Driving Wild: The World’s Best Road Trips

With roadtrips, it’s all about the journey, not just the destination. From the remote Scottish Highlands to cruising the coast of Australia, this week The Edit takes a look at some of our favourite road trips around the world.

The Ultimate American Road Trip, California and Nevada

Although there are many road trips in the US, from the classic Route 66 to driving the Appalachian Trail, our personal favourite is San Francisco to Las Vegas. Visiting two of the US’s most renowned cities, coupled with a trip to Yosemite Park and a drive through the infamous Death Valley, we can’t think of a more iconic journey.

Start your trip in San Francisco and make sure to spend a few days sight-seeing here. Although the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz are not to be missed, the city is more about atmosphere, filled with restaurants, bars and the arts. Whilst you’re there, make sure to pop into the buzzing Café Zoetrope, owned by Francis Ford Coppola, and one Michelin-starred Aster for a creative take on Californian cuisine.

Head East and make your way towards Yosemite National Park. A truly spectacular place for a detour, if you love an adventure, make sure you enjoy some of the hiking or cycling trails in the area.

Coasting down Highway 395, you’ll soon make your way to Death Valley. This stretch of desert is one of the hottest in the world and certainly one to tick off the bucket list. Make sure to stop at Dante’s View for breath-taking and dramatic views.

Departing Death Valley, it’s only a 2 hour drive to your final destination: Las Vegas. Although there is plenty to entertain you in the city, from Cirque du Soleil shows to a bustling nightlife, keep the car for a few extra days and visit the iconic Lake Mead and Grand Canyon. You won’t regret it.

 

Great Ocean Road, Australia

The Great Ocean Road is a 151 miles road along the South-Eastern coast of Australia which stretches between the cities of Torquay and Allansford. Built at the beginning of the 20th Century, the road is also known as the ‘world’s largest war memorial’, as it commemorates the sacrifice of Australian diggers during World War I. The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, traversing rainforests, pristine waterfall and wild nature. Here you can also experience top surf spots and explore the vibrant culinary scene that the Australian coast offers.

The road travels via Anglesea, Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell – notable for its natural limestone and sandstone rock formations including Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto, London Arch (formerly London Bridge) and The 12 Apostles. Explore kilometres of farmlands and renowned wineries, perfect for foodies and wine lovers. Sample local produce and seasonal dishes at Fen and taste outstanding local wines at Merrijing Kitchen.

For those that want to stretch their legs, in 2004 the Great Ocean Walk opened: 104 km of walking trails that follow the coastline near the Great Ocean Road connecting Apollo Bay to The 12 Apostles.

 

North Coast 500, Scotland

The North Coast 500 is a truly scenic Scottish route, driving to fairy-tale castles, ancient ruins and immaculate beaches. The route runs from the Northern city of Inverness, to the West coast of Applecross and North to the town of Torridon and Ullapool.

Explore the ancient ruins of Ardvreck Castle, the famous Urquhart Castle on the bank of Loch Ness and the Grey Cairns of Camster, amongst the oldest stone monuments in Scotland. This corner of Scotland has plenty of incredible food and drinks to please every taste, from fresh seafood at the Kishorn Seafood Bar (open from April to November), to the Britain’s most Northerly gin tasting at Dunnet Bay Distillers. You will venture to the some of the most Northern spots of Scotland before heading back to Inverness.

More than 500 miles across the best of the Highlands, different itineraries can range from a 7 to 9 day trip, from the most luxurious to the most adventurous.

 

The Golden Circle, Alaska and The Yukon

One of the world’s ‘must drive’ road trips, The Golden Circle offers a glimpse into some of the world’s most spectacular scenery in the remote Canadian Yukon and Alaska. Although not one to undertake during the winter (think snow-covered mountains and equally snow-covered roads), The Golden Circle is a once in a lifetime trip.

Starting in Skagway, Alaska, the first leg of the journey takes you into The Yukon to the town of Whitehorse. One of the route’s most breath-taking sites lies on this stretch of road; The Emerald Lake, with its sparkling verdant waters, is a popular destination. Whitehorse, aptly named ‘The Wilderness City’, rests on the shores of The Yukon River and is surrounded by dramatic mountainscapes. If exploring the natural beauty of the area doesn’t tickle your fancy, check out the city’s art scene.

Next, pick up the Alaska Highway towards Haine’s Junction which is perched on the border of the Kluane National Park and Reserve. For the adventurers among you, stop here for a few days. From wildflowers to glaciers, this expansive National Park is utterly beautiful and can be explored on foot or from the sky. Once you’ve got your fill of scenery, the Haines Highway is ready to take you (via the mountainous Chilkat Pass) down to Haines in Alaska, where you can pick up a ferry and return to your starting point, Skagway.

 

Stelvio Pass, Italy

Not quite a road trip but certainly one of Europe’s most iconic driving roads, the Stelvio Pass in Italy is one of the highest and most dramatic passes in the Alps. Open during the Summer months, it attracts driving enthusiasts wanting to experience this spectacular route. With its notorious 48 hairpin bends, the pass connects the Valtellina with the town of Merano, in South Tyrol. Remembered in history for epic battles during World War I, today it is famously known for run and cycle races such as the Giro D’Italia.

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