Six of the Best Road Trip Destinations

Six of the Best Road Trip Destinations



Many
books
have been written, songs sung and movies made about “the road
trip”. Whether you’re whizzing about the city in a sports car,
off-roading in a 4×4 or campervanning your way from beach to beach,
there’s something about being on the road that makes the special
moments a little more special (if only because you’ve driven five
hours to get there).

Hit the road in one of these scenic destinations


California

United States

Famous for its year-round sunshine, glistening shores and the
long tanned limbs that grace them,
California
is truly the Golden State – and hitting the Pacific
Coast Highway (or California State Route 1) has long been hailed as
the best way to experience its highlights. As with everything else
in the land of sun, road trips are to be approached with a
laid-back attitude, without a hard and fast itinerary in place.

Kick things off with a few days in San
Francisco
, checking off hotspots such as Ocean Beach and Golden
Gate Park while devouring Mexican food in the Mission and taking in
the general artsy atmosphere, before cruising on down for a retreat
into the wilderness at Big Sur. Then it’s on to Santa
Monica
by way of
Big Little Lies
territory in Monterey, Santa Barbara and
Joshua
Tree
. Finish with a bang in Los
Angeles
, the City of Stars and your final destination on a
whirlwind road trip that’ll undoubtedly yield more than its fair
share of memorable moments.


Namibia

There are few landscapes as awe-inspiring as those in Namibia.
Twice the size of California and with only two million inhabitants,
the sun-bleached desert is an otherworldly domain that’s literally
only doable behind the wheel (preferably of a 4×4). Between the
Lion King scenes at the watering hole in Etosha National Park and
the Mad Max territory of the Moon Landscape, Namibia offers an
off-road adventure regardless of which route you follow. Yet while
incredible views and once-in-a-lifetime experiences are all but
guaranteed, there are certain unmissable spots to consider when
planning your trip.

You’ve seen the dunes of Sossusvlei on your Instagram feed, but
pixels can’t compare to the real thing. A place of contrasts, it
has blazing red sand dunes, black acacia trees and an expansive
white clay pan that is most definitely best witnessed IRL (and from
the peak of Big Daddy, if your legs can make it). Other highlights
include quad-bike adventures and candle-lit dining in Swakopmund,
getting up close and personal with the wildlife during a game drive
at Etosha National Park, and cruising along the Skeleton Coast
(passing shipwrecks, whale bones, dry riverbeds and desert dunes as
you do).


Slovenia

While it’s not the first place you’d think of when planning a
road trip, Slovenia is an unexpected destination on this list, but
one of the best. Small but mighty, the European country packs a
punch, offering fairy-tale castles, cobalt-blue lakes, wine valleys
and gourmet restaurants – plus it’s not crawling with tourists.

Begin in the romantic capital of
Ljubljana
. The city’s cobbled streets teem with alfresco cafés,
riverside bars and baroque architecture that’d be impossible to
pull yourself away from if it weren’t for the alluring Lake Bled
just two hours away. For unbeatable scenery, take the Vršič Pass
(braving its 50 exhilarating hairpin turns) through to the Triglav
National Park and Soca Valley, before journeying to Kobarid, where
you can get out from behind the wheel and stretch your legs on a
historical trail. Finally it’s onto Piran, a sleepy seaside town in
which seafood and sunsets are on the agenda.


France

Nothing quite says l’été (summer) in France like riding in a
speedy little coupé with the top down, your headscarf fluttering in
the wind. Here, the roads are windy, the cheese is smelly (in a
good way) and the rosé is flowing. For a taste of that sweet
Brigette Bardot kind of life, the
French Riviera
, its glittering waters and overpriced ice-creams
await. Fly into Nice,
pick up your rental car and take the coastal Basse Corniche route
to Monaco and onto Cannes (stopping at medieval villages along the
way) and
Saint Tropez
, before concluding your French fling with a
lasting love affair in Aix-en-Provence.

Alternatively, if you’re more mother nature than grand dame,
France’s Loire Valley offers bucolic bliss. When the Parisian
crowds get too much, drive along the D952. Hugging the Loire River
all the way, the road will take you through the region’s most
magical towns, past covetable chateaux and endless scenic picnic
spots.


Iceland

A real-life fantasy land,
Iceland
has a lunar-esque terrain that is notoriously
disorienting with lush grassy fjords, crystal blue lakes or gushing
waterfalls. Second only to riding an Icelandic horse, driving is
the best way to experience it all in one sitting. Approximately
800-miles long, the country’s famous Ring Road is technically
doable in a day, but best experienced punctuated with stops at beer
spas, stays at traditional farmhouses and refreshing dips in
volcanic lakes. Take at least a week to complete the route,
exploring Thingvellir National Park, the Jökulsárlón glacial
lagoon, eastern fjords and, of course, keeping an eye out for the
Northern Lights on the way.

Even just two days in the land of ice and fire is enough to
experience the country’s diversity – and the aptly named “Iceland
in Miniature” route is the best way to do it all. While the
Snæfellsnes Peninsula stretches only 66 miles from the west, it
manages to squeeze in some of Iceland’s crowning glories in the
short distance, including Snæfellsjökull glacier and volcano,
Rauðfeldsgjá Ravine, the hamlet of Búðir and a spot of seal
watching at Ytri Tunga beach.


Italy

Pastel-painted villages, bucolic countryside and snow-capped
mountains make Italy prime road-trip territory. Its diverse regions
mean there’s a route for everyone – each offering a different kind
of la dolce vita. Boasting a reputation as glittery as its seas,
the
Amalfi Coast
is the stuff of legend and it’s safe to say that
the famous cliff-hugging roads are most definitely better travelled
in an air-conditioned Fiat than crowded tourist bus. Drive west
from Salerno to the tiny village of Vietri sul Mare, where you’ll
find the start of SS163 highway. Follow the winding route all the
way through to Amalfi, stopping for an Aperol spritz at
celebrity-studded Positano, romantic picnics at the gardens in
Ravello and infinite bowls of seafood pasta in the seaside village
of Amalfi.

For those looking to trade Aperol for wine, Tuscany’s
vineyard-dotted wine country awaits. Start in
Florence
and drive south to the Chianti region, wining and
dining your way through Strada and Greve towards Siena, before
cruising further south to Montepulciano, Montalcino and Val d’Orcia
for more wine, more views and perhaps even a stay in a castle or
two.

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