If you’re feeling like life is sort of stagnant, I promise a road trip is a great way to pull yourself out of a slump. These days we tend to book flights and get to our destination as quick as possible but what if, for once, you let the journey be the highlight of a trip? With the way we typically travel, we’ve removed the adventure out of the journey and made the destination our primary focus. When you take a road trip, you are committing to adventure and whatever that may bring. It’s time to be spontaneous and see what rolls your way.
Road trips are one of those romanticized ideas that everyone seems to want to experience at least once in their life. Of course there are both good and bad things that might occur but you’re going to have those aspects no matter how you travel. That’s just part of the fun when it comes to travel. But have you ever wondered about the countless places you fly over when you’re up in the air? A road trip takes the unknown out and places you face to face with these unique destinations. If you’re craving something new, want to experience breathlessness from wonder, and desire true adventure then I highly recommend planning a road trip for your next holiday. Travel slowly. When you do you’ll experience the true size and magnificence of our planet Earth…and you might even learn a little about yourself.
To help inspire your road trip wanderlust, I’ve asked some of my fellow travel writers to recommend the most beautiful road trip routes they’ve experiences. These are sure to get your travel juices flowing!
The Most Beautiful Road Trip Routes:
Iceland’s Ring Road
Claire, of Past the Potholes, invites your to drive around Iceland!
A road trip around Iceland’s ring road is an experience unlike any other. Before you even leave the city of Reykjavik you can already see glacier-topped mountains in the distance. As you drive, the scenery changes from farmland to rough volcanic landscapes to frozen mountains. The road follows fjords on a cliff’s edge and carves insanely long tunnels through the middle of mountains. You will be greeted with countless waterfalls, stunning vistas and generally awe-inspiring sights. Among our favorite spots were Skaftafell National Park and Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon along the south coast. This area deserves a full day. So many of Iceland’s incredible natural attractions are right off, or very close to, the main highway that loops the island making this the perfect road trip.
We chose to drive Route 1 anti-clockwise but it can be done in either direction and is paved and well-signposted. It took us 10 days to complete the ring road although we spent an extra day in Snæfellsnes Peninsula and one day in Reykjanes Peninsula. You really need at least a week to do this incredible road trip justice.
Check out Past the Potholes’ 10 day Iceland itinerary!
Algarve, Portugal Road Trip
Nina, of Where in the World is Nina, wants you to get lost in the Algarve!
I’m going to be upfront and tell you this road trip is VERY short. Like, the entire distance can be covered in under two hours! I know, it’s crazy, why even bother calling this a road trip? Because having your own vehicle is essentially the only way to get around and actually see most of the wonderful things in the Algarve. And having a few days, or even a week, is a perfect amount of time to see it all (although, I guarantee you’ll want to go back). Make your way down from Lisbon or fly straight to Faro and move west, the incredible views start immediately. The Algarve coast has been carefully chipped away by the persistent seas that surround it creating orange-dusted and craggy cliff faces for the entire southern coast which creates an absolutely stunning scene! Ride down to the famous Praia da Marinha, boat to Benagil Cave, surf until your body feels like jello, and hike along almost anywhere on the coastline (Seven Hanging Valleys, and the trails around Ponte de Piedade are two of the best trails). The absolute best things to do are beach bum, surf and hike in the Algarve. Mix it up, stop in a random quaint town and sleep for the night, get up, and repeat.
Want to have your own adventure in the Algarve? Check out the 3-7 day Algarve itinerary here!
Cornwall Road Trip
Danielle, of Live in 10 Countries, wants you to have a merry drive through Cornwall!
NC500- The Scottish Highlands
Mags, of Family Freestylers, wants you to get remote in Scotland!
