32 Best Road Trips in the World
Do you love to road trip? Are you looking for inspiration and new places to travel? You’ve come to the right place. I gathered travel writers from around the globe to put together this guide to the best road trips in the world. Most of these world road trip itineraries are easily executable and can be done by anyone. So, let’s see what’s on the list. Pack your bag and let’s go!
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How to Drive the Best Road Trips in the World
Since this list contains road trip itineraries in a wide variety of destinations, there’s a few important things to do before you plan to drive in another country. Anyone can use this list to plan a road trip but since this website is primarily for North American travelers, the info is presented from that perspective.
Required Documents for Driving in Another Country
First, before you road trip in another country, do your research and verify what documents are needed to enter the country where you’ll be traveling. Double check and check again everything that’s required to drive in that country. While most countries – especially touristy ones – honor valid driver’s licenses from other countries, some places require an international driving permit or IDP. And some countries like China, don’t allow tourists to drive at all.
Research the Rules of the Road
It’s also a good idea to investigate the rules of the road in the country you’ll be visiting. Do they drive on the same side of the road as your home country? Are there road features like roundabouts or multiple lanes you might not be used to? If so, you might want to do some research and brush up on your driving skills to prepare for the differences.
Rental Vehicles in Different Country
Once you finalize the destination and what’s required – you’ll need a rental car or some type of rental vehicle. Renting a car in anther country might seem overwhelming especially if you are dealing with companies you aren’t familiar with. This is where research and reviews come in handy. Google and Tripadvisor.com are both solid sites for accurate reviews of practically anything travel related. For rental cars, use RentalCars.com to see a variety of different options from numerous companies.
Rental Car Insurance
When road tripping in another country, you should verify exactly what type of rental car insurance is required. Some countries have requirements you may not be used to. Many frequent travelers rely on credit cards that provide collision coverage. While, these types of benefits can be super helpful, just make sure the insurance your credit card offers is accepted in the country where you will be road tripping. (I’m looking at you Mexico and your liability requirements).
Lastly, one of the most important things you need to drive the best road trips in the world is travel insurance. Even though rental car insurance coverage should cover the costs incurred in the case of an accident, purchasing additional travel insurance offers peace of mind and extra coverage for other incidents or illnesses.
Trip interruption and trip cancellation can also included in many policies. Having that protection is super helpful if a flight cancels or if a natural disaster or unexpected unrest occurs in the country you’re visiting. Many companies even assist if the need to evacuate quickly arises. Travelinsurance.com is one of the best websites to search and compare different insurance options to fit your needs.
Best Road Trips in the World
1. The Golden Circle – Iceland
One of the most well known road trips in Iceland if not one of the best road trips in the world is the Golden Circle in Iceland. The Golden Circle is a popular 186 mile scenic touring route that shows off some of Iceland’s best features.
The route includes natural points of interest like volcanoes, waterfalls, thermal geysers and rivers. Named for of the most popular waterfalls on the route, the Golden Circle is easy to do if you plan on road tripping from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.
Start a Golden Circle road trip in Reykjavik and include places along the way like Thingvellir National Park, Gulfoss – or the Golden Waterfall – Kerid Crater and many other sites. Cities like Selfoss and Hveragerdi have adventurous activities such as white water rafting and hot springs to soak in.
Along this scenic route, there are a variety of places to picnic, pet an Icelandic horse and watch a colorful sunset. The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic Krona and although the official language is Icelandic, most people in the tourism industry speak some English.
2. Sardinia, Italy
If you are traveling to Italy during the summer and want to see some of the best beaches in the world, hop on a flight to Sardinia and rent a car: Sardinia is the perfect place for a road trip.
One of the best road trips in the world will take you from Cagliari, the beautiful capital, to Costa Rei. It can be done in a day (it’s roughly 90 km, or 56 miles), but if you wish to spend time at the various beaches rather than just seeing them from a distance, consider spending a night in each location.
Follow the road that goes along Poetto Beach in Cagliari and Quartu S. Elena all the way to the end, and then follow the signs to Villasimius. There may be a lot of traffic during the peak summer months – July and August – and on the weekend, but the stunning views will prove to be an excellent distraction.
Your first stop will be Cala Regina, a small rocky cove with incredibly clear waters, perfect for snorkeling. Spend an hour or so chilling in the water before your next stop. Not far from there, Mari Pintau is a locals’ favorite.
The name means “Painted Sea” and it’s easy to see why! You can rent umbrellas and beach loungers as this is a pebbly beach, so not the most comfortable. The beach is nice and sheltered, there is a kiosk well hidden in the vegetation where you can get a quick meal and a drink too.
Continue driving towards Villasimius, where you can spend the night. The village is picturesque, but its main draw are certainly the beautiful beaches. Make sure to stop in Porto Giunco, where you can hike all the way to the Aragonese Tower for stunning views.
On the way to Costa Rei (your final stop), you can also stop at Punta Molentis beach – however keep in mind this is a protected beach where admission is allowed to no more than 500 visitors per day.
