13 Best Road Trips in the World!

It’s tough to beat an iconic road trip. With so much to see, it’s hard to narrow down the best road trips in the world, but we gave it a try. There’s no formal ranking system here; these road trips are based on our experience and opinions.

After all our travels, it’s safe to say we’ve done our fair share of epic road trips. Not because we love sitting in the car but because we love the freedom. A tank full of gas and a vehicle to carry us along the way is the quintessential travel experience. These are our best road trips and scenic drives. Get behind the wheel, fill the tank, and turn up your favorite travel tunes for these best road trip destinations.

The Best Road Trips in the World

Cape Town to Cairo

Cameron Sits On Land Cruiser In Namibia

Cape Town to Cairo” is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s one of the best international road trips one can take. The route is the brainchild of colonialist Cecil Rhodes, who proposed a train line extending the breadth of the continent. Neither the train nor the road ever happened. However, many intrepid travelers choose to tackle the route themselves.

This huge trip is not a short one—it takes anywhere from 30 days to two years—or longer! You can self-drive, cycle, take an overland bus, go on public transport, or even walk! Each presents its own challenges, and only a few have completed the epic journey. With infrastructure lacking, many travelers camp, tackle trails in 4x4s, and head deep into the bush.

We attempted this 10,000-mile journey in 2016. After purchasing a car in Cape Town to drive as far north as possible, we ended up in Kenya and sold the vehicle in Uganda. It was all due to uncertain border conditions in Egypt /Sudan and security issues in Ethiopia. It’s an epic road trip for anyone interested in African culture. If you want to be a bit different and slightly more adventurous, you can always shoot for the West Africa route. That is Morocco to South Africa!

North Coast 500, Scotland

Natasha Looks Over Scottish Countryside On NC500

The North Coast 500 is a coastal route around the Scottish highlands and is one of the most scenic drives in the world. It’s just over 500 miles and passes through some of Scotland’s most epic scenery in undeveloped areas. The route traditionally starts in the Northeastern town of Inverness, and from there, you are taken into rolling hills, stunning lochs, and dramatic cliff faces of Western Scotland.

The route is rich in history, culture, and amazing landscapes. Scotland holds a special place in our hearts, as the Scots are some of the friendliest people in the world. With their newfound nationalism, they have embraced their culture, history, and excellent food products. Oh, and they have the freedom to roam! We tackled this amazing road trip in eight days and would return in a heartbeat. Although we did it in eight days, we recommend at least 10 to complete the trip, as you will want to pull off just about everywhere for a photo.

Iceland’s Ring Road

Natasha Walks Down Scenic Road In Iceland

Iceland’s famous “Ring Road” takes you around the country on “Route 1” and is one of the best road trips in the world. The trip is almost 900 miles and pretty self-explanatory, as it makes a large circle through the Nordic island nation. It’s easily the best road trip you can have in Europe.

Along the way, you’ll find glaciers, black sand beaches, a plethora of Icelandic moss, volcanoes, wet deserts, 10,000 waterfalls, geothermal pools, and so much more. We did the route in 12 days, but it can be done in five if you drive like the devil, or you could take longer (although that will get expensive in Iceland). If you want a truly awesome experience, rent a campervan to get around Iceland. We chose Happy Campers and loved our time with them!

Pan American Highway

Cameron In Tierra del Fuego National Park Argentina Outside Of Ushuaia

This has always been our dream and is the longest on this list. The 30,000-mile network of roads links almost all of the countries of the Americas with a Pacific coast in one route. The network of roads stretches from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina. The landscape variation is drastic as it passes all major climate zones, including Arctic tundra, boreal forest, mountains, prairies, arid deserts, and tropical jungles. It’s tough to describe what this journey will hold in store, as there is so much!

It’s a daunting task that only a handful of people have completed. We hope to join that roster one day! After our African road trip, I think we now have the confidence to tackle the massive journey. This trip is the mother of all road trips, from the Arctic to jungles and rainforests.

