Driving holidays have become more popular in recent years, with the introduction of budget flights, people have more money to spend on car hire. Getting to see the sights of some of the world’s most scenic wonders is one of the perks of hiring a car abroad. For this reason we have put together a list of the top 10 of the most traveled and best driving holidays from around the world.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
If flying into the culturally enriching and modern city of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road simply cannot be ignored. With the benefit of driving a car, you are at the gateway to a 300km designated route through a number of staggering natural wonders that hug the serene ocean setting.
From the surf beaches of Torquay, the rainforests of Otway Park, waterfalls, shipwrecks, wine tasting tours to the bizarre rock formations of the ‘Twelve Apostles’ that stand majestically from the seabed, every moment is a camera moment.
If feeling adventurous, you can then head on to the wonderful city of Adelaide and enjoy this colourful city and then go on a dolphin and whale watching tour from its harbour.
Sydney to Cairns
Australia’s east coast is simply crammed with innumerable awesome places and natural wonders to go and visit and by driving along this coast you truly get the most out of a trip from Sydney to Cairns. Take in Sydney’s iconic sights and then head north towards Cairns ending up at the inimitable Great Barrier Reef.
On the way, surf at the famous Byron Bay, laze on the beaches of the Sunshine Coast or head to Wild Horse Mountain, take a ferry out to the untouched beauty of Fraser Island, feed Dolphins at Tin Can Bay, go horse riding at Kroombit and then ready the camera at the wilderness of Carnarvon Gorge and kick back on the beautiful beaches of Whitsunday. An unforgettable experience is guaranteed.
Garden Route, South Africa
Without question, the 200km of coastline that make up South Africa’s ‘Garden Route’ are among the most beautiful on the planet. From picturesque towns such as Witsand, Stilbaai and Albertina, this astonishing voyage takes you through mountainous landscapes, gorges, dense forestry, golden beaches, immense lakes and rivers, caves and more before culminating at Tsitsikamma National Park where you will find a plethora of amazing wildlife.
Outdoor pursuits along the way include mountain biking, hiking, bungee jumping, scuba diving and more. However, it is the sheer beauty that greets you at every turn of the meandering Garden Route as you take a leisurely drive that will stay in the mind forever.
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
Arguably, the Amalfi ranks as Europe’s most scenic stretch of coastline. The mesmerising beauty of the landscapes that present themselves are almost too idyllic as you venture through pastel-coloured villages and terraced hillsides nestled in amongst lush-green mountains and dazzlingly blue waters.
Lying at the southern end of the Sorrento Peninsula, your journey will immediately yield cliff-edge views of the mainland as you pass through the famous towns of Ravello, Positano and Amalfi itself which have all influenced the works of some of the truly great artists in the world of art, literature and music through the centuries.
Banff and Jasper, Canada
From the Great Plains through to the devastatingly inspirational mountain scenery of Banff and Jasper National Park, this drive through western Canada could quite easily be the greatest this planet has to offer. The views are simply exhilarating as you traverse forests one moment and dominant glaciers the next.
Drive from the great city of Calgary, before you head 135 kilometres west to Banff where the immense Lake Louise lies in wait before you follow the famous Icefield Parkway driving route towards Jasper.
Hiking tours of the parks are most certainly a must and of course; don’t forget your skis during ski season, as some of the world’s finest resorts are all at your disposal.
Where to begin with the Rocky Mountains? The natural wonder of the mountains and the age-old lure of cowboys, ranches, wilderness and world-beating ski resorts are all yours with the benefit of driving on holiday. Denver is as good as anywhere to begin.
This modern city with traditional values should be your gateway as you take on Rocky Mountain National Park as far as Wyoming to the north.
For many, it is the allure of driving in seemingly deserted wilderness under huge open skies that attract many, or the National Park itself with its abundance of wildlife such as elk, pronghorn and moose as you go hiking in the park with the inimitable backdrop of the mountains never out of eyes-reach.
If getting away from it all is up your street then Provence is for you. Fly into Carcassonne and marvel at the charm of this pleasant walled city before heading into the Black Mountains where panoramic scenery will bombard the senses.
Here you will cross into the Massif Central where you can easily spend a day exploring the Parc Regional du Haut-Languedoc before taking in the charming towns of Mazamet, Castres and Albi. Another great drive in Provence can be had from St-Remy-de-Provence taking in the Roman ruins before the D99 road ascends you into the hills where the views are stunning. The wonderful medieval castles and churches of Eygalieres should also be explored.
The serenity, wonderful weather, ancient ruins and of course glamorous coastal towns of the Côte d’Azur should be visited be everyone at least once in a lifetime.
Many make use of cheap car hire when landing at Nice Airport before heading along the coast taking in the wonderful beaches in famous towns such as St. Tropez and Cannes before heading down to the millionaires playground that is Monaco where Formula One fans are able to drive the famous streets of the world’s most loved circuit after taking in medieval hilltowns, Roman Ruins and art galleries along the way.
Many also plump for the ‘Ours Peak Road’ on the Western Riviera starting at St. Raphael and travelling along the ascending twists and turns which yield devastatingly beautiful panoramas as the road takes you to the summit of the Pic de l’Ours at 488m above sea level for views you will never, ever forget.
Pacific Coast Highway, California
Many rank the US1 and US101 of the Pacific Coast Highway as America’s most scenic drive. Begin in Los Angeles head north through California, Oregon and on to the state of Washington taking in the famous settlements of La Jolla, Malibu, Santa Monica, Pismo, Santa Barbara and Venice where the beaches are among the world’s best.
As you head north into the Big Sur region the landscape quickly changes, ascending to steep cliff drops overlooking the sea donning wonderful views all the way to incredible San Francisco. From here, expect wineries and redwood forests as you cross the Oregon state border where spectacular bays and small fishing villages present themselves before the Cascade Mountains and wondrous waterfalls of Washington greet you at the end of this unique road trip.
Rhine Valley, Germany
The Rhine Valley is famous for its historic castles and fortifications, dense forests and beautiful river settings and is regarded by many as Germany’s most beautiful scenic drive.
Begin in Cologne and head to Mainz and you will quickly be treated to some of the greatest castles you are ever likely to see at almost every turn, with many of them now converted into hotels. Stop at Lorelei and enjoy the spectacle of its castle which inspired J.R.R Tolkien to create the much-loved Hobbit/Lord of the Rings stories.