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7 Road Trip Adventures to add to your Bucket List

Chief Adventurer at CamperDays, Max Schmidt, shares his top bucket list road trip destinations

Iceland - Photo by Rory Hennessey

A road-trip is a bucket list activity for many because it’s so distinct from a typical hotel or resort holiday, making it surely one to remember. As in Kerouac’s novel On the Road, the road trip represents freedom of responsibility and a rite of passage for the traveller, signified by the very liminality of the holiday. Embracing the peaks and troughs of the journey become part of the holiday itself, allowing you to spend quality time with loved ones or even valuable alone time while coasting down the open road.

Max Schmidt, Chief Adventurer at Europe’s leading camper tour operator, CamperDays, says: “An adventure on the road affords you full creative license on the itinerary, and provides you with a unique transport-accommodation-storage hybrid to ensure you can explore every nook and cranny of your destination without having to worry about getting back to your apartment or carrying heavy bags.

“A road trip also affords you valuable quality time with loved ones and the opportunity to witness the wonders of the natural world from your very own hotel on wheels.

“As bucket list road trips necessitate weeks or even months of travelling, those looking to travel must have the time and resources to embark on their trip, which means prior planning is essential.

“And just remember, if you do decide to embark on a bucket list road trip – go big; explore and immerse yourself in new cultures and communities before going home having made core memories to cherish for years to come.” 

Below, Max shares 7 inspiring itineraries for road trips in Europe, North America, Australia, and beyond.

Ring Road, Iceland

One to two weeks is ideal for a nature-filled itinerary on the Ring Road, an affectionate nickname for Route 1, a national road which encircles the entire country of Iceland.

On this road trip, there’s an unending flow of natural phenomena to witness, conveying the geothermic and tectonic range of this volcanic island. In just two weeks, you can experience waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, lava fields, and fjords.

To maximise daylight and therefore driving time, most visitors choose to drive the Ring Road in the summer, when the conditions are optimal.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Driving through quaint seaside towns as the sea glistens in the sunlight is the perfect backdrop for a carefree summer road trip.

A 50km stretch from Sorrento to Salerno is best in May for the late spring, or September for the final glimpse of the summer. This is when tourists’ numbers are lower, allowing for a much more intimate holiday and, more importantly, less traffic to contend with on the road.

Meander through pastel-painted villages, meet hospitable locals and gaze across the Tyrrhenian Sea in this little pocket of paradiso.

Adriatic Highway, Croatia

European road trips are mainly thought of for short-haul trips, but there’s much to be gleaned from a longer stint – especially in a country that has as much to offer as Croatia.

The Adriatic Highway is a magical stretch extending from Trieste, Italy, all the way to Albania, but the main chunk of the drive is in Croatia. It’s best to stretch the 330 mile drive over a month, allowing for ample time to luxuriate among scenic sea views and verdant pine forests.

On this route, you will get to venture through several coastal Croatian towns and cities, such as Rovinj, Labin, Lovran, Crikvenica, Senj, Zadar, Šibenik, and Split. Make sure to try crni rižot, also known as Croatian black risotto, peruse Rovinj’s Batana Eco Museum, and swim in Krka National Park’s lagoon in Šibenik.

The Big Lap, or Australia’s Highway One

The ultimate bucket list road trip if there ever was one. To do this one justice, you really need to block out 6 months at least, which makes it ideal for those taking gap years, sabbaticals or who have the benefit of being able to work remotely. 

This mammoth 15,000km stretch skirts roughly the entire coastline of Australia, driving through Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Esperance, Perth, and Port Holland, with the additional option of travelling through Hobart in Tasmania.

A trip like this encompasses everything that is great about the country, from big city lights to slow beach towns, rainforest, red outback, and ancient rock art.

While enjoying driving around the country, remember that Australia is indigenous land, so ensure to look out for signage prohibiting photography and climbing. Certain territories require a permit to cross through which can be purchased at designated locations and must be carried with you at all times.

New Zealand by camper

Exploring both New Zealand’s islands can be done in two weeks, but you can easily spend three weeks or more enjoying all that New Zealand can offer.

On the north island, visit the fictitious village of Hobbiton, just southwest of the Waikato town of Matamata, the filming location of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies, where you can explore the quaint hobbit hole dwellings embedded in the hillsides.

Following that, you can take a boat tour through the glow-worm grotto in the Waitomo Cave system, guided by only your trusted tour guide and bioluminescence.

A 4-hour ferry crossing is required to reach the south island, where you can go whale-watching in Kaikoura, Christchurch, against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Alps.

After that, head southwards to catch a glimpse of the lesser known Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights, which turns the southern sky into a canvas of greens, purples and orange.

Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, United Kingdom

Who says you need to leave the country to experience a world-class once-in-a-lifetime road trip?

England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast is a 95-mile long stretch of coastline in southern England, within the counties of Dorset and Devon.

This prehistoric geological land formation allows for all the family to get stuck into fossil hunting, in between long walks on wide sandy beaches, moseying around historic villages and looking out from towering cliff faces.

Start your route in Sidmouth, passing through Beer, Seaton, West Bay, Chesil Beach, and Weymouth before you finish up in Swanage.

Kejimkujik National Park, Canada

There are countless breathtaking and comprehensive road trip itineraries you could take in Canada, but the route through Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia, is particularly awe-inspiring.

Starting in Halifax, head westward along the Nova Scotia Highway 103 toward Kejimkujik National Park. The park is a dark-sky preserve, meaning artificial light pollution is restricted in this area, to create the conditions for unparalleled views of the stars in the night sky.

Also, why not drive along the southwestern peninsula, going through Digby, Weymouth, Yarmouth, Lunenburg and Liverpool where you can visit countless regional wineries and specialist maritime museums.