  • Duration: 3 months to 18 months
  • Highlights: Alaska, Whitehorse, Sacramento, Columbia, Chile

Fraser Island, Australia

Natasha Along With Her Study Abroad Friends On Fraser Island

Just off the southeastern coast of Queensland, Australia is Fraser Island. The island is a World Heritage Site, 120 kilometers long and 24 kilometers wide. It is considered the world’s largest sand island, making it the perfect place for a four-wheel-drive road trip!

You can only enter by vehicle from a ferry on River Heads or Rainbow Beach. Once on the island, you can adventure any way you want. Tasha took a caravan of campervans and motorhomes with friends and had an absolute blast. Camping, driving through the rainforests and eucalyptus woodland, climbing sand dunes, or taking a dip.

  • Duration: 3 days
  • Highlights: Camping with the dingos

Auckland to Queenstown, New Zealand

Natasha In A Glaicer In New Zealand On Her Solo Road Trip

This was Tasha’s first solo road trip. As a solo female, I find New Zealand a fantastic introduction to travel, as it’s safe and easy to travel. The route from Auckland to Queenstown can be done in two weeks, although having more time never hurts.

The drive is fantastic, but the South Island is where the scenery becomes surreal and breathtaking. You’ll see beautiful Mount Cook National Park, Rotorua, and Lake Wanaka along the road trip. It’s a pretty easy road trip, and the roads are well-paved and well-signed, although some cliffside roads can be dangerous. New Zealand is a great country for a road trip if it’s your first time on an international trip!

  • Duration: 7-14 days
  • Highlights: Climbing the Franz Josef Glacier, Rotorua, Queenstown

The Garden Route, South Africa

Natasha Walks Along Beach In Robberg Nature Reserve, South Africa

The Garden Route is probably the largest attraction in South Africa, and for good reason. The natural beauty along the route is mind-boggling, and covers a wide range of topography, vegetation, outdoor adventures, and even African wildlife. The Garden Route is a 300km stretch of coastal road in South Africa. The route extends from Mossel Bay to Storms River, taking riders along the Western and Eastern Cape. We guarantee you will be blown away by the smallest floral kingdom in the world, Fynbos, and the gorgeous coastal areas you pass through.

Our highlights included eating oysters in Knysna, bungee jumping from the Bloukrans Bridge, and a safari at Gondwana Game Reserve. There are so many options and adventures in South Africa. Plan for at least two weeks to do this route and to have a little rest with fantastic wine in Stellenbosch or Cape Town afterward. With all the activities, restaurants, and romantic wine regions, we think this is one of the best road trips for couples!

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway Road Winding

Head to Cameron’s home state of North Carolina to drive on one of the best roads in the world. The US Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles of pure nature, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, making it one of the greatest National Park road trip ideas.

It’s widely considered one of the most beautiful drives in the US. The road winds along the Blue Ridge Mountains and provides visitors with lovely vistas of the forested mountains. Along the way, you have plenty of opportunities for a picnic, an easy hike in Shenandoah, or even a dip in a refreshing mountain waterfall. It’s tough to find the wild on the East Coast, but the parkway is the perfect escape from city life.

We recently took half of the Blue Ridge Parkway on our romantic getaway trip to Asheville and fell in love with the Appalachian mountains. If you want to see a beautiful city while on the drive, make sure to check out Asheville! It has hip coffee shops, art galleries, breweries, and the Vanderbilt Mansion.

  • Duration: 2 days
  • Highlights: Biltmore Estates, Sliding Rock, Ashville

Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia

A Gorgeous Fall Evening In Whistler, BC With Fall Colors

The Sea to Skyway Highway, or Highway 99, is a beautiful two-hour drive from Vancouver to Whistler. We were taken aback by just how beautiful this road trip in the world truly was. In just a few hours, you can see waterfalls, canyons, and snow-capped peaks. Sometimes, you think you’re in Norway but then realize you are outside a major Canadian city.

