A road trip is the perfect metaphor for the freedom of travel: the world at your wheels and no itinerary except where the road takes you, best mates in the back seat, and murdering a man in a roadhouse parking lot before going on the lam until the cops chase you off a cliff a playlist of top tunes rattling the windows.
We’ve put together a quick list of the best road trips in the world ideal for enjoying in a long summer break. So get yourself some wheels and head out on the highway.
The Pacific Coast Highway, USA
Distance: 655 miles
When you think road trip, you probably think USA. The Californian delight of the Pacific Coast Highway is the ultimate, iconic all-American road adventure.
First of all, it’s packed with famous sights and cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Malibu, and Monterey. In between stops you’re treated to sparkling coastal views, acres of virgin forest, and sleepy seaside villages.
Even better, it’s easy to detour to Las Vegas, Death Valley, or Yosemite National Park. You won’t want to ever come home.
The Great Ocean Road, Australia
Distance: 150 miles
Australia is one of the most scenic countries in the world. If the 9,000-mile continent-circumnavigating Highway 1 sounds a bit hardcore, the relatively bite-sized Great Ocean Road might be more your speed.
Skirting the southeastern coastline, it begins in Anglesea and concludes in Warrnambool, without a single famous city in between. Instead there’s mile after mile of rugged countryside and ripper ocean views, punctuated by a procession of top beaches and surf spots.
Stick a surfboard on the roof and a slab in the boot, and get out there.
Carretera Austral, Chile
Distance: 770 miles
Tarmac? Where you’re going you don’t need tarmac. But seriously you’ll need some kind of sensible 4×4 and snacks. Maybe some toilet roll.
Chile’s Route 7 is a largely gravel road connecting the north and south of the elongated country, with glaciers, volcanoes, rainforests, rivers, and fjords along the way. There isn’t much in the way of civilisation en route, so get ready to poop in the woods.
The road can become treacherous out of season, so we recommend heading over in southern hemisphere summer, between December and February.
The Trans-Canada Highway, Canada
Distance: 5000 miles
This transcontinental odyssey requires stamina (and a reliable set of wheels), but if you want an epic trip, Canada is undoubtedly a top choice. Spanning the entire country from coast to coast, and taking in all ten provinces, this route gives you a taste of all things Canuck.
The Trans-Canada Highway begins out west in verdant British Columbia and ends in remote Newfoundland and Labrador. It includes a strong selection of cities – Montreal, Quebec, Winnipeg, Ottawa – as well as natural wonders like Glacier National Park and Banff National Park.
By the time the trip is over you’ll pretty much be Canadian, buddy.
Distance: 467 miles
So unpronounceable nobody will believe it’s a real place, you might feel the same way even while you’re driving Sognefjellsvegen. This diverse, surreal stretch of road between Bergen and Oslo cuts through the famous Norwegian fjords, climbs high onto precarious mountain passes, and takes you within a snowball’s throw of a glacier.
Perhaps its most famous feature is Lærdal Tunnel, the world’s longest at 15 miles. It was built to encompass special caverns and lighting to prevent drivers losing concentration or going mad.
Oh alright, we’ll tell you: it’s son-ya-feh-jels-eh-ve-jen. Easy.