Driving us wild! The world’s best roadtrips
There’s nothing like hitting the open road to give you a sense of freedom and adventure on holiday, whether it’s a 24-hour jaunt or a week-long epic escape.
Discovering a country by car or camper, with the flexibility to stop off where you want, when you want, is the ultimate in travel freedom. Fasten your seatbelt and get the playlist, here’s Muddy Stilettos Travel’s top road-tested trips, from the Hana Highway in Hawaii to Scotland’s North Coast 500.
1. AMALFI COAST, ITALY
Distance: Around 35 miles.
Why: The Amalfi Coast is heart-stoppingly beautiful. First off you’ll need to look the part so hire a soft top in Sorrento (Sorrento Car Rent has a collection of classics to rent including Fiat 500s) and put on a pair of over-sized shades, then you’ll be ready to stop off along the way at some of the most beautiful coastal towns in the world, like Ravello and Positano, where pastel-coloured houses cascade down hillsides to the seafront, before ending in Salerno.
Stay: You could do it in a day, but why not time your time? Break up the journey with a stay at Palazzo Murat in Positano, an oasis amid the crowds with an exotic garden, small pool, courtyard dining and balconies with sea views. Abandon the car for a day while you’re there and take a ferry to the chic island of Capri nearby.
2. HIGHWAY 1, USA
Distance: Around 430 iconic miles.
Why: Cruising from San Fran to LA on the Pan Pacific Highway is unforgettable. Muddy recently went on a week-long trip (though you can drive it in a day) along Highway 1 and loved every minute, from crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to the twists and turns of Big Sur, cruising by Santa Barbara mansions (sadly we didn’t see Meghan and Harry taking Archie for a stroll in his new hood), long seafood lunches in Monterey (setting of Big Little Lies!) and painting the town red in Los Angeles.
Stay: Book stop-offs in cute roadside motels like Glen Oaks in Big Sur, where we stayed in wood cabins surrounded by giant redwoods, and Lavender Inn by the Sea in Santa Barbara, which had a pool and free daily happy hour at 5pm.
3. NORTH COAST 500, SCOTLAND
Distance: 500 miles (clue’s in the name).
Why: It’s an awesome UK road trip with bonus green points as you don’t have to fly to get there. Pick up a campervan and hit the road in Inverness, from where you’ll drive the epic 500-mile loop which will blow you away from Caribbean standard white sand beaches (see image above if you don’t believe us!) to incredible mountains and vast swathes of countryside. Keep an eye out for all the best cliches – Highland cattle, whiskey distilleries and birds of prey galore.
Stay: Rua Reidh Lighthouse in Wester Ross (not a Game of Thrones location), has some of Scotland’s best beaches on its doorstep.
4. ATHENS TO PILOS, GREECE
Distance: 274 historic miles.
Why: Fly into Athens and pick up a hire car then head into the Peloponnese for a long weekend exploring UNESCO world heritage sites in Athens, Mystras and Olympia. Take a dip in the sea off the beautiful beaches around historic seaport Nafplio and discovering the ancient ruins and fun beach clubs at Messini.
Stay: Book at least one night relaxing at Costa Navarino, a resort at the end of your journey, which has a choice of high-star hotels, excellent spa and gourmet restaurants set around a white sand curve of the Mediterranean coast.
5. HANA HIGHWAY, HAWAII
Distance: 64 scenic miles
Why: The highway to Hana on the eastern side of Maui island is one of Muddy’s favourite ever road trips. As you cruise along the (surprisingly empty) rue you’ll pass miles of jungle, cliff edge turns and plunging waterfalls. Detours you won’t want to miss include hikes into bamboo forests (the hollow trunks bang together like wind chimes), swims in crystal clear pools at Twin Falls and Waikamoi Falls and exploring lava tube caves. We also pulled over at a roadside juice stall selling coconuts to quench our thirst before arriving at our final destination – the silky gold sand, curling waves and palms of Hamoa Beach.
Stay: Hana-Maui Resort is where native Hawaiian Keanu Reeves checks in.
6. DUBROVNIK TO ZADAR, CROATIA
Distance: 216 picturesque miles.
Why: Kick off in Dubrovnik, exploring the old town and port and sampling some amazing seafood – Beyonce ate at Michelin-starred 360 Dubrovnik when she visited with Jay Z. Next it’s time to rev the engine of your hire car and make tracks to historic Split, a coastal city with a charming old town, great nightlife and base for island trips, such as Trogir, a beautiful Venetian city isle with stunning architecture, squares and restaurants. Last stop’s Zadar, famous for its UNESCO waterfront and pretty cobbled streets.
7. E39, NORWAY
Distance: 410 cool miles.
Why: Sounds like an outer London postcode, right? Well E39 is actually Norway’s mega coastal highway ideal for exploring the beautiful south-west; think glaciers, giant fjords, mountains and ancient villages. Kick off in colourful Bergen, famous as a city gateway to the fjords and, err, jumpers, then stop along the way to take in Jostedal Glacier and Geirangerfjord (one of the most dramatic in the world) before reaching Trondheim.
Stay: Sogn Hotel a cool art-filled pad just off the E39 with a mountains and fjord backdrop.
8. CAUSEWAY COASTAL ROUTE, NORTHERN IRELAND
Distance: 120 lush miles
Why: Because you have to tick the Giant’s Causeway off your travel bucket list – it’s a truly incredible natural phenomena of more than 40,000 basalt columns leading into the sea. Elsewhere en route you’ll get to gawp at patchwork fields, soaring mountains, crashing waterfalls, majestic cliffs and golden beaches.