If you’re looking for a different type of holiday, why not take to the open roads?
Here are five epic self-drive trips along some of the world’s most scenic highways:
Route 66, USA
Perhaps the most famous road trip of all time, Route 66 captures the very essence of America, partly due to its size:the Route is truly vast, stretching a whopping 4,000 kilometres across eight states from California to Illinois.
Expect seemingly endless stretches of open road, retro petrol stations and diners just like in the movies. And don’t miss the Cozy Dog Drive-in in Springfield, Illinois, birthplace of the “corn dog”; the succulent steaks at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas; and the wigwam villages in San Bernardino, California.
The Ring Road, Iceland
For fans of incredible, otherworldly landscapes in vast proportions, Iceland’s Ring Road can’t fail to impress. Iceland brings spectacular natural phenomena as far as the eye can see, including the amazing Northern Lights between August and April.
Don’t miss the Oraefajokull glacier and the Skogafoss waterfall, both of which are particularly beautiful in winter. The icebergs in the lagoon of Jökulsárós are also utterly fantastic, so much so that they caught the imaginations of the directors of Game of Thrones who filmed there.
Stelvio Pass, Italy
Be warned: this is probably not everyone’s idea of the perfect Sunday afternoon drive. But for many, Stelvio Pass is a great adventure and ideal for lovers of zigzagging tarmac and high alpine passes. The route takes you close to the 2,760 metre-high summit, one of the highest in Europe.
Merano in the country’s South Tyrol region is the perfect starting point before tackling the hairpin bends. Stay here the night and relax in the thermal spring pools or dine at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants before setting off. You’ll soon see why BBC’s Top Gear once named Stelvio Pass the best driving road in the world.
The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
As the longest coastal road in the world, Ireland’s breath-taking Wild Atlantic Way offers some of the most dazzling coastal panoramas to be found close to home.
The 2,500km route is separated into six coastal regions: Bay Coast; Cliff Coast; Haven Coast; Surf Coast; Southern Peninsulas; and the Northern Headlands, reflecting the amazing variety of natural beauty there is to take in. From some of Europe’s highest, most remote sea cliffs at Sliabh Liag in Donegal to the amazing Northern Lights dancing across the clear winter skies. Then there are the hundreds of tiny coves, harbours and Blue Flag beaches, perfect for enjoying the salty air while beachcombing, whale-watching, sailing or simply watching the fishermen land their catches.
Garden Route, South Africa
The Garden Route boasts some of South Africa’s most beautiful stretches of Indian Ocean coastline, along with verdant forests, vineyards and mountains. The name comes from the vegetation alongside its numerous lagoons and lakes.
When not in the driving seat, you will have countless opportunities for action adventure. Try out bungee jumping, caving, ostrich riding or even cage diving with sharks! Other must-dos are Monkey World, Knysna Elephant Park, Tsitsikamma Reserve, Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn and Nature’s Valley.