11 Best Road Trips in the World

Heading out on a road trip is a great way to spend time with friends, family and loved ones or to experience new things on your own. There are many great places to go and planning a road trip can be almost as much fun as living it. Some of the best road trip destinations can be found nestled within the mountainous regions of the world. These areas are often rich with history, natural beauty and diversity.

Road Trips have their own fan base. Nothing compare to the thrill of a road trip where you are the in-charge, guide and explorer. The classic road trip provides a perfect way to see multiple sites and attractions during your travels. Countries around the world have iconic roads that call to tourists seeking a road trip adventure.

Traveling by car gives you plenty of time to set your own schedule and make the most of every interesting sight you see along the way. Here are just some of the scenic itineraries to consider when you're ready to hit the streets for your next vacation.

Best Road Trips in the World

Here we will look at some of the top road trips in the world.

1. Aurlandsfjellet Scenic Route, Norway

Aurland road is listed as one of the most scenic roads in the whole of Norway. You need to get off the highway in Laerdalsoyri and follow FV243 (otherwise you end up in the 24.5 km long world’s longest tunnel which leads you straight to Flam). Once you descend the mountain towards Aurlandswangen, you cross Stegastein viewpoint from where you can see the entire fjord! You can also pull up Borgund Stave church along the way.

2. Route 66, USA

The original Route 66 spanned from Chicago to Los Angeles, and it was filled with kitschy roadside attractions, innovative (for the time) motor hotels and mom-and-pop diners along the way. The original road may not exist today, but your GPS or smartphone can help you navigate your way along much of the original path and some of the most notable tourist attractions.

Gaze upon the world's largest ketchup bottle, visit the first gas station built in Texas and explore history in the Route 66 museum as you motor along across the country. For a unique take on this iconic road trip, consider traveling in an RV and camping your way across the country.

3. The Ring Road, Iceland

Iceland's Ring Road, also known as Route 1, circles the country, connecting a majority of the most notable towns and villages. Along this road trip, you can bask in the beauty of the Skogafoss waterfall or visit a church made from turf. If you're lucky, you might even get to see the awe-inspiring Northern Lights in Iceland during an evening drive. Traveling the Ring Road in summer months may be your best option, as winter weather conditions and shorter daylight hours can hamper driving.

4. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

One of the most pleasant drives is I-29 down the eastern end of the Dakotas between the Canadian border and Sioux Falls. No major cities. Minimal traffic and scenery, but also not an entirely unpleasant landscape. High speed limits. Just fill up, set your cruise at 85, and relax.

They’re much more enjoyable than scenic mountain roads where the weather can change in a minute and the driver is too busy to enjoy the scenery, or those maddeningly interesting roads in major cities where, again, traffic never moves, and they often charge you for the privilege of driving there. South of Sioux Falls, the road runs into the Missouri River, which at least gives it some definition and curves the rest of the way to Kansas City.

Even North Dakota - often thought to be a place with nothing to see - has over 100 worthy stops on a road trip. North Dakota is one of the better places to take a road trip in the contiguous United States! I-90 between Rapid City, and Rochester is a relatively flat road that crosses the flat Great Plains like every other road between I-20 and I-94, but this one again has a slightly extraterrestrial feel due to elevation and the northern clime.

Also, by the time you get out of the Black Hills, you have the Badlands to look forward to, and then endless fun Wall Drug and Burma-Shave signs to entertain you for hours. Before you know it, you’re in Minnesota, and then it’s a short drive to run into the nicely forested and curvy Mississippi River and the woodlands of Wisconsin.

Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore has something to explore for everyone. The popular landmarks of the place are the statutes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved into the mountain. From the outdoor adventure and American history to an array of beautiful wildlife, it is a large-scale mountain sculpture visited by millions of people from all over the world.

5. East Coast, USA

On I–95 once you get into New Jersey what is at that point the NJ Turnpike, South Jersey from the bottom of the state to at least exit 9 is mostly all wooded, especially the area north of exit 4. There the road goes through a forest of tall trees on each side with no billboards or signage other than the highway signs. In the fall it’s incredibly beautiful.

Then when you get into New York, just north of NYC take the Hutchinson River Parkway (the Hutch) for a much prettier alternative to 95 which it runs parallel to. It’s a very pretty, wooded windy parkway which becomes the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut which is also very pretty (and even more wooded).

6. Pacific Coast Highway, USA

Taking Highway 101, is a scenic albeit slower route. If you’re planning on staying overnight while driving from San Diego to San Francisco, then you might as well take this option. San Luis Obispo is a great midpoint. Pretty much all of San Luis Obispo County is good. The city of San Luis Obispo is the best locale for an overnight stop in that county. It’s a college town with old architecture and cool shops and restaurants.

