Article may contain sponsored links

Bucket-List Road Trips You Have To Do at Least Once in Your Lifetime

Check out these stunning bucket-list road trips you need to try, including the quintessential American road trip: Route 66. Whether you want to travel to Australia for the Great Ocean Road or stick with a UK road trip like the Atlantic Highway, we have you covered.

There are so many breath-taking road trips that the world has to offer. From Route 66 to the Great Ocean Road, there are plenty of drives that may tickle your fancy. A road trip is the perfect way to wind-down, whether you have retired and are looking for adventure or just in need of some TLC. Here is our pick of the top bucket-list road trips that you need to try at least once in your lifetime.

1. The Great Ocean Road, Australia

As the name implies, the Great Ocean Road hugs the coast: namely, the south-eastern coast of Australia. The 150-mile road trip runs between Torquay and Allansford and passes a variety of awe-inspiring sites.

Top things to do:

  • The Twelve Apostles: be sure to stop and take in this beautiful cluster of limestone stacks just off the shore of Port Campbell
  • Wildlife Wonders: take a walk on the wild side with a walk around a serene bushland environment with Koalas galore!
  • Hot spring sanctuary: book yourself in for a romantic night or two at the hot springs hotel in Victoria, with plenty of idyllic bathing pools to wallow in.
  • Paddle with the Platypus: hop into a canoe at Lake Elizabeth and experience the fabled Australian Platypus in its natural habitat

Road trip time: Two to four days

Fun fact: The Great Ocean Road is also the world’s largest war memorial, dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives in WWI.

For more activities, visit Get Your Guide now.

2. Route 66, USA

Route 66 is one the most famous roads in the United States and for good reason. Although the route no longer officially exists in its entirety, there are still large sections of it that are preserved, with signage guiding you through the “Historic Route 66”. This legendary road trip still has huge amounts to offer, so pack your bags, cross the pond and rent a convertible because this is not a road trip you want to miss.

The American road trip traditionally starts in Chicago and ends at Santa Monica, Los Angeles. It is recommended you take at least three weeks to fully enjoy this road trip, and so, naturally, there are endless sights to see. Here is a small selection of places you may like to visit along the way.

Top things to do:

  • Lou Mitchell’s Diner: this quintessential American diner is seen as the ‘first stop on the mother road’. This historical diner was established in 1923 and so actually predates the great Route 66. For the traditional American experience, this is a great place to start.
  • The painted desert: stop off in Northern Arizona to watch the sunset set over the vast, picturesque landscape of the painted desert.
  • Rialto Square Theatre: for a touch of class along your epic journey, pop into the Rialto Square Theatre in Illinois to enjoy an evening of theatrical bliss.

Road trip time: Three weeks

Fun fact: In 1928, a race was held on foot to promote Route 66. The race required the 300 competitors to run the 2400 mile stretch of Route 66, followed by an additional 1000 miles. The winner, Andy Payne, received a cash prize of $25,000, completing the race in 573 hours.

Book Route 66 adventures with our partner Get Your Guide.

3. Ring Road, Iceland

Take a tour around the Icelandic ring road and experience something truly majestic. The road trip takes a circular route around the entire country, starting in the highly populated Reykjavik area and moving through to the uninhabited highlands.

Top things to do:

  • Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls: when traversing the resplendent terrain of South Iceland, these spectacular waterfalls are worth a peep.
  • Dyrhólaey cliffs
  • Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon: nothing captures Iceland more than a stunning, icy lake so be sure to stop off at this lagoon
  • The Golden Circle: if you have the time, why not take a detour and whizz round this bonus circuit with beautiful sights to see such as the Gullfoss Waterfall and the Þingvellir National Park.

Road trip time: Seven days

Fun fact: The elusive Northern Lights can be spotted between September and March!

That's not all, visit Get Your Guide for more fun things to do in Iceland.

4. Basque Circuit, Spain to France

If you embark upon the Basque Circuit road trip, then you will enjoy the fruits of not one, but two countries. The Basque Circuit takes you on one of the most picturesque routes in Europe, starting in Bilbao and making its way up to France via the idyllic city of Pamplona.

Top things to do:

  • Guggenheim museum, Bilbao: a popular tourist destination and a great place to start this immense road trip. The museum itself is a piece of art and houses a brilliant collection of contemporary art for you to peruse at your leisure.
  • Pamplona: it is definitely worth your while to stop off at the idyllic city of Pamplona. Take the scenic drive up San Sebastian to catch the magnificent, panoramic views of the Isla de Santa Clara.
  • Biarritz: round off the trip with a couple of days in the Surfing capital of Europe!

Road trip time: Five to seven days

Fun fact: If you go on this road trip in early July, be sure to catch the famous running of the bulls in Pamplona!

5. Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

Explore the stunning northern coast of Sardinia with a road trip across the Costa Smeralda. The route is dubbed the ‘Emerald Coast’ due to the strikingly green-tinted waters. The region is the epitome of decadence and luxury, attracting billionaires and celebrities from all over the world.

Top things to do:

  • Porto Cervo: the luxury infrastructure of Porto Cervo is unrivalled. Easily one of the most luxurious seaside resorts across the globe, this is not somewhere you want to miss.
  • Beaches: there are many gorgeous beaches along this coastal road trip, including the famous Principe beach and the Liscia Ruia. If you’re feeling particularly decadent, why not explore a private beach too?
  • Arzachena: a great place to explore Sardinian history and impressive archaeology. There are plenty of neolithic sites dotted around that may interest you.

Road trip time: Two days (as far as road trips go, this is quite short, but there is plenty to see if you want to spend a week or two getting to know the region)

Fun fact: The Aga Khan fell in love with the Costa Smeralda region in the 1960s and committed himself to building it into a luxury region.

For amazing Costa Smeralda accommodation deals, visit TripAdvisor now.

6. The Atlantic Highway, England

If you’re looking for a relaxing staycation, then why not tackle the 70-mile Atlantic Highway. The grandly named UK road trip runs from north Devon down to Cornwall, with plenty of pretty places to see on the way. If you want to explore the best of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall’s countryside, then this road trip is definitely for you.

Top things to do:

  • Exmoor National Park: the beginning of your staycation road trip will take you through the heart of Exmoor National Park – home to red deer.
  • Tintagel Castle: famed as the birthplace of King Arthur, the historical Tintagel Castle is certainly worth a glance.
  • St Nectan’s Glen: tucked away in a secluded valley, this glen is a magical sight to see, with stunning trickling waterfalls.

Road trip time: Seven days

Fun fact: You can stop off in Port Isaac along the way to see the town where the hit series, Doc Martin, was filmed.