With chance to travel at your own pace and park up whenever the scenery calls for a photo or three, a road trip is often the most liberating way to see a country and get under its skin.
There are some routes which have their place in the history books – not only for being great driving experiences coupled with stunning scenery to boot, but for the cultural significance they play in a country’s identity.
So put your sunglasses on, the visor down and rev your engine in readiness for a selection of the world’s greatest road trips.
Sydney to Melbourne, Australia
There are a few routes taking you from Sydney to Melbourne, including a heritage route and great alpine drive, but for ocean lovers, the best is the coastal route, taking in the stunning views of the southern coastline, all wild and rugged. Along its length, the Pacific Ocean, Tasman Sea and Bass Strait have carved out dramatic headlands and you’ll discover secret coves and spectacular beaches along the way. On route, check out the penguins of Philip Island, get whisked back in time in the old gold town of Walhalla and visit the historic lighthouse at Wilson’s Promontory, the southern-most point of Australia’s mainland. A campervan is a great way to travel in Oz, and there are lots of places to hire or buy one.
The Garden Route, South Africa
The Garden Route, South Africa’s most famous stretch of coastline, features South Africa’s greatest beaches, mountains and forests, with chance to spot whales, seals and sharks and visit famous game reserves along the way. The route itself can be covered in a little over two hours on the nearby highway, but the best driving experience is to hop onto the more rural and coastal roads to be sure you don’t miss the headline sights and everything in between.
Pacific Coast Highway, USA
While the official Pacific Coast Highway is actually only 130 miles long, most people think of it stretching from the Mexican Border near San Diego up to Canada. The California stretch between LA and San Francisco tends to be the most popular section for an American road trip, which usually takes around a week to drive (in fact you could drive it in 8 or 9 hours if you drive non-stop). Don’t miss the surfing at Cambria, the elephant seal colony at Piedras Blancas between the December and February and the stunning coastline around the coastal town of Big Sur.
Route 66, USA
The most legendary of all road trips is surely Route 66, which once stretched from Chicago in the East through to Los Angeles in the West, covering almost 2,500 miles. Despite being bypassed by the new Interstate Highway System in more recent years, portions of the route still remain and have become a designated national scenic byway. The route crosses Illinois, Missourri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California and is a brilliant way to see the big old US of A. There are loads of great sights along the route, but the most historic and poignant are the long-forgotten towns along the route that are seemingly still stuck in the 1950s. Drive into a diner and reminisce over what once was. USA tours don’t get much better.
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
Not one for those with motion sickness because of its windy route, Italy’s Amalfi coast is one of the most stunning drives in the world, with almost 50 miles of narrow roads weaving their way around the coastline. Sorrento, Salerno, Ravello and Amalfi are the stop-off points to indulge in classic Italian seafood dishes mid route, as you navigate your way around picture-postcard cliff-top villages, secret beach coves and stunning Mediterranean beaches.