy the view as shown in the picture, head to St. Beatus Caves, park your car there and walk down the other side)
- Drive from Interlaken to Bellinzona
Northern Germany with Cate from International Desserts Blog.
If you’re planning a road trip to Germany, go north! Northern Germany has a distinct look and feel that’s different from other parts of the country, especially touristy Bavaria.
On this road trip you’ll encounter beaches, thatch-roof cottages, cobblestoned streets, a fairytale castle, and some of the best food in the country. Definitely try a Fischbrötchen and Rote Grütze for dessert!
Start your road trip in the beautiful and bustling Hanseatic city of Hamburg. I highly recommend spending at least a day touring the city. Then drive north to the beachside town of Sankt Peter Ording, where you can spend a couple of hours (or even an entire day) relaxing at a seaside spa. Continue driving north a couple more hours and you’ll arrive on the beautiful island of Sylt (to reach the island you’ll board a 40-minute car train).
I recommend two days on Sylt – one for relaxing on the beach and one for biking around the island or windsurfing. When you’ve had enough of the beach and Frisian-style thatch-roofed houses of Sylt, make your way to the city of Lübeck.
Spend a day visiting the 12th century Rathaus (town hall), the brick gothic Marienkirche, and the restored Lubeck Cathedral. If you want to compare North Sea beaches with Baltic sea beaches, make a day trip out to Timmendorfer Strand.
Finally, drive south to Schwerin, a city surrounded by lakes, to spend a day visiting the stunning Schwerin castle and gardens.
- Rent a bike and ride it around the island of Sylt.
- Visit the fairytale Schwerin castle.
- Spend the day at beaches on both the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
Lakes Region, Italy with Katy from Untold Morsels.
Discover the spectacular Italian lakes on this classic drive bounded by soaring mountains and shimmering water. This road trip covers 200 kilometres and three of the most beautiful lakes in Europe making it one of the best road trips in the world.
Start in Bellagio on the shores of Lake Como. The sunsets here are incredible and best watched over a plate of pasta at one of the many restaurants facing the lake. From Bellagio, take the car ferry to Varenna and then follow the lake road to Tremezzo where you can visit beautiful Villa Carlotta.
Continue on to the city of Como and marvel at the Cathedral and take a promenade along the lake with a gelato. The next stop on your road trip is Lake Maggiore at the base of the southern Alps.
You could detour here and drive over the border to Switzerland to the town of Locarno but you must make a stop at Stresa. Here take a cable car to Mottarone 1491 metres above sea level.
Your journey ends at Lake Orta where the mystical island of Isola San Giulo rises out of the water. You could take 3-4 days to do this but if you can, spend at least a week in the Italian lakes and soak up the beauty of this classic Italian region.
- The casual and romantic vibe of Varenna on the shores of Lake Como
- Incredible views of the lakes region from Mottarone
- Isola San Giulio’s mysterious beauty
Iceland with Donovan from Travel Voila.
We were very fortunate to travel to Iceland this summer. Because during our trip, we saw Aurora on a September! And it is one of the strongest Aurora in the past decade.
Due to constraints, we can only do the Ring Road drive in 7 Days and this is the bare minimum number of days to do the drive. Because you will be covering approximate 1500+ km drive in 7 days. The Ring Road (Route 1) is 1300+ km.
For the 7 days, we drove like 1900+ km! And we did not really have a hectic schedule. We left the accommodation at 11 am and reach the next stay no later than 9 pm. Despite the short duration, we have done many activities like Whale Watching, Chased Aurora for 3 Nights, covered several waterfalls and done 2 hot spring soaking in Blue Lagoon and Myvatn Nature Bath.
In Iceland, travellers usually will arrive at their International Airport at Keflavik. You can rent your car and pick them up near the airport and your road trip begins. We decided to take the clockwise route because we wanted to have more time to enjoy at later part of the 7 days as there are a lot more attractions in South Iceland. Certainly, our top road trip adventure for the year!
