Everyone loves a good road trip. Or so it seems, given by the number of people who were inspired to set off and see the world behind their wheels after our first round-up of epic road trips around the world.
So here we are back with MORE epic road trips, this time covering more exciting roads and more exotic locations! Together with 22 adventurous road trip addicts, we will show you just how much better it is to explore the world the road trip fashion — independent, free, and exciting!
Buckle up and let’s go on a whirlwind trip around the world!
First stop: NORTH AMERICA
1 | West to East Coast of America
Gemma and Craig of Two Scots Abroad
What do you get when you mix fifteen international travelers, eight tents, and a minivan? A really exciting three week road trip on a party bus!
The best road trip I’ve taken part in lasted for three weeks, started in San Francisco and ended in The Big Apple! The best thing about the trip (bar the company) was what we saw. We hiked at Yosemite, cycled around The Grand Canyon, slept under the stars at Monument Valley (Utah) and line danced in Houston.
Although group travel isn’t for everyone, the benefits of this trip was that someone else was responsible for getting me to each stop which was ideal after I lost two nights of my life dancing to jazz in New Orleans! This was my first time in the United States of America and a perfect way to get a taste of twelve states.
2 | Geronimo Trail in Arizona to County Road 002 in New Mexico, USA
Charles McCool of McCool Travel
One of my favorite road trips was driving the unpaved roads of Geronimo Trail—from Douglas Arizona into New Mexico—and then the desolate county roads of extreme southwestern New Mexico. At one point I drove 90 minutes without seeing a vehicle or actually any signs of humanity: no billboards, houses, utility wires, nothing. It truly was the loneliest road I have been on.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIP: A high clearance 4WD vehicle is necessary for parts of this drive. Also, if you are someone who craves 24×7 connection, this is not for you. It is truly off the grid.
READ MORE: Charles’ road trip on the Loneliest Road in America.
3 | San Francisco to Las Vegas “Through the Back Door”
Carole Terwilliger Meyers of Travels with Carole
The “back door” is Yosemite’s Tioga Pass. This trip began in San Francisco, reached Yosemite in about 5 hours, then continued on through the narrow Tioga Pass to Mono Lake, where we spent the first night. The next day we visited the ghost town of Bodie, then drove along Highway 395 to June Lake, where we spent our second night. The next day, we were off to Bishop to visit the famous Mountain Light Gallery, and ended up in Death Valley for our third night. All this natural beauty was topped off on the last afternoon with arrival glitzy Las Vegas.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIP: Add in a night in Yosemite and another night in Death Valley if you have the time.
READ MORE: Carole’s “through the back door” guide
4 | Argentina
Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across the World
During my first trip to Argentina, my sister (who’s my favorite partner in crime – well, travel!) and I mostly moved around by bus and the occasional internal flight. On the last leg of our journey we decided we wanted to try something different and travel a bit more independently, so we rented a car.
We picked one in Salta, in the North West of Argentina, and started exploring the fantastic Quebrada de Humahuaca, the most indigenous region of the country. The Andean peaks, colorful villages, mountains so pretty that they looked like they had been painted by an artist and the friendly locals made our journey memorable.
One of the most epic stops was in the village of Tilcara, where we were dragged to participate in the carnival celebrations. The locals had organized a parade that went around the village: several bands walked the streets playing incessant and rhythmic music. Others threw flour at passers-by. When we realized that there was no way we’d get out clean, we decided we may as well join and got our good share of flour, ready to get our hands dirty. We engaged in a friendly war with the locals and other travelers and it was a lot of fun!
Another epic stop was on a detour we took to go to Salinas Grandes, a giant salt flats. As it had rained the night before, the flats were covered by a thin layer of water which beautifully reflected the sky. It was gorgeous!
5 | Central Spain
Odoardo Girardi of Queidue
We have just come back from our one-week road trip in central Spain. Start and end point was the capital, Madrid; in between we visited a lot of cities such as Segovia, Salamanca, Avila, Valladolid and, of course, Madrid. Their cathedrals were simply amazing in gothic style, the city centres were within everyone’s reach, but the best part of the trip was with no doubts food: tortilla, bacon, chorizo, and all the delicious tapas we tasted always together with a cool beer.
Escaping from highways and going through the countryside we avoided to pay the toll and meanwhile we did enjoy the amazing landscapes which took our breathe away. We explored natural and uncontaminated panoramas and fields and we enjoyed the peace and the silence typical of the countryside.
6 | Cinque Terre to Venice, Italy
Sharon Gourlay of Where’s Sharon?