Costa Rei is a 20 minutes drive from Villasimius. Along the way you’ll find many beaches where you can stop: Cala Pira, Cala Sinzias, the tiny yet stunning Cala di Monte Turno and Santa Giusta beach, locally known as the Scoglio di Peppino.
Since Costa Rei is your last stop, plan to spend a few days there to relax, before heading back. You will find a selection of hotels, beach resorts as well as small holiday rentals perfect for your stay. If you like the idea of being fully pampered, stay at Villas, a magnificent resort with a private beach.
Contributed by Claudia from Strictly Sardinia
3. The Swiss Alps
Switzerland is a great road trip destination because of its stunning scenery, well-maintained roads, and abundance of activities and attractions. The country is home to the Alps, which offer some of the most breathtaking views in the world. And with its well-developed infrastructure, driving in Switzerland is a breeze.
Switzerland has not one but four national languages (German, French, Italian, Romansh) and English is widely spoken. They use the Swiss franc (CHF) as their currency and credit cards are accepted everywhere.
Although Switzerland has many international airports, Zurich is the biggest one so this is the best place to start your Switzerland road trip. The country itself is not that big but it offers so many scenic locations that it’s recommended to spend at least 10-14 days in Switzerland.
One of the most beautiful regions in Switzerland is the Bernese Oberland, which is home to the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This region is known for its dramatic mountain scenery, glaciers, and lakes. A few of the attractions in this area include the Jungfraujoch – the highest railway station in Europe – as well as Grindelwald, Bachalpsee, and the fairytale town of Lauterbrunnen.
Another must-see destination in Switzerland is the Matterhorn, one of the most iconic mountains in the world. It’s also worth spending some time in the beautiful Swiss cities such as Lucerne, Bern, or Zurich.
From the snow-capped mountains to the picturesque lakes and valleys, Switzerland is a nature lover’s paradise. And with its numerous towns and villages, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful country.
Contributed by Kriszti from She Wanders Abroad
4. Estrada Nacional 2, Portugal
One of the best roads trips in the world to take is along the EN2, a main artery road that runs from the north of Portugal to the south. Whether you start in Chaves in the north, or Faro in the south, this road runs for a total of 738km or 458 miles.
The EN2, or Estrada Nacional 2, is the longest road in Portugal. The local currency is the euro, and the language is Portuguese. While some people in the Algarve may speak some English, once you leave this region and travel through the Alentejo, on into Central Portugal, and then the north, people speak less and less English.
The EN2 has been dubbed Portugal’s Route 66, and passes through 29 municipalities, over 4 mountain ranges, crosses 11 rivers, and goes through the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Evora. And the landscape changes the further north/south you travel, from lush green, almost Alpine-like landscapes in the north, to the flat, rolling plains of the Alentejo, to the sparse land and orange groves of the Algarve.
This route passes the Serra da Estrela Natural Park in Central Portugal and is a great place to spend a few days, visiting the highest point in continental Portugal and exploring the towns in the foothills. There are campsites in every municipality in Portugal, but it might be best to stay in small hotels and guesthouses along the way.
Contributed by Cath from Passports and Adventures
5. The Country of Georgia
If you are looking for a less-traveled and one of the best road trips in the world, consider visiting Georgia – a country sandwiched between Europe and Asia. Georgia has some of the best places to explore as a road tripper, be it the Caucasus Mountainous regions, the Black sea Coast, the “lake region” of Javakheti or the massive cave town of Vardzia, just to name a few.
Georgia is still a developing country, where tourist infrastructure and public transport to various places are scarce, making it one of the best road trip destinations.
Depending on what kind of road trips you like, the country can satisfy everyone’s taste. Some of the most famous road trips across Georgia are riding in semi-dessert, offroading through winding roads of the mountainous ranges, or driving along the coast.
Georgia has its currency called Georgian Lari, or GEL in short. The country also has its own language, Georgian, which doesn’t sound or look like any other language. However, English is somewhat widely spoken, so you can easily get by.
If you are an avid camper, Georgia doesn’t have many limitations or rules on camping spots. Unless you are exploring the national parks, you can camp pretty much anywhere you’d like. Just practice common sense as you would do anywhere in the world. And depending on your road trip route, there might be guesthouses or hotels along the way to spend a night or two.
Contributed by Baia from Red Fedora Diary
6. North Wales, United Kingdom
One of the best road trip destinations can be found in North Wales. This country has charming towns, beautiful mountains, incredible castles, and stunning waterfalls. There are two official languages in Wales – Welsh and English. However, most people speak English so you will not have problems with getting around the country.
You can start your road trip in Snowdonia National Park, which is the most famous place to visit in Wales. After climbing Snowdon – the highest mountain in this country, relax at one of the sandy beaches. It takes just 1 hour to drive to Traeth Llanddwyn, which is a beautiful beach with amazing views of Snowdonia.
Anglesey Island is in particular one of the best road trip destinations in North Wales. The beautiful coast and sandy beaches are great to explore during summer. There are also some great campsites on the island such as Brynteg Glamping.
