There is an element of spontaneity in a road journey that makes it the most exciting way to see the world. Apart from the sense of freedom a road trip offers, It also allows you to make impromptu stops at interesting places. This isn’t possible when you are traveling by air. Scenic drives through hills and valleys win over gazing at fluffy clouds for hours, right?
On road trips, the journey is much more exciting than the destination. Breathtaking landscapes zip past you as you drive. If the thought of a road trip excites you, check out some of the best road trips in the world. Here’s a look at some of the perennial favorites.
North Coast 500, Scotland
Inverness, the largest city in the Scottish Highlands, is around 150 miles from Edinburgh. North Coast 500 is a circular road that commences and ends at Inverness. The three-hour drive offers a scenic view of the landscape consisting of gardens, beaches, golf courses, castles, and much more. A look at the timings of the must-see attractions will make it easier to plan the trip. Also, some of the attractions are open seasonally, so it’s best to plan. For activities such as surfing, wildlife watching, boat tours, and geology walks, you may have to book your slots before the journey.
Distance: 830 km
Duration of journey: Three-seven days or more
Key attractions:Glens, castles, lochs, and the enigmatic fuzzy-haired highland cattle. Touted as one of the best road trips in the world, this is a must-do.
Stopover eateries: Mara Restaurant offers an authentic Highlands experience. Its menu consists of roe deer and Highland wagyu feather blades, slowly cooked to perfection. A selection of Highland cheeses is a perfect finish to your meal. For the curry experience, you can try Sid’s Spice in Brora. The storehouse of Foulis in Evanton is a great restaurant/farm shop. It’s also a great place to stock up on some goodies for your trip. \You may want to try it too.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
If you are looking for a place where the mountains, oceans, and imposing cliffs work in tandem to create the ultimate traveling experience, Great Ocean Road is your best bet. This scenic drive is home to kangaroos, koalas, penguins, and anteaters. The Great Ocean Road kisses the imposing cliffs, giving you a striking view of the virgin beaches and the lush countryside. The frothing surf, the biking and hiking trails, and the wildlife make for an unforgettable trip.
Distance: 253 km
Duration of journey: Around four hours
Key attractions: The Twelve Apostles are towering limestone pillars carved out by nature over 10-20 million years ago. They are 45 meters above the water. In Wildlife Wonder in Otway, you can also trek through fern and eucalyptus trees. Surf on Bells Beach for an exhilarating experience. Beware of white sharks if you are thinking of deep-sea diving. Apollo Bay is safe for swimming. It has charming coastal villages. You can also do horse riding. At the Otway National Park, you can take in the magnificence of the Otway Lighthouse and Australia’s shipwreck coast.
Stopover eateries: The Wye General is located by the sea and serves burgers, breakfast, and brunch. Forage on the foreshore at Port Campbell serves locally foraged food, including garden greens, cheese platters, gnocchi, and fresh grilled fish. Chris’s Beacon Restaurant serves lunch and dinner. Fresh seafood is worth a try. For pork fans, The Pickled Pig at Warrnambool is a must-try.
Route 62, South Africa
The stretch of road from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn meanders through a scenic landscape as it winds through Hout Bay and Noordhoek. It’s best to savor what the journey offers rather than rush through the road trip. Chapman’s Peak Drive is highly recommended. This diversion gives you a nine-km winding road between Hout Bay and Noordhoek.
Distance: 748 km
Duration of journey: Nine-and-a-half hours if you drive non-stop. However, there are approximately 65 wineries en route, and you might want to stop at a few.
Key attractions:Cango Caves have existed for over a million years and are one of the world’s most magnificent features. Carved from the Swartberg mountains, these natural caves have chambers and tunnels, with stalagmite formations adding to their beauty. The Red Hills formed 25 million years ago. The sea left its red mark on the rolling mountains of Klein Karoo. These hills are a geological delight, giving you a glimpse into the planet’s development. Montagu is a town that stuns with its vineyards and fruit orchards. With the Langeberg mountains as the backdrop and the Victorian architecture of the city, this magnificent place is not to be missed. Klaasvoogds Game Reserve is a landscape filled with zebras, leopards, black wildebeests, etc.
