There’s something romantic about hitting the open road, free of the constraints of schedules, agendas and itineraries. It certainly worked for Jack Kerouac, who made his name with On the Road, the 1957 novel based on his travels across America. A road trip offers the chance to see the world with the added flexibility of pitstops wherever and whenever you want – to grab the perfect picture, or sample local culture, at your own pace.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Route 66, USA
Everyone’s heard of Route 66, but what makes it so special? On a purely functional level, it takes you cross-country from Chicago to California, but in reality what you experience is a nostalgia-fuelled trip through small-town America. These pockets of rural life are connected by vast highways surrounded by the best that nature can throw at you. Modernisation is creeping in on every aspect of this route, so this is one road trip you should try to do as soon as you get the chance. And savour every moment. You can do it in a car, or in style with a hired RV.
It’s impossible to pick a single route through the lush hills of this Italian region. For the classic summer road trip, why not start in Rome and head north to Lake Como? The route can be done in seven hours, but there are so many great cities for you to stop off at, including Florence. You could spend a week taking in the art and architecture in this historic Renaissance city, but beware it can get quite crowded. We also recommend Siena, which is full of magnificent buildings. In summer, it holds the famous Palio, the bareback horse race in the town square that goes back to medieval times.
The Ring Road, Iceland
Mention a ring road to most city-dwellers and they will cower at the thought of being stuck in traffic on a soulless motorway circling the long way round an urban sprawl. Not so in Iceland. Most visitors to this island nation tend to congregate in and around the capital, Reykjavik. To really see the best that Iceland has to offer, head to the 1,200km (800mi) Route 1 ring road that takes you on a lap of the entire island. Driving in winter can be tricky, so be sure to pick a suitable vehicle for all the stunning terrain you will encounter – including lava fields, mountains, glaciers and geysers.
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
For many seasoned drivers, this is regarded as one of the best, and most remote, road trips in the world. The route runs along the west coast of Ireland, where the roadside cliffs drop off into the Atlantic. Make sure you have regular stops to take in ancient castles and remote rocky outcrops, as well as stunning beaches and dolphin and whale watching. You can also sample a way of life that has remained unchanged for centuries. If you have time, combine this trip with the Causeway Coastal Route in the north.
North Coast 500, Scotland
Scottish cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee tend to attract first-time visitors, but there’s so much more to see beyond. The wilds of the north have an irresistible lure and a near-mythic reputation. The 500mi (805km) coastal route starts and ends at Inverness Castle, doing a lap of what locals call the Black Isle. Hire a car or, even better, your own modern mobile home, and head to John O’Groats, the most northerly tip of the UK, and visit pretty Applecross village where you can see across to Skye. There’s superb scenery along the way. Take a detour south of Inverness to Loch Ness at the start or end of your trip, and you might have a chance of sighting the fabled monster.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
This drive had to displace the legendary Swiss-Italian Stelvio Pass, but we’re sure you agree that the Amalfi Coast is just too special to overlook. Whereas the tight hairpins of the mountains offer a challenge, this coastal route is heart-stoppingly narrow and winding, providing its own thrilling ride. With a sheer drop below you down to the Mediterranean, the views are a joy to experience from start to finish. The towns and villages that overlook the coast are beyond picturesque – take Positano, with its 13th-century ruins and tiny houses that cling for dear life to the cliffs. Luckily the coastal road is exceptionally well-maintained, as Italians love their cars as much as they love their football and their food.
Pacific Coast Highway, USA
Another iconic American road trip, for this one you really need to get yourself a convertible. Also known as Highway One, the route runs from San Francisco south to San Diego, but the best stretch to see is Big Sur, where the Santa Lucia Mountains create an intense and dramatic backdrop to the coast. Pretty Carmel and Monterey, made famous by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath, are well worth a visit. The hit HBO series Big Little Lies is set in the area, too, and the opening credits alone have brought fans here on a pilgrimage. If you want to travel in style and save on accommodation, hire an RV in San Fran to call home for the duration of your trip.
La Route des Grande Alpes, France
We had to include one alpine route, but the competition is tough. This epic road trip takes in multiple mountain passes, incredible scenery and the end point is the stunning French Riviera. If you tackle it in the opposite direction, which is best done in summer, you arrive at the shores of Lake Geneva. As you can see, whichever way you drive it, this is one of the best road trips in Europe.
South Island Route, New Zealand
Driving the South Island isn’t that well-known to long-haul travellers, probably because getting behind the wheel after a lengthy flight is the last thing you might care to do. However, the open roads can be explored by bus (if you’re playing it extra-cautious), and that will almost certainly give you a hankering to explore the rest of the outback at your leisure. If, however, you’re impervious to jet-lag and you want to hit the road in style, consider hiring your very own mobile home for the journey ahead.
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The Karakoram Highway, Pakistan to China
One of the highest paved roads in the world, this popular tourist route is also known as the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway. It takes you from the Punjab province of Pakistan to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the largest sub-division in China. The highway links to remnants of the ancient Silk Road, but the old trade route is better known today for its glaciers and mountains. The Khunjerab Pass at the border sits an altitude of 4,693m (15,397ft) in the Karakoram mountains; it is shut during winter when it’s covered in snow, so the best time to travel is in late spring (May) or early autumn.
Mumbai to Pune Expressway, India
Driving in India isn’t for the faint-hearted. The crowded cities and poorly maintained highways are notorious for causing accidents, but is that reputation still valid? A new network of excellent roads have recently opened up, and one of the best is this relatively short (94km/58mi) stretch that locals use to get away from the busy city centres. This trip takes about three hours to complete, but with a number of popular food stops along the way you’ll want to make a day of it.
The Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Perhaps one for the more daring road tripper, the Atlas Mountain pass is still a safe and well-looked after route that travel experts swear by. The majority of this trip takes place in Morocco, where you’re sure to get a warm welcome from the locals. This scenic road trip is also suitable for those looking to head out on two wheels, and some companies also offer the chance to rent sidecars if you want to pack some extra luggage.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.