Storseisundet Bridge on Norway's Atlantic Road

Storseisundet Bridge on Norway’s Atlantic Road, by Jørgen Vik via Creative Commons

The World’s Best Road Trips

For Your World Travel Bucket List

 

We love heading off on grand adventures. But, in the years since 9/11, it seems like the entire process of air travel has become much more of a hassle. For us, it’s become a LOT more fun to load up our Hyundai and head out on the open road. Which probably explains why we’ve driven on family vacations to New York City, Asheville, the Outer Banks, Mobile, and Tennessee in the last 18 months alone. What follows is the World’s Best Road Trips from our World Travel Bucket List. We’d love to hear what’s on yours in the comments section below!

 

The Atlantic Ocean Road (Norway)

Named “The World’s Best Road Trip” by The Guardian,  the Atlantic Ocean Road is an 8.3-kilometer long road running through a picturesque archipelago. Connecting the western fjord islands between Molde and Kristiansund, the road zig-zags across numerous small islands connected by causeways, viaducts and seven low bridges that jut out over the often dramatic Norwegian Sea. There are four rest areas offering panoramic views (which often include whales and seals), but the road itself is a thing of beauty often used in automobile ads. We’re hoping to visit Norway this year, and would love to drive the Atlantic Road along the way.

 

Scenery along Spain's Basque Circuit

Scenery along Spain’s Basque Circuit, photo by Anonymous via Creative Commons

 

Basque Circuit (Spain to France)

Stretching 300 miles from Bilbao in northern Spain to the French coastal town of Biarritz, the Basque Circuit is another of Europe’s iconic road trips. For culture lovers, suggested stops along the way include Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum and Euskalduna concert hall, the historic architecture of Vitoria-Gasteiz (the region’s second-largest city), and the Asiatica Museum in Biarritz. But nature lovers will be equally impressed by the spectacular scenery as they make their way along the historic Roncesvalles pass through the Pyrenees, the gorgeous mountain range separating France from Spain.

 

Black Balsam Knob from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Black Balsam Knob from the Blue Ridge Parkway, by Badgettrg via Creative Commons

 

Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina to Virginia)

Running 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway ranks among North America’s most iconic roadways. With construction starting in 1935 (when it was known as the Appalachian Scenic Highway), the road was built to connect Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Shenandoah National Park. It’s been the National Park System’s most visited attraction almost every year since the mid-1940s. It’s easy to see why: With stunning scenery (particularly in Autumn), historic landmarks, and thousands of wildlife species, the parkway offers a taste of unspoiled Americana at its finest.

 

Denali National Park Road

Denali National Park Road, by Bret Love

 

Denali National Park Road (Alaska)

With six million acres of pristine wilderness and only one 92-mile road through it, Denali National Park is a nature-lover’s paradise. To drive it yourself, you literally have to win the lottery, as the Park Service only opens the (mostly gravel) road to a limited number of private vehicles four days a year. Instead, take a shuttle bus, which stops for wildlife viewing and bathroom breaks and allows you to get on and off anywhere along the road. Paralleling the Alaska range, the road offers lovely landscapes, exceptional wildlife (bears, moose, caribou, and even wolves), and– if you’re lucky– breathtaking views of massive Mt McKinley.

 

Australia's Great Ocean Road

Australia’s Great Ocean Road, by David Iliff via Creative Commons

 

Great Ocean Road (Australia)

Stretching 151 miles along Australia’s southeastern coast between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford, the Great Ocean Road was built between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I (making it the world’s largest war memorial). The route encompasses Australia’s “Surf Coast” as well as the Shipwreck Coast, a formidable stretch of coastline that has claimed more than 600 boats in the last two centuries. Along the way, the road passes through ecosystems ranging from rainforests and beaches to sheer cliffs, including natural rock formations such as The Grotto, London Arch and the Twelve Apostles.

 

Pakistani Truck on Karakoram Highway

Pakistani Truck on Karakoram Highway, by katorisi via Creative Commons

 

Karakoram Highway (China to Pakistan)

Also known as the Friendship Highway, Karakoram Highway traces one of the paths of the ancient Silk Road, running 810 miles from the Chinese city of Kashgar to the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. Built between 1959 and 1979 by the governments of China and Pakistan, Karakoram is the highest paved international road in the world, crossing the mountain range through the Khunjerab Pass at an elevation of 15,397 feet. Emerging in  recent years as an eco-adventure hotspot, the highway provides access to ancient petroglyphs, rivers, lakes, glaciers and mountains, including K2 and Nanga Parbat (the 2nd and 9th tallest in the world).

