Road trips are an epic way to see the world. So round up your friends, call shotgun (or better yet, get in the driver’s seat) plug in your AUX cable and queue an epic playlist. Finally, load up some snacks and make sure you have a full tank.
Before we get into the 5 road trips that you simply must take, just a quick reminder that you should be sure to take out adequate insurance for any such trip, and make sure you understand the rules of the road for your chosen destination. Drive safely!
1. Historic Route 66 - USA
A classic to start with, and a road that once stretched some 2,451 miles across a major portion of the USA.
Established on November 11 th 1926 and connecting Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles in California, Route 66 is iconic for being the first highway of its kind, crossing 8 states and 3 time zones.
Now, technically Route 66 is no more - it was decommissioned in 1985 - but that’s not to say that you can’t hire yourself a nice shiny convertible Cadillac and take on Historic Route 66 i.e. the remainder of the route, which for the most part runs parallel to the modern freeways which put the original Route 66 out of business.
Historic Route 66 will still take your on a journey of unusual and unique motels, gas stations, diners, a ‘gallery’ of neon signs and everything you’d probably associate with the American Heartland. Of course, there’s more than just the road itself to marvel at - the Grand Canyon is a significant attraction, so too Petrified Forest National Park and other more obscure attractions such as The Shoe Tree (it is what it sounds like - a tree of shoes) and Cadillac Ranch (a kind of graffiti gallery where old, upturned Cadillacs are the canvas).
The Transfagarasan Highway comes recommended by Clarkson, Hammond and May. That alone should be enough for you to start looking up flights to Bucharest. But just in case Top Gear (RIP) wasn’t your thing, know that this 56 mile long road takes you through the heart of Dracula country and is known as the road to the road to the sky, owing to the great heights it makes you climb into the Fagaras Mountains, via Lake Balea.
While the drive to the top is stunningly beautiful and scenic, the ride down is nothing but exhilarating as hairpin after hairpin link together and send you twisting and turning your way back down to earth. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
Owing to personal experiences and having taken more than one glorious road trip around the Emerald Isle, there was no way I was leaving Ireland out of this list. However, which particular route to include left me with an incredibly difficult choice.
I cannot lie, the Ring of Kerry ran the Causeway coastal route very close for inclusion on this list, but the Causeway route prevails (just) owing to its 120 mile long mass of winding, colourful and dramatic landscapes, the jewel in its crown being the Giant’s Causeway.
It’s not all about crazy cool hexagonal rock formations though, a travel across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a must, and both Belfast and Londonderry (the start and end points of the route) should be enjoyed to their fullest. There is also the opportunity for Game of Thrones fans to indulge in a few fan boy/girl moments as there are filming locations a-plenty in this part of the world. Westeros and Winterfell both await.
Starting and ending in Inverness, the North Coast 500 ring road leads you around the entirety of a rustic, rugged but ultimately extraordinary northern Scotland.
Billed as the Scottish version of Route 66 (just a bit colder and greener), expect a week long journey consisting of waterfalls, historic castles, remote fishing villages and beaches, vast Lochs (monsters optional) and once you’re done exploring for the day, cosy and welcoming accommodations, complete with log fires and local whisky to warm you back up.
As if that wasn’t enough, when you’re this far north there is also the chance of witnessing a special lights show. More commonly associated with the next destination in this list, be sure to keep an eye on the night sky as you head north. If it’s a cloudless night and the timing is just right, you could be in for a treat!
5. Iceland Ring Road – Iceland
Finally, we have the main national road of Iceland - 832 miles of what feels like never-ending rugged beauty.
You should allow a full week to take in the Highway 1 in it’s entirely, and you’d be silly to try to cut any corners. You don’t want to miss the Skógafoss waterfall, the National Park of Thingvellir, the Strokkur geyser, and countless other natural wonders which are unique to Iceland. Should you be lucky enough to bear witness to the Aurora Borealis, watching those lights dance in the night’s sky will only reaffirm what we already know about Iceland - that it is a remarkable country, and a phenomenal place to take a road trip.