Iceland is currently and still undergoing major development to cater to the overwhelming tourist visits. Be sure to do your driving to Iceland before they get too commercialized.
- Gullfoss Waterfall
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
- Chasing of Aurora
Croatia with Dani from A Baby Abroad.
Croatia has an amazing geography, which is why the best way to explore it through a road trip. It is also very easy to get around by car as a foreigner.
The total distance between Zagreb and Dubrovnik is 687 kilometers – around 11 hours. Start by renting a car at Zagreb airport, and get a SIM card in order to access a GPS.
If you are looking for beach parties, then Novaljia and Zrce Beach is your first stop. Popular for its very wild parties, Zcre beach and the surrounding landscape is spectacular. Skip this and head on to Zadar if you are looking for a more calm atmosphere.
Zadar is 285 kilometers from Zagreb. Once there, you will find a cozy small town, with a small pier, several green and blue water beaches and small local seafood restaurants. 177 kilometers to the south is Split. It has a famous old town filled with stone constructions, beautiful cafés and restaurants, ruins, and of course, amazing beaches.
Getting your car onto a ferry for less than two hours will take you to Hvar, which is unmissable. This island has amazing views and several beaches to explore. It is filled with restaurants, cafés, bars and clubs, and a pier filled with fancy yachts and boats.
A 4 hour drive away – including a short ferry trip – will take you to Dubrovnik, the last stop. Here, you will continue to find amazing landscapes and another old town filled with things to do, see and eat. You can drop your car off at the Dubrovnik airport.
- Plitvice Lakes
- Game of Thrones filming locations
- An amazing coastline
Finland with Mary from The Lifelong Adventures.
A winter road trip through the Arctic wonderland of Finnish Lapland is an epic adventure suitable for people of all ages. We did this trip in December and enjoyed every minute of it.
The roads are covered with snow and hard-packed ice and the sun rises for only a few hours each day. Start in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland and home to Santa Claus. At Santa’s Village you can mail a postcard home, step across the Arctic Circle, and have your picture taken with Santa Claus.
On Day 2, meet a local representative of the Sami people for a traditional welcome and authentic lunch. Then leave the capital behind and head out into the remote wilderness toward the Russian border and Salla (2-3 hours).
Spend your third day at the Salla Reindeer Park on a Reindeer Safari. Board a sled pulled by reindeer and venture into the still, snow-covered forest. Enjoy a picnic lunch and bonfire in a traditional Sami hut.
On Day 4, drive across Lapland toward the resort area of Yllas (4-5 hours). Spend a night under furs in the Ice Hotel and relax with a drink and traditional Finnish dinner at the Ice Bar.
The next morning, drive slightly north to Levi (1-2 hours). Spend your fifth and sixth day engaging in winter activities like dog sledding, snowshoeing, and skiing. Visit the Snow Village or head further out into the vast expanse surrounding the village to try and see the Northern Lights.
On the seventh day make your way back past frozen lakes to Rovaniemi (3 hours).
- Arctic Circle Crossing – Rovaniemi
- Reindeer Safari – Salla
- Ice Hotel -Yllas
Whiskey Tour, Scotland with Amanda from Wandering Spirits Global.
For whiskey lovers, a visit to Scotland is almost certainly a bucket list item. There are over 120 active distilleries in Scotland, with the number growing each year as new ones are erected, and old ones resurrected.
There are many regions in Scotland that make for an epic road trip, but with such a high concentration of iconic distilleries in a fairly small but spectacularly beautiful area, my favourite whiskey destination is the Isle of Islay. Located just off the west coast of Scotland, Islay is a 2.5 hour drive from Glasgow (or 3.5 hours from Edinburgh), through the magnificent scenery of the Scottish West Highlands to the port of Kennacraig.