Our favourite road trip was across Italy in summer 2015. We started in the absolutely gorgeous Cinque Terre, drove through Tuscany, up to Bologna and then finished in Venice. We spent 8 days on the road trip with time in Cinque Terre and Venice at each end in addition to this.
The best part about a road trip in Italy is getting to visit so many little towns that you just wouldn’t get to otherwise. In Tuscany, we found it amazing how many gorgeous little towns there are that we had never even heard of and never would have seen without a car. Our main stops were Lucca, Pisa, Siena, Florence and San Gimignano.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIP: Be organised. There are fines for driving in the centre of many Italian towns so you need to know what you are doing. Also try to relax when driving. It wasn’t as bad as I feared but I did find it scary at the beginning (especially as I am used to driving on the left!).
7 | Milan to Vico del Gargano, Puglia
Margherita Ragg of The Crowded Planet
I must admit, I haven’t done that many road trips in my life. I don’t have a car and I’m not a very confident driver, so I usually opt for public transport over cars. Having said that, two years ago I was invited to visit Vico del Gargano, a small village in the Puglia region of southern Italy, and the only way to get there was by car. So, my husband and I thought it would be a good excuse for a road trip.
We set off in Milan, my hometown in the northern part of the country, and stopped in Cinque Terre and Marche before arriving in Vico del Gargano, where we spent a week exploring the region and the surrounds.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIP: Drive a small car. There were lots of winding road and narrow streets around the villages – my mum’s tiny Panda certainly came in handy! Also, if you’re travelling on the motorway (autostrada) pack some snacks because the service stations tend to be pricey, but if you’re driving along country roads there will be lots of delicious restaurants!
8 | Iceland Ring Road
Inma Gregorio of A World to Travel
My favorite road trip ever needs to be the one I took while I was working as a volunteer in the field of environmental issues in Iceland, three years ago.A crazy opportunity of driving all around the country through the Ring road in the next couple of days (with Reykjavik as the starting and ending point) came up and I took it in a whim even when I knew it was going to be exhausting.
We drove almost 2,000 km during the next 48 hours and I had the chance of stopping at Jokulsarlon lake, Vik, Dalvik, Myvatn and tons of gorgeous waterfalls and glacier tongues among many other epic spots.
9 | Southern Iceland
Jamie Italiane of The Daily Adventures of Me
To celebrate my 40th birthday, three girlfriends I and took four days driving around the South of Iceland. We spent our first day in the capital city of Reykjavik and touring the Golden Circle. We were fortunate enough to see the northern lights when we stayed at Hotel Ranga that night. We spent the next two days driving along the southern Ring Road, stopping to hike in fall foliage and snowmobile on a glacier, going from whiteout snow to a spectacular view of the ocean. We explored amazing black beaches, geysers and waterfalls.
My favorite stop was a Jokulsarlon, a glacier lagoon, where we took a boat ride among icebergs calving off the glacier, then followed them down a stream until they floated out through the waves into the ocean. We ended our trip at the naturally fed hot spring of the Blue Lagoon, where we had a surreal floating massage!
We loved everything about Iceland- the people, food and spectacularly awe-inspiring nature. It was a trip that I will never forget and was only a five hour flight from the US’ east coast, where I live.
BEST ROAD TRIP TRIPS: I plan my trips using travel blogs and Trip Advisor. I am not afraid to move and do whatever sounds good to me, but always have a plan before I go. I am sure to always be flexible while I am on the road – you never know what adventure you will find out there and the snowmobiling was a last minute add!
10 | The Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland
Sanket Dhume of Nomadic Lives
Since the day I stumbled upon the works of Sir William Yeats, I’ve had a growing fascination for his homeland — Ireland. The dream became a reality in 2014, when I embarked upon a legendary voyage to circumnavigate the Emerald Isle’s stunning coastline along one of the world’s most highly rated road-routes — The Wild Atlantic Way.
The 2500 km long trail starts in the south of Ireland in Country Cork, and hugs the coast-line all the way to the northern-most point in mainland Ireland in County Donegal. Along the way, it covers some of Ireland’s most iconic tourist-spots, including the Ring of Kerry, the Killarney National Park, the Dingle Peninsula, the Connemara National Park, and the Cliffs of Moher.
The trail is divided in 14 phases, with a detailed map here. Travelers have a range of options from rental cars, to bicycles (yes, I met some on the way who did this), and even chartered coaches/cars, depending upon your preferences and the available time at hand.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIPS:
1) Most famous tourist places follow a set pattern in tourist visits. For example, almost all tour companies drive through the Ring of Kerry anti-clockwise; use this piece of information and drive in the opposite direction to avoid getting stuck behind slow-moving tourist coaches.
