Hit the Open Road with These Best Drives in the World

October 21, 2023   1 Comment »

Hit the Open Road with These Best Drives in the World

May 31, 2018 1 Comment »

There are a billion best drives in the world, best scenic drives, and best road trip articles out there – and honestly, your best ones are probably the favorite ones you’ve been on. With that in mind, I’ve compiled something a little different. Here, you won’t find the usual list – instead, you’ll find the best drives and road trips I’ve taken around the world. These are ones I personally have driven; as the driver or as a passenger and many of these are solo trips.

Consider Doing One of These Best Drives Solo

Are you single or traveling alone? Don’t let that stop you from hitting the open road!  For most of us, we travel with others – a partner, a parent, a child, a friend, or even a giant tour bus filled with strangers who may soon become friends. However, I like to embrace the solo-ness. For me, there’s no better way to travel solo than on a road trip.

My solo road trips have been transformative experiences. These internal shifts always leave me knowing that the road trip was a giant success. Few things in life empower us more than blazing that trail. Like the road itself, there are often twists, turns, and scary moments along the way – but when you reach the journey’s end, you feel like you’re on top of the world. Figuring out how to use a new vehicle, sometimes driving on the other side of the road, new road rules in different countries, navigating by yourself in a foreign place…all of this takes guts.  Trust me, when you finish your first one – you’ll feel invincible.

Me, some beef jerky, a playlist of great travel tunes, and the open road; to me, the ultimate feeling of freedom.

The Best Drives in the World (I’ve taken!)

I’m not going to send you to the spots that everyone goes to like Big Sur or the Road to Hana. This list of best drives in the world takes you to places a bit lesser known, those a bit off the beaten path, and those that are far removed from those mainstay tourist maps. Jump in your car and follow these paths – you’ll find some that are traditionally cruise routes that I’ve turned into driving routes and other roads only accessible in the dead of winter. My list of best drives in the world will even take you on a drive across 2 entire continents!

They might not be the best in the whole world – but these are the best I’ve personally taken in the world – and they are unique! I don’t believe in writing about things I haven’t personally done.

Renting a Car

I have consistently found the best rental car prices on RentalCars.com (international and at home) and use them when I have to rent a car.  They work with all of the major car companies; check out their prices and see what you think. They also offer free reservations and cancellations which I love as my plans often change!

USA Road Trips and Drives

Best Places to See on Maine Road Trip

best drives in the world Maine

My 8-day solo road trip took a circular route that started and ended in Portland. On this road trip, I got to see Maine’s interior rural side along with the famous, well-traveled coast. I tried some new activities I’d never done before, like fishing, and returned to other old favorites, like surfing. Check out the stories that took me deep into the woods, to the coastal communities and state parks, and to the deliciousness of the Wild Maine Blueberry Festival – these are only some of the best places to see on a fascinating Maine Road Trip.

Northern California Road Trip

Best drives in the world northern california

On this best drive in the world, I sought out those lesser-known places. Instead of hiring a car and staying at hotels, I had the unique experience of life in a self-contained Jucy Camper Van allowing me complete flexibility and keeping me on budget. Lodi, Klamath River, Redwoods National Park, Glass Beach, Bowling Ball Beach, and Highway 1, – these are only some of the spots I stopped at Northern California Road Trip.

Alaska – Drive the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Ocean

Dalton Highway best drives in the world

The Dalton Highway follows the Alaskan pipeline from Fairbanks to Coldfoot and beyond. Designed as a road to supply and support the pipeline’s construction, this 414-mile road ends around the Arctic Ocean. Awaiting our arrival at the Arctic Circle was a sign and a little picnic area. We sat on a giant red carpet in front of the ‘Welcome to the Arctic Circle’ sign and smiled. Bring your dreams along for the ride on this Alaska Road Trip from Dalton to the Arctic.

Kahekili Highway Maui, Hawaii

best drive Kahekili Highway maui

The Kahekili Highway (Hawaii State Highway 340) lives in the shadow of its big well-known brother – the Road to Hana. In my experience, this highway far exceeds the views of the Road to Hana. It’s not just about the driving, but the spots you’re able to stop along the way open up a mostly tourist-free existence. I pulled over and ate my picnic poke lunch at a lookout with absolutely no one around. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best drives in the world as you find your perfect moments on this special island drive on the Kahekili Highway in Maui.

Canadian Road Trips and Drives

Nova Scotia Driving Holiday

best drives in Nova Scotia

Although Cape Breton is the main attraction when discussing road trips in the region, there’s so much more to Nova Scotia’s highways. Densely marked spots with logos all their own make it easy to follow the route winding through towns, beaches, rural areas, and fishing villages. On my mother-daughter road trip we captured the scenic vistas of the Lighthouse route, Evangeline Trail, Cabot Trail, Marine Drive, and more. Grab your gear and join in our best drive in the world in Nova Scotia.

Prince Edward Island Road Trip

best drives in the world PEI

Jam-packed with things to see and do, the best route around PEI is done in a car. Following breadcrumbs from the clever signage in front of you will lead you around the entire island. Puzzle pieces detail your adventures taking you to spots focused on food, farming, and fun. My parents and I took one week to traverse the journey and only scratched the surface. You can even drive into Cavendish,  the setting of the storybook town of Anne of Green Gables! What would you want to see on this Prince Edward Island Road Trip?