The ferry ride from Kennacraig to either Port Ellen or Port Askaig will provide you with stunning views of Jura and her Paps. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for dolphins and whales.
You will find the distilleries of Islay conveniently grouped into three areas – the Port Ellen trio of Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig; the Port Askaig pair of Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain (soon to be another trio with the opening of Ardnahoe in 2018); and Kilchoman, Bruichladdich and Bowmore. I recommend you attempt no more than two distillery tours in a day. By all means do a tasting at a third, but you will struggle to fit it all in otherwise.
Distillery tours are very popular, especially in the summer months, so make sure you book your tickets well in advance (at least the week before). Hot tip: most distilleries have take-away tasting samples available for the designated driver so make sure you ask for your dram ‘to go’ if you’re the one driving.
- 8 active distilleries (soon to be 9!). My favourites are Bruichladdich and Laphroaig for their plentiful tastings, and Bunnahabhain for the spectacular views of Jura. Bruichladdich also has gin tours and tastings (they make the sublime The Botanist gin).
- Beautiful beaches, an abundance of wildlife (birds, otters, seals and occasionally dolphins and whales), Mesolithic and Neolithic ruins (stone circles, standing stones, cairns) and Celtic relics (Kildalton High Cross, Kilchoman Cross)
- The Isle of Jura is a short ferry ride (5 minutes) across the Sound of Islay from Port Askaig. The Jura Distillery (in Craighouse) adds an additional whiskey distillery option, and there is also the Lussa Gin Distillery at the northern end of Jura.
Slovakia with Maya from Maya Maceka.
Slovakia is a beautiful country located in the heart of Europe. With unspoiled nature, countless medieval cities and more castles per capita than any other European country, it is a destination not to be missed among travelers.
Due to its small size and decent road coverage, Slovakia also happens to be an ideal road trip hotspot! Here’s the perfect itinerary:
Bratislava: Start your Slovak road trip in the capital city of Bratislava, where you can witness some unique Socialist architecture and get a litre of beer for under 1 Euro! Spend at least 2 nights in the city.
Trencin & Zilina: After exploring Bratislava, head north towards the enchanting small town of Trencin. It’s a great place to spend a couple of hours. Continue on to Zilina and if possible, spend the night in the nearby Mala Fatra National Park.
High Tatra Mountains: If you like fresh air and sweeping mountain views, you will love the High Tatras in Slovakia. Book a couple of nights in one of the resort towns like Stary Smokovec and enjoy the many activities this region has to offer.
Levoca & Kosice: From the mountains, take a short drive to Levoca, where you can visit the famous castle called Spissky Hrad. You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring the area. Continue driving East until you reach Kosice, the second-largest city in Slovakia. If you want to live like a Slovak king for the night, book a stay at the Bristol hotel.
Back to Bratislava: The journey back to Bratislava will take anywhere from 6-8 hours, so it’s best to get an early start to the day. Alternatively, you can drive north into Poland or head south to Hungry.
- Take a glimpse behind the Iron Curtain
- Cheap beer!
- Castles and beautiful scenery
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Norway with Niels from The Road Trip Guy.
During my 30,000 Km road trip through 41 European countries, I was most keen on visiting the beautiful country of Norway. Many people had told me that the breathtaking mountains and mesmerizing fjords would offer great scenery for a road trip.
There are actually two routes going from Oslo to Bergen. Once you start driving you will have to make a decision at the city of Hol;
Route RV50/E16: Oslo – Hol – Aurland – Flåm – Voss – Bergen, 532 km, 7,5 hours
Route RV7: Oslo – Hol – Hardangervidda – Hardanger – Bergen, 513 km, 1 ferry, 9 hours
I decided to take the first route as it would take me past these standout places.
- Borgund Stave Church
The Borgund Stave Church is a stave church located in the village of Borgund in the municipality of Lærdal. It is exceptionally well preserved and one of the most well-known stave churches in Norway. Check out the roof carvings of the dragons’ heads! Spooky is it not?
