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The world's greatest road trips

( 11 September 2019 )

Wind down the window, turn on the stereo and hit the road with our list of the world’s most beautiful, interesting and awe-inspiring road trips. All you need is wheels.

Route 66
Route 66 runs from Chicago to Los Angeles

Route 66

Nicknamed the ‘Mother Road’ and ‘Main Street USA,’ Route 66 was completed in 1938 and has become synonymous with the romantic notion of America's open road. It originally served as a major path for the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s.

The complete journey from Chicago to Los Angeles clocks in at over 2,200 miles long and passes through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California on its way to the Pacific Coast.

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The Amalfi Coast

It may be short, but the Amalfi coast is one of the world's most scenic and challenging drives in the world. These 44 miles of winding, narrow roads between Sorrento and Salerno are pitched precipitously above the Mediterranean and offer a veritable treasure trail of hidden beaches, pastel-coloured cliff-top villages and exquisite restaurants.

Make sure you stop off at Ravello or Amalfi to enjoy some of southern Italy's finest food whilst you soak up the incredible sea views over the Gulf of Salerno.

The Alpine Road

The grande dame of Germany's scenic routes is a fairytale tour through the spectacular Alpine foothills of southern Bavarian Alps. The road's slogan is 'every mile – a smile', which couldn't be more apt.

From Lindau on Lake Constance to Berchtesgaden on Lake Königssee, the 280-mile long journey takes drivers past 25 castles, palaces and abbeys, 21 mountain lakes, more than 60 spa resorts, and several hundred breathtaking mountain peaks.

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The Flower Route

At only 25 miles long, the Flower Route (also known as the Bollenstreek Route) in the Netherlands is the shortest of our road trips but no less spectacular for it.

Starting in Haarlem, the route goes south past a remarkably dense concentration of flower fields, featuring tulips, hyacinths, narcissi and daffodils.

The best time of year to drive the road is, unsurprisingly, spring, when the bright, alternate strips of blooming flowers create a one-of-a-kind, visual spectacle.

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The Cabot Trail

Named after the explorer John Cabot, who landed on the island of Nova Scotia 300 years ago, Canada's 185-mile Cabot Trail loops around Cape Breton Island, arguably the most beautiful part of Nova Scotia.

The route takes you through the magnificent Cape Breton Highlands National Park, home to bald eagles, moose and black bears, and you can also discover charming small villages where the French and Scottish influence is still obvious. The best time to enjoy this drive is from May to October when the weather is at its best.

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The Basque Circuit

Another route with spectacular scenery is the Basque Circuit, a 300-mile route through northern Spain, taking in the Pyrenees and the coastline along the Bay of Biscay, all of which is accompanied by wonderful local food and views.

Start in Bilbao in Spain (visit the Guggenheim Museum while you're there) and make your way through the mountain pass to Pamplona, famous for its annual Bull Run in July, and Vitoria-Gasteiz,with its medieval quarter. Head over the border into France to take in the faded glamour of the resort of Biarritz, and then follow the coast back through quaint fishing villages and towns such as San Sebastian, where you can stop for a while to soak up the sun and enjoy the seafood.

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The West Highlands, Scotland

For a driving holiday closer to home, why not try a trip around the western Highlands of Scotland? The landscapes of Scotland are rugged, awe-inspiring and beautiful, and the best way to experience them is with a road trip. Enjoy the cultural life of Edinburgh, then make your way up to the Isle of Skye.

The A82 will take you through the stunning scenery of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, as well as Glencoe. At Fort William head west on the A830 and get the ferry to Skye from Mallaig. Or for a longer drive, stay on the A82 and take the A87 at Invergarry so you can drive over the Skye Bridge. As well as the astonishing landscapes, there is plenty of wonderful bird and wildlife to be seen en route.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.