Top 5 classic road trips around the world

The freedom and flexibility offered by driving holidays is undeniable so escape from the confines of your holiday and discover the true meaning of your destination. Here are five classic road trips in iconic destinations: follow Route 66 in the USA or the route of the Tour de France, be inspired by the Italian Job movie, drive Australia’s Great Ocean Road or Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route…

Route 66

This route from Chicago to Los Angeles puts the icon in the phrase ‘iconic route’. Hit the road Jack Kerouac style and travel along the historic Mother Route – connecting towns, cultures and regions of a vast country.

There is a huge variety of sights on the way – from the steel and glass canyons of Chicago to the Grand Canyon national park. The rich fields of the Midwest transform into red rock desert and back again once you arrive in central California.

My favourite bookshop Stanfords stock a great set of maps for following Route 66. Published by Ghost Town Press and created by Jim Ross and Jerry McClanahan, the ‘Here It Is’ Route 66 Map Series has eight fold-out maps covering all the states, clear directions and information on the history of the route.

Route 66 USA best road trips

The Tour de France

Follow the cycle trail to Paris and discover hidden villages, remote countryside and authentic French hospitality as you drive a road that is as familiar to two wheels as four.

Be wowed by the magnificent mountain scenery of the French Alps and the Pyrenees, visit the wine regions of southern France and shop with the fashion elite in Paris. France is bigger than you think, so let the car take the strain.

Each year the tour starts in a different region so see the official Tour de France website for more information on the course to plan your classic road trip.

Romantic Paris, France

The Italian Job (just don’t blow the doors off)

Embrace the freedom of the road as you take the exhilarating ‘Italian Job’ route from Imola to Monza. This classic British caper film starring Michael Caine has been inspiring drivers to get a move on since 1969. A remake in 2003 saw Mark Wahlberg recreate the famous Mini Cooper chase scene.

Ease your speed and enjoy the famous film locations in Turin, race through the stylish shopping arcades of the Via Roma, coast through the side streets of Venice and experience the thrills and spills of Formula One territory in Monza. Sit back, relax and turn the music up as you try to keep the doors on your car and enjoy a real taste of Italy.

Venice gondolas Italy

The Great Ocean Road

From Melbourne to Fairy, the Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s greatest drives and exposes travellers to some beautiful Australian scenery. The highlights can be seen in a big day trip but its best to take at least three or four days to enjoy the beaches and laid-back vibe of this lovely coastline. Make sure you spend at least one sunset at the famous Twelve Apostles rock formations and stop at Kennet Rd to see the wild koalas snoozing in the trees.

12 Apostles sunset, Great Ocean Road, Australia

Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route

The mind-blowing Giant’s Causeway may be the big highlight of Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route but it is not the only one. The spooky Dark Hedges and Ballintoy Harbour inspired the Game of Thrones location hunters , while Dunluce Castle was the basis of C.S. Lewis’ Cair Paravel in the Narnia books. The route starts in Belfast and ends in Derry, two lively Northern Ireland cities bursting with history and craic. On the way you’ll find gorgeous beaches and friendly towns.

As for the Giant’s Causeway itself, I love the legend of giant Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) building a bridge to Scotland in order to fight his rival Benandonner. The more practical explanation for the thousands of consistently-shaped basalt columns is ancient volcanic activity but I love the thought of Finn McCool rushing back in a panic when he saw how big Benandonner was…

Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland

What would you include in a list of the world’s top 5 classic road trips? A few other ideas may include the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan for adventurous travellers or a battlefields tour in Belgium.

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