best road trips in the world

The 50 Best Road Trips In The World

Always wanted to do an iconic road trip? Well, now you’ll know which routes are actually worth driving. We have the lowdown on the 50 best road trips in the world, using data compiled by Moneybarn.

The final results are based on a number of factors of what makes for a great road trip, from the price of petrol to National Parks and points of interest along the route.

Road trips have been a great way to explore the world since the early 1900s, with certain routes becoming iconic vacations for seeing landmarks, visiting cities, and simply enjoying the open road.

The best road trips in the worldHow do these rankings work?

1. Cairns to Cape Tribulation – Australia

The drive between Cairns and Cape Tribulation, now known as the Great Barrier Reef Drive, is 140 km of jaw-dropping beauty.

2. The Atlantic Highway – England

This scenic road trip traverses the iconic counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall on the South West Peninsula of England.

3. Canada’s Icefields Parkway – Canada

The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 N.) is a 230 km mountain road running through the heart of Banff and Jasper National Parks. You’ll pass by some of the best grizzly bear viewing opportunities in the Canadian Rockies!

4. Nordic Coastline – Sweden

This beautiful coastal route includes many famous landmarks, such as Torghatten, De Syv Søstre (The Seven Sisters mountain range), Svartisen glacier and Saltstraumen (world’s strongest whirlpools).

5. Through Napa Valley – USA

You can’t visit Napa Valley without a trip to some of the area’s most historic and famous wineries where this great wine region began to make its mark on the world.

best road trips in the world

6. The Great Ocean Road – Australia

Take a drive on the spectacular Great Ocean Road, which winds alongside the wild and windswept Southern Ocean.

7. Basque Circuit – Spain/France

The Basque Circuit is easily one of Europe’s most beautiful routes. You start in Bilbao, driving through Pamplona and then the hairpin mountain roads of the Pyrenees in France.

8. The Trail of The Lonesome Pine – USA

This  trail was blazed by legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone in 1775 and has become the route for hundreds of thousands of settlers of the western frontier. The driving tour follows the Wilderness Trail to Cumberland Gap as closely as possible.

9. The Pacific Coast Highway – USA

This route follows the dramatic cliffs and and vast beaches and lighthouses along the Pacific Coast.

10. Southern Utah National Parks Circuit – USA

Explore not one but two national parks – Bryce and Zion – in this desert road trip through Southern Utah with canyon peaks and mountain valleys.

11. Slovenian Lakes – Slovenia

This peaceful road trip is the best way to see Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, among others. The landscape is dotted with numerous lakes, both natural and man-made. 

12. Through The Picos de Europa – Spain

The Picos de Europa are a mountain range extending for about 20 km. The complete mountain circuit route takes 5½ hours non-stop – to enjoy and explore properly allow several hours more than this.

13. The Baltics: Estonia to Lithuania – Estonia/Lithuania/Lativa

This road trip through the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia is a great way to see highlights such as Riga Bay, Tallinn’s Old Town and river valleys.

14. The Coromandel Peninsula – New Zealand

The Coromandel is well known by Aucklanders and it is one of the most beautiful parts of NZ. It’s a long drive up the coast from Thames but worth it, with coastal views, sandy beaches, bushy walkways, arty communities and heritage sites.

15. New York to Niagara – USA

When it comes to travel, half the fun is in the journey. New York City lies about 400 miles south of Niagara Falls USA (about a seven-hour drive). Make time to explore the small towns and bigger cities along the way.

16. The Great Alpine Road – Australia

The 339-kilometre adventure along Australia’s highest year-round accessible road leads you through diverse landscapes. You’ll drive through mountain ranges, down plunging valleys, into lush forests, and past rolling vineyards.

17. Quebec’s La Gaspesie Loop – Canada

The Bas-Saint-Laurent – Gaspésie Tour is a legendary scenic drive that loops around the huge Gaspé Peninsula. It takes about 10 days in total to drive, but is well worth it.

18. On Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail – Canada

The 298-kilometer-long Cabot Trail is a winding mix of roadway that takes you from ocean views to quaint fishing villages. Plan several days to experience the journey of a lifetime along one of the world’s most scenic drives—you’ll need it.

19. The Wilds of Abruzzo – Italy

This picturesque drive goes through national parks, and countless medieval towns, just over an hour’s drive east from Rome. One of those road trips you’ll never forget.

20. Windswept Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland

This route along Ireland’s western coast lets you visit the most spectacular places, from UNESCO World Heritage site Sceilg Mhicíl (Skellig Michael) and the largest karst landscape in the world, The Burren to the traditional Irish towns.

21. Southern Alps Explorer – New Zealand

See the South Islands highlights on this route, including Mt Cook National Park. Queenstown, Milford Sound, the West Coast Glaciers. One of the essential road trips in NZ.

22. Corsica Coast – France

This amazing road trip route takes in over 200 beaches, medieval villages and unforgettable landscapes. Stop off for  a boat tour to explore Scandola Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is famous for its strange red cliffs.

23. Algarve Coast – Portugal

The best thing about driving along the Algarve Coast is that the Algarve isn’t huge so you can easily access the whole region within only a couple of hours.

24. Black Forest Highs – Germany

There are magnificent views of the Black Forest valleys, the Rhine Valley and Alsace and the Voges Mountains along the entire route. There are also a large number of tourist highlights, such as Lake Mummelsee, the Lothar Path or the newly opened wilderness path on the Bühlerhöhe.

