Do you yearn for the unforeseen and want to take the road less traveled?
If so, we have a great selection of daring road trips around the world to satisfy your wanderlust. Nothing compares to buckling down and taking an epic road trip across a country.
With you behind the wheel, you have complete control over the itinerary. Go wherever your mind or heart desires. A road trip is a wonderful way to unwind, get close to nature, and experience the local culture.
Here is our selection of the top 10 best road trips in the world, ranging from a day-long getaway to epic week-long journeys.
Whether you are on a two or four-wheeler, these epic road adventures are sure to send your pulse racing.
One of the most scenic road trips in the world is the Garden Route in South Africa, which traverses through the Garden Route National Park, home to an array of vibrant and diverse plants and animals.
This 300 km-long route begins at the seaside town of Mossel Bay and ends at the quaint town of Storms River.
The route is lined with picturesque towns and villages such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, and Wilderness, providing plenty of opportunities to stop and explore.
Adventurers can go bungee jumping, trekking, and zip-lining, while foodies can enjoy fresh seafood and try the local cuisine.
The Garden Route road trip is ideal for a week, and the best time to take it is in the spring and summer, from November to February.
- Try out the well-known trails in the area, such as the St. Blaize Trail, the Robberg Nature Reserve Trail, and the renowned Otter Trail.
- Spot numerous marine animals, including dolphins and whales, while snorkeling or scuba diving in Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay.
- Bungee jumping off Bloukrans Bridge is a must-do for adventurous souls. Canyoning, paddling, and canopy trips are also available in the area.
- Many smaller villages along the Garden Route have limited housing options, particularly during the festival and whale-watching season. Also, they might be rather pricey.
- It can get quite hot, especially during the summer, and you might have to carry a lot of water to stay hydrated.
Also known as the Southern Highway or Road No. 7, the Carretera Austral is one of the best road trips in the world and for good reason.
The highway passes through everything from dense rainforests and magnificent fjords in Patagonia to mountain passes with vistas of snow-capped peaks, extensive trails full of wildlife, lush green hills, impressive glaciers, and stunning lakes.
The route begins in Puerto Montt, a thriving metropolis in the Chilean Lake District, and proceeds south through Santa Lucia, Coyhaique, and Tortel before reaching its final destination in Villa O’Higgins.
With its still largely unpaved road that lends a special charm to the stunning Patagonia scenery in Chile, the Carretera Austral is undoubtedly one of the best road trips out there.
- Jump on a motorboat to explore the Marble Caves, a marvelous creation of nature located on the shore of General Carrera Lake.
- Experience the wonders of Queulat National Park with hiking, camping, boat excursions, and wildlife exploration.
- A world-renowned kayaking and rafting destination, Futaleuf also offers adventure activities such as trekking, canyoning, and mountain biking.
- Driving on the Carretera Austral usually requires patience as the road is largely unpaved and interrupted by fjords. You need to take three ferries to complete the route.
- Despite its popularity, not many lodgings are available for prior reservations. Plus, online-bookable hotels have a small capacity.
The Atlantic Road, which travels from Molde to the island of Avery, offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Atlantic, making it one of the best road trips in the world.
It is possibly the best illustration of Norway’s tourist routes. Seabirds and seals are plentiful near the Atlantic Route, and you get to enjoy lots of activities along the way. In addition to diving and ocean safaris, you can go to sea with local fishermen.
This 8.3 km stretch of flawlessly constructed road is renowned as one of the world’s most beautiful roads and has been named Norway’s engineering achievement of the century.
The road is constructed on a number of tiny islands and skerries linked by a number of bridges, making this one of the most memorable road trip excursions you may come across.
- Storseisundet Bridge, the biggest of the eight bridges that make up the road, is a marvelous structure that is impressive both up close and from a distance.
- There are designated viewing areas scattered along the Atlantic Road where you can park your vehicle or walk to take in the view, such as the elevated viewing path on the island of Eldhusoya and the Askevagen viewpoint.
- Divers also have excellent chances to dive at Hustadvika’s ship cemetery and other thrilling locations such as the Stromsholmen Seasportcenter.
- The region’s weather is erratic, with sudden temperature drops, powerful winds, and rapid visibility disappearance. The wind, which frequently exceeds 30 mph on the bridge, can be a cause for concern.
- Driving along the Atlantic Road is demanding, owing to its dramatic bridges, treacherous turns, and the potential presence of animals and sometimes fisherman in the center of the road.
Icefields Parkway, also known as Highway 93, is a stunning 232 km road that connects Jasper and Banff National Parks in the Canadian Rockies.
This scenic drive offers breathtaking views of towering mountains, turquoise lakes, glaciers, and wildlife. Road trips on the Icefields Parkway offer a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies.
Along the way, visitors can stop at iconic landmarks, such as the Columbia Icefield, Peyto Lake, and Athabasca Falls.
The parkway also provides access to various hiking trails that lead to scenic viewpoints, including the popular Wilcox Pass Trail and Parker Ridge Trail, which is reason enough to make it on to your bucket list of the best road trips in the world.
