As Jim Morrison once famously sang, “keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel”. Wise words indeed, especially for those who have the good fortune to experience one of these spectacularly scenic drives.
Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia, Canada
Proud Canadians from St. John’s to Victoria regard the Cabot Trail as a venerable rite of passage. The monument highway on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia is a picturesque glimpse into the culturally vibrant maritime province. Easily navigable over the course of a day, most stick to a leisurely pace in order to explore Cape Breton Highlands National Park and adorable coastal hamlets en route.
Milford Road (State Highway 94), New Zealand
Milford Sound, together with Aoraki/Mount Cook, forms the most venerable part of New Zealand’s remarkable Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best introduction to the unforgettable South Island and Fiordland enclave is a cruise down Milford Road.
Adriatic Highway, Croatia
The Adriatic Highway slices a gorgeous path through coastal Croatia and parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The scenic section of European route E65 hits all the sweet spots: Split, Dubrovnik, Tivat, Budva, Petrovac and the Bay of Kotor.
Karakoram Highway, China and Pakistan
The Karakoram Highway snakes through the Khunjerab Pass, north of the Himalayas, at a record high altitude. No other road on the planet compares and as a result, countless visitors make the formidable drive between Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.
The Highlands of Scotland
Take the A82 from Glasgow and connect with the A83 and suddenly, the Highlands of Scotland unfurl before you. The rugged region offers untold bucolic vistas and the A83 is the road to ferry you there. Enjoy points of interest like Loch Fyne, the Arrochar Alps, the village of Tarbert and the Firth of Clyde.
Pacific Coast Highway, California, United States of America
From the Florida Keys to Alaska, Maine to Hawaii, road trips and America go hand in hand. The Pacific Coast Highway is without question however, the poster child for road trip goodness. You can travel from San Francisco to hotels in Los Angeles on Interstate 5 of course but if time is on your side, why bother? California State Route 1, otherwise known as the Pacific Coast Highway, is the way to go.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
From one brilliant coastline to another, Great Ocean Road is a mandatory experience for visitors to Victoria, Australia. Though not as long as others on our list (the drive between Torquay and Warrnambool is 243 km), the opportunity to commune with temperate rainforests, Loch Ard Gorge, the Grotto, the Twelve Apostles and beautiful coastal towns is inimitable indopools.
Talk to avid English motorists about the country’s best roads and inevitably, the Atlantic Highway comes up. The pretty stretch of the A39 in Cornwall and North Devon is one thrill ride after another, with achingly quaint villages and postcard landscapes to enjoy along the way.
National Route 40, Argentina
At more than 5,000 km, Argentina’s National Route 40 is a leviathan road trip expedition. The highway between the Strait of Magellan and the border of Bolivia spans vast national parks, rivers, Andes passes and attains a prolific zenith of 5,000 m above sea level at Abray del Acay, Salta Province.
Route 11, Chile
With National Route 40 to whet your road trip appetite, why not tackle Chile’s pinnacle of highway scenery on Route 11? A jaunt to the corner store in comparison to our previous entry, the ruta is no less spectacular and zips past ancient geoglyphs and Lauca National Park vistas.
High Atlas Mountains, Morocco
The High Atlas Mountains provide one of the most dramatic road trip backdrops in Africa. From dynamic Marrakech, visitors wander through a variety of otherworldly landscapes, past Berber villages and down to the sands of the Sahara. For a genuine taste of Morocco, no other road trip experience comes close.
Strada Statale 163, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Italy has a handful of iconic road trips in store, from Sardinia to Lake Maggiore, the Dolomites to Liguria. The Amalfi Coast however, is a special, indelible classic. You do not have to scramble to conjure romance on a drive down the UNESCO World Heritage Costiera Amalfitana. The magic is here in spades, from Positano to Ravello. Best of all, the drive from hotels in Rome to Sorrento is a mere three hours.