There are several smaller towns in the county that are good options as well. Pismo Beach is a great beach town, and other towns such as Avila Beach, Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, and Atascadero are worth considering. Some of them might be a few miles off the main highway, but worth stopping in.

Aside from a more Spanish colonial feel around parts of Southern California and parts of the Bay Area, and the Mexican influence around SoCal, there is more uniformity to the 3 states that make up the West Coast. While there are certainly differences between Seattle and Portland, and even Washington and Oregon, it's nothing like the difference between Maine and South Carolina or Boston and Jacksonville.

The West Coast is slower paced, less crowded. But it counterbalances the East Coast with Hollywood and the Bay Area, the movie and tech capitals, both of which are in California giving the state a cultural heft rivaled by no other. Seattle is also a major tech hub and an information center. Also, the West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego has a spectacular coast line. The Pacific Northwest is beyond gorgeous and has bigger mountains.

7. Blue Ridge Parkway, USA

Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in USA and one of the best road trip destinations. You can go on a road trip of 470 miles through the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina to Virginia. You can get incredibly close to the grandiose natural scenery from the comfort of your vehicle. This is one of the best national parks in USA.

8. Icefields Parkway, Canada

The road runs between, over and among mountain ridges for close to 300 kilometres. Not far north of Glacier National Park in the Canadian Rockies lies the town of Banff. This is a quintessential mountain town located within Banff National Park a natural attraction known worldwide. In town you'll find great restaurants, boutiques and shopping mixed among the many mountain style hotels and lodges.

The national park grounds surrounding Banff are home to a lot of wildlife including Grizzly Bears, Elk and Moose. Like most national parks, it is an outdoorsy person's paradise with great opportunities for hiking and mountain biking. In fact, Banff is the starting point of the Tour Divide Mountain Bike race each June where riders race unassisted 2745 miles along the Continental Divide to the US/Mexico Boarder at Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

At the Icefields Parkway you turn left or right at Jasper for further adventure. Now that's a road trip!

9. Nordkapp, Norway

During a road trip in Norway you will come across the most beautiful natural sights anywhere on your travels. The Skipsfjorden bay is undoubtedly one of the favorites. In the beautiful Seibukta Bay there is a parking lot next to the E69 road from which the snow is removed during the winter. There you can observe the aurora in an environment full of peace.

Tufjorden fjord, on the coast of the island of Magerøya is a viewpoint on the way to the North Cape. The unaltered landscape allows to take time-lapse without interruptions. In Honningsvåg the electric lighting is so scarce that a dim corner is enough to admire the northern lights as much as possible. Around the North Cape you can also find small towns and places like Kåfjord, Repvåg, Skarsvåg, Nordvågen, Kjelvik, Valan, Gjesvær or Kamøyvær.

If you are fortunate enough, you will surely see the Northern Lights in Norway and the memory if going to live with you forever. Hotels are expensive. Campground cabins are more reasonable but will still add up. The cheapest way to stay is to bring your tent and camping gear. A spot in a campground with bathrooms, shower facilities, and often a kitchen will run you $20-$25.

If you really want to rough it, you can literally camp out in the woods for zero kroners, as long as you don’t need a hot shower in the morning and you follow a few simple rules. Bring a cold-rated sleeping bag and a proper pad. It gets cold at night, and the ground can suck the heat out of you. Do not eat out. For the love of Freya, do not rely on eating out.

Even junk food is expensive. Bring basic camping cookware and get groceries at the local Kiwi or Rema 1000 like everyone else. If you’re out by the ocean, you’re free to fish your own dinner and lunch, no fishing permit or license required.

10. The Romantic Road, Germany

The Romantic Road is a "theme route" devised by promotion-minded travel agents in the 1950s. All along its 220 miles (354 kilometers), flowers spill from the balconies of timbered homes, rolling vineyards bask in the sun, and lake-studded countryside sparkles against the grand Alps.

To travel these winding lanes is to experience a manifestation of sentimental scenery. You absolutely need to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany's best-preserved walled town.

11. The Great Ocean Road, Australia

Australia is an expansive country, and taking a trip along the Great Ocean Road lets you cover a vast amount of the Southeastern state of Victoria on your travels. Marvel at the naturally formed limestone towers that have stymied sailors on Shipwreck Coast throughout the centuries, and take a day to explore the Great Otway National Park with its roaring waterfalls and fern-filled gullies.

This expansive driving route is dotted with a host of parks, campgrounds and historic towns to check out as you make your way along the coast. A stop at the beach during winter in Australia provides plenty of chances to spot and even swim with dolphins.

Of course, when your vehicle doubles as a home, there are many other great places to go. The destinations are endless. Places like Estes Park, CO, Seattle, WA, The Austrian Alps, Central Spain, and the many mountain villages of western France. With so many great places to visit, choosing one may seem difficult. Just remember that the destination is less important than the experience, so get out there and experience as much as you can.
Kalyan Panja