Saint Augustine once said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”. This quote has many layers of truth to it. Today, travel is on most peoples’ bucket lists and with good reason – the world is more connected today than it ever has been, making traveling a much easier feat than it once was. In my opinion, one of the best ways to travel and truly be immersed in a culture is by road a.k.a. driving. Driving holidays allow you to be privy to quaint towns, beautiful scenery and meet new people along the way. Whether you travel alone or in a group, road trips give true meaning to the phrase “it’s not the destination, but the journey that counts.” Here is a list of the best roads to drive on around the world that will hopefully inspire your next road trip holiday:
Tianmen Mountain Road, China
This road will take you up to the top of Tianmen Mountain, where you will be rewarded with stunning views of the landscape below. Set amidst Tianmen Mountain National Park, this road allows you to view splendorous trees and mountain surfaces covered in green.
White Rim Trail, Utah, USA
The White Rim Road is a 100 mile loop, and is rated moderately difficult for high-clearance four-wheel vehicles. It is quite a challenging drive, but the expansive views of untouched terrain, from vast plateaus to deep canyons, makes the challenge well worth it.
Furka Pass, Swiss Alps, Switzerland
Remember the car chase in the James Bond movie, Goldfinger? That happened on the Furka Pass. Follow in Bonds footsteps on this magnificent pass, that takes you within a few 100 meters of the source of the Rhone River, the Rhone Glacier.
Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
The Atlantic Ocean Road is Norway is a 5.2 mile section that runs through an archoipelago. Flanked on either side by open waters, this road allows you to hop from one island to the next, by simply driving your vehicle. The non-ocean facing part of this road also contains the famous “Drunken Bridge”, given it name for is unusual shape.
Highway 1, USA
Highway 1 in the Big Sur region has much to offer. This All-American road passes through various costal parks, while hugging the Big Sur cliffs on one side. With the Pacific Ocean to your side, you can catch glimpses of sea lions lazing on the beach and hears seagulls call to each other in this picturesque setting. For the few miles that the road leaves the coats, you will pass through a redwood forest and be awed by these magnificent trees.
Leh-Manali Highway, India
The Leh-Manali Highway is in North India, and remains open for only around 4 months in the summer, when all the winter snow has been cleared off. The average elevation of the road is approximately 13,000 ft, the highest point being Tanglang La Mountain Pass at 17,480 ft. From this vantage point, you will be to uninterrupted views of mountain tops, rock formations, and various shades of brown and white.
© Sandeepa Chetan
Hana Highway, USA
Even though it is called the Road to Hana, in this journey, the small town of Hana isn’t the showstopper. Rather, this road that lines the Coast of Maui Island is an attraction in itself. With multiple hairpin turns, this road meanders through rainforests, with vistas of waterfalls, exotic birds and finally, the clear blue ocean. The road has many stops along the way, such as the famed Black Sand beach with Lava tubes, and the “Seven Sacred Pools”.
Route Napoleon, France
A road trip for history buffs – Route Napoleon was the famous route taken by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815 on his march from Elba to Grenoble. Not only does this please history aficionados, but those landscape lovers will also be impressed with the variety of lakes, hills and open meadows this drive promises. In true French fashion, this drive can be relaxed, smooth and wonderfully romantic.
Garden Route, South Africa
The Garden Route of South Africa is a costal drive that allows you to encounter numerous lagoons and lakes, as well as beautiful little towns like Kynsna and Plettenberg Bay. Occasionally, you will even spot some wildlife. With everything from wine tasting to crocodile cage diving, the stops along this route have something for everyone to enjoy.
Old Military Road, Scottish Highlands
The Old Military Road A93 is a perfect road in every sense of the word. It’s nestled among the Scottish Highlands, meandering through Cairngorms National Parks with typical Scottish Highland scenery at every turn along the way. The best part is that it doesn’t have much traffic, as most cars use the highway that runs next to the National park instead – Perfect for an unwinding road trip!
For your next vacation, be sure to consider a driving holiday. These sorts of holidays have a distinct charm of their own, and are very satisfying indeed. Amongst other things to plan for are making sure you have an international drivers’ permit (if necessary) as well as car that suits the requirements of your trip. Downloading certain car apps on your smart phone that track tire pressure, gas fill-ups and even provide safety alerts is especially useful for longer trips, and will allow you to monitor your car at all instances. When you’re all set, get out there, and see where the road takes you!