Going on a road trip is a fun way to explore a new place. It is a good way to discover off-the-beaten paths and to enjoy hidden gems outside of the cities. The varieties of things you can see along the road are also endless compared to just flying from one destination to another. So we compiled this list of the 7 most scenic and best road trips in the world to show you that the best adventure might only be one drive away.
1. Great Ocean Road, Australia
Great Ocean Road has many scenic viewpoints that consist of winding roads, amazing coastal views, sandstone cliffs and dramatic seascapes along the road. This drive starts in Torquay, a 90-minute drive from the city center of Melbourne, and ends at Nelson. If you’d like to extend this road trip, consider driving all the way to Adelaide!
Highlights: Twelve Apostles, Bells Beach, Great Otway National Park, Aireys Inlet, Apollo Bay, London Arch, Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto, Warrnambool, The Bay of Islands
Distance: 413 miles
Duration: 10-11 hours non-stop
Suggested length of the road trip: 7 days
Best time to go: January to March for a dry and clear weather
Insider tip: If you are staying and travelling in Australia for a longer period of time, buying a second-hand car instead of renting, might be cheaper in the long run. For more information on finding the best rates for used cars, click here.
2. Big Sur, California, USA
Big Sur is a rugged and mountainous section in the central coast of California. This coastal road is known for its dramatic coastline, redwood forests, beaches and towering seaside cliffs that attracts millions of travellers all over the world. The breathtaking drive is along the Pacific Highway and it is approximately 150 miles south of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles. It is also considered one of the best road trips in the USA.
Highlights: McWay Falls, Bixby Creek Bridge, Garrapata State Park, Pfeiffer Beach, Carmel Mission Basilica Museum, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Partington Cove, Elephant seal rookery, Hearst Castle
Distance: 90 miles
Duration: 2-3 hours non-stop
Suggested length of the road trip: at least 2 days
Best time to go: September to November (after the peak season and before the rainy season in December)
Insider tip: Drive along Highway One in the evening and from above the cliffs, you might witness bioluminescent phytoplankton in the water illuminating lights.
3. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
The longest defined coastal route in the world, Wild Atlantic Way covers 9 counties. This tourism trail is about 1553 miles covering over 1000 attractions that range from castles, beaches, rugged cliffs, and amazing harbors.
Highlights: Mizen Head, Skellig Islands, Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry, Loop Head, Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Malin Head, Fanan Head, Horn Head, Aran Islands, Slieve League, Killary Harbour, and Clifden.
Distance: 1553 miles
Duration: 30-35 hours non-stop
Suggested length of the road trip: 3 weeks at least but if you only have less than a week, this 6-day road trip itinerary of Wild Atlantic can help you maximize your trip better.
Best time to go: June to August
Insider tip: Make sure to take a company with you that can substitute you with driving. Distances are not that far between attractions but if you are going to drive the whole route, driving every day can be quite exhausting. For more insider tip, these driving tips in Ireland might come handy on your road trip.
4. Ring Road, Iceland
One of the best things that you can do in Iceland is to take a drive to the Ring Road. The Ring Road encircles the entire country covering 828 miles of Route 1. This Ring Road itinerary comprises of rugged coastlines, majestic waterfalls, geysers, and beautiful glaciers.
Highlights: Kerið Crater Lake, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Skógafoss Waterfall, Sólheimajökull Glacier, Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon, Vatnajokull Glacier, Námafjall Hverir. Golden Circle can be added although it’s a bit out of way.
Distance: 828 miles
Duration: 16-18 hours non-stop
Suggested length of the road trip: 2 weeks
Best time to go: June to August for better weather. However, if you want less crowd and to see the Northern Lights, September to October is recommended.
Insider tip: Make sure to fill up your tank before leaving major towns as you might have issues finding a gas station in the countryside. And always bring cash with you.
5. North Coast 500, Scotland
Consider as one of the most beautiful roads in the world, the North Coast 500 highlights the best sceneries in Scotland. Known for its rugged coastlines, historical castles and charming rural villages, this road shows the most unspoiled part of Europe. There also lots of things to do along the road that consists of visiting heritage sites, beaches, castles, museums and even a side trip to the Isle of Skye.
Highlights: Castles (Inverness Castle, Castle of Mey, Ardvreck Castle), the wildlife along the road and forest, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Fairy Glen, and Clashnessie waterfalls, and the beaches such as Achmelvich and Sandwood Bay
Distance: 516 miles
Duration: 13-15 hours non-stop
Suggested length of the road trip: 7 days for Scotland
Best time to go: May to October for warmer weather and a better chance of finding everything open
Insider tip: Bring insect repellant as the mosquitoes can be quite annoying. Also, bring a rainproof jacket and always dress up on a layer as the weather in Scotland can be fickle.
6. Cape Town to Garden Route, South Africa
One of the best things to do in Western Cape, South Africa is to go on a road trip from Cape Town to Garden Route. Known for its scenic roads, Western Cape boasts diverse landscapes, scenic mountains, sand dunes, wildflower reserves, national parks, game reserves, wine farms, and the postcard-perfect coastal views.
Highlights: Twelve Apostles in Camps Bay, Gordon Bay, Hermanus, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna Lagoon, Tsitsikamma National Park, Gansbaai
Distance: over 250 miles
Duration: 6-7 hours non-stop
Suggested length of the road trip: 2 weeks
Best time to go: September to December. It is not too cold anymore but at the same time, it’s not too hot and crowded yet. Spring season is also a lovely time to do a road trip as you will enjoy the wildflowers on the road.
Insider tip: Rent a car if you can. There are lots of areas in South Africa where public transportation is very limited and having your own car is handy.
7. The Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
The Atlantic Ocean Road is 5.2-mile part of the County Road 64 that runs through an archipelago. It connects small inhabited islands in Averoy with the mainland at Eide, Norway. It consists of 8 bridges, causeways, and viewpoints. This might be the shortest road trip route in our list but this road is famous for several things. For one, the bridges in the Atlantic Ocean Road are considered the Norwegian Construction of the Century while also being tagged as one of the most dangerous roads in the world due to the twists and arches on this road.
Highlights: Askevågen viewpoint, Storseisundbrua bridge, Myrbærholmbrua, Kjeksa, Eldhusøya, Hågå
Distance: 5.2 miles
Duration: less than half an hour
Suggested length of the road trip: 3-4 hours to enjoy the view
Best time to go: June to August
Insider tip: Drive an hour south of Atlantic Ocean road to Alesund. Alesund is considered as one of the prettiest towns in the world and it’s worth checking out. From Alesund check out the Aksla viewing point to enjoy the scenery of this little charming coastal town.
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