You can see fairy tale scenery in Germany’s Black Forest to vintage motels on Route 66 or waterfall spotting on Hawaii – the journeys listed in this article will make you want to pack your bags and hit the gas without further ado.
1. Hana Highway, Hawaii
This journey might only be 32 miles long, but given that this includes more than 600 curves in the road and 54 (mostly one-lane) bridges, the stretch between Twin Falls and Hana in Hawaii is something of an adventure. The most dramatic sights road trippers can expect to see including the vast Haleakala volcano, raging rainstorms and crashing waves.
2. Route 66 (various states)
Surely one of the most famous road trips ever, the Route 66 highway covers eight American states and more than 2,400 miles. The road which connects Chicago to Los Angeles was used by soldiers, dreamers and now nostalgia-seekers. Would-be travelers are warned to book lodgings in advance.
3. Pacific Coast Highway
Seattle to San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway is a journey that has traditionally attracted rebels and adventurers. This 1,050-miles west-coast route takes in cities, fishing ports and beach resorts. If you’re lucky you’ll catch a glimpse of gray whales or sea lions barking as you head south. The end of the drive is marked by the sight of San Francisco’s spectacular Golden Gate Bridge.
4. Crossing the Khardung La
Epic Drives describes a highway seemingly built of rock and ice which ‘struggles north across the 5,359m Khardung La – said to be the world’s highest motorable pass – perched at a similar elevation to Everest Base Camp’.The 79-mile journey from Leh to Hunder in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir offers stunning vistas punctuated by Buddhist monasteries and the occasional camel.
5. Blue Ridge Mountains, USA
America’s Blue Ridge Mountains during the autumn months is surely one of the most dramatic experiences a road tripper can have. The foliage makes for a visual feast: reds, yellows and oranges cloak the surrounding landscape as you travel the 574 miles down through Virginia and North Carolina.
6. Canada’s Icefield Parkway
Based along the route of an old packhorse trail, this 143 mile trip through the mountains and dense forestry of Canada between Lake Louise and Jasper, is likely to be unforgettable. ‘Snowcapped peaks, glinting glaciers, azure lakes and more wildlife than your average safari.And keep your eyes peeled for bears.
7. Black Forest, Germany
Bucolic and brooding, a steep 37-mile jaunt on the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt, showcases the best of the region. Described as A gingerbread village, a castle-crowned hillside or a cuckoo clock that’s the size of a house. On clear days, the views stretch to the Upper Rhine Plain and the Vosges Mountains over in neighboring France.
8. Grande Strada Delle Dolomiti, Italy
There isn’t a point on this 121-mile drive through the Dolomites that isn’t honored by breathtaking alpine vistas. Both Austrian and Italian influences are found in this mountain range – which spans the South Tyrol, Alto Adige and Veneto – as well as the local Ladin culture.
9. Great Glen, Scotland
It’s no secret that the Scottish Highlands offer some brilliant driving opportunities, but none more so than the 174-mile road that joins Glasgow to Inverness, and passes through the Great Glen. The journey will offer up: Loch Lomond, Ben Nevis, Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness. Glen Coe is certain to be a dramatic experience.
10. Milford Sound, New Zealand
Fiordland in New Zealand is a landscape rich in fjords, with slithers of water nestling between mountains. This 74.5-mile drive between Te Anau and Milford Sound is the only way to access the mountains in this formidable national park. Stopping to reflect at the Mirror Lakes and describes the perfect ending to the journey.
11. Ruta 40, Argentina
At approximately 3,100 miles Ruta 40 is Argentina’s longest highway and passes through 20 national parks, crosses 18 major rivers and climbs 27 mountains. Starting in Punta Loyola, Santa Cruz, and enjoying a ‘relatively civilised’ stretch before embarking on the southern leg through the Patagonian mountains. The drive ends in La Quiaca, Jujuy.
12. Portland, Maine
Heading northeast from Portland in Maine, road trippers can expect to enjoy one or two lobster rolls over the next 156 miles to Bar Harbor. The drive is best undertaken during the summer months when the constellation of villages bursts to life with festivals, boat tours and seasonal eateries run by a coterie of noted chefs who are escaping the big smoke.