There’s no better feeling than hitting the open road and seeing some of the amazing sights that the world has to offer, and there’s no better way to do it than in the comfort of your own mobile home. We speak to vandwellers day in day out about their travels and about the best places that they’ve been to whilst exploring the world, and the same amazing routes keep popping up in conversation. So, we’ve compiled a list of those routes, a list of top road trips to take in your camper, as voted by you the Van Clan community!
Top Road Trips To Take In Your Camper
1. Ring Road – Iceland
This legendary ring road takes you all around the coast of Iceland, covering 800 miles of historic landscape filled with waterfalls, mountains, ice sculptures and volcanos. From glacial caves to hot springs, Iceland is a country that makes even the most cynical travellers come out with a case of Wanderlust. The Icelandic Ring road comes up time and time again on the bucket lists of our van life friends, and it’s the only way to see this beautiful country at your own leisurely pace. Speed through it in one day or crawl along it in ten; no matter how you tackle the king of our top road trips you’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.
2. Route 66 – USA
No top road trips list is complete without the quintessential American Road trip, Route 66. Undoubtedly the ultimate camper adventure that dreams are made of, this hollywood-esque journey from Chicago to Santa Monica in Los Angeles is permanently engraved in all Van Lifer’s minds as a trip to take before they head into the great campground in the sky. Route 66 takes in 2’500 miles of American landscape and passes through The Grand Canyon, New Texas and Las Vegas. Explore Chicago and L.A, and take some Insta snaps that will take you to the top of #vanlife royalty!
3. The Great Dolomite Road – Italy
Get ready for some of the finest driving that Italy has to offer! If you’re looking for top road trips that take in the highest heights then The Great Dolomite Road should be the next journey in your travel plans. Drive eastwards from Bolzano towards Ponte Nova and take in the mighty Dolomites. Experience incredible vistas as you wind your way down into La Villa and try your hand at some winter sports!
4. Great Ocean Road – Australia
If you’re looking for top road trips down under then set your sights on the Great Ocean Road, a coastal journey that takes in the breathtaking sights of the Southern Ocean. Just ninety minutes from Melbourne’s city centre, the Great Ocean Road takes in 249 miles of windswept mountains and sandy beaches. Tick off the 12 Apostles, spot some wild whales, and pay a visit to Australia’s oldest lighthouse at Cape Otway!
5. Stelvio Pass – Italy
It’s back to Italy for Number 5 in our top road trips list. The Stelvio Pass is one of the most dramatic mountain passes in Northern Italy. You might have seen Jeremy Clarkson and the boys flying down this on an old episode of Top gear, but it’s one of those roads that you’ve got to experience in real life to truly understand how incredible it really is. At 2,757 m above sea level its the highest mountain pass in the Eastern Alps. At approximately 57 miles it’s not the longest of road trips, but the thill of the descent and the outstanding views will make you want to turn around and do it all over again!
6. The Great Coast Road – New Zealand
Experience LOTR country in your own rolling Hobbit Hole. The Great Coast Road from Westport to Greymouth has been chosen by you as one of Van Clan’s top road trips for its stunning beaches and breathtaking mountain views. On a clear day you can see majestic peaks of Mt. Cook and Mt.Tasmin, and the whole journey is jam packed with green vegetation and calming scenery that will make you want to pull over and take a rest stop or two. You can do the whole journey in around 90 minutes, but make sure you stop off at as many beaches as you can and take a paddle in the waves for that authentic NZ experience.
7. Romantic Road – Germany
Possibly one of the biggest tourist attractions in Bavaria, the Romantic Road is Germany’s answer to an architecture themed ride where the biggest castles and prettiest towns are only a stones throw away. The Romantische Straße route was originally devised by money-hungry travel agents in the 1950’s and takes in (220 mi) of scenery between Würzburg and Füssen in southern Germany. It used to be a medieval trade route that joined the centre of Germany to the south, but today the only travellers that use it are tourists that are looking for that quintessential German style that they know and love from the big screens of Hollywood.
8.Douro Valley – Portugal
If you’re looking for top road trips that are filled with magic and wonder then the Douro Valley should be high up on your list. With breathtaking views of the Douro River, this famous route offers some of the best scenescapes that Portugal has to offer. Departing from Porto you will pass through vineyards, take in quaint towns and villages, visit shrines and meander through National Parks. If you travel plans take you anywhere near the Douro area then make sure you tick this amazing route off your list.
9. North Coast 500 – Scotland
Scotland’s answer to Route 66 comes in at Number Nine on our top road trips list. Taking you through six different regions, the North Coast 500 passes through ‘Black Isle’ (which isn’t black or an isle), ‘Caithness’, the romantic ‘Easter Ross’, ‘Inverness-shire’, ‘Sutherland’ – Europe’s last great wilderness, and finally ‘Wester Ross’. This route takes in 516 miles of Scottish landscape and takes a good 5-7 days to complete by car. Surf, swim or saunter your way around this route as you take in beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes that you’ll definitely want to get lost in.
10. Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia
The Bolivian salt flats truly are a sight to behold, and you can see them straight from the window of your rolling home. Uyuni is a small dusty town on the edge of the flats, providing a gateway to ‘one of the most extreme and remarkable vistas in all of South America, if not Earth’. At 4’050 miles its the Worlds largest salt flat, so we probably wouldn’t recommend doing it all, but it’s definitely one for the vanlife photo album that you can show future grandchildren in years to come.
11. Athens to Meteora – Greece
Experience all of the marvels that Greece has to offer by travelling from Athens to Meteora. Take in Lamia City, the Domokos Mountains, Karditsa, Trikala and Kalampaka, stopping off at sandy beaches and peaceful towns along the way. The mighty cliffs in Meteora provide a spiritual sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, whilst Athens is jam packed full of ancient history that will leave you longing to find out more about the Grecian Gods of old. If you’re looking for top road trips that let you soak up culture then this one is definitely for you.
12. The Hardangervidda Route – Norway
The journey from Oslo to Bergen makes our top road trips list for its history and its awesome scenery, and also because it takes in ‘Vøringsfossen’; one of the best waterfalls on earth with a free-fall of 182 metres! Passing through deep valleys and taking in magnificent fjords, the Hardangervidda Route is approximately 460KM and takes you over the highest mountain plateau in Northern Europe, down deep canyons and out into stunning National Parks. If you’re looking for a way to see Norway’s hidden gems then make the Hardangervidda route top of your trip list.
13. The Savannah Way – Australia
The more adventurous travellers might want to check out action-packed Savannah Way in Australia, linking North Queensland with the historic town of Broome in Western Australia. The 2300 mile trip will take you through 15 National Parks and five World Heritage areas – if you want to get your moneys worth then this is the trip for you! Experience a small section of the journey or drive across the entire continent and take in ancient gorges, Australian wildlife and meet some of the friendliest people on Earth (and Emus).
14. Ruta de la Alpujarra de Granada – Spain
This route on our top road trips list might not have the longest roads or the most level terrain, but it’s scenery is well worth the effort. Visit the town of Lanjaron; the gateway to the Alpujarra, and take in incredible mountain passes between Granada and Almeria. Visit the watchtowers and fortresses of the last Moorish strongholds, and relax in the Sierra Nevada National Park.
15. The Golden Ring – Russia
Experience Russia behind the wheel of your camper, eating traditional food and snapping fairytale castles along the way. The Golden Ring takes you through a thousand years of orthodox Russian history, travelling through five different regions and letting you see UNSECO heritage sites along the way. Starting off in Moscow, you can take the ring clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on what town you’d like to see first. It’s the best way to see Russia in one swoop, and you’ll be showing your neighbours your snaps for years to come.
16. Urumqi to Kanas Lake Loop – China
Explore the Chinese lakes and mountains on the Lake Loop road from Urumqi to Kanas. Visit Tianchi or Kanas Lake, take a trip to Koktokay National Geological Park, and then pass through the Kala Maili Ungulates Nature Reserve! And with all that amazing Chinese food on offer you won’t want to rush this journey; take in the sights and enjoy the adventure!
17. Durban to Cape Town
Explore South Africa along this beautiful coastal route from Durban to Capetown, the journey from the wild to the west of this extraordinary country. The whole journey weighs in at 1,650km, which is the equivalent of driving from London to The Cairngorms and back. Stop off and snap to your hearts content as you meander through green countryside, purple-tinted mountains, serene beaches and national parks that will take your breath away.
18. Causeway Coastal Route
To say that I’ve lived so close to Ireland all of my life and I’ve still never been is a little bit shameful, especially with views like this that I could look at from behind the wheel. The Causeway Coastal Route is one of the most jam packed routes on our top road trips list, taking in 40 different locations as you drive from A to B. Exploring the coast of Northern Ireland, you’ll start at Belfast and end up in Londonderry. From single carriageway roads to mountain top tracks, you’ll pass through sleepy hamlets and bustling cities on your journey along this amazing route, stopping off to take pictures of the beautiful coastline along the way.
19. Hana Highway
The Hana Highway is a 103.6 km journey along through tropical Hawaii, connecting the beautiful area of Kahului to the town of Hana. With plenty of free beaches and stunning waterfalls along the way you won’t be short of excuses to kick back and have a mid day nap. Take your camera into the Kipahulu Area of the Haleakala National Park, and then grab your paddle boards and head out to catch some waves!
20. Lake Superior Circle Tour
Want to drive around the world’s largest freshwater lake? If you do then the last entry on our top road trips list should be one for your travel planner. Travel through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconson and Minnesota, taking in sandy shores and rocky mountain tops. Get lost in the forests of Ontario, drive through traditional American towns and witness the historic sights that make Lake Superior the most superior lake on Earth!
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Written by Seb @vincentvanlife