Drive on Canada’s Ice Roads

best drives in the world ice roads canada

Stretching from Mackenzie Ice Road to Tuktoyaktuk, the ice road system supplying the Northwest Territories actually takes you across the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. The winter’s freeze brings freedom to remote communities allowing the residents to use their cars to get supplies, see families, and get to larger communities. For tourists, the winter means an incredibly unique adventure. Few people get to see the Arctic Ocean, let alone drive on it! Give the ice a whirl on your  Canada Ice Roads adventure.

Drive Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail in a Day

one day cabot trail itinerary

The Cabot Trail has been named the most scenic drive in the world. When you look at the Cabot Trail on a map it looks pretty manageable; I can do that in a day – not a problem! But when you do actually take into account that it’s 185 miles to get around it and it’s full of scenic stops and activities you can do, you realize it’s not easily manageable in a day without some pre-planning and organization. 

On my recent trip to Cape Breton, I set out to figure out the perfect one-day strategy for driving the famous Cabot Trail. This was my second trip around the Cabot Trail, so I understood just how much of a challenge this was going to be; however, I think I did a great job pulling it off. It was a long day from sun up to sun down, but I packed a little bit of everything in and squeezed out every ounce of beautiful photography that I could.  Now you too can drive the Cabot Trail in a day.

European Road Trips

Fjord Norway Road Trip

best drives in the world fjord norway

Norway has boldly taken its most scenic and nail-biting roads and turned them into National Tourist Routes. The National Tourist Routes initiative set out to combine Norwegian nature, architecture, and design to enhance and enable new experiences along these iconic routes. Our route nearly took us in a complete circle – with only a 3-hour drive between our starting point in Kristiansund and ending point in Alesund, but somehow we managed to drag it out 7 days! Come along for a journey to the fjords on this Norwegian road trip.

Drive the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland

wild atlantic way best drive Ireland

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way takes on the status of one of the longest coastal drives in the world. At 1,600 miles, it joins the ranks of other great coastal roads providing epic vistas and culture along the way. The deceptive 1,600 miles neglects to take into account the state of the roads. These are not roads you can set your cruise control on and speed. Four weeks is the ideal amount of time to conquer the entire drive.  I really loved the Sheepshead and the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, the Burren, and County Donegal. What will you find on your drive on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way?

Made in Germany Road Trip

best drives germany

These best drives in the world reminded me of my childhood and the many trips to my grandparent’s homes. This is a journey to dig deeper into the things that Germany is known for; the well-known and the surprising.  This drive forced me to take a look at my own German-based background and appreciate its existence. Starting at the Mercedes Plant, insert Black Forest cakes, Cuckoo Clocks, Bratwursts, and Christmas Ornaments and you have the makings of a magical journey. What will you find on your made-in-Germany road trip?

Discover Hop-On Hop-Off European train travel

Danube River Road Trip

danube river drive

It’s not often you hear about ‘doing the Danube’ and it has nothing to do with being on a cruise – well, this is me – I like to do things differently. When I arrived in Germany, my goal was to explore the Danube River where cruise ships couldn’t go. I wanted to watch it grow and explore the culture around the Young Danube and then end right before the river got large enough for cruise ships to travel on it – and that’s exactly what I did. The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe. It travels through 10 countries before it empties into the Black Sea. I flew into Frankfurt and out of Munich, driving solo through the areas of Baden Wurttemberg and Bavaria. Check out my Danube River road trip journey on one of my best drives in the world and give the river the chance to share its story with you on yours.

Norway’s Trollstigen Road

trollstigen road best drive in the world

According to Norwegian folk legend, trolls roam through the mountains of Trollstigen every night but change to stone when they are hit by sunlight each morning. Clouded in a veil of mist, their stone bodies create an unbelievable mass of cliffs and winding beauty that mesmerizes visitors. Known as the Troll’s Ladder, Trollstigen Road is more like the crazy person’s ladder with its 11 hair-raising switchbacks, a steep 10% gradient, and nearly one lane on which to navigate. Go in search of the legend on this best drive in the world in Trollstigen.

The Ultimate Drive Crossing Continents

Mongol Rally best drives in the world

Mongol Rally Road Trip

This is the ultimate road trip that will take you across Europe and Asia through some of the most difficult-to-travel roads – or lack of roads. The Mongol Rally is an unsupported and charitable road rally that begins in London and goes to Ulaan Baatar Mongolia. It’s put on by the Adventurists. In July of 2011, four well-traveled travel bloggers (including me!) set out on a 10,000-mile journey to Mongolia. Crossing 10,000 miles over unforgiving deserts, perilous mountain ranges, and non-existent roads, we faced the possibility of bandits, breakdowns, and corruption. We navigated our way through 13 countries and 2 continents. Can you imagine being on this road trip doing the Mongol Rally?

Road trips affect more than the miles on our dashboard – they change us from the inside out. Like life, there are windy twists and hairpin turns and when you show your strength, character, and abilities to make it through those – there are open vistas and smooth straightaways ahead. Give yourself that gift of time, adventure, and growth, and get out there on the road. The journey is worth every mile.


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