When exploring North Wales make sure to visit Holy Island. It has a beautiful lighthouse set on dramatic cliffs with views of the Irish Sea. Just keep in mind to always have the British currency with you which is GBP as you might struggle to find cash machines in some parts of Wales.
Contributed by Paulina from UK Everyday
7. Puglia, Italy
Known as the heel of Italy, Puglia is a fabulous road trip destination. The region has many interesting places to visit, but if you only have a week to spare, your Puglia road trip itinerary should be restricted to a smaller part of the region.
Your starting point should be Bari, the capital of the region. Pick up your car at the international airport and drive to the city, where you can spend a day browsing the main landmarks of the lovely Bari Vecchia. If you get hungry, grub a focaccia barese, a mouthwatering focaccia style bread with lots of tomatoes, oregano and olive oil.
Make your way to Matera, known as the city of the Sassi. While it is actually located in neighboring Basilicata, it’s easy enough to reach from Bari (little over one hour drive) and a great addition to the itinerary. You won’t be able to drive to the old city, so park your car in the Via Saragat parking lot for all the time you intend to spend in Matera. A good place to stay there is the Dimora di Metello, a beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of the Sassi.
From Matera you can drive to Alberobello, the famous Trulli town, in less than an hour. This is a pleasant place to explore, albeit it can be very touristy. Rather than basing yourself there to explore the rest of the Valle d’Itria, head to the nearby Locorotondo, a much lower key town where you will find lots of countryside trulli perfect for a short stay.
Places you can easily explore from Locorotondo include nearby Cisternino and Martina Franca and further away (but still easy to reach) Ostuni, known as the white city, Monopoli and Polignano a Mare, famous for its scenic Lama Monachile cove completely surrounded by high cliffs and white buildings. If you fancy a longer drive, go to Lecce, known as the Florence of the South for the many beautiful Renaissance style buildings.
Contributed by Claudia from My Adventures Across the World
8. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
From Maiden Head (County Donegal) to Mizen Head (County Cork), the most northerly to the most southerly points of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way spans the entire west coast of the island of Ireland (2,500km). As a road trip this route can be taken on either way – or in sections – travelling north along the coast or travelling south with waymarked signs pointing in each direction.
A handy midpoint as well would be the city of Galway which is also one of the highlights of the road trip route. However much of the focus is otherwise on the coastal scenery with some of the more dramatic standalone attractions including the Cliffs of Moher (County Clare) and the Slieve League (County Donegal). Many of Ireland’s iconic attractions also lie along this coastline, including Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry, which is likely the most scenic section of the route and a circular road trip in itself.
In parts, people will speak Irish, but English is pretty much spoken by everyone on the island, and the local currency is Euros. However, for those starting out from Northern Ireland, which gives a handy vantage point for travel south through Donegal, the local currency will be British Pounds (GBP). Otherwise there are few differences between the 2-countries.
Contributed by Allan from Bangorni
9. Golden Coast, Spain
Andalucía is one of the most beautiful regions of Spain and it is best explored on a road trip. To cover most of the main cities in the region, it is recommended to spend around two weeks on the road. However, one week it’s enough to see the major sites as well.
An ideal route will start in Malaga, which has one of the most popular airports in the county. From there, follow the high-speed motorways to reach Granada, Cordoba, and Sevilla.
If you have more time, include Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, and Tarifa to your itinerary as well. If you want to experience a spectacular, unique scenery, make sure to stop to see the cave houses in Guadix as well, which is located half an hour away from Granada.
As these cities are quite popular among tourists, you won’t have any issues finding people who speak English. In Spain, you will use euro to pay for everything. It is recommended to spend the nights in hotels, as in Spain you can get some really good deals on four- and five-stars hotels. Keep in mind though that most hotels in Spain do charge separate for parking.
Contributed by Johanna from Andalucia in My Pocket
10. The Julian Alps, Slovenia
Located in the Balkans region in central Europe, Slovenia is a small and often overlooked country. Despite its compact size, it is packed with incredibly beautiful places to explore – from dramatic mountains, glacial lakes and waterfalls to medieval castles and historical towns.
The best way to get to know this fantastic country is to take a Slovenia road trip. The roads are in excellent condition, which makes it quick, safe and easy to get around by car. The official language is Slovenian but most people speak at least a little bit of English and also Italian in the regions bordering Italy. The currency used is the euro.
One of the most beautiful areas to explore on a road trip in Slovenia is the mountainous northwestern corner of the country. Here you’ll find the picturesque lakes of Bled and Bohinj, the majestic mountains of the Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park, where you can go whitewater rafting, hiking and mountain biking.
Whether you prefer to camp, stay in a rustic alpine-style lodge or a modern hotel, there’s a variety of great accommodation options to choose from in the area.
Contributed by Marjut from The Smooth Escape
11. The South of France
The South of France is arguably the most beautiful and varied area of the country, and nowhere is this more true than in Provence. With sun-kissed shorelines, charming hilltop villages, and bustling market towns, it’s the ideal palace to sample the joie de vivre France is so famous for. Road tripping in Provence allows you to experience the best of the region, including many stops for sampling the fruits of the earth along the way.
