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There’s nothing like the feeling of an open road, just you and miles of natural scenery ahead. From the salt flats of Bolivia to the Great Ocean Road in Australia, these adventurous road trip destinations are bucket list-worthy. Pack your snacks and supplies and start driving for the 11 best road trips in the world.
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Southern Scenic Route, New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, so it only makes sense that the Southern Scenic Route takes the top spot. You can discover natural wonders along the jagged Fiordland mountains as you drive past the rugged coast of the South Island. Starting in Dunedin you can drive through the Catlins to see rare wildlife before exploring the small town of Te Anau and ending in the world-famous Milford Sound. You’ll be taken aback by the array of snow-capped mountains, glacial waterfalls and dense rainforest.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road is Australia’s best coastal road trip destination. Starting in Torquay, it passes picturesque beaches, lighthouses and quaint villages before ending in Warrnambool. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to encounter exotic animals such as kangaroos, penguins and koalas, while the Twelve Apostles is its most iconic landmark with rock pillars that reach up to 200 feet high. Spend your days swimming in surfing in quiet beaches or explore the landscapes in Great Otway National Park.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
One of the most picturesque spots in all of Italy, a visit to the Amalfi Coast is a highlight for many travelers. Make the drive from Sorrento south to Salerno to soak up the views of Italy’s pristine coastline that is dotted with brightly colored villages, lush green mountains and historic churches. Crammed with hairpin bends, the drive is worth being able to capture the spectacular scenery, where you can stop along the way at Positano, Duomo di Sant’Andrea and the Grotta dello Smeraldo cave.
An iconic 64-mile stretch of picturesque roadway, the Hana Highway in Hawaii is a single lane road that spans the North Coast of the Island from Paia to Hana. Snaking along the northeastern coast, it boasts 600 curvy bends and 59 bridges that are best explored on a leisurely road trip. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with views of towering coastal cliffs, plunging waterfalls and panoramic views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Make a pit stop to explore the natural beauty of Haleakala National Park.
Ring Road, Iceland
Home to dramatic landscapes dotted with impressive waterfalls, active volcanoes, towering mountains and blue glaciers, you can’t go wrong with a road trip in Iceland. You can experience some of the best of its natural beauty along Ring Road, which runs 800 miles around the island and passes crystal ice caves, geothermal pools and black-sand beaches. If you time your visit right, you might even be able to capture views of the Northern Lights illuminating the sky.
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
The longest coastal route in the world, Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland offers spectacular views of sea cliffs, castles and beaches. Drive along the 1,600-mile stretch of road from Donegal in the north to Cork in the South and you’ll discover some of the country’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Cliffs of Moher, Skellig Michael and Mizen Head through nine counties and three provinces. Soak up Ireland’s iconic landscapes while experiencing the quaint villages, glorious gardens and ancient historical sights.
Located on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, the Cabot Trail in Canada offers the ultimate road trip adventure. Make your way up and down steep grades and curves and discover beautiful sea cliffs, coastal hikes and untamed wilderness, where it’s possible to spot moose on the Skyline walk, whales on kayaking and boat excursions and sunset views over the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Stop in cultural heritage sites like the Alexander Bell Museum or take your time to explore charming fishing villages.
One of the original highways in the United States, Route 66 has inspired countless classic rock songs, stories and poems. The 2,2000-mile-long journey runs from Chicago to California and is an iconic piece of American history. A classic, nostalgic trip through small town America, those who really want to do this road trip right can rent a convertible, fill up at desert gas stations and stop along to dine at the old-school diners.
North Coast 500, Scotland
One of the best coastal routes in Scotland, the North Coast 500 is a circular road that starts in Inverness and stretches for about 800 miles. The roads will take you past deep lochs, craggy mountains and centuries-old castles as you marvel at the extraordinary coastal scenery. Often compared to Route 66 in the United States, this iconic road trip destination showcases the craggy grandeur of Scotland’s coast, both east and west and is known for offering a chance to spot mop-topped Highland cattle.
Atlantic Road, Norway
It might be the shortest road trip on the list, but it’s worth it. Atlantic Road in Norway takes less than 30 minutes to drive along the 5.1 miles and was voted Norway’s “Engineering Feat of the Century”. Here you can admire eight bridges that connect Averøy with the mainland via a collection of small islands and islets. Marvel at the birds flying overhead, spot seals and whales swimming off the coastline and time your trip to catch a beautiful orange sunset.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
There’s nothing like a road trip adventure to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the world’s largest salt flat. At an altitude of 11,985 feet, this bucket list destination offers otherworldly landscapes with a seemingly endless white expanse that will take your breath away. After a day of rain, when you drive over the wet surface it will feel like you’re driving through clouds, while dry weather makes it look like ice. Take photos of you on the salt flats for a memorable road trip souvenir.