Wildlife sightings are also common on the Icefields Parkway, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and even bears. Visitors are advised to keep a safe distance and follow park guidelines when observing wildlife.
- Embrace the turquoise waters as you pass by some of the famous lakes in Canada: Lake Louise, Bow lake, Peyto Lake, and Moraine Lake.
- As impressive as the Athabasca Glacier are the falling waters of Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls. You can also take a hike or two if you have the time.
- The Glacier SkyWalk offers a one-of-a-kind experience that places you on a glass-floored viewing platform 280 meters above the Sunwapta Valley.
- There are very few places to stay along the Icefields Parkway, and they fill up quickly during high season. Furthermore, there are few places to refuel or eat along the Icefields Parkway, and those that exist are rather pricey.
- The road conditions in Icefields Parkway can worsen in the winter, making it risky to drive.
5. Pacific Coast Highway, USA
The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) starts in Dana Point, Orange County, which is about 100 km south of Los Angeles, and terminates in Legget, Mendocino County, around three hours north of San Francisco.
The Pacific Coast Highway is well-known for its breathtaking ocean views, the famous cities and quaint villages it passes through, farm-fresh foods, local wines, and the abundance of activities available to tourists of all interests.
Some of the most famous landmarks and breathtaking sceneries can be found between Santa Barbara and Monterey, particularly in the amazing Big Sur area.
- Go hiking in the Big Sur, stopping at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which houses the famous McWay Falls. From there, you can take a two-hour drive north to explore the secluded Partington Cove.
- Marvel at some of the largest trees on earth at Redwood National and State Parks and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium to learn about diverse marine species like stingrays, jellyfish, and sea otters.
- Unwind at one of the unique beaches in the USA, Glass Beach, where you can greet elephant seals at Greyhound Rock Beach, and indulge in exhilarating watersports in Santa Cruz.
- Frequently occurring mudslides along the shoreline have led to the closure of large stretches of the road in the past, particularly in the Big Sur region.
- Driving can be difficult while on the PCH as the Big Sur region frequently has tight, sudden curves above rugged ledges and cliffs. You must be vigilant when driving at night, as some places might not be lit properly.
6. Great Ocean Road, Australia
Just outside Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is a famous road that follows the coast for about 240 km. The Great Ocean Road is a popular destination with spectacular ocean views, gorgeous beaches, and a wealth of wildlife and natural attractions.
Driving along the Great Ocean Road is a must-do for anybody visiting Australia.
The trip begins at the lovely town of Torquay, home to some of Australia’s best surf beaches. Along the Great Ocean Road, you will travel past lovely communities like Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell, each with its own distinct charm and attractions.
You will also see plenty of wildlife along the journey, including koalas, kangaroos, and whales. Taking a guided tour to observe these animals in their natural habitat is one of the finest ways to get up close and personal with them.
- Witness the 12 Apostles, the towering pillars, which were chiseled out of limestone over a period of 10 to 20 million years. Take a break at Teddy’s Lookout to take in the famous marine stacks that rise above the water.
- Go swimming to meet playful seals and dolphins in the turquoise waters of Port Phillip Bay. The Australasian gannet, New Zealand’s largest diving seabird, is another attraction for tourists taking a wildlife sightseeing trip.
- The attractions along the Great Ocean Road can get heavily crowded during the summer. You can also expect some traffic on the road.
- A rookie driver may struggle to navigate the meandering road and steep curves. Severe rains can cause landslides on the Great Ocean Road. Terrible weather conditions have caused the road to close on numerous occasions in the past.
The Amalfi Coast’s dramatic cliffside roads, breathtaking scenery, and abundance of charming villages along the way must of course be included in this list of the top 10 best road trips in the world.
Officially, the Amalfi Coast is a 50 km stretch of treacherous winding roads connecting Salerno to Sorrento, but many tourists extend their journey to include Naples, Capri, Pompeii, and occasionally even Rome.
You can take in the beautiful surroundings, thanks to the numerous stopovers along the route.
Due to its distinctive topography and significant cultural heritage, the entire Amalfi Coast has been recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. Even though the journey is quite challenging, it is worthwhile.
- Trek the Path of the Gods, pause at Belvedere for panoramic views. Discover the hidden Bomerano and Nocelle. Sip the finest lemon and orange juice at Lemon Point.
- Visit Capri and experience the magnificent Blue Grotto, a marine cave where the sunlight passes through a submerged gap to cast a blue reflection that brightens the tunnel. Hike to the island’s highest point, Mount Solaro, or take a chairlift there.
- Visit the Amalfi Cathedral in Amalfi town or go on a shopping expedition and sample some delicious local cuisines.
- Amalfi Coast is one of the priciest tourist destinations in Italy, and particularly in the summer, many accommodations sell out quickly.
- Driving on this route is difficult because enormous buses take up a lot of road space, oncoming vehicles swerve into your lane, and hundreds of motorcyclists and scooter riders weave in and out of traffic. Furthermore, cities have a significant parking problem.
8. North Coast 500, Scotland
The North Coast 500 is among the finest road trips available in the UK. The 830 km route, which follows Scotland’s rocky northern coastline in a loop, takes in everything from white sand beaches to mountains and outlying fishing towns.
