It’s tough to beat a good 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, it’s just from our personal experience and opinions.
After all our travels, it’s safe to say we’ve done our fair share of road trips. Not because we love sitting in the car, but because we love the freedom. A tank full of gas and a car to carry us along the way is the quintessential travel experience.
These are our best road trips in the world. Get behind the wheel, fill up the tank, and turn up your favorite travel tunes for these epic road trips.
Best Road Trips in the World
Cape to Cairo
“Cape Town to Cairo” is exactly what it sounds like. The route is the brainchild of colonialist Cecil Rhodes as he put forth the idea of a train line extending the breadth of the continent. The train, nor road, ever happened. However, many intrepid travelers choose to tackle the route themselves.
This huge trip is not a short one taking 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 set of challenges, and only a few have completed the epic journey. With infrastructure lacking many travelers find themselves camping, tackling trails in 4x4s, and heading deep into the bush.
We attempted this 10,000-mile journey in 2016. After purchasing a car in Cape Town with the intention to drive as far north as we could, we ended in Kenya and sold the car in Uganda. It was all due to uncertain border conditions in Egypt and Sudan with our own car.
It’s an epic road trip for anyone wanted to immerse themselves 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
The North Coast 500 is a coastal route around the Scottish highlands. It’s just over 500 miles and passes through some of Scotland’s most epic scenery in areas largely undeveloped. 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, and with their new found nationalism they have embraced their culture, history, and excellent food products. Oh, and they have the freedom to roam!
We tackled this road trip in eight days and would go back in a heartbeat. Although we did it in eight days we recommend at least 10 to complete the road trip as you will want to pull off just about everywhere for a photo. Don’t believe me? Check out our video!
Iceland’s Ring Road
Iceland’s famous “Ring Road” takes you around the country on “Route 1.” The trip is almost 900 miles and is pretty self-explanatory as it does a large circle through the Nordic island nation.
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). You can check out our Ring Road itinerary.
If you’re looking for a truly awesome experience check out renting a campervan around Iceland. We choose Happy Campers and fully recommend them, we can give you a sweet 5% discount on your rental. (use this link and the code “TWP5”!)
Blue Ridge Parkway
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 the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
It’s widely considered one of the most beautiful drives in the US. The road winds along the Blue Ridge Mountains and provides visitor lovely vistas of the forested mountains along the way you have plenty of opportunities for a picnic, hike, or even a dip in a refreshing mountain waterfall. It’s tough to find the wild on the East Coast these days, but the parkway is the perfect escape from city life.
We recently took on 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’s full of hip coffee shops, art galleries, breweries, and the Vanderbilt Mansion.
Pan American Highway
This has always been a dream of ours and it’s 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 variation of landscapes is drastic as it passes all major climate zones from arctic tundra, boreal forest, mountains, prairies, arid deserts and tropical jungles. It’s tough to even describe what this journey will hold in store as there is just so much!
It’s a daunting task that only 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.
From the Arctic to jungles and rainforests this road trip really is the mother of all road trips.
Just off the southeastern coast of Queensland, Australia is Fraser Island. The island is a World Heritage Site itself is 120 kilometers long and 24 wide. Fraser Island is actually considered the largest sand island in the world which makes it the perfect place for a four-wheel drive road trip!
The only way you can enter with a vehicle is by ferry from River Heads or Rainbow Beach. Once on the island, you can have your side of adventure any way you would like.
Camping, driving through the rainforests and eucalyptus woodland, climbing sand dunes or taking a dip. It’s all epic and a great addition to any coastal Australian road trip.
Auckland to Queenstown
This was the first road trip Tasha ever did solo. As a solo female New Zealand is a fantastic introduction to travel as it’s safe and easy to travel. The whole 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. Along the road trip, you’ll see things like beautiful Mount Cook National Park, Rotorua, and Lake Wanaka.
It’s a pretty easy road trip as well as the roads are well paved and well signed, although some of the cliffside roads can be dangerous. New Zealand is a great country to road trip in if it’s your first time on an international trip!
The Garden Route
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 it 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 and takes 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 in Stellenbosch or Cape Town after.
We partnered with Happy Campers Campervans in Iceland and had a fantastic time. They’ve had such success they’ve now expanded to South Africa meaning you can take one of their campers along the route. (use this link and the code “TWP5”!)
The Coastal Causeway
The Coastal Causeway route is one of the best things to do in Northern Ireland. We just embarked on this adventure and discovered that you can do the whole thing in one long day. However, we recommend not to rush yourself and spend at least a few days exploring. The route takes you along the dramatic coastline from Derry~Londonderry to Belfast.
It features some of the best natural landscapes of all of Ireland including Giants Causeway, Cushendun Caves, and The Gobbins. There are also a few castle and distillers as well. This route is especially perfect for any Game of Thrones fan as much of the show was filmed in Northern Ireland along this route.
If there is one country we could always return to it’s Italy. The country itself is easy to travel through with friendly locals, delicious food, great wine, loads of history, amazing landscapes, gorgeous beaches, and a 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’s most famous and beautiful towns are Amalfi, Positano, and Ravello. The road trip can be done 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.
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 dominated by massive deserts. It features two major deserts, the Namib desert is the world’s oldest and features the tallest sand dunes.
Travel in Namibia is surreal. There is so much to see in the country we spent a full month traveling around on our road trip. Multiple time we had to pinch ourselves to make sure it wasn’t a dream. A road trip in Namibia has no given name, it’s just a Namibia road trip.
Long, deserted, and desert roads await you here. You may even find yourself straddled between 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, affordable, and great for campers.
Oh, the countries population is just over two million so you can go for hours without seeing a single person on the road. This also requires you practice good safety skills and you’re self-sufficient. Always carry water!
Plan Your Epic Road Trip!
We rely on a few trusted websites that help save us money and time when booking hotels, flights, and car rentals. Check out some of our preferred partners below:
- You’ll most likely want a camera to document your road trip. Check out our favorite travel cameras!
- Travel Insurance: We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. We ALWAYS travel with travel insurance. Natasha is a bit of a worry wart and would rather stay safe than sorry. World Nomads offers incredible flexible and great plans!
- Water: If you want extra assurance with your water while traveling then we love traveling with our Lifestraw Go reusable water bottle.
- Check out our favorite travel gear so you can get ideas of what to pack for your adventure!
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