Start in Avignon and wind your way through the impossibly beautiful landscapes of the Luberon Valley. Preferably, you’d have a few days up your sleeve here to explore the markets, vineyards, walking trails, and villages.
Then, drive further East towards the Valensole Plateau that’s awash with fragrant flowers come lavender season in Provence. Take a paddle up the Verdon Gorge, and a dip in Lac de Sainte-Croix before looping back to Aix-en-Provence to take in the famous galleries and museums.
Drive to Cassis for your final stop and where you can spend days enjoying the small fishing village and surroundings. French is the national language, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas, and you’ll need some euros to pick up your daily baguette. Choose to stay in hotels, or boutique B&B’s along the way.
Contributed by Nadine from Le Long Weekend
12. Italy’s Northern Lakes
A road trip across northern Italy takes in some of the most striking landscapes and most famous cities in Italy. Starting in the west in the glorious city of Venice, you can delight in all the floating city has to offer. Only 1.5 hours away, Verona makes a great second stop on your north Italy road trip.
After getting your fill of cities, head towards the lakes. Lake Garda, Como and Maggiore are the three major lakes, with Lake Idro, Iseo, and Orta being the smaller, less touristy options.
Dynamic landscapes dominate this area, with views of the Alps, winding lakeside roads and tranquil vistas. Alongside historic castles, royal gardens, luxurious lake islands and amazing food – northern Italy makes for a beautiful road trip destination.
Highlights are Sirmione Castle on Lake Garda. The views from Bellagio over Lake Como. And the peaceful grandeur of Verbania Pallanza and the Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore. If you have time, add a stop in the Dolomites National Park (after Venice, before visiting the lakes). This spectacular mountain range will remind you of the Canadian Rockies or Tetons.
Lodging throughout this area in Italy is a mix of luxury lakeside hotels, and cute locally run inns and B&Bs. Italy uses Euros (€) as the currency, and Italian is the language spoken. However, many service and hotel staff speak a little English. Greet people with a cheerful ‘Buongiourno’.
Contributed by Hannah from HH Lifestyle Travel
13. Ancient East – Ireland
If you are visiting Ireland, why not forgo the Wild Atlantic Way or Ring of Kerry and take a road trip through Ireland’s Ancient East. This region of Ireland covers some of the most historically important sites in Ireland and can easily be explored during 7-day itinerary for Ireland.
This eastern tourist route on the Emerald Isle spans 17 counties and travels from Waterford and parts of Cork in the south to Monaghan in the north, and from Dublin on the east coast to parts of Offaly in the Midlands.
Sites found within this region include the Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle, Glendalough and its famous Round Tower and monastic site, and the Brú na Bóinne Valley with Newgrange, a Neolithic passage tomb that is older than Stonehenge or the Pyramids of Giza. Clonmacnoise with its Celtic crosses and the first Viking city of Ireland, Waterford are also to be found within Ireland’s Ancient East.
The route also passes through one of Ireland’s National Parks, the Wicklow Mountains National Park which is a great place to hike and enjoy nature including mountains, lakes and waterfalls.
Ireland uses the Euro, speaks English and accommodation is widely available in the form of hotels, guesthouses and B&B’s.
Contributed by Cath from Travel Around Ireland
14. The Alps of Austria
Austria is perfect for road trips, a large part of the country is covered by the Alps. With these snow covered mountains and rolling hills beautiful views are a guarantee on any road trip in the country. Besides these views there’s also plenty to see and do in Austria. Be it beautiful nature, museums, quaint villages or attractions.
It’s not a super large country, so in a week in Austria one can see different areas. Outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking and mountain biking are easily available and are perfect to interrupt a road trip.
A perfect route – and one of the best road trips in the world – would be starting at Breitenwang, then Innsbruck, Zell am See and ending at Obervellach. There are plenty of things to do on this route. Not to be missed is the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse. This is a panoramic toll road with the highest view and the highest mountain of Austria. The road offers stunning views all the way.
The route is best driven with staying at campgrounds. They are right in nature, surrounded by gorgeous mountains.
In Austria the Euro is the currency and they speak German. However, in many places English is commonly spoken.
Contributed by Cosette from Kars Travel
15. The Ring Road, Iceland
In the last few years, most people have shifted their way of traveling, so knowing where the best road trips in the world are is a must these days. However, Iceland was always a beautiful destination – perfect for a 7 to 10-day road trip throughout the island.
It’s like the country itself was made for road trips. There’s only one main road that takes you all around the country, you can see more than you could have ever imagined just by while driving around, and there are plenty of campgrounds everywhere (which makes it a great camping destination as well).
The used currency in the country is the Icelandic Krona (ISK), but you won’t need to worry about cash as everything can be paid by card here. The national language is Icelandic (fun fact: this language remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, so they can actually understand very old texts with ease) but almost everyone speaks English very well.
What’s the best thing to do while driving the Ring Road in Iceland? You must do the Silfra snorkeling or diving experience. It’s the only place in the world where you can do this and it’s definitely worth getting out of your comfort zone for this.