The road trip offers an unforgettable experience for those who love nature, adventure, and history. Along the way, you can spot wildlife such as red deer, otters, and dolphins.
From exploring fairytale castles to ascending breathtaking mountain roads, this trip provides a uniquely Scottish experience.
One of the trip’s highlights is the drive along the winding Bealach na Bà road, which offers stunning views of the Applecross peninsula and the Isle of Skye. With its hairpin bends and steep gradients, the road is not for the faint-hearted, but the views are worth it.
Whether you like to hike in the highlands, observe wildlife, enjoy local food, or have a drink at a distillery, there is something for everyone along the North Coast 500 making it one of the best road trips in the world.
- Try an easy hike at Loch Maree and then go on a boat excursion to the Summer Isles from Corrieshalloch Gorge near Ullapool, or perhaps in a kayak.
- Explore the complex system of Smoo Cave while sinking your feet into the warm sand of Achmelvich Beach.
- Visit John o’Groats, the northernmost point of mainland Britain, and Dunrobin Castle. Stop over at Orkney or spend a few days on the stunning Isle of Skye.
- The reported rise in dangerous driving has been a cause for concern for many tourists traveling along the NC500 route.
- A lot of livestock and other animals frequently cross the roads, requiring you to be extra cautious while driving.
The Milford Road is one of the most scenic and breathtaking drives in New Zealand, offering travelers an unforgettable road trip experience.
The 120 km route runs through the Fiordland National Park, taking drivers past snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and crystal-clear lakes.
During the road trip, travelers will get the chance to drive through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2 km-long tunnel that cuts through the mountains and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
The road also goes past the stunning Mirror Lakes, where travelers can stop to take in the reflections of the surrounding mountains.
- You pass the Remarkables, a magnificent mountain range and a popular ski area, and Lake Wakatipu on the first leg of the trip. Visit the Devil’s Staircase Lookout for breathtaking panoramas of Lake Wakatipu and the curvy road that follows the lake.
- Embark on a cruise tour on Lake Te Anau, New Zealand’s second-largest lake, to visit the glow worm caves. Avid hikers can also try out the nearby Kepler Track.
- You will go through the Homer Tunnel en route, the only entrance and exit to Milford Sound, which is a 1.2 km passage. Just past the tunnel, you will discover the stunning Hundred Falls.
- Cell phone coverage is limited on Milford Road, and you will hardly find any stores or petrol stations.
- Driving can be challenging during the winter when the roads are covered in ice. Besides, there is a risk of avalanches.
The Karakoram Highway, also known as the Friendship Highway between China and Pakistan, is the world’s highest-paved international route.
It is one of the world’s most scenic and adventurous routes, reaching an elevation of over 15,000 feet.
Embarking on a road trip along the Karakoram Highway is an unforgettable experience, offering breathtaking views of rugged mountains, deep valleys, and glacial rivers.
The journey takes you through remote villages and towns, allowing you to experience the unique cultures and traditions of the local people. The road trip also offers plenty of opportunities for adventure seekers, such as white-water rafting, rock climbing, and trekking in the mountains.
You can camp under the stars or stay in local guesthouses to immerse yourself in the local lifestyle.
- Nestled at the base of Pakistan’s second-highest peak, Nanga Parbat, Fairy Meadows is a captivating destination. Adventurers can take on the challenging base camp trek while others can relax and camp amidst breathtaking scenery.
- Unwind at the shores of Attabad Lake and snap away some Insta-worthy pictures. You can also jump on a boat to navigate this scenic lake and learn about how this lake was formed in a tragic incident.
- Visit the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar and explore the city’s newly “restored” old town. If you are there on a Sunday, stroll through the Kashgar Sunday livestock market.
- The area is often prone to floods and landslides that may obstruct the route for several hours or more.
- While the internet connection on the China side is favorable, it is very poor on the Pakistan side.
Top 10 Best Road Trips in the World – Summary
So, there you have it, the top 10 best road trips in the world that shouldn’t be missed.
Road trips can be a transformative experience for lifestyle entrepreneurs seeking adventure, inspiration, and new perspectives.
It’s a chance to escape the mundane routines of everyday life and embrace the unknown with open arms.
Experiencing the best road trips in the world is not just about driving from one point to another, rather they offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures, meet new people, and witness breathtaking landscapes.
From the rugged yet scenic terrain of the Karakoram Highway along the Pakistan-China border to the picturesque coastline of California’s Pacific Coast Highway, each route promises a unique and unforgettable experience.
So pack your bags, grab your keys, and hit the road. Who knows what incredible adventures await you on your next road trip?
Mishyali is a freelance content writer and editor from Sri Lanka specializing in SEO web and blog content writing, social media marketing, research, and data analysis. She has worked with clients in a wide range of travel niches, including luxury travel, adventure travel, solo travel, and more, and has experience writing about everything from destination guides and hotel reviews to travel tips and cultural insights. Having toured Malaysia and Singapore, and every nook and corner of Sri Lanka, Mishyali has a passion for exploring new destinations and sharing her experiences through informative and engaging articles that inspire readers to discover the world.