9 of the best road trips in the world
By Martha Hales
Some destinations really benefit from having time to explore at your own pace, rewarding drivers with the finest views, the sense of adventure and the freedom to stop at will. Road trip holidays are a great way to see different aspects of a region or country as you progress from one place to the next, enjoying the changes in landscape, cuisine and architecture as you travel.
The open road is calling, so what are you waiting for? We've rounded up some of the best driving holidays from our local partners, each of which can be tweaked to fit the precise requirements of your group.
9 of the best road trips in the world
For action and adventure in glorious natural surroundings, look no further than South Africa's Garden Route, equally famous for stunning beaches, plentiful wildlife and too many exciting outdoor activities to count.
A road trip is the classic way to experience all that this region has to offer, allowing you to explore the best of the Garden Route as you motor along scenic highways, stopping off to enjoy the many highlights. Lively towns offer fabulous dining and cultural attractions, pretty beaches are well set up for watersports, while wildlife watching and hiking opportunities are numerous. Enjoy bustling Plettenberg Bay, natural wonders such as Cango Caves and Tsitsikamma forest along with some of the best road-trip scenery on the planet!
Argentina is vast and peppered with amazing natural features, wildlife and a varied culture, but nevertheless the Great Argentine road trip makes it effortless to hop between highlights, starting with the southernmost city of Ushuaia, a hike in the hidden areas of Terra del Fuego national park, and a trip to see the wildlife and the wild coasts of the Beagle Channel.
Next is the Patagonian wilderness complete with numerous glaciers, sawtooth mountains, intrepid wildlife and sumptuous dining experiences, followed by a self drive tour of Bariloche and the surrounding lakes where you can expect breath-taking panoramas at every turn. Finally, enjoy finding out more about the famous Mendoza wine region and its fine vintages, before rounding off your trip at the magnificent Iguazu Falls.
Island hopping by car is the theme of this incredible road trip linking a string of islands off the Norwegian coast and getting you close up to some of Norway's most amazing maritime scenery.
Starting in the capital of the Arctic - Tromsø, the route skirts along fjords, crosses bridges and even joins a car ferry or two to thread its way through the serrated coastline and islands of North Norway. Roads are not built for driving fast but part of the pleasure of this journey is taking it slowly and adding plenty of photo stops to the itinerary. Highlights include the evolving drama of the untrammelled coastal scenery, white sand beaches of Sommarøy, the brooding views of the Devil's Teeth mountain range on Senja, the otherworldly Lofoten islands and the cosy accommodation en-route.
Discover authentic gastronomic traditions and peaceful villages on this off the beaten track road trip through the Central Italian regions of Umbria and Le Marche. Undulating hills corrugated with vines and dotted with ancient farms are the source of some excellent local delicacies including fine wines, prized cured meats, truffles, olive oil and even chocolate.
Delve deep into this most appealing of larders as you visit historic villages to sample speciality dishes in a welcoming trattoria, or stop by wineries to taste their best vintages. Enjoy cultural insights when you visit the workshops of local artisans, continuing the tradition of local crafts across Umbria and Le Marche. Handpicked lodgings make this superb road trip extra special.
Mix city sights with exploration of Crete's idyllic rural countryside on this varied road trip around Crete's north coast. Staying in boutique lodgings in the heart of northern Crete, you will be within easy striking distance of several of the most appealing sights on Greece's largest island.
Step back in time at the impressive Palace of Knossos, a relic of the 4,000 year old Minoan city. Heraklion's Archaeological Museum holds the largest collection of Minoan artefacts and helps to put your visit in perspective. As well as history, your trip also allows you to discover gorges, mountains, picturesque villages, Crete's best beaches and plenty of fabulous Cretan food cooked with care.
Covering many of Georgia's most celebrated and interesting places, Georgia's Highlights allows you to really get to know the country, with time in its most important cities as well as an exploration of the treasures in the countryside. Religious and historic Georgia are intertwined, and it's easy to get a sense of the importance of faith when you visit some of Georgia's glorious churches and monasteries, as ancient as they are impressive, sited in fabulous locations. The Gergeti Trinity Church is a particularly well known example with stunning views of Mount Kazbegi. Tbilisi has to be another highlight, a vibrant city of history and hedonism, while at Vardzia, an entire town hewn into the rocks and caves will astound.
The natural wonders of Iceland deserve a thorough exploration, and this Grand Tour of Iceland self drive trip includes a huge number of them. The land of fire and ice has an impressive roll call of geothermal features, waterfalls, towering coastal beaches, hot springs and enticing villages to explore, and what better way to get up close to all this elemental beauty than to enjoy the freedom of your own wheels and the open road?
As well as the famous Blue Lagoon, this itinerary also includes other, lesser-known hot springs and local 'hotpots' in the Icelandic countryside. See jaw-dropping natural spectacles such as Skogafoss and Gullfoss waterfalls, lava fields, geysers, black beaches, lakes, volcanoes and if it's the right season, you might even catch the northern lights.
Kick back and relax as you cruise through Cuba at your own pace, enjoying getting to know unmissable highlights such as Havana but also getting away from the well-trodden tourist routes to experience local life in villages and farms in rural Cuba.
Visit the scenic Viñales valley where tobacco production is done the traditional way, and you can see how the famous Cuban cigars are handcrafted, head out to lesser known islands for blissful days on the beach, and discover the lush interior where coffee plantations and verdant views await. A backstreet tour of lively Trinidad is another highlight, a great place to become familiar with Cuba's music scene and have a go at salsa dancing.
A perfect mix of guided and independent exploration is the key to this private escape to Tenerife in the largest of the Canaries with the most dramatic landscape. A great variety of activities are on offer, from discovering national parks and Spain's highest mountain at sunset to touring the pretty landscapes and vineyards in the north of the island.
With plenty of time to explore the myriad of beaches and coastal towns, this trip can be as laid back or as action packed as you please. Hike around volcanic peaks, stargaze at one of Europe's best locations for seeing the night sky and learn to cook some of Tenerife's most celebrated dishes. A great immersion into the wonders of this island of contrasts.
Make it happen
Our handpicked local experts make personal recommendations based on your priorities and interests, so contact them today to discover how they can make your road trip adventure especially memorable. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office please call +44 (0)117 325 7898.