Taking a road trip through any country is the greatest way to explore all facets of a destination.
The best stories happen on the road.
The cultural immersion during road trips is much deeper than simply roaming the streets of a single town. The changing scenery, the multitudes of encounters, and the challenges you face make each road trip experience an unforgettable adventure you’ll share over and over again.
Until you’re ready to hit the road again.
To help you decide where to head and when to visit, here are 12 carefully selected epic road trips for you – one great adventure for each month of the year!
South Africa in January: Game Safaris, Delectable Food, and Great Scenery
While the winter in the Northern Hemisphere is raging, the summer is at its peak in South Africa in January.
The roads are in excellent condition but don’t forget that driving is on the left-hand side. If you feel uncomfortable doing it on your own, hire a driver or organize a tailor-made tour for you and your travel companions.
- Drive along the Atlantic and Indian Ocean coastlines.
- Visit the southernmost point of the African continent at Cape Agulhas, where the two oceans meet.
- Explore the Klein Karoo semi-desert.
- Take the Garden Route from Port Elisabeth to Mossel Bay.
- Follow the Chapmans Peak drive from Cape Town past Table Mountain to Boulders Beach.
- Or even pass through the stunning Sani Pass, which connects South Africa and Lesotho.
Costa Rica in February: Wildlife Encounters, Volcano Hikes, and Pristine Beaches
Despite the small size of Costa Rica, the country boasts the world’s richest wildlife. Also, it has 12 different climate zones!
Costa Rica is a perfect example of how ecotourism should be done. Most countries in the world can only dream of the levels of recycling and nature protection Costa Ricans have achieved.
A typical day on the road through the Central American country is full of animal encounters. Hence, the time to reach your destination doubles as the stops you make to photograph them add up. The condition of the main roads is decent but aside from the highway and the main road arteries, road conditions in Costa Rica can be challenging.
Hiking at least one volcano, swimming in a waterfall, and relaxing on the pristine beaches – on either the Caribbean Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean side of the country – are a must.
Thailand in March: Invaluable Lessons in History and Religion
Thailand is mostly famous as a beach destination. However, if you’re interested in history and religion, more than you’re interested in partying on an island in the Indian Ocean, Thailand’s old capital cities are just the places for you to put on a road trip itinerary.
Before Bangkok became the Thai capital, the nearby Ayutthaya performed this function. And before that, Sukhothai was the kingdom’s main city.
The historical parks in the former capitals Ayutthaya and Sukhothai are UNESCO World Heritage sites. They pride themselves on the abundance of Buddhist temples and royal palaces, some of which are among the most famous Thailand landmarks.
If traveling long distances doesn’t scare you, you can also visit Chiang Mai, the second-largest city in the Land of the Smiles, or tour Southern Thailand.
From Chiang Mai, you can explore wildlife parks and mountain villages before hopping on a plane to Bangkok and continuing with island hopping.
Most of the roads are in very good condition, but driving is on the left side of the road. If you feel uncomfortable driving yourself, consider renting a taxi.
It is actually cheaper than renting a car and navigating through Thailand yourself. And although your driver might not be a travel guide, he’ll have a lot of insider tips for you and will help you find safe eateries and good deals.
Italy in April: Masterpieces of Art, Architecture, and Gastronomy
Italy is home to some of the most scenic road trips.
Although spring weather in Europe can be a bit moody, Italy offers countless galleries, museums, palaces, and churches which you can enjoy regardless of the meteorological conditions outside.
And if religion, art, architecture, and design aren’t your cup of tea, participate in a cooking class. I’m sure you’ve always wondered how to make your favorite pasta dish at home! However, if you want to seduce your palate without preparing your food first, check what and where to eat in Rome ;)
Beware, that a car holiday in Italy can be quite a nerve-wracking adventure. Italians are world-famous for their hot temperament and fast driving. If you don’t feel comfortable racing like in a Mario Kart game, you can take the train.
The railway system is very extensive and the ticket prices are quite affordable. Moreover, Interrailing in Italy makes it really easy to visit the whole country in one pass. Riding the train is also faster for various long-distance routes.