 

The Pan-American Highway

The Pan-American Highway

 

Pan-American Highway (North America to South America)

Though we’ve visited many of the countries along what the Guinness Book of World Records calls “the world’s longest motorable road,” driving its 15,000+ miles is widely considered the ultimate epic road trip. Created in 1937 with the signing of the Convention on the Pan-American Highway, the road system officially passes through 17 countries (the Canadian section doesn’t count, apparently), with some sections passable only during the dry season and the 60-mile Darién Gap constituting the only break. Our friends at Trans-Americas Journey are currently on a lengthy slow-travel quest to navigate its entire length.

 

Iceland's Ring Road, by Jennifer Dombrowski

Iceland’s Ring Road, by Jennifer Dombrowski

 

Ring Road (Iceland)

Iceland was on our bucket list long before Game Of Thrones started filming there,  but the dynamic landscapes pictured on the hit show have certainly added fuel to our fantasy’s fire. Officially known as Route 1, the 832-mile Ring Road circles the entire island, from snow-capped mountains and volcanic craters to fertile green valleys and vivid blue fjords. Completed in 1974 to celebrate 1100 years of human settlement in Iceland, the route takes travelers to some of the country’s finest attractions, including the Seljalandsfoss waterfall and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

 

Quiver Trees in Namibia's Skeleton Coast Park

Namibia’s Skeleton Coast Park, by Alastair Rae via Creative Commons

 

Skeleton Coast (Namibia)

One of my fondest travel memories involved driving 500+ km through South Africa’s Kruger National Park and into the Drakensburg Mountains. Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is said to be equally stunning, with arid, windswept landscapes, rugged coastlines shrouded in fog, and a remarkable array of wildlife ranging from baboons and giraffes to lions and rhinos. The 6200 square mile Skeleton Coast National Park is also home to one of the world’s largest Cape fur seal colonies. Our ethical issue with the country’s stubborn refusal to end its annual, brutal seal slaughter is the only thing that has prevented us from visiting thus far. 

 

Satellite Photo of New Zealand's South Island

Satellite Photo of New Zealand’s South Island

 

South Island Circuit (New Zealand)

New Zealand for us feels a bit like Mordor must have felt for Frodo Baggins in The Lord of The Rings (which was filmed there)– almost impossibly far away and difficult to reach. But when we get there, I imagine we could spend two weeks just exploring the natural landscapes of South Island, venturing from Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park, the Southern Lakes region, the wildlife of the Otago Peninsula, Fiordland National Park, and the gorgeous glaciers along the West Coast. It all seems like some distant dream at this point… but then again, isn’t that what world travel bucket lists are for?  –Bret Love

 

Special thanks to Jennifer Dombrowski of JDomb’s Travels, Larissa Milne of Changes in Longitude, and Talon Windwalker of 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure for their suggestions.

 

This post was brought to you in part by Carsales.com.au.  

If you enjoyed our post on the World’s Best Road Trips, you might also like:

10 Ancient Archaeological Sites For Your World Travel Bucket List 

10 Best Waterfalls For Your World Travel Bucket List

10 Dangerous Travel Destinations For Your World Travel Bucket List 

10 Most Threatened Rivers For Your World Travel Bucket List

10 Off The Beaten Path Ecotourism Destinations For Your World Travel Bucket List 

10 Uncrowded National Parks For YOur World Travel Bucket List

The Top Travel Destinations of 2016: 35 Travel Bloggers’ Picks

The Best Coffee in the World: A Gourmet’s Guide

31 Responses to The World’s Best Road Trips For Your World Travel Bucket List

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Check out our NEW Fair Trade Boutique!

Fair Trade Boutique
Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

Help Support Green Global Travel!

Each time you make a purchase on Amazon.com using the link below, we'll earn a small percentage, at no extra cost to you.


Amazon

Follow Us

As Seen In:

Destinations We’ve Covered:

• AFRICA
Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Madagascar- Ring-tailed Lemurs at Anja Reserve
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

 
• ANTARCTICA
How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
 
• ASIA
Borneo- Sabah Ecotourism Attractions
India- Ranthambhore National Park
India- Tibetan Culture In Ladakh
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
 
• AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
Australia-Maria Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities

 

• NORTH AMERICA
CANADA
Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

UNITED STATES
America’s Best Volcanoes
AL- Fishing Mobile Bay
AL- Mobile Carnival Museum
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
FL- Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Lafayette Cajun Food Tour
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
LA- Voodoo Museum
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Asheville's Top Ecotourism Attractions
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
TX- Sea Turtle Rescue, South Padre Island
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

MEXICO
Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba
 
• CARIBBEAN