2) Straying off the trodden path is often rewarding – don’t stick to your travel book; though often useful, travel books are influential and will completely hijack your experience, if followed word to word. Instead, pluck up some courage and speak to locals – they are the best tour-guides you can ever ask for, and what’s better? They are free! Hint: There’s great treasures to be unearthed along the relatively unexplored roads of South-west Cork.
3) Ireland is blessed with countless breweries and tasty brews. Taste your way through the local brews at every pub and thank me later. Some of my personal favorites: The Galway Hooker, Tom Crean’s Fresh Irish Lager, & the Beal Ban from the West Kerry Brewery. A lot of these brews are only available in the areas of their produce and not a treat to be missed out on!
So off you go then! Embark upon a journey that will redefine your standards for natural beauty and the human warmth.
11 | The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Mate Begonja of Chasing the Donkey
The Dalmatian Coast is a dramatic coastline located in the region of Dalmatia in Croatia. It stretches from Zadar in the North all the way to the Montenegro border in the South and is approximately 350km long. The road that winds its way along the coast is absolutely stunning and I would say one of the best coastal road trips in the world.
What makes it the best? The crystal clear Adriatic sea, loads of islands and islets scattered along the coast, beautiful bays, beaches and coves for you to explore, historic towns dotted along the way, stunning views whether they be at sea level or from the mountain ranges that run parallel with the coast.
By far the best time to make this road trip is outside of the summer tourist season. By then the tourist chaos has subsided and the weather is still warm enough to swim. The best place to start is in Starigrad Paklenica and slowly wind your way all the way South passing through Nin, Zadar, Šibenik, Split, Makarska and finish up at the pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIP: If you’re making this epic road trip you should do a detour to one of Croatia’s islands like Hvar or Brač.
12 | Zagreb to Split, Croatia
Millie Alrdrich of Millie Goes
I am a huge fan of road trips, and this year saw me lucky enough to get to Croatia to explore some of this beautiful country. Starting in the capital Zagreb, I had a little over a week to make it from here in the North to Split halfway down the coast. With stops along the way to include national parks such as Plitvice and Krka, it was no doubt going to be truly epic!
A small group of us departed together, and we carried on in our group the whole way. The scenery here is truly something else, from the vast ‘moonscape’ of Pag Island (home of world famous Zrce Party Beach), to the lush forests of Plitvice National Park, there is something to suit everyone here.
A must stop is the small coastal town of Sibenik, as from here you can make trips to Krka, Trogir and Zadar to swim in the clear waters or simply try some of the local food! Of course, with any good road trip the people you travel with make the adventure. With 3 Croatian nationals at my side, there was no way I was going to be able to skip any of the best parts! On a trip like this, make sure you remember to take your time and enjoy it. The locals are hilarious so get to know them, try some of the local seafood as it’s all fresh and you cannot go to Croatia without a swim in the sea!
13 | Switzerland
Nic and Paul of The Roaming Renegades
For us, one of the most epic road trips we went on was through Switzerland. We landed in the stunning city of Geneva and drove 2 hours to the adventure capital of the world: Interlaken! The journey took us along the edge of some stunning lakes including Lake Geneva, Brienz and Thun, the true blue colour of the water something we have never seen before. The winding roads then took us into the heart of the Swiss Alps, we rounded a corner and got our first glimpse of those majestic mountains. This was a truly life affirming moment!
Driving through the valleys and mountainsides we knew this trip was set up to be one of the best of our lives. Once we arrived in Interlaken we wasted no time in exploring, venturing up the Schilthorn for the most amazing views imaginable, paragliding whilst watching the sun rise over the Eiger, leaping from 30ft water falls in the canyons, white water rafting in the glacial melt waters of Jungfrau and hiking the extreme Via Ferrata over the impressive Lauterbrunnen valley. All before taking another impressive road trip over to the Alpine country of Liechtenstein!
BEST ROAD TRIP TIP: Rent a car when you arrive in Switzerland! As a country isn’t at all that big but it has so much to see and do!
14 | Norway
Linda Kazmerski of Tripping Blonde
I took my favorite road trip deep into the mountains of the western coast of Norway when I drove from Alesund to Andalsnes via Geirangerfjord. A national tourist route in Norway that is only opened for about 5 months out of the year (when there is no snow), this route provides endless jaw-dropping scenery. You’ll see tons of waterfalls, peer into endless fjords, cross glacier lakes, drive past colorful berry fields, and zoom through massive tunnels on this route. However, the most epic part of this trip is an opportunity to drive one of the world’s most exciting roads, the Trollstigen.