Contributed by Cristina from Honest Travel Stories
16. Tuscia, Italy
Not many people outside of Italy have heard about the region of Tuscia. This hidden gem spans across northern Lazio, southern Tuscany and southern Umbria and is one of the best road trips in the world. Its capital is Viterbo, a beautiful mid-size city about 1 hour and thirty minutes drive from Rome, the Italian Capital.
Pick your car directly in Rome Fiumicino Airport and make your way north, driving past Civitavecchia and to Tarquinia. This small town along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea is famous for being the home of a well kept Etruscan Necropolis and a well curated archeology museum.
From Tarquinia, you can easily reach Bagnaia, a small medieval village that is actually part of the Viterbo municipality. It’s main highlight is Villa Lante, a 17th century villa surrounded by a beautifully kept Italian style garden complete with intricate fountains.
Viterbo is a pleasant place to explore, a million miles away from the crowds of Rome. The most scenic part of the city is the historic Quartiere San Pellegrino, where you will find the Papal Palace, home to the first ever conclave in history, and the adjacent Duomo. The city is a good base to visit the rest of the region.
Places you should make sure to visit include Civita di Bagnoregio, known as the “city that dies” (though it is very much alive!); the nearby Orvieto, which is actually in Umbria; Vitorchiano, a small medieval village of narrow cobbled alleys and stunning views throughout; Soriano nel Cimino, home a the UNESCO protected beech forest; and the world famous Bomarzo Monster Park, a large garden scattered with unique monster-like statues.
In Viterbo, stay at Hotel Palazzo Verdi, right by Viterbo main theater. It’s a small hotel with clean, modern and comfortable rooms that is in the center of town but easy to access and with plenty of on-site parking.
Contributed by Claudia from My Adventures Across the World
17. The French Riviera
This French Riviera road trip from Cannes to Nice takes one week, and it explores the most beautiful cities in the Côte d’Azur. French is the language in France, Euro the currency, and seaside hotels the place to rest your head at the end of the day.
However, you should not have problems with English in the French Riviera. If possible, visit this area out of the summer months to avoid the biggest crowds and highest temperatures.
The road trip starts in Cannes, where you will spend two days. Cannes is famous for its Film Festival and sandy beaches. Don’t miss Le Souquet, Cannes’ oldest neighborhood, the port, and a stroll through the iconic La Croisette promenade.
The next stop is Antibes, where you can visit the Old Town and the Picasso Museum. Alternatively, you can hike the Cap d’Antibes and spend the rest of the day on the beach.
The last two days are spent in Nice, famous for its Old Port, Baroque architecture, and many fascinating museums. Don’t miss the iconic Promenade des Anglais, or the stunning view of the Baie des Anges from Castle Hill. From Nice, you can visit other places on a day trip: Éze, Monte Carlo or Menton.
Contributed by Elisa at Travel France Bucketlist
18. The North Coast 500 – Scotland
The North Coast 500 is an epic route around the very tip of northern Scotland and one of the best road trips in the world. The currency is pounds (GBP) and the language spoken is English. It starts in Inverness, where you can go clockwise or counter-clockwise – I recommend going counter-clockwise, to save the spectacular scenery on the west coast for the end of the trip.
Some of the most popular stops along the North Coast 500 are Duncansby Stacks near John O’Groats, Dunnet Head (the most northerly point of mainland Britain), Durness, Sandwood Bay, Stoer, the gorgeous mountainous landscapes of Assynt, and the Applecross peninsula.
You’ll find some of the best beaches from Scotland along this route, and amazing hiking opportunities for both low-level walks or mountain hikes. There are lots of accommodation options along the route, although as the region is quite remote these do get booked up far in advance.
Camping is a good option, with plenty of campsites available and spaced out throughout the route – some require advance reservations. The North Coast 500 is a remote part of Scotland, but certainly worth the drive!
Contributed by Maha from Away With Maja
19. Christchurch to Queenstown, New Zealand
A road trip from Christchurch to Queenstown, east to west across New Zealand’s South Island, takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in the world including stops at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Tekapo, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and the Gibston Valley wine region before finishing on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
The trip is best split into three days with overnight stops at Mt Cook Village and in Wanaka. Both places have camping and hotel options, for those looking to splurge the views at The Hermitage Hotel in Mt Cook are unsurpassable.
Both Christchurch and Queenstown have international airports to fly into and out of. Queenstown, the end point of the road trip is New Zealand’s adventure capital and a great place to spend a few days taking in the incredible scenery, ski slopes and Queenstown’s incredible food.
The currency here – on one of the best road trips in the world – is the New Zealand Dollar and the language is English.
Contributed by Kate from Kate Abroad
20. North Island, New Zealand
The variety of incredible scenery, adrenaline-filled adventures and world-class food and wine make the North Island of New Zealand one of the best places in the world for a road trip.
From arriving in Auckland (the waterfront city of sails), catch ferries to islands in the Hauraki Gulf, discover the deserted bays in winterless Northland, beach hop through the Coromandel, marvel at geothermal wonders in Rotorua, climb through volcanic giants in Tongariro, cycle from winery to winery in the Hawkes Bay, and eat and drink your way around the Wairarapa and Wellington.
