If you’re a person who plans trips around driving — or prefers to travel a stretch of a country on your own schedule — we’ve put together a selection of the top ten road trips to experience before you die. With the help of Car Dealer Reviews, who put together an informative infographic, these trips range from the short (like the 30 minute Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway) to the truly epic (like Argentina’s 4-week long Ruta 40 road trip). Rent yourself some decent wheels and hit the road.
1. Garden Route — South Africa
Cape Town > Plettenberg Bay > Port Elizabeth > Knysna Elephant Park
- Distance — 200km
- Time required — 2 days
This route winds along the South African coast, with views of plantations, mountains, and breath-taking ocean.
Tip: Take a whale-watching trip at Plettenberg Bay, or visit the Knysna Elephant Park.
2. Ruta 40 — Argentina
Cabo Virgenes > Estancia Lagos Del Furioso > De Bariloche > La Payunia > Laguna Diamante > Cuesta De Miranda > Belén > Salinas Grandes
- Distance — 5,000 km
- Time required — 4 weeks
Some 3,000 miles separate La Quiaca in the north and Rio Gallegos in the south. We photographed llamas and vicuñas on the altiplano and stopped for wine tours in Cafayate and Mendoza. After the popular stretch through the Lake District down to El Bolsón, we traversed desolate Patagonian plains where ñandú (a relative of the ostrich) raced alongside our Land Cruiser, and we spotted foxes and came across herds of sheep crossing the road.
Tip: See ancient cave paintings at Cueva de las Manos, and explore the Calchaqui Valley. Also, go now, as Argentina is paving Ruta 40 which will facilitate driving but take away the sense of adventure and magic that Ruta 40 is so famous for.
3. Atlantic Ocean Road — Norway
Strømsholmen > Atlanterhavsveien > The Atlantic Road > Eldhusøya
Distance — 8.3 km
Time required — 30 minutes
This short road included eight undulating bridges, spanning an archipelago off the coast. In rough weather, the ocean spray cascades onto the tarmac.
4. Route 1 — Iceland
Reykjavík > Selfoss > Höfn > Egilsstaðir > Akureyri > Blönduós > Borgarnes
- Distance — 1,332 km
- Time required — 10 days
Also known as the Ring Road, this highway circles Iceland’s coast. Drive across the plains, passing volcanoes, geysers, and waterfalls.
Tip: Driving the Ring Road is definitively best in the summer, as the days are literally never — ending and the driving conditions are easy-going. However, summer months mean crowded campsites and tourist traffic-jams, so consider driving the Ring Road in the early fall. Winter and early spring are no-go’s, as weather conditions often render parts of the Ring Road impassable.
Finally, if you’re not diametrically opposed to “roughing it” in the slightest sense of the word, opt for one of the rental car agencies that offer sleep-n-go vehicles with cooking equipment included and a bed in the back of the car. This is doubly important given Iceland’s ‘Law of Survival,’ which states that you can camp on any man’s land for 24-hours and eat anything that you find growing on the property. That means no hotel bills and, if you’re really dedicated, no food bills either.
5. South Island Circuit — New Zealand
Dundedin > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Nelson > Greymouth > Glaciers > Milford South > Te Anau > Queenstown
- Distance — 2,400 km
- Time required — 2 weeks
Drive around New Zealand’s rugged South. Don’t miss the detour to Milford Sound, for the lakes and peaks.
Tip: Trek across Fox Glacier, and marvel at the famous Moeraki Boulders.
6.The Flower Route — Netherlands
Naaldwijk > Leiden > Keukenhof Gardens > Haarlem
Distance — 70km
Time required — 1 day
Pass through endless fields of flowers, from January’s crocuses to April tulips. Don’t miss the Keukenhof flower garden.
Tip: Stop in Leiden for coffee on the banks of the Old Rhine.
7. Great Ocean Road — Australia
Port Fairy > Warrnambool > Shipwreck Coast > Cape Otway Lighthouse > Apollo Bay > Lorne > Geelong > Melbourne
Distance — 234 km
Time required — 2 days
This is a journey along an ideal coast for surfers. Dramatic limestone cliffs give way to stunning views over the South Ocean. Climb Split Point Lighthouse and catch the sunset at the Twelve Apostles.
Tip: When there you should also hike any part of the 56 mi/91 km trail that hugs the coastline and gets you right down to the beaches. This is where Mother Nature is, away from the cars and buses, and into the bush with the kangaroos, wallabies, and echidnas.
8. Amalfi Coast — Italy
Castellammare di Stabia > Sorrento > Positano > Amalfi > Salerno
Distance — 55km
Time required — 1 day
This narrow, winding road clings to the coastline, passing through tunnels and gorgeous pastel-hued hillside villages.
Tip: Visit the Grotta dello Smeraldo, and explore dramatic Positano.
9. Transfagarasan Road — Romania
Pitești > Curtea de Argeș
Distance — 150 km
Time required — 1 day
Romania’s most famous road stretches 2,034m, with its exhilarating descent following a series of hairpin bends and tight curves.
Tip: Dip you toes in Balea Lake, or visit the ruins of Poenari Castle.
10. Icefields Parkway — Canada
Jasper > Lake Louise > Saskatchewan River > Banff
Distance — 232 km
Time required — 3 days
Scenic Highway 93 takes drivers through Jasper and Banff national parks. The road traverses the Canadian Rockies, and skirts the vast Columbia Icefield.
Tip: Hike out to Peyto Lake and explore the Athabasca Glacier.