The Trollstigen, a narrow mountain road just outside of Andalsnes, offers dramatic scenery thanks to the steep mountains surrounding it and the large Stigfossen waterfall serving as a backdrop. It’s hard to keep your eyes on the road, but you better! It’s very steep (9% grade), and it zigzags along the mountainside with 11 hairpin turns. Be sure to stop at the top and take in the views from the balconies built right over the waterfall.
The total trip is about 150 miles and is best done over two days with a one night stay in Geirangerfjord.
READ MORE: Linda’s driving tips for Norway!
AUSTRALIA / OCEANIA
15 | East coast of Australia
Natasha of The World Pursuit
A group of 20 friends from all over the world rented 4 camper vans in Sydney, Australia. We took two weeks to drive up to Fraser Island and back, sleeping in the fold down cots located in the van every night. I think the highlight for most of us was driving out on Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. You need a 4×4 to explore and can choose to stay in luxury or go the cheaper route and just camp out! There is nature and wildlife everywhere to see, but for optimal fun take your vehicle around on some bumpy roads and enjoy the ride!
With the convenience of the vans we were able to stop and see many cities along the way. By going cheap and staying actually in the camper vans we were also able to splurge more on partying with each other. We were all study abroad students coming from varying countries in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the US so what made this trip so epic was ultimately the group of people that were banded together.
16 | Up Through the Red Centre, Australia
Stephanie Parker of Big World Small Pockets
We started our wonderful road trip up through the Outback in Adelaide, South Australia. 3 weeks and over 3500km later we ended up in the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory. Along the way we got to experience the epic beauty of Uluru, the steaming hot springs of Mataranka, and the weird and wonderful underground world of Coober Pedy.
We got off road and onto the dirt tracks around Australia’s hottest town Oodnadatta, to the eerie stillness of great Lake Eyre and within the giant national park of Kakadu. We chatted with farmers who have to take a helicopter to the nearest shops, we hiked hidden gorges, swam in tropical waterfalls and dressed up giant termite mounds. We camped wild and free at the side of the road, gazed at countless stars and swapped stories with emus around the fire. And we gazed out the window, happy and carefree, with the coloured backdrop of Central Australia – that red, red earth and that blue, blue sky – providing the perfect backdrop.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIP: Take a fly head net! There are literally millions of flies in Outback Australia and once you’ve endured even half an hour of them buzzing into and around every orifice on your body and all over your food you’ll want to cry. You start by thinking fly head nets look ridiculous, but very soon realise they are lifesavers!
17 | Perth to Broome
Shandos Cleaver of Travelnuity
One of my favourite road trips has been driving up the west coast of Australia, in between Perth and Broome. This is a massive road trip – over 2000km! – and there’s plenty to see along the way, so ideally allow 2 weeks or more.
Some of the highlights include stopping at the Pinnacles (these 3m high limestone formations that stick up out of the desert), feeding the wild dolphins at Monkey Mia, going swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef (make sure you visit in season between April and July) and exploring the many gorges of Karijini National Park. You’ll also get the chance to visit many authentic small Australian towns, see plenty of kangaroos and other wildlife, and enjoy spectacular west coast sunsets.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIPS:1) Stick to the Australian winter if heading all the way north to Broome, to avoid 45C days and cyclones.2) It’s wise to pay a bit more to have a better vehicle that won’t break down in the middle of nowhere. And in case of a breakdown (it can happen to anyone), make sure you have plenty of water and don’t leave your vehicle. This is definitely part of the Australian Outback, the back of beyond, and is largely a desolate and remote region!
18 | Queenstown to Auckland, New Zealand
Lauren of #LJOJLO
There is something unique and special about road trips. The freedom to explore exactly what you want when you want with the actual ability of getting there. It was January 2015 and myself and partner had hired a campervan and were ready to explore the island of the long white cloud, New Zealand.
Starting in Queenstown and finishing in Auckland, we had 18 days to pack in as much or as little of the country as we wanted. In typical Aussie fashion we packed in heaps and heaps and heaps. I would suggest if you are wanting more relaxation and less driving I believe this road trip could be easily and comfortably done in 4 weeks instead of the 18 days.
Interesting and must see stops included: exploring the active marine volcano of White Island, kayaking Milford Sound, spending the early afternoon in snow on Mt Ruapehu and then swimming in the late afternoon at Lake Taupo, the entirety of the West Coast of the South Island, a scenic flight over the Southern Alps, and ‘free camping’ in NZ.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIPS:
- Obtain a campervan that allows you to ‘free camp’. A campervan without toilet facilities are not allowed and you could be fined if you ‘free camp’.
