12 of the world's best road trips

Taking a road trip is an unmissable travel experience. However, picking just one destination to explore can be tricky. We’ve travelled high and low, on highways and dusty tracks, to bring you the world’s best road trips. The only problem left is, which to take first?
Aerial Shot of Knysna in the Garden Route, South Africa. Photo: Shutterstock
Aerial Shot of Knysna in the Garden Route, South Africa. Photo: Shutterstock



1. Pan American Highway

This iconic route stretches close to 48,000km (30,000 miles) in length, running from Alaska in the USA down through the Americas to Chile and Argentina in the south. The network of roads runs in almost one complete trail down the continents, except for a rainforest break of around 160km at Panama's Darién Gap. One thing's for sure, you'll need plenty of time to drive a Winnebago all the way along the world's longest motorable road. 


2. Northern Oman's coast and interior

Oman is often overlooked on the Middle East travel circuit with tourists opting to visit big-city-hitters Dubai and Abu Dhabi in neighbouring UAE. Oman, however, offers a more traditional view of life in the Middle East and there's no better way to explore it than with the freedom of your own car.

Insight Guides' local expert for Oman, Francoise, has created an entire itinerary around exploring Oman's highlights by road. Begin in Muscat, before driving through mountain landscapes, traditional villages and along the coastline stopping off in Barka, Nizwa and Ras Al Jinz on your way. Review his suggested trip itinerary or talk to him directly to begin planning your road trip through the country.


3. Romantic Road, Bavaria, Germany

Stretching for 350km from the vineyards of Würzburg to the foothills of the Alps at Füssen, the Romantic Road (Romantische Strasse) is Germany's most popular tourist route. You could spend a month exploring this string of perfectly preserved medieval walled towns, hilltop castles, mighty cathedrals and pretty churches. Stopping-off points include the enchanting Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the dramatic castle Burg Harburg and the stately town of Augsburg.


4. Garden Route, South Africa

Lush and bountiful, the relatively short stretch of coastline between Mossel Bay and Tsitsikamma is popularly referred to as the Garden Route, and its timeless appeal both to foreign travellers and to South African holidaymakers is reflected in a booming guesthouse and hotel industry. This, however, is a distinctly African garden – not the manicured lawns of Europe with their neat and formal layouts, but an exhilaratingly rugged coastline flanked by indigenous rainforest, blue lagoons, parallel rows of serrated mountain peaks and fields bright with fynbos (scrubland). Sights along the way include the fascinating Cango Caves, the snaking Seweweekspoort Pass, the Bloukrans Bridge and Knysna Elephant Park.

Are you ready to get behind the wheel with Insight Guides? Our local experts based in South Africa can plan, organise and book your entire self-drive holiday for you. Explore suggested itineraries online or talk to local expert Fahranaaz today to begin planning your adventure. 


Amalfi Coast, Italy. The Amalfi Coast, Italy, is undoubtedly one of the world's best road trips. Photo: Shutterstock


5. Glen Coe, Scottish Highlands

The mountain scenery around perhaps the most famous glen in Scotland is sublime. The landscape exerts a great deal of power and even the unimaginative must feel a shiver up their spine as they follow the A82 between the dark buttresses of Buachaille Etive Mor, Bidean nam Bian and the Aonach Eagach. These Highland mountains are notorious: they are among Britain's supreme mountaineering challenges, and nearly every winter they claim lives. The National Trust for Scotland owns most of Glen Coe and exhibitions at its Glen Coe Visitor Centre near the foot of the glen tell its story. 


6. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Whether you take the bus or brave it in a car, the drive along the Amalfi Coast is one heart-stopping journey you won’t forget. The 50km (31-mile) ribbon of road snakes its way between Sant’Agata sui due Golfi and Salerno, with vertiginous views of the sea below and the mountains above. The route encompasses two of the coast’s loveliest towns, Amalfi and Ravello, as well as plenty of pretty villages clinging to cliff-faces along the way. 

Teresa, our local expert for Italy, has created an 8-day tour of Rome and the Amalfi Coast for Insight Guides, taking in the route above. Explore the itinerary online or speak with her to today to find out how she can help to make your holiday in Italy unforgettable. 


7. Pacific Route

The USA's iconic Pacific Route stretches from San Diego in southern California all the way up the coast through Oregon and Washington to Seattle, not far from the Canadian border. Along the way, there are quaint towns, wineries, giant redwoods, romantic beaches and historic sites, plus the big cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco.


8. Grande Corniche, France

East towards the Italian border, the white limestone Pre-Alps fall almost directly into the sea, creating some of the French Riviera's most dramatic settings and exclusive peninsulas. The Grande Corniche road goes all the way to Menton, via Roquebrune. You can stop off at La Turbie, or explore inland villages such as Peillon and Peille. La Turbie's star attraction is the Trophée des Alpes, a ruin standing guard over Monaco. Emperor Augustus built it in 6BC to celebrate victory over various peoples who had prevented the construction of a road between Rome and Gaul.

Insight Guides' expert for France, Agathe, can create, organise and book an entire itinerary for you taking in the route above. Submit a trip request to being planning your adventure using her expertise today. 


Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles, Australia.Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles, Australia. Photo: Shutterstock

 

9. Andalucia, Spain

This sunny southern region of Spain attracts thousands to its shores every summer. To get well and truly off-the-beaten-track and to escape the crowds, explore at your own pace on a self-drive trip through the region. Ancient cities Seville, Ronda and Granada await, while the surfing town of Tarifa and rural El Colmenar offer the ideal place to relax and recharge. 

Eric, Insight Guides’ local expert for Spain, knows where to visit and when to avoid the tourist hordes. Review his suggested 13-day itinerary: Andalucian road trip online or talk to him today to create your own adventure from scratch.  


10. Arthur's Pass, New Zealand

The 260km (160-mile) route over Arthur's Pass to Hokitika on the South Island's West Coast provides one of the country's great geographical contrasts. This alpine highway climbs through a visual feast of mirrored lakes, caves and rock formations, ridges and valleys, wide shingle river beds and deep gorges.


11. Ring of Kerry, Ireland

The Ring of Kerry is one of Europe’s great scenic drives, a circular route around the rim of the Iveragh Peninsula, through rugged sandstone hills and verdant subtropical vegetation, with myriad mountain and coastal views. 


12. Great Ocean Road, Australia 

Begun in 1919 and finished in 1932, the Great Ocean Road was built by 3,000 ex-servicemen who had returned to Australia from overseas duty in World War I. It was conceived as a lasting memorial to their many colleagues who lost their lives fighting in the conflict. Using only picks, shovels and horse-drawn carts, the men carved the 243km (151-mile) road out of rock, dense bushland and forest. Today, the road is known as one of the world's great coastal drives, and the journey from Torquay to Allansford, near Warrnambool, offers incredibly beautiful natural scenery, delicious food and wine stops, and adrenalin-inducing activities aplenty.


Taking a road trip: how to get started

Insight Guides can help you with holidays in over 100 destinations worldwide, from the remote mountains of Oman to the bright city lights of Paris. If you’re looking to take your own road trip, get in touch. We’ll pair you with the best local expert for your chosen destination, who can plan, organise and book your entire trip for you, from start to finish. What are you waiting for? Submit a trip request today.