The NC500, the newly marketed 516 mile coastal route of the North Coast Highlands of Scotland has fast become labelled one of the most beautiful road trips in the world. Of course this old coastal road has been luring visitors for centuries to it’s empty golden beaches and wild dramatic landscapes. But now the secret is out! The Highlands are one of the last bastion of wilderness in the Europe and the spectacular natural beauty of this remote coastline is startling as bend after bend reveals yet another magnificent vista. This land of myth and legend will not disappoint. Visit one of the many whisky distilleries, walk to ruined castles perched next to romantic lochs (our favorite is Ardvreck Castle) and drive past beach after glorious beach – stretches of golden sand with no-one, but the odd dog walker on them. Don’t miss the Golden Eagle zip line across Ceannabeine Beach (nr Durness), a drive up to John O Groats the most northerly point in Scotland & consider taking a detour over the bridge to the famous Isle of Skye. Be sure to take at least 7 days to appreciate the magnificent beauty the Scottish Highlands hold. We guarantee they will steal your heart. We would recommend as many days as you can afford to discover this coastline. Slow travel is definitely your friend here.
Tip: Hire a campervan from Inverness to drive the route. There are plenty of campsites and places to wild camp along the NC500 (book your accommodation early). Hire a VW camper (rather than a large motorhome) to navigate the route more easily – most of the road is single track with regular passing places, which require a lot reversing (next to grassy verges) to deal with oncoming traffic.
Ring of Kerry
Rhonda, of Travel? Yes Please! says head to Ireland.
Ireland has so many options for scenic drives but one road trip that stands out is the Ring of Kerry. The route is popular with coach tours that complete the 179 km loop in one day, but self-driving it gives you more time and freedom to savour all the sights along the way. The Ring of Kerry starts and ends in Killarney, in southwest Ireland, and showcases some of the island’s most beautiful scenery. The drive begins on a high note by passing through the gorgeous Killarney National Park, climbing up to Moll’s Gap, then descending to the colourful town of Kenmare. The route then meanders along a rocky coastline passing by small beaches, green fields, and distant islands. A detour onto the Skellig Ring is especially memorable thanks to the dramatic cliffs, ancient stone forts, and picturesque ruined castle. After exploring the Ring of Kerry, it was easy to see why it’s such a popular drive. If you love wild scenery, historic sites, and vibrant small towns, then this road trip is for you!
Learn more about driving the Ring of Kerry!
Rocky Mountains Road Trip
Ketki, of Dotted Globe, recommends the majestic Rockies!
A winter road trip in Rocky Mountain National Park is the best way to experience the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies, winter wildlife, frozen lakes, and stunning scenery. We recommend starting your trip by renting a car in Denver and traveling to Estes Park. Estes Park is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and perfect for your first stop. From Estes Park, you can take in the scenic drives inside Rocky Mountain National Park including Old Fall River Road, Trail Ridge Road, and Bear Lake Road. Attractions along these drives include snowshoeing trails, skiing, and sledding. At the end of Bear Lake Road, you can walk on frozen Bear Lake and see the peaks of Continental Divide. You will also see wildlife including elks, deer, and moose. For the perfect end to your road trip, drive up to Winter Park along Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. The views along this route are spectacular and glistening mountain lakes line the road. For lunch stop at Nederland, a scenic mountain town with a mining history. At the end of your drive lies Winter Park, one of Colorado’s most popular ski resorts. Have fun whooshing down the slopes or sit in a dog sled while you enjoy the mountain views.
Dutch Road Trip
Manon, of Visiting the Dutch Countryside, wants you to well…visit the Dutch countryside.
Road Trip in French Polynesia
Priya, of Outside Suburbia, takes to paradise.
The heart shaped island of Moorea was our last stop in the French Polynesia. With its verdant mountains, turquoise waters and friendly Polynesian people it rivals Tahiti and Bora Bora. The island is a true reflection of the laid-back Tahitian lifestyle. The island actually looks like a heart from above and is a popular honeymoon destination for couples. Called ‘Yellow lizard’ island, Moorea is only 50 miles or 70 kilometers along a single main road. You don’t need directions or maps to drive around the island, it is difficult to get lost here. We did a circle tour of the island in 6 hours with a lot of stops along the way. We started from our resort at Hilton Moorea and stopped at a couple of beaches along the way, saw boating bobbing in the water, had lunch at the Intercontinental Resort and visited a Polynesian village and make it back for sunset back at the resort. It was one of the shortest road trips that we have been on, we have been on a few around the world… but the little road trip remains a memorable one.