And maybe you’ll find the country so fascinating that you won’t want to leave. In this case, check the cost of living in Italy to make an informed choice whether or not you should move there.
Dominican Republic in May: Secluded Beaches and Epic Adventures Away from the Crowds
Despite the fact that the Dominican Republic is mostly known as an all-inclusive destination or just a one-day stop for ships cruising the Caribbean, a true adventurer like you should consider the island republic for epic road trips as well.
If you want to visit the most secluded and pristine Dominican Republic beaches or go on an exciting adventure through the jungle, you simply must rent a car or hire a taxi.
Be careful on the road as the conditions are mostly poor and the local drivers are relentless. If you don’t feel comfortable venturing on your own, book a tour and leave the comforts of your enclosed resort for at least a day.
Engage in the everyday life of the Dominicans. It’s never been easier to choose how to spend a day – just check this list of Punta Cana excursions!
Bulgaria in June: Beach Hopping, Folklore Festivals, and Mountain Hikes
Magical mountains, rugged seacoast, sandy beaches, and an abundance of archaeological sites – you won’t be able to put everything on your itinerary but you should try your best. Bulgaria’s small territory is packed with historical and religious monuments, natural wonders, and diverse traditions.
Visit a festival to hear the Gods speaking through the uneven rhythms of the Bulgarian folklore music and experience Bulgarian dances – the Eighth Miracle – first-hand.
The road conditions in Bulgaria vary from excellent to extremely poor. But the truth about road trips is, that the worse the condition of the road, the greater the adventure, so it is up to you to decide whether or not to drive your car off the paved roads.
Although I can’t generally recommend train travel, riding one of the world’s last narrow-gauge trains in the Western Rhodopes is the most spectacular way to immerse in the everyday life of the people from this region.
Either for a weekend, a week, or a fortnight, a road trip through Bulgaria should be on your travel wish list!
Bosna & Herzegovina in July: White Water Rafting Through Europe’s Deepest River Canyon
The small Balkan country offers unbelievable views of clear rivers with incredible turquoise waters you can drink from.
The deepest river canyon in Europe is one of the best places for white water rafting in the world. Along the Tara River, small bungalow camps invite you to join the open fire after spending a few hours splashing in the crystal waters.
The mountain roads wind alongside the river, giving you spectacular views of the Tara River canyon. And if you get tired of natural beauties, visit Bosna & Herzegovina’s capital Sarajevo.
After being severely destroyed during the bombardings in the 1990s, the city is now fully restored and totally worth a stop on your road trip itinerary. Check out the best things to do in the charming Sarajevo.
Tajikistan in August: Life-changing Experiences at the Roof of the World
The short summer in the third-highest mountain range in the world is the best time to visit Tajikistan.
The Pamir Mountains are as uninviting as a desert could be. Only the bravest can adapt to the lack of any modern comforts and enjoy the company of some of the most welcoming and hospitable people.
The rewards are the jaw-dropping views of the 7,000 m high mountain peaks with caps of never-melting snow; the sound of the raging Panj River, which seems to be crushing boulders right in front of your eyes; the wonder in the eyes of the small children and the old people’s smiles when you tell them stories about your own home country.
The road conditions are mainly poor, making this road trip not only the most epic but also the most dangerous on this list.
Belgium in September: Endless Beaches, Medieval Towns, and Countless Beers
The small country in Western Europe is surprisingly diverse.
Three official languages are spoken. Endless beaches invite you to spend one of the last summer days playing in the sand or walking for hours in the soft dunes. Cobblestoned streets in medieval towns await to whisper stories of past grandeur.
To make road-tripping through Belgium even better, everywhere you visit, there’s an abundance of beer sorts to excite your taste buds, coupled with some of the finest culinary experiments in the world.
Belgium’s small size and the great conditions of the road system make it perfect for road trips to celebrate the end of summer.
Ireland in October: Rugged Coastline, Captivating Stories, and Culinary Delights
Ireland is the ultimate European road trip destination. It’s home to some of the most scenic road trips in Europe.