Stopover eateries: You can sit under the trees at Barn on 62 and enjoy home-baked pies, salads, and coffee. Rambling Rose is an excellent stopover for brunch and lunch. Dishes include Cape Malay curry, steak, salad, and seafood.
Atlantic Route, Norway
This incredibly beautiful route has caught tourists’ imaginations by storm. The iconic road zigzagging through the vast open landscape of blue skies and the sea is exquisite enough to mend your broken heart. A road trip through the Norwegian coastline may include encounters with seals, whales, and unusual birds.
Distance: 8 km
Duration of journey: Eight hours, non-stop
Key attractions: You can get a glimpse of nature at its best at the Hustadvika diving centers. You will see shipwrecks on the seabed if you are lucky. You will also see marine life in all its glory. Bremsnes Cave, located in the Bremsneshatten Mountain, is an 80-meter-long cave that will delight you.
Stopover eateries: Expensive restaurants supply food. However, the timing can be sporadic. It’s best to pack a picnic lunch and snacks if you are on a budget. Eldhuset is a recently opened snack bar that offers sandwiches, coffee, and waffles.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast road trip can not be hurried. This 43-mile-long road has over 1,001 turns. As the route skirts the Sorrentine Peninsula, you get a glimpse of virgin beaches, seaside towns, and scenic villas. The drive doesn’t take a lot of time. However, to get your money’s worth, it’s best to stop at every curve and bend to absorb the richness of this beautiful region. One thing is for sure: you will want to return to this magnificent place.
Distance: 56 km
Duration of journey: 75 minutes, non-stop
Key attractions: Salerno is the gateway to Amalfi Coast. You can soak in the sun on the seaside promenade from the old town to the harbor of Piazza Della Concordia to get a spectacular view of the Gulf of Salerno. Grotta dello Smeraldo is a cave where the jade waters make it glow, creating a surreal experience. Villa Rufolo in Revello will make you feel like you are in a palace in Versailles!
Stopover eateries: There are umpteen places to choose from in Amalfi. Each of these eateries offers a spectacular view of the coastline.
Leh, Ladakh, India
If you are looking for pristine beauty, dramatic landscapes, and panoramic views, Leh is the perfect road trip. This magnificent region in northernmost Kashmir is a must on your road trip bucket list. Quaint villages, stunning beauty, and friendly local people make for an unforgettable road trip. The drive can be slightly dangerous, but the vista from 18,000 feet will remain embedded in your memory forever.
Distance: 500 km (Manali to Leh)
Duration of journey: Two-three days, depending on the length of the stopovers.
Key attractions: Ride over water streams at Jispa. Take in the vibrancy of the Leh market. Visit monasteries, Shanti Stupa, Nubra Valley, and Pangong Lake.
Stopover eateries: Bon Appetit restaurant lets you enjoy your meal surrounded by a spectacular landscape view. Delicious tandoori made from local produce is the silver lining of this adventurous road trip. The Tibet Kitchen and Alchi Kitchen are worth checking out.
Milford Road, New Zealand
The most spectacular road trip in the world, Milford Road South Island, New Zealand, has snow-capped peaks, imposing cliffs, and waterfalls on its scenic route. Fern trees pepper the landscape, reaching out to the sky.
Distance: 12 km
Duration of journey: 90 minutes
Key attractions: Eglington Valley’s breathtaking beauty and the reflection of the landscape in the surrounding lakes is a surreal experience. The disappearing mountains defy imagination. Amazingly, there is an illusion of the mountains getting smaller as they come near! Undoubtedly, one of the best road trips in the world.
Stopover eateries: Mrs. Woolly’s General Store is a great place to stock up on famous New Zealand produce. Hell Pizza for delicious pizzas and pasta. You can even make your pizza if you like.
For a great trip, planning is essential. You can always do it yourself or let the experts handle it. With Thomas Cook Tours and your traveling guide, you can be sure they know what you need for an enjoyable trip more than you do!