The Howe Sound is the highlight of this adventure and provides views the entire way. You won’t want to stare at your phone for any portion of this drive. Remember that it’s a mountain road in the winter and you can get adverse conditions. It’s best to have snow tires on your Canadian rental car for times like these.

Icefields Parkway, Alberta

Mount Athabasca Over The Icefields Parkway In Jasper National Park

The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 North) is one of the most beautiful road trips. It connects Lake Louise with Jasper in Jasper National Park. The drive is stunning, but there are many pull-offs along the way, including Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, and Herbet Lake.

This drive is amazing both in the winter and summer, but be warned, if you do it in the winter to allow extra time – roads can be icy! To make the most of driving the Icefields Parkway, I would start early (6 am) and allocate at least two days.

  • Duration: 2-3 days
  • Highlights: Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Maligne Lake

The Coastal Causeway, Northern Ireland

A Drone Shot Of Irish Countryside

The Coastal Causeway route is an amazing road trip though Northern Ireland. We just embarked on this adventure and discovered you can do everything in one long day. However, we recommend not rushing yourself and spending at least a few days exploring. The route takes you along the dramatic coastline from DerryLondonderry to Belfast.

It features some of the best natural landscapes in Ireland, including Giants Causeway, Cushendun Caves, and The Gobbins. There are also a few castles and distillers. This route is especially perfect for any Game of Thrones fan, as much of the show was filmed in Northern Ireland along this route.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast From A Boat

If there is one country, we could always return to Italy. The country is easy to travel through with friendly locals, delicious food, great wine, loads of history, amazing landscapes, gorgeous beaches, and romanticized countryside. While there are plenty of amazing itineraries through Italy, we’re heading to Southern Italy for our shortest road trip on this list. The road along the Amalfi coast is only 50 miles, but it is one of the most stunning roads we’ve ever seen. It is one of the best road trips for couples looking for romance.

Its most famous and beautiful towns are Amalfi, Sorrento, Positano, and Ravello. The road trip can be made in one day in your own car or on a local bus. However, we recommend at least three days to explore the coast while staying in one of the posh coastal towns frequented by celebrities.

Desert Drive Across Namibia

Natasha Doing A Handstand In Deadvlei, Namibia

We have to add Namibia to the list. While we personally included the Cape to Cairo route, Namibia is not technically a part of the journey. Namibia is located in the southwest of Africa and is dominated by massive deserts. It features two major deserts. The Namib desert is the world’s oldest and features the tallest sand dunes.

Traveling in Namibia is surreal, and I honestly think about our daily road trip there. There is so much to see in the country, and we spent a full month traveling on our road trip. We had to pinch ourselves multiple times to ensure it wasn’t a dream. A road trip in Namibia has no given name.

Long, deserted roads await you here. You may even find yourself straddling the ocean and desert on the Skeleton Coast or driving by the world’s largest sand dunes. We ventured to Namibia right after South Africa and found the country easy to travel around, affordable, and great for campers. The country’s population is just over two million, so you can go for hours without seeing anyone on the road. This also requires you to practice good safety skills and be self-sufficient. Always carry water!

Klondike Kluane Loop, Yukon

A Jeep In The Yukon On The Top of The World Highway

A Yukon road trip is one of the most epic trips in Canada and one of the best road trips in the world. The Yukon, a territory in northwest Canada, is wild, mountainous, and sparsely populated. It is home to vast swaths of wilderness teeming with wildlife like bears, moose, caribou, and wolves. This road trip was our first time to the Yukon, and it blew us away—we know we’ll return.

The Klondike Kluane Loop Yukon road trip route heads north to the gold rush town of Dawson City before driving up the Dempster Highway to one of our favorite parks in the world, Tombstone Territorial Park. Afterward, it’s back down to Dawson and across Alaska via the scenic Top of the World Highway. The final section involves the imposing Kluane National Park and Reserve, home to monstrous glaciers and Canada’s tallest mountain, Mount Logan. Consider this the fast version of the route, but if you have time, we’d recommend completing the loop in two weeks, plus or minus a few days.

