Road trips allow you to journey at your own pace, stopping only for those specific attractions that interest you. Furthermore, it’s often when road tripping through unknown, never-before-visited places that the most authentic and memorable travel experiences can be had. Because they are such a great way to explore a new destination, we’ve rounded up our top picks for the world’s best countries for road trips.
Canada is a must for lovers of the great outdoors and unspoilt nature. The Trans-Canadian Highway is probably the nation’s most famous roadway and considering that this stretch of road passes through all 10 Canadian provinces, it’s a recommended route for anyone visiting the country for the first time and wanting to experience as much of the beautiful country as possible.
Some of the major attractions along the famous highway include St John’s (Newfoundland), Gross Morne National Park, Quebec and the turquoise, picture-perfect Lake Louise in Banff National Park (above), where you can expect incredible encounters with a host of wildlife, including moose, elks and bears, close to the snow-capped Canadian Rockies.
SEE ALSO: 8 tips to make your road trips a breeze
Majestic mountain ranges, endless miles of heavenly beaches and a diverse and vibrant cultural heritage make Spain one of the world’s most popular and visited tourist destinations. And considering that the large nation boasts over 16,500km of highway, there’s really no better way to explore Spain than by renting a car and going on a road-trip adventure.
Because the country is so large, it’s likely that you’ll need to choose a region to focus your journey on. One recommended Spanish road-tripping route would have to be through southern Spain’s Andalusia, making sure to include the following highlights in your travels: Cadiz (below), Malaga, Granada, Sierra Nevada National Park and Seville.
Easily the world’s greatest road-tripping nation, the United States is a mecca for lovers of the open road. Offering virtually endless kilometres of vast highways, passing through classic American landscapes and towns of various sizes and character, America’s roads were built for road tripping.
From the iconic Route 66 connecting Chicago to California and the epic California State Route 1 (below) along the Pacific Coast from San Diego to San Francisco, to the stunning Hana Highway on the island of Maui, the options for unforgettable road journeys are as staggering in their number as they are in their beauty.
4. South Africa
Magnificent landscapes through a diverse array of ecosystems along with well-maintained national highways make South Africa arguably the continent’s greatest nation for road trips.
Though the world-famous Garden Route, which runs along the country’s south coast between breathtaking coastlines and dramatic mountain peaks, is considered one of the planet’s most beautiful drives, South Africa boasts a number of other impressive routes that are definitely worth exploring by car.
The Panorama Route through the country’s eastern Mpumalanga Province is one such option. A route that’s dotted with beautiful waterfalls, spectacular natural formations like the Blyde River Canyon and Bourke’s Luck Potholes (below) and even a lookout point aptly named God’s Window, this is one stretch of highway that should definitely be added to that adventure bucket list.
Quaint villages, picturesque countryside and imposing natural landscapes all combine to make the Emerald Isle an ideal road-tripping destination. A recommended route for first-time visitors to Ireland is driving westwards from Dublin, towards arty Galway and then back towards the Irish capital along the rugged Irish coastline. Make sure to include the famous Cliffs of Moher, Limerick, the Dingle Peninsula (below) and the Ring of Kerry.
6. New Zealand
New Zealand is a country blessed with so many incredible natural wonders and singular attractions that the island nation is definitely ideal for vehicular explorations. Both North Island and South Island offer a wealth of astonishing sights that would appeal to everyone.
If focusing your Kiwi road trip around the North Island, be sure to include Cape Reinga, Lake Taupo and Tauranga in your travels. If you’re heading to South Island, make sure to add the so-called Southern Scenic Route (above) to your roadside itinerary. This world-famous road-tripping route, considered one of New Zealand’s finest, includes the adventure capital town of Queenstown and the beautiful Fiordland region, including the renowned Milford Sound.
Iceland is a country filled with phenomenal, almost otherworldly beauty and natural attractions. The country’s Route 1, or Ring Road as it’s commonly called, is an over 1300km-long circular highway that circumnavigates the island. It passes through not only its biggest urban areas, but also its major natural highlights including the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the gorgeous Dyrhólaey peninsula and the renowned Jökulsárlón (above), an iceberg-packed glacial lagoon in the south-east of the country.
– TEXT BY SAUL LIPCHIK
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.