- The longest tunnel in Europe: the Lærdalstunnel
The Lærdal Tunnel is a 24.51-kilometre long road tunnel connecting Lærdal and Aurland. Construction started in 1995 and the tunnel opened in 2000. Construction cost was 1.082 billion NOK and the tunnel has beautiful blue lighting with yellow lights at the fringes to give an impression of sunrise so you won’t fall asleep during the 20-minute drive.
- City of Bergen
Bergen is a popular city, which is located on Norway’s southwestern coast. It is known as the city that is surrounded by beautiful fjords, the colourful wooden houses on the wharf, mountains and Norway’s longest and deepest fjord: The Sognefjord.
Loire Valley, France with Wendy from World Wide Wendy.
If you like history, nice scenery, delicious food, and lovely wines, you need to go to the Loire region in France. In the 15th century this was a popular area for hunting and the royalty built magnificant castles to spend their holidays.
About 140 castles were preserved and therefore the Loire Valley is listed as Unesco World Heritage. I don’t know any other place in the world where you find so many historical sites in such a small area. Everything breathes history over here. As I am a big fan of all the legends and myths that go with these historical buildings, it’s one of my favourite places in the world.
For me, Chenonceau is the most beautiful castle in the Loire. It also has a rich history. The castle is on pillars in the water and in good weather the reflection in the water is beautiful. It is clear that the women ruled over here. You have to visit the gardens too as they are magnificent.
You can start your tour in Saumur to end in Bourges. You should spend at least a week in the region, but if you really love castles and medieval towns, you could stay here for weeks.
You see, this region is the Walhalla for lovers of castles and history. Add a pleasant climate, delicious food, and tasty wines and you have a top holiday destination.
- Other amazing castles: Cheverny, Chambord and Villandry
- Fontevraud with its giant abbey ‘L’abbaye de Fontevraud’
- Vendôme is a medieval town with nice hiking routes
North America Road Trips
The Big Island, Hawaii with Noel from Travel Photo Discovery.
The Big Island of Hawaii is really big (as you might expect from the name) and one of the best ways to see it is to do a road trip all around the island.
The perimeter highway road is definitely slow so you have to allocated the whole day to drive around the island or break it up by staying somewhere worth visiting like Volcanoes National Park or the funky and cool Hilo town.
A drive typically starting in Kona town will take you through the coffee plantations in the southern areas, black lava rock deserts, to the cool coastal drive through black and green sand beaches and then the fascinating historic Volcanoes National Park.
Its worth a stay in the area to enjoy exploring the whole park, but if time is short then drive down to Hilo town with its old town vibe, farmers market and funky waterfront area. There are beautiful waterfalls in town to visit or further down to the one-lane roads and rugged coastline of the Onomea historic trail and beautiful Akaka falls.
There’s definitely a lot to see driving around the whole island to see all the highlights and scenic beauty of the island.
- Watch the sunset from high up on Mauna Kea volcano.
- Take a scenic helicopter flight and see the oceanside waterfalls.
- Snorkel with the giant Manta Rays at Sheraton Kona.
West Coast, USA with Jaillan from Saviour There.
Say the phrase ‘road trip’ to most people and chances are the West Coast of America will immediately spring to mind.
US highways are synonymous with the joy of the open road and there are endless routes and combinations to get you excited about exploring the same tarmac traversed by cinematic legends like Thelma & Louise or Bonnie & Clyde.
I have hit the Western Coast of the States a few times on four wheels, concentrating on Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah and Idaho – and depending on how many hours you’re comfortable behind the wheel (if you’re splitting the driving even better) this circular route could be done in 7 days but can easily be stretched out to far longer.
I started at the Canadian border, but if you skip the big hitters like Seattle and Portland the timeline is more forgiving.