Tips and Ideas for Any World Road Trip

Have a General Itinerary for Your World Road Trip

Cameron At The Cape Of Good Hope With A Rental Car

Half the fun of a good road trip is winging it, but that doesn’t mean you should set off without any plan. If you have sites you want to see and things to do, note them and work them into your itinerary. It’s also important to note where the gas stations are in developing countries or rural areas.

Our road trip route was often determined by the location of the gas stations and how far we could go without filling up. If you’re in a foreign country, you also don’t want to end up in bad or unsafe areas, and having a broad itinerary can help with that.

Plan for Detours

Driving Down A Back Road In Zambia
Maps.Me got us here

If we make an epic road trip plan, we rarely stick firmly to it. We often just want to pull over and have a coffee, enjoy the view, or take our cameras out for a photograph If you are on a time schedule, consider detours like this.

Have a Working Car

Rental Car On Zakynthos Greece

This one is important for any of these amazing world road trips. Whether it’s a rental car or your own vehicle, you want to ensure it’s in working order. When we road-tripped across Africa in our 1989 Land Cruiser, we ensured we had everything we needed in case something went wrong. Things like shovels, jerry cans, and a hi-lift jack came in handy. In more developed areas, this may be overkill, but I still would recommend being at least a little handy in case of emergencies.

A rental car should be less of an issue as any reliable company will give you a working vehicle. Please pay attention to where you can go with that rental, and don’t push it. We saw people in small sedan rental cars in many countries on roads only fit for a 4×4.

Budget for Gas

Cameron At A Service Station In Rural Uganda

Remember to set aside a portion of your fun money for gas. Take note of what fuel costs where you are. Generally, we have found the cheapest fuel in the United States and parts of Southeast Asia, with places like Iceland, Europe, and parts of Africa being crazy high.

Get a Travel Credit Card

The World Pursuit Credit Cards

No matter where we are, we use our credit cards when we can. I hate paying with cash because that means I can’t earn points for air miles and more travel! Make sure to pick up a decent rewards credit card to earn miles, points, or even cashback on your purchases while on a road trip. Small expenses are key to our success in saving for travel.

There’s another reason I love credit cards for road trips, though, is the insurance aspect. Most American credit cards offer auto rental insurance as a benefit. Our Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ink Preferred Business cards provide free auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. However, I recommend calling your credit card company beforehand to double-check what they cover. If you don’t have a credit card, it’s time to get one, as it’s an important part of travel banking.

Learn the Rules and Regulations

A ZTL Road Sign In Italy

Every country is different, but one thing is certain—you are a visitor and must abide by the local laws and rules when driving. Take note of your surroundings, and God forbid, drive on the right side of the road.

Pack A Smaller Bag

When packing for a road trip, I recommend a duffel bag or a backpack. Suitcases don’t fit well in a car and definitely don’t open up as easily as a flexible and soft duffel bag.

Download a Good Travel Playlist

You’ll need some jams if you take any of these amazing world road trips. Prepare yourself for some long drives and plenty of time on the road. Just make sure you download all your music to your phone (Spotify and Apple Music have this feature), as you may not always have a connection.


Camper Van In Iceland In Front Of Waterfall

If you’re in a group, it’s important to compromise. It’s easy to argue when confined to tight spaces with your spouse or friends. So take a few steps back, don’t kill each other, give a little, and take a little with your route. It’s not about the destination – but the adventure!

Helpful Apps

  • Maps.me: For navigation without WiFi
  • Google Maps: Download the most up to date maps
  • Podcasts: We love Ted Talks and Serial
  • Gas Buddy: Get gas prices
  • Trip Advisor: Check our local reviews for businesses

Plan For Your Trip

About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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