Well-thumbed guidebooks and crumpled maps may have been replaced by smart phones but the allure of a road trip still remains. We list some of the most scenic routes, on which the journey really does feel like the destination.
Route 66, USA
Perhaps one of the most famous road trips in the world, this route has motivated many to hit the road for a holiday in the first place. It brilliantly encapsulates all that is quintessentially America, crosses eight states, from Illinois to California, and covers almost 4,000 kilometres and three time zones. You get to experience retro petrol stations, old-school diners and kitschy tourist shops. Must visit spots include the birthplace of the corn dog, Cozy Dog Drive in Springfield, Illinois, Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, and wigwam villages in San Bernardino, California.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Considered by many to be one of Europe’s most scenic coastal routes, a drive down the Costiera Amalfitana, or Amalfi Coast, is a fantastical experience that includes green mountains and pastel-coloured villages. Recognised as a World Heritage Site, the drive covers picturesque towns such as Amalfi, Positano and Ravello. Typically narrow and fairly winding, it’s not the easiest of routes, but the spectacular views more than make up for it. The most popular stretch extends from Sorrento south to Salerno.
North Coast 500, Scotland
This could be Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66. Also known as NC500 it takes you to the country’s far north on a journey along the region’s coastlines. The 800-kilometre route offers natural heritage, breath-taking scenery, local food and drink, retail and arts attractions of the region. It runs from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh on the West Coast and along the rugged north coast to John O’Groats, before heading down the east coast. The route can be completed in a long weekend or over several weeks on a more leisurely schedule.
Garden Route, South Africa
This route captures astounding scenic views and a great variety of activity as you go along. On this 241-kilometre journey you traverse along Africa’s southernmost tip, covering destinations such as George, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Knysna on to Plettenberg Bay. Enjoy the double majesty of elephants on land and whales close to the shore, forest walks and one of the continent’s most unhurried towns. Adrenalin junkies can complete the trip having taken part in a range of activities, including bungee jumping, cage diving with sharks, caving, ostrich riding, visiting casinos and seeing Monkey World.
Trans-Andean Highway, Chile and Argentina
For those who want to experience the spectacular Chilean Andes, the best way would be to get in the car and hit this 363-kilometre stretch through the mountains. Starting from Santiago in Chile, it ends in Mendoza in Argentina, the roads winds its way through the majestic landscape. Captivating scenery greets you as you ascend, before you head through a two-mile tunnel that catapults you out into the wonders of Argentina. Be sure not to miss Cerro Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Southern Hemisphere.