Roll the window down, get some top tunes on, feel the wind in your hair, and embark on a trip you’ll remember for years to come. Who cares about the destination? This is all about the journey, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are 10 road trips around the world that you don’t want to miss.
Route 66: Image Broker/Rex Features
Route 66, USA
The granddaddy of all road trips, Route 66 is a seemingly endless stretch of road that connects Chicago to California. Although Route 66 was decommissioned over 20 years ago it still remains an important part of American culture, with many of the towns and food stops along its 2,450 mile expanse still relying on the road for the business it brings. The old two-lane highway is actually quite difficult to find on many current road maps, but trust us; it’s still there!
The Amalfi Drive, Italy
The Amalfi Drive is a narrow and twisting sightseeing road just south of Naples and Pompeii that was originally built by the Romans. There’s only a three-foot wall separating the road from a massive drop to the sea as you head on the 30-mile route, so the faint of heart need not apply. The road is arguably one of the most beautiful and thrilling routes in the world, with panoramic views at every bend and countless picturesque hillside villas perched on the edges.
Atlantic Road, Norway
This scenic five-mile stretch of road along highway RV64 opened in 1989, and passes over the Hustadvika; an infamous area of ocean which frequently sees breathtakingly violent weather. The storms are at their most severe in autumn, so steer clear of the road at this time if you aren’t in the mood for an adventurous drive. In calmer weather, there’s the chance to observe whales and seals off-shore along the way, and you can even stop off for some of the great fishing opportunities that are available.
The Causeway Coast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Easily one of the most spectacular routes in Britain, this road curves around the northeast corner of Ireland from Larne to Dunluce Castle. The route hugs the rugged shoreline and passes through idyllic villages such as the National Trust-owned Cushendun. Other sites to stop off at include Dunluce Castle, Slemish Mountain and Carnfunnock Country Park. The true star of the drive is of course Giant’s Causeway – a mass of 40,000 hexagonal stone columns on the coast that need to be seen to be believed.
Grand Trunk Road, India to Afghanistan
A 1,600-mile stretch across the breadth of the Indian subcontinent that links three capital cities in the region, the Grand Trunk Road is not a journey to be taken lightly. Few roads in the world can provide such a snapshot of a society, and a trip along it will expose you to Pakistan and India on the move – from trucks to rickety buses and bullock carts.
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The San Bernardino Pass, Switzerland
The San Bernardino Pass is a driver’s dream road, providing dramatic Alpine scenes at seemingly every turn. Medieval castles and churches dominate the route, which coupled with the gorges and sprawling bridges along the way, bring you face-to-face with some of Switzerland’s most impressive scenery. It’s worth bearing in mind that the route is largely only passable during the summer months, so be sure to plan ahead if you want to make the journey.
The Picos de Europa, Spain
This Picos de Europa route is located on a striking compact mountain range on the north coast of Spain. The highest mountains on the Spanish Atlantic Coast, these roads provide a challenging drive of around seven hours. Peaceful lush green valleys surround the area, and the beech-covered slopes of the mountains provide a refuge for a whole host of rare wildlife – including the Asturcón pony and Iberian brown bear.
The Grossglockner Road: Massey/Keystone USA/Rex Features
The Grossglockner Road, Austria
Considered the pinnacle of all modern Alpine highways, the tongue twisting ‘Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse’ (High Mountain Road) was opened in 1935, beginning the modern road conquest of the Alps. As well as the picturesque peaks (including Grossglockner), the route takes in idyllic waterfalls and wooded valleys. On a clear and sunny day, not even the throngs of other tourists can mar the beauty of this trip.
Eyre Highway, Australia
This mammoth road is named after the explorer John Eyre, who crossed the southern edge of Australia in 1841 on a gruelling five-month trek. It runs from Port Augusta in the east to Norseman in the west, covering a staggering 1,041 miles. If you are after peace and quiet then the Eyre Highway is the route for you, with the western three quarters of the road practically devoid of life.
Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1), USA
The Pacific Coast Highway begins and ends in two of America’s most-loved cities: San Francisco and Los Angeles. It takes in some of the most spectacular views in the United States, so it should be done at a leisurely pace if possible. If you are short on time and want to see the best the route has to offer, you may want to limit yourself to the stretch between San Luis Obispo and Monterey, where the great scenery of the large pine forests contrasts with the opposing cliff edges overlooking the Pacific Ocean.