With no set route, pick and choose the destinations and accommodations to suit your budget and timeframe, but a two week itinerary is recommended and be sure to explore the incredible Cathedral Cove beach in the Coromandel. So pack up the campervan or rental car, load some NZ Dollars on your travel card, brush up on your kiwi lingo and hit the road – the left hand side, that is!
Contributed by Laura from Laura the Explorer
21. Queensland Coast, Australia
One of the best road trips in the world and Australia is along the Queensland Coast between Brisbane and Cairns. This drive is over 2000 km or 1242 miles, of relaxing beaches, exotic Islands, national parks, wildlife interactions, and hiking opportunities. English is spoken everywhere, the currency is the Australian Dollar (AUD), and credit card options are everywhere.
This journey can be taken in either direction, as Brisbane and Cairns are both international gateway cities. The best way to experience it would be driving yourself, and many will use caravan or camping options to reduce costs. Alternatively, there are plenty of hostels, motels, and luxury accommodations at almost all the popular stops.
Some of the highlighted beaches would be Noosa and Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, Agnes Water, or Elliot Heads. Venturing off the coast for beaches and underwater activities at places like the famous Whitsundays, Lady Elliot, or Magnetic Island.
Additionally, there are stunning hikes through State & National Parks to waterhole swimming locations like Finch Hatton Gorge. Furthermore, visiting one of the most photographed waterfalls in Australia, Millaa Millaa Falls.
This road trip is your beachside coastal adventure and one you won’t forget.
Contributed by Chris from Aquarius Traveler
22. Mae Hong Song Loop, Thailand
The north of Thailand, also known as Lanna, is a mountainous region that borders 3-countries; Myanmar, Laos, and Yunnan China. It is also an ethnically diverse region with unique hill tribes and cultures originating from as far as the Himalayas. This makes it one of the most fascinating road trips to take on, and the Mae Hong Son Loop is the perfect introduction to the region.
Starting from the Thai cultural capital of Chiang Mai (as most do) the loop shares some of the most fascinating mountain scenery, through roller coaster roads, in the scenic province of Mae Hong Song. Famous stops along the way include Pai, famous for the old hippy trails, and Doi Inthanon, which is Thailand’s tallest mountain.
Expect cooler climates (even as low as 0’c at times) than what you would expect in Thailand. The entire route is not far – approximately 375 miles – but it’s recommended to spend at least one night at Pai and then Mae Hong Son which would be the main tourist stops in the area.
At the same time, this region is famous for hill tribe homestays, and these always make for a more interesting cultural experience in these scenic parts of Thailand.
Locally people will speak Thai with at least some basic English for interactions but many will also speak English fairly fluently these days so there’s rarely trouble communicating when in Thailand. It is unlikely dollars will be accepted however and Thai baht is best to have on hand.
Contributed by Allan from Live Less Ordinary
23. The Karakoram Highway, China
The Karakoram Highway, also called the world’s eighth wonder, is an epic road trip.
The Chinese section of the highway is the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway, which goes from Kashgar to Tashkurgan.
Driving along this section rewards travelers with some of the most incredible scenery imaginable. Majestic snowcapped peaks, Alpine lakes, white sand dunes, camels on the road, and grasslands dotted with yurts are some highlights to look forward to.
Foreigners are not allowed to overnight anywhere between these cities. If not crossing into Pakistan, put aside at least two days for the return journey. Plan to spend a few hours at Lake Karakul, sitting at the base of the Muztagh Ata Mountain (7546m). Here you can hike along the lakeshore or go horseback riding with the local Tajik nomads.
Spend the night in a hotel or yurt in Tashkurgan before returning to Kashgar the next day. Or spend an extra day for exceptional hiking and exploring the mountains and grasslands of the Pamir Plateau.
The currency is the Chinese Yuan (RMB) in China. While Ughuyr is most commonly spoken here, most people also speak Mandarin Chinese. English is not widely spoken or understood in this neck of the woods.
Contributed by De Wet from Museum of Wander
24. Sahara Desert, Morocco
There are multiple reasons why Morocco is one of the best destinations for a road trip. The country isn’t well connected by public transport, and the best way to experience this destination and get to know more about the locals is via a road trip.
There are multiple paths one can take around the country. As the best way to get to Morocco is via a flight to the international airport of Marrakech, most of the Morocco road trip routes start and end here.
Some locations that can be covered are Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, and Rabat in the north and Essaouira, Agadir and Merzouga in the South.
Since the Sahara desert is located in Morocco, the Eastern route that covers Ouarzazate and Merzouga is quite popular. You can do quite a few things on the road trip, such as hunt for fossils as you get closer to Merzouga and pass through Dades Valley, which is breathtaking. Once in Merzouga, you can camp in the desert and even indulge in activities such as sandboarding and ATV rides on the dunes.
At most other places, hotels are available at budget-friendly prices. The currency in the country is Moroccan Dirhams and the language spoken is Arabic. However, most people do converse in English, too; hence it is easy to get to know the locals when traveling.