25. The Romantic Road – Germany

You’ll fall in love with Germany when driving the Romantic Road between Würzburg and Füssen. You’ll drive through medieval walled-villages and stop off at the fairy-tale castles of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein.

26. Calchaqui Valleys – Argentina

Driving along the famous roundtrip around the Calchaquí Valleys is a must for all those who wish to see the best of Argentina. The route is well-known for its vineyards and wineries.

27. Adriatic Highway – Croatia

This scenic sea-side road route actually takes travellers through not one, but three countries: Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. Views of crystal blue waters will keep you company.

28. The Alcan Highway – Canada

This highway is often referred to as the Alaskan Highway or the Alcan Highway, which came from shortening “Alaska and Canada Highway.” Drive through Yukon territory, the Rockies and see St. Elias Mountains.

29. Highway 61 – USA

This legendary Blues Highway is an unforgettable journey from Nashville, Tennessee to New Orleans, Louisiana, with music around every corner.

30. North Coast 500 – Scotland

This route starts in the northern city of Inverness, weaves along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the towns of Torridon and Ullapool. From there, you’ll venture to some of the most northerly coastal points in Scotland.

31. Bollenstreek Route – Netherlands

The Bollenstreek Route, also known as the Flower Route, starts at Haarlem, and goes along flowers, flowers, and more flowers. The best time of year is from March-May when the tulips are in full bloom.

32. Route 66 – USA

Linking Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California, U.S. Route 66 runs 3,940 kilometers and is the perfect chance to see several major landmarks and monuments and explore some national parks.

33. Winding Upon Norway’s West Coast – Norway

Cruise along the main road with a view to the open sea, going through a coastal landscape unlike any other in the country. One of the best road trips in Europe.

34. Central Hokkaido Road – Japan

Hokkaido, Japan’s beautiful northern island has an iconic road trip route that takes you through lush forests, spectacular mountainous views and alongside the now disused Shihoro railway line.

35. Crossing The Carretera Austral – Chile

The Carretera Austral is an amazing road in Chilean Patagonia that starts in Puerto Montt, and crosses 1,247km of remote terrain to the northern shores of Lago O’Higgins. It takes about three-four weeks to drive it all.

best road trips in the world

36. The Ring Road – Iceland

Iceland has one main ring road, Route 1, that goes alongside some of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, such as the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the Dyrhólaey cliffs and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

37. Lapland’s Highway 4 – Finland

Highway 4 stretches 1295 km from Helsinki to Utsjoki, almost the full length of the country from south to north. You’ll pass through national parks, the Arctic Circle and amazing scenery.

38. The Track: Alice Springs to Darwin – Australia

This is an epic four-wheel drive adventure that takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery of Northern Territory. Wind your way through remote national parks, remarkable terrain and far-flung outback towns.

39. Ruta 40 – Argentina

Legendary Ruta 40 is the ultimate Argentine road trip, made famous by its role in Che Guevara’s ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. It runs along 5,000km crossing 18 important rivers, 20 National Parks and Natural Reserves.

40. The Belfast Loop – Northern Ireland

Stretching from Belfast to the historic city of Derry, and taking in some of Ireland’s most incredible sights, the Causeway Coastal Route is one of the best road trips in the world.

41. Outer Hebrides – Scotland

The Outer Hebrides is a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland, joined by causeways and ferries. Driving around here you’ll experience endless beaches, ancient history, wonderful wildlife and finest fresh food.

42. The Alsatian Vineyard – France

The famous Alsace wine route, running from north to south, offers wine trails, cellars and traditional restaurants. A wine-lover’s ideal road trip!

43. Swiss Alps – Switzerland

There’s many routes you can take through the Swiss Alps, but the most famous of the mountain passes in the European Alps is the Great St. Bernard Pass. You’ll drive high into the mountains to 2,469 meters.

44. Route 62 – South Africa

Cape Route 62 is the pretty tourist route in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, South Africa that meanders between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn, the Langkloof and Port Elizabeth, offering the shorter, scenic alternative to the N2 highway.

45. The Garden Route – South Africa

The Garden Route takes you on a road trip along the coastline of some 300 km between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, and is one of South Africa’s most popular road trips.

46. Skeleton Coast – Namibia

The Skeleton Coast, or “The Land God Made in Anger” as the Bushmen called it, remains one of the world’s last great wildernesses. It’s a coastal route where the Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean clashes with the dune and desert landscape of north-western Namibia.

47. Crossing the Kalahari – Botswana

The Central Kalahari game Reserve (CKGR) is the largest, most remotely situated reserve in Southern Africa and is a self-drive safari route where you’ll see wild animals and amazing scenery.

48. The Southern Zambezi – Zambia

You’ll need a 4×4 for this wild route, which brings you to the world’s greatest waterfall, Africa’s biggest man-made lake and the legendary Zambezi Canoeing Safari.

49. The Road to Khartoum – Sudan

The Road to Khartoum winds through the ancient sites of Soleb, Jebel Barkal, Nuri, Naqa and Musawwarat, desert camps along the river Nile and the pyramids of Meroe.

50. Panorama Route – South Africa

One of South Africa’s most scenic road trips, the Panorama Route, explores the Mpumalanga highlands, or the north-eastern section of the Great Escarpment of the Drakensberg.

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Sarah Clayton-Lea
Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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Franz Explorer

Hi, nice list, but i think you should make 51 and add Pamir Highway in Tajikistan.