There is nothing quite like the excitement and adventure of the open road. Incredible views, surprising discoveries, beautiful scenery, all waiting to be discovered at your own pace and in your own time.
But where do you begin? Here are 5 Beautiful Road Trips you just can’t miss.
The NC500, northern Scotland
Scotland was recently voted the world’s most beautiful country and it isn’t hard to see why. All of the country’s most alluring charms are on show in this incredible road trip loop. The NC500 has only been in existence since 2015, but takes you through some truly spectacular countryside.
It all begins in the northern town of Inverness, not far from that famous Loch Ness Monster, and runs past the stunning village of Applecross and past places such as John o’ Groats. The joy of this stunning route is that it brings you right back to the beginning so you can go off on another adventure.
The Garden Route, South Africa
This iconic road trip remains an all-time classic with 300 km of stunning scenery that meanders through a beautiful part of South Africa. The road, which runs from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, is peppered with vineyards, wildlife and nature parks, charming little towns and some beautiful beaches. Don’t miss out!
Highway 1, Pacific Coastal Highway, California
Another truly iconic road trip and perhaps, along with Route 66, the most famous of them all. The drive from San Francisco all the way down to San Diego is truly spectacular and takes in Los Angeles, Carmel, Monterrey, Santa Barbara and so much more.
The views across the Pacific Ocean are stunning, the wildlife is spectacular and there is so much to see and do along its length. The most famous stretch is around Big Sur, once you are clear of Carmel. Bixby Bridge is perhaps the most photographed landmark on the route, but it has plenty of competition. Take your time, drink it all in and enjoy yourself.
The Milford Road, New Zealand
A spectacular section of a beautiful country, the road from Te Anau towards Fiordland National Park is definitely in the conversation when it comes to the most jaw-dropping road trips on the planet. Eglington Valley is astonishingly beautiful, while the many waterfalls and the incredibly named Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain is also a highlight of this wonderful journey.
It is named so because rather than getting larger as you approach it, the mountain actually gets smaller – an optical illusion. If you get the chance, then stop in Milford Sound Village for a bite to eat. You won’t go wrong with the excellent Blue Duck Café, which is open all day.
Sit down and digest the beauty of the road you have just driven before you prepare to move on to something else. And if you get time, Ben Groundwater recommends doing a bungee jump while you are in New Zealand, as detailed in his The One Thing blog series.
The Alcan Highway, from Canada into Alaska
This is for the hardy adventurers among you, a real mountain classic with all the weather you would expect. This is a wilderness road trip that takes you from Canada into Alaska. Make sure you pack all the clothes you could possibly need, enough food for a week and snow chains for your vehicle.
The weather can be unpredictable and harsh on this route, but if you prepare well, you will be just fine. It is certainly worth planning to stop along the way for hikes into the mountains. Muncho Lake and the Hot Springs at Liard River are particular highlights. You can also take dog-sleds out for trips but respect the landscape and the wildlife – it is not unusual to find wolves in these parts and even bears.
What are some of your favourite Road Trips?