For the longest time, I didn’t have a drivers license. I considered myself to be a perfect road trip partner; I read maps, I’ll feed you and you can pick the music, but I was no help when it came to driving. When I finally did get my license, at 35, I also met Jochem, who doesn’t mind driving at all. Road trip to France? He drove. Our first holiday to Iceland? He drove. I have a feeling this will not last forever…
The great thing about road trips? The freedom to do whatever you please! Love this spot? Let’s stay. Hate it? Leave! The flexibility of adjusting your schedule (if you have one at all) on the go and the simple way of traveling. We love it. Here are some of our favourites, and some that are still on the bucket list!
South Africa: The Garden Route
While the Garden Route (or tuinroete) is not the longest one on the list at 300 km, it is one of the most famous road trips out there. I drove it, 13 years ago (yup, no, I didn’t drive) but it is still etched in my mind. The road is easy, the ocean views are magnificent, beautiful towns, and don’t forget to include a stop at a vineyard along the way! Hermanus has over 50 farms and lots of award winning wine.
Driving this route can easily be fit into a South Africa itinerary. Your can drive it in 2 days and tag it onto your plans, or if you planned your trip to stay in the area, there’s enough to see and do for 2 weeks!
Italy: The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi coast is most known for its beautiful hikes between towns and beaches, but did you know you can drive it as well? The official starting point is the town of Positano, the most photographed town on the coast. The colorful houses meandering their way down the hill are infinitely pretty. From here, you can also take the ferry to Capri. Driving further, the road will take you to Praiano, Furore, Amalfi, a few smaller towns, and ultimately Vietri sul Mare. Keep in mind that if you’re visiting any of these villages, there is hardly to no parking within the towns. You’ll have to park on the outskirts and walk.
Best time to go? Around March will probably be the quietest, but the weather still fickle. Late April to early June are best temperature wise.
For a detailed day itinerary on the Amalfi Coast; check Learning Escapes.
Ireland: The Atlantic Way
Definitely still on our list in general: Ireland. With its rugged nature, coastline and isolation it might be Europe’s answer to New Zealand! And since travel may have to stay a lot closer to home these days, Ireland is just a wee flight away and yet is completely different than the flatlands of Holland! We can just see ourselves driving from pint to pint.
The Atlantic Way stretched from Cork to Donegal and is usually done in a day or 10 if you want to take your time. We’re stocking up on rain gear!
Iceland: Ring Road
Everyone knows Iceland’s Golden Circle, and the Ring Road isn’t a secret either, but have you considered a road trip in winter? Everything is covered in snow and quiet and the driving not as scary as you may think. When we drove this in February of 2019, there were few tourists and we often had places all to ourselves. The Ring Road will take you literally around Iceland and offers spectacular views. If you have time to veer off the road, we recommend visiting the peninsula of Hvammstangi. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some seals there!
We drove this in the dead of winter, but Iceland is beautiful year round. The northern lights can be seen from late September to March, but your best chances to spot them are in September and early March. We were lucky enough to see them twice, and it really is nothing short of magic.
India: Leh – Ladakh
The Leh – Ladakh is one of the most iconic road trips in the world. Especially for motorcycle riders this should be at the top of your bucket list! The mountain roads offers fantastic views of the Himalayan range and take you through villages, passes and monasteries. I did a part of this route by bus and definitely, you need to be an experienced rider. The roads are curvy, steep and narrow, require focus and are physically challenging. They key here is preparation!
Savid and Vid at Bruised Passports wrote extensive guides on the Leh – Ladakh road trips that are more than worth your time!
Central Asia: The Silk Route
When Jochem and I started planning our Asia trip last year (that we came back from early due to Covid), I lobbied hard for central Asia. Every since history classes at school, this to me is the absolute ultimate road trip! The Silk Route is actually not just 1 highway from A to B, but a network of routes spanning from Istanbul to China, branching out to India, the Middle East and overseas to Africa. Having been to Iran 2 years ago, I am dreaming of ‘backtracking’ through Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan. We ended up actually not including it in out itinerary as it would be challenging logistically, but not giving up!
New Zealand: Southern Island
This dream came true for us earlier this year! While we only had a week due to circumstance, we did try to make the most of it. No regrets! We drove from Christchurch through Arthur’s Pass to the west coast, down to Franz Joseph and back via Lake Tekapo. We loved the landscape, the mountains and the glacier lakes. Nothing like we’d ever seen before. Plus; driving around in your own campervan means a world of freedom.
Being there after summer (after February) will save you money, especially on van rentals, since it’s the beginning of fall. Summer months are the busiest and thus the most expensive. When we were there in March, the weather was still pleasant!
READ MORE: 31+ ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS YOU CAN’T LEAVE WITHOUT