Do you have the itch to explore? Fed up of B-road Britain and looking to expand your horizons or tread new ground?
Then unfold your maps, dust off your dictionaries and prepare to take the trip of your lifetime on some of the best roads the world has to offer.
We’ve advised you on America, and explored Europe, but the world is a big place, and there is still much territory unchartered.
So we’ve scoured our own maps (and the internet) to find the absolute must drive roads before you die.
As it turns out, there are hundreds, and it would take a short book to cover them all.
So we’ve whittled the list down to one per continent – excluding Antartica, because you’ll need a lot more than our advice if you plan on driving there.
So read on to find out which trip to undertake on each landmass, and how to prepare yourself for them.
Plan your roadtrip
As much as we all hate to admit it, planning is fundamental to a good road trip. While it may be the boring part of a trip, good planning can make or break your adventure. You don’t want to find yourself map-less in the middle of Mozambique, or out of fuel in the outback.
We’re thinking in worst-case scenarios here, and realistically bad planning will probably only lead to a missed turn or an awkward attempt at communicating with the local. However, situations such as these can be avoided by only a couple of hours of prep.
So, where to begin? There’s the obvious – country, destination, language, car hire, waypoints and routes. Then there’s the budget, how much you have to spend on fuel, accomodation and food.
And then you get into the more obscure. Check out the country’s visa laws, and if you are taking your own car find out whether you will need to pay an import tax, or obtain a Carnet de Passage en Douane (a customs document that identifies a traveller’s motor vehicle or other valuable equipment or baggage).
Make sure that your vehicle, or the one you have hired, is right for the trip. If you are planning on going off road, then a Mustang may not be the smartest of choices, while a Wrangler isn’t the top option for a comfortable cruiser.
If you are hiring a car, investigate thoroughly beforehand to ensure that it is completely legal and safe.
Finally, ensure that you are fully insured. You don’t want to end up stranded in a foreign country unable to afford any mechanical or medical help you need.
Investigate the food offered in your destination. If food poisoning is a common issue amongst travellers, then remember to stock up on snacks beforehand.
Finally, make sure you have adequate entertainment for the many miles you will be covering. Music, games and films can keep passengers relaxed and spirits high!
So where to go then?
The world is your oyster, literally. But then the world is also quite a big place, and for a first timer international roadtripper, it can be an intimidating one, too.
There are millions of miles of road crisscrossing the globe. From the multi-lane highways of the Western world, to the rutted tracks that connect rural villages in Africa, where you choose to go can be a tough decision.
The internet is a great source of inspiration when it comes to planning a road trip. Articles, blogs and videos detail trips that people have taken, and would recommend, and those that they wouldn’t!
Read on to find out our recommended road trips on each continent.
North America: The California Coastline
Driving the Pacific Coast Highway is a trip that everyone should make at least once in their life, experiencing the best that the West coast has to offer.
The 94-mile stretch from Monterey to San Simeon makes for an ideal mix of scenery. Starting in the historic fishing town Monterey heading in the direction of Carmel, you’ll pass the soaring red trees of Big Sur, and finally arrive in San Simeon.
South America: Ruta 40, Argentina
Argentinia’s Ruta 40 runs parallel to the Andes mountain range. At 3,107 miles long it is the country’s longest road, and one of the longest in the world. Thanks to this incredible length it passes through a wide variety of environments, encompassing 20 national parks, 18 major rivers, 27 passes on the Andes. It even reaches a height of 5,000m (16,404 ft) above sea level in Abra del Acay in Salta.
Europe: Germany’s Alpine Passes
Few roads are as fabled as Germany’s mountain passes. From nail-bitingly narrow switchbacks to long straights through the valleys, these roads are some of the best Europe has to offer. Begin your trip in Lindau before heading eastward to the Breitachklamm gorge. A visit to the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle – which inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle – is a must, as is a trip to the medieval town of Bad Tölz. Finally, pass by the ice caves of Werfen on the way to Salzburg.
Africa: Garden Route
This 130-mile scenic stretch of coastline between Mossel Bay and Tsitsikamma in South Africa is known as the Garden Route. Lush and green, it is very much an African Garden, with the tumultuous South Atlantic Ocean to one side of the road, and rainforests, lagoons and mountains on the other. Driving along this route you will see sites including the Cango Caves, the snaking Seweweekspoort Pass, the Bloukrans Bridge (see picture below) and Knysna Elephant Park.
Asia: The Karakoram Highway
There are a number of things that make the Karakoramm Highway special, and a must drive route. As the highest paved road in the world, it connects China and Pakistan. Crossing the rocky mountain range which separates the two countries, epic scenery is in abundance. Snow-capped mountains tower over rocky gorges and twisting rivers, which numerous pieces of rock art, dating back as far as 1000BC line the route.
Australia: Great Ocean Road
Australia’s Great Ocean Road was built between 1919 and 1932 by 3,000 ex-servicemen who had returned to the country following World War One. As such, it holds an incredible provenance, and serves as a memorial to the thousands of other soldiers who didn’t return. The 151-mile route is one of the world’s most revered coastal drives and anyone who passes along it can see why. Alongside its history and natural beaty, the drive from Torquay to Allansford, near Warrnambool offers delicious food and wine and plenty of adventurous activities.
Are you thinking of undertaking an epic roadtrip? Let us know in the comments below!
December 2, 2016