And what more a Covid-compliant mode of travelling than a road trip? It’s the perfect way to see the sights at your own pace, budget, and, most importantly, while keeping your social distance. Pack a tent and cooker and you’re almost entirely self-sufficient, too.
So we’ve compiled a list of our favourite global road trips, ready for you to pack your trunk and hit the road…
This isn’t the French for a gentle run (that’s le jogging), but rather the famed route from Lands End to John O’Groats.
To our countrymen, this one needs no introduction. 874 miles of the UK’s finest roads, beginning at the (almost) southernmost point of mainland England, located at the end of the Penwith peninsula in western Cornwall, and ending at the traditionally acknowledged extreme northern point of mainland Scotland, in north-eastern Caithness.
Google Maps suggests a route of 837 miles, estimating 14 hours and 40 minutes behind the wheel.
The route dissects the western peninsular in two, before cutting up past Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester and skirting the Lake District. Entering Scotland at Gretna Green (run away wedding, anyone?), the route continues Northwest until Glasgow before bearing East, eventually joining the coast at Inverness. It’s a mammoth journey, and one that requires multiple days to truly appreciate the gems along the way.
A possible bolt on to the above road trip, or an excellent journey on its own, Scotland’s North Coast 500 is a 516-mile scenic loop around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle.
Launched in 2015 in an effort to boost tourism in the area, it links many of the remote Highlands landmarks together, passing through Muir of Ord, Applecross, Gairloch, Ullapool, Scourie, Durness, Thurso, John o'Groats, Wick, Dunrobin Castle and Dingwall.
Possibly the only route on our list to have been ‘sponsored’ by a car manufacturer, Aston Martin at that, the NC500 comprises dramatic vistas, white sand beaches, historical ruins and rolling highland.
Unsurprisingly, it has been included in many top coastal route guides and even dubbed ‘Scotland’s Route 66’.
Image courtesy of Visit America
Which brings us to the real Route 66.
Created in 1926, it ran east–west across the centre of New Mexico, via Los Lunas, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe and almost reached Las Vegas. In 1937, it was shortened, to the route that the Interstate 40 now takes.
The actual Route 66 itself may not have officially existed for 35 years now, but that doesn’t stop intrepid road trippers setting out to conquer what remains. But it’s not as straightforward as plotting a destination on Google Maps. No, to experience the true Route 66, travellers must plot a trip combining former sections (highways, byways and side roads) with small stretches of modern interstate. To truly experience it all, you should begin in Chicago, and eventually end on the Pacific Coast two or three weeks later.
While it may not be the most scenic of American road trips, it certainly is the most iconic, taking visitors on a whirlwind tour of historic US culture and quirky roadside attractions. And it goes without saying that you should rent the biggest, gas guzzling American roadster going…
Image courtesy of Guide to Iceland.
Iceland ring road
‘Iceland’ and ‘ring road’ may sound like the shopping trip from hell, but fear not, this road trip traverses neither the M25 nor the frozen aisle.
Instead, it will take you on a journey of discovery around one of arguably the most beautiful island landscapes in the Northern Hemisphere.
Looping around the Nordic island, the 828-mile long ring road could realistically be driven in just a few days. However, remember to make history and not haste and allow plenty of time to explore the incredible landscape. A week is achievable, two is ample.
Best driven in summer for more daylight and predictable weather conditions, you should take on the route in a clockwise direction, beginning at the North of the island, where whale watching, huge waterfalls and geothermal pools are on offer. As you travel south, the scenery only gets more dramatic, with Game of Thrones locations aplenty. Mountains, glaciers and even taller cascades meet you in the South of the island, while the beautiful, bustling city of Reykjavík is the perfect place to conclude your journey.