Change language

Top 9 drives: the world’s best road trips

The cult status of many epic car journeys has given them a wide-ranging and long-lasting appeal. It’s not hard to see why; on a road trip you’ll watch the landscape change before you, be able to interact with locals, be spontaneous, venture off-the-beaten-path, and have an excuse to compile the ultimate musical playlist.

Whether you’re lusting after a road trip as a rite of passage or a bucket list contender, these are Booking.com’s expert recommendations.

Sunset over the Twelve Apostles, Australia

Sunset over the Twelve Apostles, Australia

Great Ocean Road, Australia

Built by returned WWI soldiers and dedicated to their fallen comrades, the Great Ocean Road qualifies as the world’s largest war memorial. It starts near Melbourne and winds over 250 km along the coastline. Try to time your trip to catch the sun setting over the steep, ochre cliffs of the Twelve Apostles rock formation, casting an orange glow over the water and sand.

Aerial photo of Knysna, South Africa

Aerial photo of Knysna, South Africa

The Garden Route, South Africa

Though it may sound tame, The Garden Route is a spectacular showcase of South Africa’s wild scenery. Driving a 120-mile stretch of coastline from Mossel Bay to Storms River, you’ll pass hills covered in sun-kissed vineyards, rough, rocky mountains, deserted beaches, forests, and lakes.

Autumn along the Icefields Parkway, Canada

Autumn along the Icefields Parkway, Canada

Icefield’s Parkway, Canada

For nearly 300 km through the Banff and Jasper National Parks, you can admire the distinctive, bright blue Canadian glacial lakes, the vast Rocky mountains, pine forests, and lilac dusk skies. Keep your eyes peeled for wandering caribou, moose, or black bears, too.

Sango Bay beach, Scotland

Sango Bay beach, Scotland

The North Coast 500, Scotland

As far north as you can go in the UK, this circular route starting and ending at Inverness Castle lays claim to some of the island’s greatest scenery. Covering some of the most remote roads of the Highlands’, you’ll traverse barren hills, see enigmatic lochs, castles, and windswept beaches.

Winding road leading to Aoraki mountain, New Zealand

Winding road leading to Aoraki mountain, New Zealand

South Island Circuit, New Zealand

The South Island offers New Zealand’s white-capped peaks, mirror-like fjords, and glacier-carved valleys. Devoid of any trace of humans the landscape along this road trip is jaw-droppingly beautiful and hard to beat.

A herd of sheep crossing the Ring Road, Iceland

A herd of sheep crossing the Ring Road, Iceland

Route 1, Iceland

Iceland’s coastal Ring Road (aka Route 1) is a fantastical adventure comprised of icebergs, lava fields, lagoons, geothermal springs, glacier-fed waterfalls, northern lights, and active volcanoes.

Winding road County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Winding road County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland

Most take this route in order to see the Giant’s Causeway, a peculiar coastal, geological formation formed by an ancient volcano. Roughyl 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns stand tall side by side as the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash towards them. But there’s much more to see along the Causeway Coast; leafy glens, port villages, and plenty of Game of Thrones backdrops, including the glorious tunnel-like canopy of gnarled, 18th-century beech trees, The Dark Hedges.

The beautiful Basque coastline, Spain

The beautiful Basque coastline, Spain

Basque Circuit, Spain

Following the 480 km Basque Circuit from Bilbao to Biarritz you’ll glimpse some of Europe’s most splendid coastline. Mile upon mile of broad, empty beaches with moody skies await you. Not to mention the Pyrenees mountain range, separating France and Spain.

Bixby Bridge, USA

Bixby Bridge, USA

Big Sur, USA

Highway 1 runs along the Big Sur, a stretch of Californian coastline known for its harsh but captivating rocky coastline. The road meanders through soaring cliffs, with misty sea views on one side and lofty Californian Redwoods inland. The grand shadows cast on the water are sublime,whether they’re drenched in midday sunlight or softened by the colours of sunrise and sunset.