From Portland it’s an easy ride down the I5 to a place that can’t help but give you the giggles, Weed, CA. From there head to iconic San Francisco, but try staying in Sausalito for a more upmarket and laid-back vibe.
Next it’s not Vegas, but Nevada’s underdog city of Reno – offering better value with more going for it than meets the eye. From there it’s a day’s drive to Salt Lake City, another deeply underrated destination, and finally to the 22 breweries on offer in the craft beer capital of Bend Oregon, aka Beer City, USA – the perfect place to end a road trip.
- Explore the huge variety of craft breweries along the way.
- Reno, Nevada is like a friendlier version of Las Vegas.
- Incredible natural beauty along the way.
Ontario, Canada with Stephanie from The World as I See It.
Looking for an amazing 7 day road trip full of epic views, incredible hiking trails, and stunning scenery? Then consider taking a Northwestern Ontario road trip.
From Toronto you’ll head north with your end destination being Thunder Bay. This road trip takes you along the scenic Trans Canada Highway, with stops for hiking in incredible parks like Killarney and Lake Superior. And quick stops to see the giant Wawa goose and find out where Winnie-the-Pooh came from.
Beyond the outdoor adventures, it will also teach about Canada’s rich history. Stop in Sault Ste. Marie, the mid-way point, for a visit to the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site. And in Lake Superior Provincial Park see ancient pictographs at Agawa Rock.
If chasing waterfalls is your flavour you’ll love all the beauties you’ll find along the route. From Chippewa Falls, just off the highway, to Niagara of the North – Kakabecka Falls in Thunder Bay, there’s at least a dozen to be found on this road trip. And if natural wonders are what you’re after, stop at Ouimet Canyon, affectionately dubbed the Grand Canyon of the North.
But the grand finale lies in Thunder Bay, with a full day hike in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The Top of the Giant trail will blow you away with its views that are unlike anywhere else. A Northwestern Ontario road trip will wow you with its natural beauty, rich history, and epic views.
- Hiking Killarney Provincial Park
- Agawa Rock Pictographs
- Top of the Giant Trail in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Baja, Mexico with Alejandro from Visit Copper Canyon.
One of the most stunning road trips you can do in Mexico is in the state of Baja California Sur.
Start the trip in La Paz, the state capitol. Here you can rent a car and stock up on goods for the trip, but before you head out it’s definitely worth checking out some nearby activities. There’s the pristine Playa Balandra, a beach protected by the government, or you can book a snorkel or diving tour to Isla del Espiritu Santo where you can swim with whale sharks and sea lions!
From La Paz you’ll head north through the desert. Be sure to keep an eye out for the giant Mexican cactus, the Cardón, which can grow up to 18 m high and 1 m in diameter.
After a few hours of driving you’ll find yourself winding along the coast where the desert meets the sea and the contrasting colours are fantastic. Spend a night in Loreto, home to the Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto, where you can do some more snorkeling or diving.
Continuing further north you may want to spend a few nights in the town of Mulegé so you can enjoy the nearby and very secluded beaches. Finally you’ll want to head up to San Ignacio where you can book a trek to see some 7000 year old cave paintings before heading back to La Paz.
- Authentic Mexico without the tourist crowds.
- Amazing and diverse scenery.
- The home of fish tacos.
Loneliest Road, USA with Hayley and Scott from International Hot Dish.
When you think about the best road trips you often think about roadside attractions, goofy tourist traps, luggage loaded on the top of the car, and drive-ins. I’ve been on a lot of those road trips and they’re memorable and liberating to be on. But they’re not always my thing.
All that said, my favorite stretch of highway for a different kind of road trip is through Nevada, USA, on The Loneliest Road in America – otherwise known as the Lincoln Highway, U.S. Route 50. It starts on one Nevada border and ends at the other. It stretches just over 400 miles (644km) and is undoubtedly lonely, which is a good thing!
