Scotland to South Africa: the most epic road trips in the world

Nothing compares to the freedom of hitting the open road, and with these nine incredible drives, you’ll get to witness some of the most jaw-dropping beauty in the world – all at your own pace. So, get yourself a sweet ride and explore the roads, from stunning coastal trails in Europe to bewildering salt flats in South America.

Torridon in Wester Ross on Scotland’s North Coast 500 route. Image: Mark Appleton

North Coast 500, Scotland

Hailed as Scotland’s answer to Route 66 and described as ‘the best road trip in the world’ by Condé Nast Traveller and ‘The No. 1 Road Trip in the UK’ by Rough Guides, this coastal route boasts just over 500 gorgeous miles of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful natural scenery you could lay your eyes upon. You’ll pass by ancient castles, unspoiled sandy beaches and spellbinding heritage as you snake along country tracks and beguiling bends.

Robberg on the Garden Route in South Africa. Image: iStock/Ben1183

The Garden Route, South Africa

A self-drive South Africa tour should be at the top of your bucket list, and with the Garden Route, you’ll be easily seduced by its gloriously varied topography. Kick things off in Cape Town and move on to the famed Winelands, before making your way to either Hermanus or Mossel Bay to start the official trail. Discover stunning beaches, lagoons and coves, luscious forests and incredible wildlife, including whales and African penguins, before reaching Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape.

Panorama of Positano in Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Image: iStock/ronnybas

The Amalfi Coast, Italy

For romance on the road and a slice of la dolce vita, hit the beautiful Amalfi Coast, where you’ll get to revel in the splendours of the craggy coastline at every turn of the wheel – think iconic sweeping views and unparalleled beaches. Start in Salerno and end in Sorrento, taking in Ravello and Positano on the way. Swim in secret coves, eat fresh seafood and hire a boat to explore the surrounding islands, from glamorous Capri and Ischia to historic Pompeii.

The Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia. Image: iStock/holgs

La Paz to the Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

You’ll journey high and low on this epic roadie, which starts in the world’s highest capital city of La Paz and ends down on Uyuni’s unbelievable Salt Flats – the largest in the world, 3,600 metres above sea level. If you dare, venture along the infamous and exhilarating ‘Death Road’ en route – just make sure you keep to the left. This adventure will have you witnessing flamingos, snow-capped peaks, hot springs, sunsets – a head-scratching number of natural wonders.

Ullswater Lake in the Lake District. Image: iStock/Photoshopped

The Lake District, UK

The UK offers plenty of classic charm and beauty that calls to be discovered, so it’s no wonder this trip is as much about the journey as it is the destination. Start on the country roads of the quaint Cotswolds, passing by cute cottages and thick hedgerows. Then journey on to the picturesque Peak District, spotting roaming sheep and deer along the way, before settling into the surreal and scenic surrounds of the Lake District.

Geiranger Fjord, Norway. Image: iStock/Ladiras

The Atlantic Road and the fjords, Norway

Norway’s southwestern coast boasts some of the most breath-taking scenery on earth, from the scenic teetering dips, arches and curves of The Atlantic Road to the hairpin bends, mountain views and steep inclines of Trollstigen (‘Trolls Path’), not to mention the magnificent sweeping fjords. Stop in colourful Bergen before visiting the Jostedal Glacier and UNESCO-listed Geiranger Fjord – one of the most dramatic in the world.

The Big Sur’s Bixby Bridge and Pacific Coast Highway in Monterey, California. Image: iStock/miroslav_1

The Big Sur, California, USA

One of America’s most iconic drives and undoubtedly the highlight of California’s Highway 1, the Big Sur begs to be experienced. It hugs the Pacific Coast and shows off wild and wonderful coastline, rolling vineyards, staggering cliffs and uninterrupted sunsets – raw beauty at its most exhilarating. A must-visit stop includes charming seaside Monterey; head to Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, before dining on fresh seafood.

The Northern Lights on the Ring Road route in Iceland. iStock/NotYourAverageBear

Ring Road, Iceland

Discover Iceland’s most awe-inspiring and unique landscapes on this road trip, which takes you past everything from snow-topped mountains, glacial rivers and bubbling hot springs to pounding waterfalls, lava fields and moss-green meadows. Experience the spectacular scenery of the Golden Circle, embark on a whale and dolphin-watching cruise and head on a hunt for the majestic Northern Lights – all before a soak in the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.

The Cabot Trail through Cape Breton National Park in Canada. Image: iStock/DenisTangneyJr

Cabot Trail, Canada

Outdoor lovers should head for the Nova Scotia highlands on Cape Breton Island’s world-renowned Cabot Trail. You’ll experience winding coastal roads, jaw-dropping scenery and lots of wildlife – think soaring eagles, moose and black bears. There are plenty of places to stop along the way too, whether it’s in one of the quaint villages and artist workshops or for a spot of whale watching. For the active types out there, there are also plenty of kayaking opportunities plus hiking and biking trails.

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One Comment

  1. We are interested in a road trip sanfransisco/big sur/ Carmel/Venice beach L/A/Las Vegas/Grand Canyon/Yosemite/back to sanfransisco.possibly 21 days.flights.car.accommadation.

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