Check out their awesome photos from the Moorea road trip to get inspired!
Ladakh, India Road Trip
Sany & Vyjay, of Voyage Travel Blog, invites you to India.
The region of Ladakh in India with its surreal and ever-changing landscapes is a veritable haven for road trippers. A place where every bend in the road promises something magical. One of our favorite road trips here has been the one from Leh to the famous Pangong Lake. The trip covers a distance of about 220 kilometers and takes you through some of the highest motorable points in the world. As you wind up, up, and up, looking down at the valley which in most cases is a sheer drop on one side of the road, your adrenaline is guaranteed to pump at high speeds. As you ascend Himalayan heights and oxygen levels dip your excitement levels peak. You soon reach the Chang La Pass, at a height of about 17,688 feet, the second highest motorable pass in the world. From here the drive is downhill across the most fairytale landscapes till you arrive at your destination. As we stood in front of the shimmering turquoise waters of the Pangong Lake we seemed to have walked straight into a painting. No words or pictures can express the beauty of the lake, one has to feel and experience it.
New England Road Trip
Amy, of Two Drifters, takes to the North East of the USA.
The New England region is compact enough that you can see all six of its glorious states on one road trip. While you won’t be able to stop everywhere on the route, you’ll get a terrific introduction and summary of the region’s best cities and sites. On this New England road trip, you’ll begin and end in Boston, spending some time exploring nearby destinations such as Newport, Rhode Island and Cape Cod. From the coast, you’ll travel slightly south to pass Connecticut’s prominent regions, including the lush Litchfield Hills in Western CT. Next, it’s nearly a straight shot north through the artsy Berkshires of Massachusetts and all the way up Route 7 to hip, brewery-filled Burlington, Vermont. Across rural Vermont and through New Hampshire is next, passing the imposing White Mountains and making a lengthy, but worthwhile detour up to Acadia National Park in Maine.
This road trip is ideal for any time of year, but summer and fall are the standout seasons in New England, when you are sure to experience beautiful weather and spectacular scenery.
Lapland Road Trip
Sara, of Our Kind of Crazy, wants you to see the stars up north.
A road trip in Lapland Finland is a dream, especially in the winter. If you’re looking for a winter wonderland trip, this one is for you. Fly into Rovaniemi, and enjoy Santa Claus’s hometown. It’s a Christmas themed city all year around, complete with Reindeer and Santa himself. Head on over to Kemi, Finland and enjoy the frozen Baltic Sea. They have an ice castle with a full ice hotel that you can actually sleep in, and some dreamy Northern Lights glass villas on the Baltic Sea, if you’d rather stay cozy. (We recommend a night in each) Drive up to Saariselka, Finland, and you won’t want to leave! We stayed at the Northern Lights Village, and had the time of our lives. Complete with glass igloo cabins, our Northern Lights trip was beyond what we could’ve hoped for. We went snowmobiling, cross country skiing, ice fishing, sledding, fed reindeer, played with the huskies, and saw the amazing Auroras. If you have time, you can stop in Inari as well, and get some good cultural experiences as well. We recommend this trip to everyone we meet!
Learn all about the town of Kemi, a highlight of this road trip!
The Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia
Cindy, of Free Two Roam, has an epic Australia road trip for us.
For more pointers on this epic road trip, check out their best places to stop article!
Do any of these inspire you to head out on your own road trip?
If you want to plan a road trip through the UK, I’ve got you covered!
Ireland is great for a road trip! Check out my Ireland road trip itinerary!
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