- ‘Free camp’ as much as you can and stay in caravan parks when you desperately need a shower
- Finally, I know there is often a fee if you pick up a campervan in one place and drop it in another but in this case it is totally worth it. You would spend the same amount in petrol trying to get back.
19 | The Great Ocean Road, Australia
Stuart and Eloise of Am I Nearly There Yet?
The Great Ocean Road is surely one of THE most well known epic road trips on earth! Just a hour or so from Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road winds through little coastal towns towards the awe-inspiring Twelve Apostles.
Some of the beaches on the Great Ocean road are Australia’s (and the world’s) most famous surf spots – perfect for brushing up on your board skills! Check out Bells Beach near Torquay There are some great little towns to stop for food, coffee, petrol, souvenirs etc – Rye River was probably our favourite spot!
You can see whales and dolphins in the Southern Ocean, and heaps of Australia’s forest-loving marsupials, like Kangaroos and possums! Explore ancient rain forests and see an incredible range of birds. It’s truly an epic road trip!
BEST ROAD TRIP TIPS: Try and start your Great Ocean Road adventure on a week day. It can get pretty busy on the weekends as it’s near enough from Melbourne for the locals to escape down there too. Also, factor an extra day for chilling and side-adventures!
20 | Karakoram Highway from Pakistan to China
Christian Lindgren of Unusual Traveler
The Karakoram Highway is one of the most ledgendary road trips in the world, it starts off in Abbottabad, a city that’s mostly famous for being Bin Laden’s hiding spot.
Each corner will take your breath away. You will experience some of the most hospitable people on earth, crystal clear rivers, stunning Valleys and old historical forts.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIP: One of the best stops in the trip is the Paradise Valley of Hunza, surrounded by the high Karakoram mountains, and what has to be the best walnut cake in the world.
You will finish the road trip by crossing the highest border crossing in the world (4800mts) into China.
21 | Chiang Mai, Thailand
Shayan and Kanika of Dose of Life
Leading up to New Year, we decided to escape the craziness of Bangkok city and hit the mountains of Chiang Mai for some adventure. First we thought of taking the plane but then it hit us. Why not drive there?
And that is exactly what we did. The Chiang Mai road trip from Bangkok is our favorite so far because we got to re-explore Thailand in a way we never did before.
Although it is an 8-hour drive, we did it in over 13 because we stopped on the way quite a bit as we passed half a dozen provinces, each with their own unique sights, sounds and atmosphere. We saw towns, villages, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, curving mountain ranges and other stunning scenery, which made the drive very exciting.
What’s more, our road trip didn’t end at Chiang Mai as we explored all the destinations around the city such as Doi Inthanon, Doi Suthep and Doi Ang Khang – all amazing places worth a visit.
BEST ROAD TRIP TIP: Stop by towns on the way. Take as many breaks as possible to make this trip a journey not a destination. You could even stay a night at provinces/towns such as Nakhon Sawan, Kamphang Phet or Tak to really experience northern Thailand to the most.
22 | National Parks of South Africa
Sabine and Sean of The Travelling Chilli
On our last road trip we wanted to discover the more off beat national parks of South Africa. We took our time to discover every park and town and to get to the next destination. We drove 9000 kilometres in 2,5 months.
We started our trip in Durban, drove through the small mountain kingdom of Lesotho to arrive in the Karoo region. The Karoo is a semi arid area in the middle of South Africa, hosting amazing scenery and very diverse wildlife. A few lesser known national parks can be visited (Mountain Zebra, Camdeboo, Karoo) and meanwhile explore the typical Karoo towns like Graaff Reinet and Beaufort West.
The highlight of the trip for us was to explore the parks in the northern part of South Africa. Apart from being very arid, they are also very isolated and only reachable with a high clearance 4×4 vehicle. At one stage we were camping by the Orange river in AiAis Richtersveld national park, all by ourselves, without any cell phone reception and the nearest people were a mere 3 hours drive away. We ended the trip with a visit to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier national park, a must visit park for lovers of predators. There are so many lions, hyenas, cheetahs, jackalls and so many more to see that you don’t know where to look first.
What we liked so much about this road trip is that we were most of the times off the beaten track. And also most of these national parks were all so different from one another – we went from the desert to the oceanside to a mountainous region and again to grassland areas. South Africa is a great country for road trips, with wide open spaces, dramatic nature and gorgeous little towns to discover. It was an epic road trip and we can’t wait to go back for more.
Have these 22 adventurous, road tripping travelers fueled your imagination yet? It’s so much fun to see the world and explore a country through road trips. And if you missed it, go and check out 13 more epic road trips!
Do you love road trips? What’s your favorite one or one you’ve been dying to go on? Please share in the comments below and inspire our next adventure!