There was a lot of interest in the last blog post about 10 of the most unique and unusual hotels in the world so here is 10 of the best road trips in the world!
These are in no particular order and it’s my own opinion so if I’ve missed out on one or completely missed the boat let me know in the comments!
1. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Kicking things off at home and with the world’s longest defined coastal touring route. From Malin Head in County Donegal, the country’s most northerly point, to Mizen Head in County Cork, the most southerly point, the route weaves and winds across 2,500 km of beautiful coastline. Along the route, there are 157 discovery points, 1,000 attractions and more than 2,500 activities.
Distance: 2,500 km
Places of interest and things to do: So many to choose from but the Skellings, Cliffs of Moher and the numerous beaches along the way are sure to be top of everyone’s list.
2. Garden Route, South Africa
When I worked as a leisure travel agent, South Africa was the most popular place for honeymooners and the Garden Route was one of the main factors for its popularity. The official Garden Route starts in Mossel Bay in the west and ends at Storms River in the east, however, the vast majority of people travelling from Ireland would fly into Cape Town, drive the Garden Route, do a safari in the Eastern Cape and then fly home from Port Elizabeth.
Distance: 300 km for the Garden Route and 750 km for Cape Town to Port Elizabeth
Places of interest and things to do: the Cango Caves, ostrich farms and plenty of lovely towns to enjoy world-class dining and wine (at a very low cost). Striking coastlines and incredible nature along with adrenaline experiences such as shark cage diving!
3. Route 66, USA
One of the first road trips that come to mind when thinking of an iconic drive. Historic Route 66, often called the Mother Road, crosses 8 states, starting in Chicago, Illinois and terminating at the Pacific Coast in Santa Monica, California. Although it technically doesn’t even exist anymore, you can still drive most of the original stretch from Illinois to California,
Distance: nearly 4,000 km
Places of interest and things to do: Cozy Dog drive-in in Springfield, Illinois, Route 66 museum in Oklahoma and if detouring head to the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Las Vegas.
4. Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road begins a 90-minute drive from Melbourne’s city centre. It spans 400 kilometres (249 miles) from the town of Torquay to Nelson on the South Australian border. As you drive along the Great Ocean Road you will find world-class beaches for surfing, stunning rock formations and typical Australian animals such as koalas, kangaroos, multi-coloured parrots and even penguins!
Distance: 400 km
Places of interest and things to do: the Twelve Apostles, which is an amazing rock formation, koala spotting at Kennet River and Bells Beach, one of Australia’s famous surfing beaches.
5. Pacific Coast Highway, USA
The most beautiful coastal road trip in America! Dramatic sea cliffs with long stretches of some of the best beaches in the whole country. Although there are various starting and endpoints for this road trip, the one I recommend is San Francisco to San Diego. See the sights of San Fran like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge or even head out to Napa Valley for some wine then pick up your car and hit the road.
Distance: 900 km
Places of interest and things to do: Tonnes to do including Big Sur, Bixby Bridge, Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara and not too mention quaint places like Carmel by the Sea and Monterrey. There are plenty of beaches along the way and also many theme parks in the greater Los Angeles area.
Tip: San Francisco’s car parking charges are ridiculously high so use public transport to get around then pick up the car from a central car hire spot in the city when you are leaving, your wallet will thank me.
6. Amalfi Coast, Italy
The shortest drive in the list at just 56 km, the Amalfi Coast road trip starts in Sorrento and ends in Salerno but you could spend the guts of a week doing it and exploring coastal gems such as Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi! Irish visitors will more than likely fly into Naples then make the trip down to picturesque Sorrento. The views of this coastal drive are like something from a movie but best be careful on the narrow roads and definitely don’t drive like the experienced locals!
Distance: 56 km
Places of interest and things to do: The stunning towns of Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi, breathtaking views and amazing food and drink along the way!
7. South Island, New Zealand
I could easily have put the whole of New Zealand but to narrow things down I have gone with the South Island. Depending on whether you are flying from Ireland or travelling from the North Island of New Zealand you would do a full loop and start and end at either Christchurch or Nelson. The South Island is considered the adrenaline capital of the world with tonnes of places to go skiing, white water rafting, bungee jumping and sky diving! The South Island is truly stunning with its rugged landscapes and its landscape is quite similar to Ireland.
Distance: 2,900 km
Places of interest and things to do: Queenstown for the adrenaline seekers, head to Milford Sound and Franz Jozef Glacier for breathtaking views and an unforgettable experience.
8. Western Canada
Like the South Island of New Zealand, it seems a shame to leave a few parts but I feel this hits all the major highlights of Western Canada. Starting the in the hub of Vancouver and head north to the ski resort town of Whistler then onto spots like to break up the journey Sun Peaks before getting to Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. The road between the latter three places mentioned cut right through the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and is one of the most scenic drives in the world!
Distance: 2,000 km if doing a loop from Vancouver taking ing Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff National Park.
Places of interest and things to do: Athabasca Falls just south of Jasper, the beautiful turquoise lake at Lake Louise, Glacier Skywalk and also the Columbia Icefield.
9. Ring Road of Iceland
Very different to any ring road in Ireland! The Ring Road of Iceland circles the entire country and goes along some of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, such as the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the Dyrhólaey cliffs and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. This trip takes you on Iceland’s Route 1 and starts and ends in Reykjavik.
Distance: 1,350 km
Places of interest and things to do: As well as the spots mentioned above there is also the Golden Circle which is a 300 km loop that takes you to Gullfoss waterfall, the Thingvellir National Park, the Kerid Volcanic Crater and more of Iceland’s iconic sites
10. Any route on the Mongol Rally!
The ultimate road trip! The Mongol Rally is described as “the greatest motoring adventure on the planet. This is 10,000 miles of chaos across mountain, deserts and steppe on roads ranging from bad to not-a-road in a tiny 1000 cc car.” After setting off from Goodwood in England, participants then generally proceed to a launch party in Prague where they converge. Typical routes then head for Moscow, Kiev or Istanbul, though teams have travelled as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Teams taking the Ukraine/Russia route or the more southerly Turkey and Iran route often converge at Samarkand, Uzbekistan before proceeding north-east for Mongolia. The final leg of the rally takes surviving vehicles into Mongolia and on to finish back in Russia in Ulan-Ude. Truly insane!
Distance: 16,000 km
Places of interest and things to do: Far too many to mention but the image below is of the Transfăgărășan which connects the Romanian regions of Transylvania and Wallachia. It is one of many possible routes teams taking part in the Mongol Rally might drive on.
This was a very difficult list to compile as there are so many places I missed out! America in itself could have a list of its own! What do you think of the list? What did I miss out on? Let me know in the comments!