The island is green all year long, the weather is mild, and the views are mystically spectacular. Besides, there is a tonne of beautiful places to visit on the Emerald Island.
The scenery is absolutely stunning. In fact, it’s hard to believe that nature could create such vibrant, countless shades of green. The occasional October rains keep the vegetation fresh. In case you’re wondering what to pack, check these suggestions for fall and winter Europe packing list.
With so many pastures to graze from as well as the crisp sea air, no wonder that the milk produced here serves as the perfect material for some of the best dairy products in the world. Add to this the scrumptious seafood and the world-renowned alcoholic beverages, and culinary delights are guaranteed at every meal.
Take the famous Ring of Kerry or the Atlantic Wild Route to experience some of the most dramatic scenery in the country. Don’t miss lesser-known spots, though. For example, visit the spectacular Beara Peninsula, home of the slow food culture, or the incredible Dingle Peninsula.
Listen to the stories the Irish love to tell about their land, history, and nature. Dance the night away in one of the copious pubs. And make your own story to tell for years to come.
With so many fabulous spots to travel to, don’t leave your itinerary to chance. Instead, learn how to plan your Ireland trip in the best way possible.
France in November: Palatable Wines, World-Famous Cuisine, and Adorable Villages
From Paris to the Côte d’Azur, and from the French Alps to the French Province, France offers some of the best wines and the most unforgettable dining experiences in the world. Not to mention the exquisite brandies which you can devour in Cognac!
Even if you only visit the countryside on a day trip from Paris, it’s worth exploring more of France than just its buzzing capital. The décor is as diverse as the French cuisine. The picturesque historical little towns and villages with their vibrant colours and eye-pleasing architecture are inviting you to stay one more night. Or maybe two!
Of course, there are better months to visit than November, as the weather can be unpredictable and gloomy. But picture this: the rain playing outside, creating an enchanting melody; the logs crackling in the fireplace in your centuries-old mansion, adding a vivacious rhythm to the melody; the warming sensation of the palatable wine in your belly, and the mouth-watering plate in front of you seducing you to take one more bite.
Doesn’t that sound like the perfect experience to you? Take a road trip through France to experience different wine sorts coupled with exceptional regional dishes to create some of the most delicious memories of your life.
Germany in December: Medieval Castles, Industrial Landscapes, and Christmas Markets
You can add countless stops on your road trip through Germany.
For example, imagine this.
Once old factories and mines in Germany cease to operate, it’s actually more expensive to tear them down than to turn them into museums or art installations and keep them running.
That’s how some of the coolest museums imaginable were created!
An old mine closes because there’s no more ore to dig? No problem, everything stays as it was and visitors can now experience the hard life of the miners and even ride the same train they rode to work each day!
And if visiting old industrial sites isn’t your idea of a good time, I’m sure you’ll love the medieval castles and stunning city halls you can find everywhere in Germany.
With over twenty thousand structures ever built, no matter where in Germany you are visiting, a castle or an old fortress is just around the corner.
Since the winter days are rather short, the best thing to do after dark is to go to one of the uncountable German Christmas markets. Or why restrain yourself with just one? Do a Christmas market hopping and pick your favorite one!
You can even combine castles or museum visits and Christmas market attendance as most tourist attractions also organize their own festivities. The German Autobahn and the roads, in general, are in great condition but try to avoid peak hours as traffic jams can completely ruin your plans.
Which Epic Road Trips Are You Taking Next Year?
No matter what your interests, your budget, or your comfort needs are, taking a road trip is the best way to explore a destination.
The open road, the fast-changing scenery, and the unplanned and unexpected encounters make it the ultimate adventure for everyone.
Plan the start and the end destination of your trip and let the road take care of the rest. Make your own unique stories. Discover lesser-known facts about each destination. Try foods you can’t find back home, and come share your experience!
And if these 12 epic road trip ideas aren’t enough for you, how about checking this list of the best road trips in the world from a fellow blogger? Hopefully, they’ll have you covered for more than a year!
Now, it’s your turn:
Which epic road trips are you taking next?
Let me know in the comments below!