Road trips: they embody the feeling of freedom and absolute boundlessness, and the ability to adjust your schedule and route just the way you want it to be. When most people think of road trips, it’s the USA that often comes to mind first, conjuring images of flickering neon motel signs on the side of Route 66. But you can find exciting, scenic terrain and picturesque panoramas on roads and streets across the world. In that spirit, we want to introduce you to 5 road trip routes that couldn’t be more different! 

Heidelberg. © iStock.com/RudyBalasko

Castle Road from Mannheim to Prague – Germany/Czech Republic

A route straight out of a fairy tale, 1,200 kilometers long: the German Castle Road is a winding stretch of road extending from the former capital of Mannheim to Prague. Steeped in history, this route includes Bad Wimpfen, Guttenberg Castle, Heidelberg and Nürnberg. Along the way, you’ll pass a castle every few kilometers – some of which are abandoned ruins, and some of which are still occupied. Some towns provide ideal opportunities to stay for a while, such as the student-filled city of Heidelberg, with its castle ruins sitting proudly high above the Neckar River. This year, there’s a particularly special highlight: in celebration of the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation, countless events and tours will take place at the residences of Martin Luther!

Franschhoek. © iStock.com/schalkm

Western Cape wine routes – South Africa

When the subject of wine regions comes up, people tend to think of Alsace, Tuscany or Provence. But it’s not widely known that South Africa has been cultivating a tradition of winemaking since as early as the 17th century. There you’ll find no less than 18 official wine routes, most of which are located in the Western Cape region in the country’s interior. For lovers of wine, this presents an ideal opportunity for a little road trip from the capital city to visit some of the many wineries and taste a few South African wines. The most popular route runs through Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. Stellenbosch – a quirky university town and important regional wine hub – is a perfect place to stop and stay a while.

© iStock.com/leonid_tit

Adriatic Highway – Croatia/Montenegro

The ocean is never far away when you’re on the Adriatic Highway, the coastal road stretching approximately 1,200 kilometers from the Croatian city of Rijeka to Montenegro. Hidden coves, beautiful beaches, tiny coastal towns and thousands of little islands, nestled against picturesque national parks and a wild natural landscape. Driving down the Adriatic Highway will take you past the magnificent Diocletian’s Palace, located in the town of Split. Farther still, you’ll find yourself within the city walls of Dubrovnik, where you can lose yourself in a sea of brick red roofs. The drive ends in the pleasant medieval town of Montenegro, a terrific starting point for excursions to its mountainous hinterland, featuring sparking blue lakes and deep gorges.

© iStock.com/naruedom

Southern Scenic Route – New Zealand

The Southern Scenic Route extends in a U-shape around the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, from Queenstown in the west all the way to Dunedin on the eastern coast. Although it’s “only” 610 kilometers long, this stretch of road nevertheless offers a full range of activities for travelers with a taste for adventure: fishing, camping and mountain biking are just a few of the possible activities, and the scenery itself is well worth the visit. Near the coast, you’ll find countless hidden beaches, while set back from the beach are lush rainforests and lake landscapes. Along the way, you’ll also pass Maori settlements and other locations important to the Maori people, a perfect opportunity to dive into the culture of New Zealand’s indigenous peoples.

© iStock.com/Antonel

Route 1 – Iceland

In one of the world’s safest countries, you can easily hitch a ride around the island’s roads instead of driving yourself. Iceland’s Route 1 is around 1,500 kilometers long, and completely encircles the island. For the drive through the unforgettable and multifaceted natural landscape of Iceland, with its spectacular waterfalls, idyllic fjords and sulphur springs, you’ll need to have an appropriate vehicle – not all sections of the route are paved!

 

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