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.
This is the second part in our series of posts which will show you 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 as one of the world’s most scenic road trips, and having experienced this ourselves, it has every reason to rate so highly.
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
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
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.
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.
- Moari culture.
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 backwards out over the battlements!
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.
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
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 Essouira.
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 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.
- Essouira- famous for it’s seafood and stunning blue boats.
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.