World's Best Road Trips

Monday morning at the traffic lights: to the right lies another working week, to the left the endless possibilities created by your car plus the road. There's nothing quite like the freedom of having a packed car and some maps and heading off on an adventure; and the current economic climate means there's no better time to do 'as Ferris does and stop to smell the roses' on one of the world's best road trips.

A road trip is cheap freedom. Drive your own car right out of your garage or fly then hire, you're still going to pay less and see more. A road trip can take you, literally, almost anywhere – on or off road – but there are some classic routes for all tastes to consider.

Best Road Trips for Adventure: Explore the edges of the map on these remote roads.

The Karakoram Highway follows the route of the old silk road up to one of the world's highest altitude passes amongst some of the world's highest scenery round K2, Nanga Parbat and Gasherbrums I-IV. The Carretera Austral or Southern Highway runs on a largely unpaved odyssey through Patagonia, stopping at remote towns along the way.
Other great southern coastal roads are Australia's Great Ocean Road - a week of rock formations and national parks - and South Africa's Garden Route, which has mountains and forests on one side of the highway, and Indian Ocean marine reserves on the other - perfect for trekking in the morning and snorkelling in the afternoon. New Zealand's South Island is an adventure sports playground of extreme sports in extreme scenery and the – Christchurch to Timaru Trip is a classic for lovers of both.
Journeying between Marrakech and Essaouira via the Atlas Mountains is going a bit out of your way, but the trip south, through spectacular desert scenery, amongst the snow capped sky scrapers of the Atlas Mountains and along ridges over lush, hidden valleys will take you to the edge of the Sahara, as well as into the Atlases before the coast lays out in front of you at Essaouira.
Classic American road trip destinations, Death Valley and The Alaskan Highway both have names promising adventure. Death Valley and the ghost towns, narrow canyons and open deserts around it are like an invitation for tough guys and people looking to escape society's bars, while the Alaskan Highway promises the clear beauty of stillness and remoteness that the Yukon and Alaska are known for, and an opportunity to see elk, moose and wild sheep - and off the coast dolphins and whales - in a close to pristine environment.

Best Road Trips for Sightseeing: Drive by some of the world's best sights.

For scenic days packed with distractions and attractions and evenings spent in comfortable B&Bs, a trip along Ireland's Antrim Coast Road, past the Mourne Mountains, Carrickfergus Castle, Bushmills, Dunluce Castle, the Giant's Causeway and the Glens of Antrim, or on America's Blue Ridge Parkway, though the Great Smoky Mountains, are great family road trips.
Hawaii's Hana Highway, from Pa'ia to Hana, is a much shorter trip, but with plenty to see, from bamboo and eucalyptus groves by waterfalls to panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean that you'll remember for the rest of your life. And there are little fruit and juice stalls lining the way to keep you sustained on your journey. While the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West, which runs for 113 miles over 43 long, flat, straight ocean bridges, on top of and between colourful reefs and small keys, is the road trip equivalent of island hopping.
Finland's 1000 Lakes Trip is an eight or nine day Scandinavian family classic. Ex Helsinki it weaves around the beautiful lake country, between the 187,000 lakes, with overnight stops in cozy country towns. The Reykjavik to Akureyri Route by Geysir, the Reykjanes Peninsula and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is another excellent choice for sightseeing and you can do it in a day, taking snaps along the way or go slow and admire the sites.

Best Road Trips for History: Retracing historic routes.

Follow in the unpaved footsteps of Che Guevara between Santa Cruz and Vallegrande, as he travelled though Bolivia and was finally laid to rest, or trace the Viking's first inroads into Canada on the Viking Trail. Past the Norse landing site at L'Anse aux Meadows, and though the Gros Morne National Park, for the rock art and remains there, this trip also passes between pretty coastal towns most of which have a local Viking museum in which to house the local relics.
Route 66 is the classic road trip route into American folklore, following the old commercial route between rural villages. From the fields of Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma, to the deserts of Texas and New Mexico to the coastline of California, this road is also referred to as Main Street USA.

Best Road Trips for Luxury: Wind in your hair freedom in style.

These last road trips are the kind of thing honeymoons are made for. Best case scenario the car is something sleek, open topped and Italian. The clear seas, bright villages and stone churches of the Amalfi Coast between Positano, Sorrento, Ravello and Amalfi, are well stocked with small boutique hotels, hidden coves and intimate cafe terraces on which to watch the sun go down, and make for the classic eloper's dream. A trip along the French Riviera between Nice and Monte Carlo reeks of playboy chic, especially if you happen to win money in any of the casinos lining the route. If you do live it large, staying in luxury and dining al fresco in the best restaurants, if you don't, dine alfresco on the beach and stay cheap and cheerful – the sun, sparkling water and people watching is free, even if the sparking wine isn't. For lovers by title, the Romantic Road from Heidelberg Castle to Neuschwanstein Castle, runs along the old trade route between medieval towns and fairytale castles.

More of the World's Best Road Trips

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