There’s nothing like the open road: the wind in your hair, the freedom, the open-ended itinerary!
The world has so many amazing roads, it’s just a matter of conquering them.
If you’re stuck for ideas or want to plan your next holiday, here’s a list of the world’s greatest drives.
Where will you drive?
1. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s longest (2,500km) driving route. One of the world’s most scenic drives begins just before Malin Head which is at the very tip of the Inishowen Peninsula and Ireland’s most Northerly point, continuing beyond Ireland’s most Southerly point, Mizen Head and ends at Kinsale in County Cork.
- Beautiful beaches and vast peninsulas stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean.
- Cliffs of Moher – one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights and overlook the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of West Clare.
- The quaint town of Dingle, and the Dingle Peninsula
- Castles and churches that date back hundreds of years
- The famous Ring of Kerry
- The university city of Galway, including Ireland’s largest medieval parish church, the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas of Myra dating back to 1320
- Croagh Patrick, otherwise known as Ireland’s ‘Holy Mountain’ upon which St. Patrick (according to Irish folklore) spent 40 days fasting.
- Achill Island and the fishing village of Belmullet – a place of sheer beauty, with mountains, lakes, valleys, magnificent sea-cliffs, wild moors and spectacular scenery.
2. Route 66, USA
Arguably one of the most famous drives in the world, Route 66 is well-known for a reason. Spanning from east to west, the route goes through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, through mountains, cities and sprawling deserts as far as the eye can see.
- Dixie Truckers Home, McClean, Illinois – one of America’s oldest truck stops.
- Chain of Rocks Bridge, St. Louis, Missouri – this Route 66 landmark takes a 30-degree turn at its midsection.
- U-Drop Inn, Shamrock, Texas – the U-Drop Inn’s tower at the intersection of Routes 83 and 66 may be one of the most recognisable structures along the entire 2,400-mile stretch of America’s Highway.
- Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas – check out 10 Cadillac automobiles buried nose-down.
- Wigwam Motels, Holbrook, Arizona, and Rialto/San Bernardino, California – if you’re stopping in Arizona or California for the night, you can stay there. Have you ever slept in a teepee before?
- Santa Monica Pier, California – above the pier stretching out into the Pacific Ocean, you can read the sign that says “End of the Trail”.
3. North Island, New Zealand
Driving across New Zealand is arguably one of the best ways to see the beautiful country. There are many routes to drive around our neighbour’s land but perhaps the most magnificent is the route between Auckland and Wellington, spanning the length of the North Island.
- Real-life versions of Hobbiton, Mordor, and Bree
- Travel some of New Zealand’s most diverse regions: volcanic fields, lush rain forest, ragged mountains, rolling hills of farmland, and the country’s largest lake
- Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand
- The Waikato region, for hikers!
- Rotorua’s hot geysers and steaming volcanoes
- Hamilton and the Maori culture
- Lake Taupo’s geothermal pools
- Hike through Kaimanawa Forest Park
- The nation’s capital, Wellington
4. The Flower Route, Netherlands
Starting in Haarlem and running for just 40 km south to Leiden, this drive mightn’t be very long but it takes in the densest concentration of flower fields in the world.
The colours are absolutely stunning.
- See daffodils, narcissi, hyacinths, irises, tulips, gladioli, dahlias, and fragrant lilies.
- Auction houses, public gardens, museums and private gardens that celebrate the horticultural tradition
- Haarlem and Leiden, with as much history and canal-side beauty per square block as Amsterdam itself.
- The Frans Hals Museum – where classic art of Dutch painters is displayed.
- The Keukenhof Garden (Stationsweg 166a, Lisse), spilling across 70 acres (28 hectares)
- Castle Keukenhof, which sits directly across from the entrance to the garden.
5. Banff and Jasper National Parks, Canada
You will be in awe as your traverse one of the most beautiful roads in the world – the route that begins near Calgary, heading west to the border of Banff, then goes northwest through the heart of Banff to Lake Louise. For 232 km the route follows the Icefields Parkway, one of the world’s most stunning roadways, farther north to Jasper.
- See elk, bears, and other wild creatures
- Guided hikes
- Tour historic buildings
- Visit Cochrane, an old ranching town at the foot of the Rockies and now a Calgary bedroom community.
- Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park with glaciers and capped by the largest ice fields south of Alaska.
- Bow River, an 1880s railroad town situated in a broad valley ringed with forested peaks that overlook hotels, restaurants, and shops.
- Bike trails, picnic spots, and footpaths.
- Upper Hot Springs
- Lake Minnewanka – an immense, fjordlike lake cradled between massive peaks
- Johnston Canyon and its two thundering waterfalls
- The stunning Lake Louise
6. Ticlio Pass, Peru
At a distance of 132 km, this isn’t the long drive in the world but it is the highest – it’s 4,877 meters above sea level and sweeps through the Andes.
The view is worth it!
- The Ticlio railroad at 4,758 meters above sea level – one of the highest railway lines in the world and built to service the local mining community as well as send rich minerals including zinc and lead down the mountain.
- Roadside cafes
- Llamas and wildlife
- Spectacular views
Tell us, what other road trips have you done on around the world?