Sometimes it’s best to give a tour a miss and hit the road and with these trips. Forget crowded tour buses, allocated stop times and explore these destinations on your schedule. My Baggage has put together 12 of the best road trips in the world to give you some inspiration!
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Take a walk on the wild side and uncover the beauty of the west coast of Ireland on this 2,500 km road trip. Taking in nine counties and three of the four provinces of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way will take you from the rugged coast of Donegal all the way down to the southern shores of County Cork. This journey of a lifetime will encompass lively cities and villages where you can soak up the local culture and enjoy a pint in the pub. Coastal roads that will take you to the very edge of Europe, where you will get to see the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the cliffs and of course the opportunity to explore Ireland’s famous Ring of Kerry.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is one of the most stunning road trips in Italy. On this drive, you will encounter scenic medieval villages, picturesque sea views and a thrilling drive along the edge of the Salerno Gulf and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Expect breathtaking panoramic views, a nerve-wracking drive and plenty of opportunities to stop off along the way to take it all in.
Start your road trip in Naples, the gate to the Amalfi Coast. Italy’s third-largest city is often associated with crime, but this hidden gem is the birthplace of pizza! Enjoy some of the finest you will ever encounter and make sure to stop off at Pompei to learn about the tragedy that unfolded. Make sure to include Sorrento on your list and Ischia for the relaxing hot springs and historic Aragonese Castle.
Pacific Coast Highway, USA
The Pacific Coast Highway is famous for being one of the most scenic drives in America. Begin your journey from northern California and follow the coast all the way down to San Diego. You will drive over 1,000km and take in stunning coastal views, majestic Californian forest and quaint seaside villages. Stop off along big cities on the way, from exploring Alcatraz at San Francisco and seeing stars in Los Angeles. If wine is your thing there are plenty of places to stop off and sample the greatest wine California has to offer. Allow plenty of time to complete this epic journey, but if you are on a tight schedule the whole road can be completed in 10 hours without stopping.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road spans 400km of South Australian coastline, starting from the town of Torquay to the east and Nelson to the west. On this route, you can expect to see epic surf, picturesque beaches and dramatic coastline. Top attractions on the Great Ocean Road include the scenery, quaint fishing villages and nature. You’ll spend plenty of time stopping off along to see things such as the twelve apostles rock formations and Otway National Park where you can chase waterfalls, try your hand at ziplining through the rain forest or take in a tree canopy walk.
The Ring Road, Iceland
Iceland’s Ring Road will take you on an epic road trip around the country and to some of the island’s most deserted areas. Driving the 1,332km road you will see active volcanoes, breathtaking waterfalls, blue icebergs and maybe even catch a glimpse of the spectacular Northern Lights. This road is not for the faint-hearted and will include some hair-raising terrain. It is important to always stay up to date with weather information and pay heed to any warnings, the last thing you want is to be broken down or stuck on a section of impassable road. Take every precaution necessary, your life may depend on it!
The Garden Route, South Africa
The Garden Route is a 200km long drive along the South Cape of South Africa. Starting in Mossel Bay in the west and finishing in Storms River in the east this route will take you on a scenic drive along the coastline, incorporating Knysna Elephant Park where you can glimpse one of the big five, the Cango Caves, Storms River Suspension Bridge and Wilderness Beach. There are plenty more stops along the way, from wine tasting at some of the best vineyards in South Africa to go for a swim at the beach in Knysna.
Canadian Rockies, Canada
Travel along one of the most scenic roads in the world in the Canadian Rockies. The 230km mountain road known as the Icefield Parkway takes you from Banff to Jasper. There are plenty of places to stop off along the way from Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre where you can step foot on a real glacier. You can also enjoy plenty of wildlife along the route from black bears, moose and mountain goats. This is something to pay attention to whilst driving as you never know who might decide to cross your path!
Badlands National Park, USA
Take a road trip through America’s most famous prairies at the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. The rugged terrain of the Badlands sometimes resembles that of a lunar landscape. You can expect to see jagged rock formations, steep canyons and plenty of prairie wildlife such as bison, bighorn sheep and prairie dogs. If you are short for time you can drive the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway, which will take you past the most sights the Badlands has to offer, such as Mount Rushmere, the Ben Reifel Visitors Centre, the Badlands 1880 Homestead Cabin, Prairie Homestead, Wounded Knee Museum and Roberts Prairie Dog Town. If you are travelling in summer, remember that this is the hottest time of year so bring plenty of water and stay in the shade. Thunderstorms are also prevalent, with May, June or September being preferred months for visiting.
New Zealand’s South Island
No trip to New Zealand could be complete without a road trip around the South Island. Drive past snow-peaked mountains, picturesque fjords and take in the rugged island coasts with plenty of stop-off points along the way. Explore the city of Christchurch, the breathtaking scenery of Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook and marvel at the view of the islands the Southern Alps. The route will take you over 2,000km around the South Island and please note to invest in a vehicle with enough horsepower to tackle the mountainous terrain.
The Death Road, Bolivia
Not a road trip for the faint-hearted, The Death Road in Bolivia is a hair-raising journey that will have you confront sheer drops and dramatic driving styles on one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Not recommended to drive by yourself, it’s more often undertaken by death road tours. The narrow roads and sheer cliff drop make this journey incredibly hazardous. In 2006 a newly updated road was built, which brought down the death toll, although this makes the road safer than it was previously, it is still treacherous. Most death road tours allow you to cycle along this road, with drops on the cliff edge of 600m it’s important not to lose control and keep your wits about you.