On our way through U.S. 50, my friend and I had a lot of free time to speculate about life’s questions, tell jokes, think, and soak in the gorgeous, desolate views of barren Nevada. This highway is literally the one you would take one of those artsy, empty highways in the desert pictures.
U.S. 50 is one of those places not crammed with department stores, billboards, cell phone towers (reception here is nil), and traffic. You can really get away from civilization and clear your mind here.
- Take one of those artsy photos on the barren highway
- Stop for a beer in Middlegate, founded by the Pony Express
- Take a photo with a “The Loneliest Road in America” to document your trip
Riviera Maya, Mexico with Cristal from Tofu Traveler.
The best thing about a road trip around the Riviera Maya is that it can suit many different travel styles. For those who want a different town every day, there are many unique places and activities to choose from. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation then you can choose two or three spots to live out your tropical paradise fantasies.
My ultimate 7 day road trip is a great balance of all that the Riviera Maya has to offer. Start in Playa Del Carmen to begin de-stressing with a cocktail, sun lounger and clear skies in one of the beach clubs. Once you’re ready to explore check out the nearby cenotes or hop on the short ferry ride to Cozumel Island. Head further south from here with a quick stop to see the Tulum Ruins, including a swim in the clear waters looking up at the ancient site.
Then on to Laguna Bacalar to experience the Lagoon of 7 Colours, the second largest body of freshwater in Mexico. Bacalar is also one of the only places in the world to see stromatolites, living stones that are considered the oldest form of life on the planet.
From Bacalar, head north and west to Valladolid. Valladolid has a lovely small town feel and you won’t see any big hotels or tour groups here. Take the opportunity to sample some local food, visit the Mayapan Distillery, and this is your chance to spend time in one of the Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza. From Valladolid you’re less than two hours away from Cancun airport so you can head straight back on your last day.
- Visit one of the New Wonders of the World: Chichen Itza
- Learn about living stones on a boat trip around the Lagoon of 7 Colours
- Swim in both the warm Caribbean Sea and cool cenotes along the coast
Great Smoky Mountains, USA with Ashley from A Southern Gypsy.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies on the Eastern side of Tennessee and the Western side of North Carolina and has always and will always be one of my favorite places in the world.
A few years ago I put together a one-week road trip itinerary starting in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and traveling to Asheville, North Carolina through the Smoky Mountains before hopping on the Blue Ridge Parkway and heading North to Linville Falls.
Gatlinburg is a great starting point for this road trip because it has a little something for everybody: moonshine distilleries, restaurants, themed attractions, beautiful wildlife, and scenery. I would spend two days here. The first checking out the town of Gatlinburg, the trails near town including the ghost town of Elkmont, Roaring Fork Motor Trail and more. The second day, I would spend exploring Cades Cove. Cades Cove is an 11-mile paved loop where you can drive or bike the loop while making stops along the way and exploring the trails. Here is your best chance of seeing black bears!
There are so many amazing spots between Gatlinburg and Asheville. See the elk in Cataloochee Valley, Maggie Valley, Soco Falls, and many more beautiful spots. Asheville is a lovely city. Don’t miss checking out local breweries, touring Biltmore Estate, the Battery Park Book Exchange, and Champagne Bar.
On the way to Linville Falls, North Carolina, you’ll pretty much be on the Blue Ridge Parkway the entire way. The fog wasn’t on our side at all but it was still a wonderful trip. A few of my favorite spots included Mount Mitchell and Little Switzerland (a small Bavarian-themed town). Once in Linville Falls, the Linville Falls, Gorge, and Caverns are all absolutely breathtaking. Using Linville Falls as a base, take your second day here to explore Grandfather Mountain, Boone, and Blowing Rock.
- Cades Cove
- Cataloochee Valley
- Little Switzerland
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The end of the road
Hopefully you have had your eyes opened to a whole new world of road trip opportunities. Please comment below and tell us the one that appeals most to you, or if you have a favourite road trip that we missed out completely.