Contributed by Lavinia from Continent Hop
25. Namibia, Africa
Namibia is a beautiful country in the south of the African continent bordering South Africa, Botswana, and Angola. It’s a great destination for an adventurous road trip. This vast country boasts an impressive landscape and diverse wildlife. There are many incredible places to visit on a Namibia road trip.
From the dry Namib Desert in the south to Etosha National Park and the wetlands of Caprivi in the north. One can spend several weeks driving across the country. Must-include places in your Namibia trip itinerary are Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world, red-sand dunes and salt pans of the Sossusvlei Desert, the beautiful town of Swakopmund, Seal Colony on the Skeleton Coast, and Etosha National Park.
Road tripping in Namibia one can see a great variety of animals from the famous African Big 5 – buffalo, rhino, elephant, lion, and leopard – to crocodiles, hippos, seals, whales, and hundreds of other animals and birds.
Camping is very popular in Namibia; it’s the most budget-friendly accommodation option in the country. All National Parks have well-maintained campsites with good facilities. Private campsites can be found everywhere in the country even in very isolated places in the middle of the desert. Most people rent a 4×4 car with a roof-top tent for traveling in Namibia.
The English language is widely spoken in Namibia. The local currency is Namibia Dollar (NAD). 1 USD is equal to 15 NAD.
Contributed by Alya from Stingy Nomads
26. The Garden Route, South Africa
If you are looking for an epic road trip that includes everything from scenic roads, beautiful beaches, wild elephants, indigenous forests, cute towns, stunning nature reserves and much more, South Africa’s Garden Route is the way to go and one of the best road trips around the world!
Officially, the Garden Route is a 300 km route between Mossel Bay and Storms River – though most people also include Cape Town – which is about 300 km from Mossel Bay. English is one of the eleven official languages of South Africa and is widely spoken along the Garden Route.
The must-stops, apart from Mossel Bay and Storms River, include Wilderness, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley. There are many beautiful nature reserves around the mentioned stops. For adventure seekers, a visit to the world’s highest bridge bungee at the Bloukrans Bridge is highly recommended. And nature-lovers should head to Robberg Nature Reserve near Plettenberg Bay.
Though it is definitely possible to camp along the Garden Route, most people opt for hotels or self-catering options. Which you will pay for in South African Rand, the official currency of South Africa. Also, don’t forget to pick up some traditional gifts when you visit.
Contributed by Lara from The Best Travel Gift
27. Marrakech to Essaouira – Morocco
From the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains, to the sweeping Sahara Desert, and the bustling medinas of Marrakech, the diverse landscapes across the relatively small North African country of Morocco, combined with its colorful culture and history, make for a fascinating road trip.
For a comfortable three week road trip, begin at Marrakech (where you can hire a car from the airport) and drive north to the blue city of Chefchaouen, via the colourful capital of Rabat. From Chefchaouen drive to the archaeological site of Volubilis, and then on to the Sahara for a night of desert camping, camel riding and/or sandboarding. Then head back to Marrakech via Aït Benhaddou (used in many Hollywood films) and the Atlas Mountains.
After all that driving you will have covered over 2000km. Head to the beautifully relaxed coastal town of Essaouira, perched over the Atlantic. This is the place to wind down and relax, so splash out and check into one of the best hotels in Essaouira.
The roads in Morocco are well maintained and the tolled motorways are excellent, although do be wary of local drivers drifting between lanes and cutting corners on bends. In the bigger cities, there are guarded car parks to leave your vehicle.
Contributed by Jenny from Explore Essaouria
28. Sub Sahara Road – Africa
Overlanding Africa is perhaps the ultimate road trip and one of the best road trips in the world. Days spent navigating dusty roads through little mud hut villages, spotting game on the great open plains, exploring epic landscapes, and that unrivalled feeling of adventure.
This is not for the faint hearted though as you will need to be comfortable driving a 4WD and ideally sleeping in roof tents (as lodge accommodation is only found in the main tourist areas), and be ready to deal with corrupt officials, and change route in the case of impassable roads.
But all this pales into insignificance with nights camping under the African stars, the incredible wildlife experiences, and the warm welcome from the local communities you encounter.
A classic loop is from South Africa (starting in Johannesburg), through to Mozambique, Malawi, up to Tanzania, and back down through Zambia and Namibia, returning to South Africa. A total of 15000 kilometres and 5 border crossings.
Check through your driving leg the night before you set off and always have a plan B in case you can’t reach your destination before sunset. Supermarkets are few and far between, so stock up when you get the opportunity. Same goes for fuel.
Make sure your have all the necessary vaccinations and take anti-malarial medications. It’s also a good idea to have as many visas as possible sorted before arrival at border crossings. For safety, only stay at fenced and secure campsites.
Contributed by Lynn from Travelynn Family
29. Coastal Road Trip – Oman
Boasting new highways and affordable fuel, Oman is one of the best countries in the Middle East – and the world – for a road trip.
Some of the best places to visit in Oman are outside the major cities and off the highway. Having your own vehicle to explore the landscape is vital and will allow you to explore the best of the country, from magical desert wadis to the sparkling coast and the high Al Hajar mountains.
