Thursday, 24 September, 2015

Top Road Trip Destinations

One of the best ways to explore and see the sights of your holiday destination is to jump in the car and head there for the day. But what about visiting multiple destinations, at your own pace, at your convenience and spending as much (or little) time as you like in each spot? Does that sound like something you’d enjoy?

A road trip may be just the thing you are looking for – and most needn’t take longer than your typical resort getaway.

Roads Trips are an ever popular option, most usually favoured by those travelling without kids, (although, what a better way for them to see some culture and truly learn from their experience?!) and there are plenty of tourism companies out there who will put the itinerary together for you, tell you where is good to stop / stay and avoid.

But there is something so much more liberating about doing it all yourself – and it couldn’t be easier! We at Car Hire Centre highlight 4 of the Top Road Trip Destinations around the world for you to choose from; simply pick your destination, hire your car and off you go!

Bollenstreek Route, Amsterdam

Best Time to Visit: April

Best known for: Stunning fields of beautiful flowers

Also known as ‘The Flower Route’, You will travel from Haarlem right down to Naaldwijk, passing through Lisse and Leiden along the way. Stop off at the Keukenhof Garden for a wander down the canal and explore 80 acres of woodland surrounded by beautiful blooms of dozens of types of flowers. Learn how a once small kitchen garden came to be one of the world’s most beautiful spring gardens!  

Move on to the historic town of Leiden where you can work your way to the top of the De Valk Windmill Museum, for breathtaking views of the city whilst taking in what Pilgram life was like in the 18th century.

Your Trip culminates in Naaldwijk, where you head back into the luscious fields where you can visit the largest greenhouse in the world, where the famous flower auctions take place. Watch the auction process from start to finish, from the grower showcasing their crop, to exporters bidding on the bountiful harvests provided.

The Garden Route, South Africa

Best Time to Visit: All year round, although Easter and December are peak tourist times!

Best Known for: Hidden gems along the route, waiting for exploration.

Fly into George in South Africa, and start the route from Mossel Bay, just 30mins away.  The Garden Route is only a short journey across to Storms River, however it’s the points of interest along the way that makes this a spectacular route!

You can discover the south eastern cape from both the coast and inland, each of them offering unforgettable experiences. It is recommended you take 3-5 days to do this route to truly appreciate (and fit in!) all it has to offer.

Abseil and Skydive in Mossel Bay or take one of the daily tours around the Knysna Elephant Park where you can interact with the magnificent creatures under the watchful eye of a guide.

Head across to the Wilderness National Park to explore the Lakes, Mountains, Rivers and Estuaries, surrounded by stunning forestry, or down to Robberg Beach – here is one of the best spots to watch a pod of Southern Right and Killer Whales, as well as Bottlenose Dolphins, dancing in the waves close to the shore.

Round off your journey with a visit to the Tsitsikamma Reserve; here you can embark on a canopy treetop adventure or take one of the mountain hikes. For the adrenaline junkies, how about Blackwater Tubing, Zip – Wiring around 3 waterfalls or for a real thrill, are you brave enough to do a Bungee jump from the Bloukrans Bridge? It’s a staggering 710ft above the Bloukrans River but is said to be one of the best locations to do a jump!


Ring Road, Iceland

Photo Credit:  Diana Robinson

Photo Credit: Diana Robinson

Best Time to Visit: September / October for the longer nights

Best Known for: The Northern Lights

You can travel around the whole country in 19 hours non stop (if you really wanted to!), but many would say to allow 7-10 days to truly make the most of what you will come across. You start your trip in Reykjavik and travel over 900 miles until you return back.

Along the way you can expect to be dazzled at every turn, this is truly a breathtaking journey. Starting in the west, witness shifting, tectonic plates and exploding geysers in the Thingvellir National Park and visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which boasts one of the symbols of Iceland, the Snæfellsjökull Volcano a 1500 meter high peak, crested with a glacier.

Travel to the Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon and Crystal Ice Caves under the Vatnajökull Glacier (best visited in the cold winters) for stunning views and a truly unique adventure, a guided crawl through the caves (ice caves may not be best for the claustrophobic among us!)

Head up to the North eastern town of Myvatn and jump in a mud pool or the Grjótagjá Hot Spring Cave then travel back west to visit  Kerið; a volcanic crater lake situated within the Golden Circle (a much smaller, popular road trip route), which will bring you back nicely into Reykjavik.

No trip to Iceland would be complete of course without seeing the Northern Lights! For the clearest views, head East of the country later in the year when the night sky is clearest.


Route 66, USA

Photo Credit:  Randy Heinitz

Photo Credit: Randy Heinitz

Best Time to Visit: May, September and October.

Best Known for: Being the “Main Street of America”.

You didn’t think we would leave this one out, did you?! Route 66 is undoubtedly the most iconic Road Trip route, and one of the longest! We bet that if it’s not on your bucket list to do, you know someone who is super keen to drive it!

The route takes you on a 2,500 mile adventure from Chicago to LA, taking you through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona along the way and each state brings you something spectacular;

Why not begin with a tour of the Route 66 Museum in Joliet, Illinois to learn about the beginnings of the route, as well as pick up a few (more) tips on what to do and see along the route.

Jump in that open top convertible and hit the road; when in Missouri, head to the Six Flags Theme Park and sample the toasted ravioli, before you move onto visit the Sedgwick County Zoo or catch a stage show at the Starlight Theatre, Kansas.

When you get to Oklahoma, we recommend a visit to The Escape OKC – use your logic to solve a range of puzzles to escape from a locked room – just for something a little different! If this isn’t for you, head to Arcadia Lake for a full range of watersports and fishing – there is even an inland beach for those that miss the coastline whilst away!

Carrying on along your journey, be sure to go to the State Fair of Texas if you visit between September and October – it has been noted as a must do by the locals! Keep in mind that  it’s the best state to eat real Tex-Mex and see a proper Rodeo show!

Moving into the last stages of the trip, New Mexico is home to the White Sands National Monument and the Santa Fe Opera House, both of which come highly recommended and popular with locals and tourists alike. Arizona brings you to the Grand Canyon, where you can view the gorges from helicopter and we would definitely suggest a trip into neighbouring state Nevada – go to Vegas, baby! (if you’re not too knackered from all the previous fun and driving, that is!)

Lastly, head into California to visit LA and Santa Monica for a relaxing end to you fascinating journey; and by relaxing, we of course mean shopping!! What trip would be complete without it, and where better to shop than LA?!

Haven’t got the time for a few weeks on the road? Check out these shorter routes;

– Calais, France to Hockheim, Germany, via Spa-Francorchamps (which is particularly great!).

– Norfolk’s Northern Coast, UK – King’s Lynn to Hunstanton.

– Transfagarasan Road Trip, Romania – expect hairpin turns and jagged edges; it’s a Top Gear Favourite!

– Dublin to Kildare, Ireland.

As with any car hire abroad, make sure you do your research and hire an adequate vehicle for the type of road trip you are embarking on. Same goes for your insurance and knowing the rules of the road!

We have a series of guides surrounding driving abroad with all the need to knows for various countries, including Spain, France and Italy so far – keep an eye out for future posts!

Have a Great Trip!

About Franki Napolitano

I love to Blog, Read and Sight-See, although you'll usually find me in the Gym!