Oman is located on the Arabian Peninsula. Compared to some of its neighbours, especially the UAE to the west, Oman has done a wonderful job of protecting its culture and heritage in an authentic way. The country is very safe and English is widely spoken. The national currency is the Omani rial.
Muscat, Oman’s capital, is a modest city that still has its old souq marketplaces and corniche. It’s the perfect place to start a road trip, with a number of rental car agents represented at the city’s international airport.
The perfect road trip route starts by going down the coast to the fishing village of Sur, stopping at the gorgeous Wadi Shab and Bimmah Sinkhole along the way. Further down the coast, Ras Al Jinz is home to one of the world’s most important turtle nesting grounds, where green turtles can be seen almost year-round on special night tours.
Arcing inland towards Oman’s Sharqiya Sands desert, the landscape changes to one of wide open sandy plains and rocky peaks. The Al Hajar mountains offer breathtaking scenery, hiking opportunities, and beautiful mud villages and fortresses to explore.
There are a range of accommodation options for any budget, including hotels, guesthouses and Airbnbs. Wild camping is legal in Oman so for a real adventure, bring your own tent!
Contributed by Emily from Wander Lush
30. Pacific Coast Highway, Costa Rica
One of the best road trips in the world and in Costa Rica is along the Pacific Coast from Uvita south to Corcovado National Park.
In Uvita, it is possible to walk out on a jutted out piece of beach during low tide to experience a phenomenon in which the land resembles a large whale’s tail. Uvita is also a great place to see humpback whale migration with a whale watching tour.
From Uvita, the main road heads south along the coast. Playa Arco and Playa Ventanas are two nice beaches to stop at along the way. Eventually, the road heads inland to the town of Palma Norte. In Palma Norte it is possible to either continue south on the main road to Chacarita and then south east to the town of Puerto Jimenez.
The other option is to take a short drive from Palma Norte to Sierpe. From here, cars are parked in a guarded lot and visitors can take a boat to Drake Bay. Both Drake Bay and Puerto Jimenez are great jumping off points for exploring Corcovado National Park on a guided day, two day, or three day hike.
Corcovado is an impressive national park that spans 164 square miles. The park contains 3% of the world’s biodiversity and is filled with wildlife including the occasional jaguar sighting.
It is important to note that the main language in Costa Rica is Spanish, but most people in tourism speak some English. The main currency is Costa Rican colones, but US dollars are also widely accepted.
By law, all gas stations in Costa Rica are full service. This means that customers must stay in their car while an attendant fills the gas tank. Also, most gas stations have public restrooms. Usually these are accessible from outside the gas station building.
Contributed by Sarah from Costa Rica Vibes
31. Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Pretty much anywhere in Mexico would would make a perfect road trip but my most recent favorite trip took me across Yucatán, Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas and back again.
Drive from Mérida to Campeche (2hr30) where you should absolutely spend a day or two checking out the fabulous museums and the fort before heading down to Isla Aguada (2hr along a very interesting road once you hit the coast). Isla Aguada is a tiny fishing village from where you can take a tour to see the dolphins that frolic in the bay.
After leaving, drive to Tapijulapa in Tabasco (5hr30) and spend a few days soaking up the atmosphere in this tiny and very beautiful pueblo magico. It’s a fairly short drive from here to Palenque in Chiapas (2hr30).
Palenque, of course, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Mexico. From Palenque, drive back into the state of Chiapas for another night either at the beach or in Campeche city (4hr30). It’s a short drive back to Mérida, perhaps taking in Uxmal and the Ruta Puuc on the way.
Tip: In Yucatán and Campeche the roads are generally very good. There are toll roads and gas stations. In Tabasco and Chiapas the roads are not always of such high quality. Currency is Mexican Pesos (MXN) and Spanish is the primary language in Mexico, however, in Chiapas, many people speak Mayan.
Contributed by Cassie from Mexico Cassie Goes International
32. Route 66
Another one of the best road tips in the world is Route 66 – an iconic North American road trip that takes travelers on a journey through the heart of the United States all the way from Chicago to Santa Monica.
Along the route, you’ll see a diverse range of landscapes and experience the vibrant cultures and traditions of the communities. You’ll pass through classic small towns, vibrant cities, and breathtaking natural wonders, all while enjoying the nostalgia of the “Mother Road.”
Some must-see stops include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun adventure, driving Route 66 is an unforgettable experience.
Route 66 is super easy to drive because there are plenty of opportunities to stop for food, gas, and other necessities. The route is clearly marked, and there are many guidebooks and resources available to help plan your journey.
Lastly, the road’s popularity as a tourist destination means that many businesses cater to travelers, making it easy to find accommodations, restaurants and other services along the way. Overall, these factors make Route 66 a fun and accessible road trip for drivers of all experience levels.
Best Road Trips in the World Round-Up
This list of 32 best road trips in the world is a true labor of love by people that you can tell really adore road tripping. So, what did we miss? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Please leave me comment and tell me where in the world is the best road trip.
See you on the road!