There is something about the idea of a road trip that gets everyone excited. Whether it’s a long, cross-country journey with your friends or a trip to your nearest beach with the family, you are sure to drive by a view that someone wants to capture on their phones. You only have to quickly scroll through Instagram to see hundreds of posts of keen travellers cruising along empty-yet-beautiful roads around the world.
With many people still being wary of international travel and staycations continuing to rise in 2021, we were curious to discover the most beautiful bucket list journeys that keen travellers can tick off in a Covid-friendly way, without leaving the comfort of their car. This was achieved by analysing over 7 million Instagram hashtags associated with the world's most popular road trip destinations, and calculating how many Instagram pictures are shared per mile of the journey; the route with the most Instagram posts per mile being crowned the most picturesque in the world.
The Most Beautiful Road Trip Routes
Australia's Great Ocean Road has been crowned the most beautiful road trip route in the world; covering 157 miles of road in the land down under, The Great Ocean Road has an impressive 1,321,570 (and counting!) hashtags associated with it, meaning that nearly 8,418 pictures are taken per mile. Stretching alongside the south-eastern coast of Australia between the cities of Torquay and Allansford, the beautiful route was constructed in 1932 and has continued to be one of the most popular tourist excursions in Australia.
In the top 20 most picturesque road trip routes, six of them can be found in the USA. Including the route that takes second place - Big Sur, which is famous for allowing you to cruise alongside the stunning ocean views of the Pacific. In sixth place is Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs for 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, providing a one-of-a-kind way to see the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In seventh is Montana's Going-To-the-Sun Road which covers 50 miles of road in Glacier National Park, and in the 11th position is the renowned Route 66 that weaves through a total of eight states and spans 2,448 miles. Further down the list is California’s Tioga Pass in the 14th position, and then Hana Highway in Hawaii which ranks as the 17th most picturesque road trip in the world.
The Top 20 Most Picturesque Road Trips on Earth
1. Great Ocean Road, Australia
Torquay - Allansford, Victoria
157 miles, 8,418 pictures per mile
Crowned the most beautiful road trip route in the world; covering 157 miles of road in the land down under, The Great Ocean Road stretches alongside the south-eastern coast of the country. Interestingly, the eastern section of the road was completed first in 1922, and the final leg of the road (from Lorne to Apollo Bay) was finally constructed in November 1932. As well as being one of the most popular tourist attractions in Oz, it’s also the world’s largest war memorial, as it was built by returned soldiers to remember those who lost their lives fighting in WW1.
2. Big Sur, USA
San Simeon - Carmel, California
90 miles, 5,226 pictures per mile
Considered the most scenic and dramatic section of the Pacific Coast Highway with views of the Californian coast, the Big Sur is nicely positioned between mountains and ocean to give you the best of both worlds. Not only is it one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world, but it is also among the top 35 tourist destinations worldwide.
3. Jebel Hafeet, United Arab Emirates
Al Ain, UAE
7 miles, 4,840 pictures per mile
Built in 1980, this stretch of road is just over 7 miles long and rises 1,200m up into the mountains. This has been dubbed one of the greatest roads to drive along on several occasions, thanks to the 60 turns along the way. A bonus at the end of the road is a palace belonging to the country’s rulers which makes a great photo opportunity.
4. Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Da Nang - Lang Cu, Hue, Vietnam
13 miles, 4,298 miles pictures per mile
When translated, Hai Van Pass means “Ocean Cloud Pass,” referring to the mist that rises from the sea that the road follows. It was featured in Series 12 of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson called it “one of the best coast roads in the world.” For a long time, this road acted as a major barrier to any land army attempting to move between the northern and central regions of Vietnam.
5. Chapman’s Peak Drive, South Africa
Hout Bay - Chapman’s Point, Noordhoek, South Africa
5.5 miles, 3,425 pictures per mile
This stretch is affectionately known as “chappies” in Cape Town, South Africa. It winds between Noordhoek and Hout Bay along the Atlantic Coast right at the tip of South Africa’s south-western coast. The spectacular driveway took 7 years to complete and was first built in 1922, however has since undergone major work to improve the road for tourists.
6. Blue Ridge Parkway, USA
Virginia - North Carolina, USA
469 miles, 1,148 pictures per mile
This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Carolina since its construction in 1935 that followed a 52-year completion period. It’s the longest and highest continuous route in the Appalachian region, with elevation varying from 198m to an impressive 1,843m.
7. Going-To-The-Sun Road, USA
Glacier National Park, Montana
50 miles, 940 pictures per mile
Named after Going-to-the-Sun Mountain which is prominently in view beyond Logan Pass, this is the first road in the world to achieve a status as a National Historic Place, National Historic Landmark and Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. As you drive through Logan Pass, you’ll find the highest point of the road where the elevation reaches a huge 2,026m.
8. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Inishowen Peninsula, Donegal - Kinsale, Cork, Ireland
1,553 miles, 853 pictures per mile
One of the highlights of this coastal road is Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) in County Donegal, which are Europe’s highest sea cliffs. You can veer off the beaten track and visit some of the islands along the way - there are 30 spectacular islands to choose from or stop off in Donegal and visit the castle in Glenveagh National Park, where Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe holidayed in the late 20th century.
9. Olympic Peninsula Loop, USA
Seattle, Washington, USA
300 miles, 798 pictures per mile
This 300-mile loop defines the perimeter of the Olympic National Park making it the best and easiest way to see it all. It officially became an International Biosphere Reserve in 1976 and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. The Olympic Mountains formed over 30 million years ago, with Mount Olympus being the highest point, at 2,428m in the centre of Olympic National Park.
10. Icefields Parkway, Canada
Lake Louise - Jasper, Alberta, Canada
144 miles, 781 pictures per mile
This stretch of road connects two of Canada’s most beautiful locations, linking Lake Louise with Jasper, Alberta. Along the way, you will see over 100 ancient glaciers, plus cascading waterfalls and thick pine forests.
11. Route 66, USA
California - Arizona - New Mexico - Texas - Oklahoma - Kansas - Missouri - Illinois, USA
2,448 miles, 780 pictures per mile
Being the longest road trip in the top 20 list, it spans three different time zones. Besides Route 66, as it is commonly called, the road also goes by many other names; such as, “Mother Road”, “The Main Street of America” and “The Will Rogers Highway”.
12. Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria
Fusch-Ferleiten, Salzburg - Heiligenblut, Carinthia, Austria
30 miles, 677 pictures per mile
The significance of this journey lays in the fact that it is on Austria’s highest mountain, Grossglockner. Thanks to the immaculate driving conditions and the perfectly winding pattern of the road, many car manufacturers use this as a testing route for vehicle prototypes.
13. Pacific Highway, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
559 miles, 657 pictures per mile
Before this highway was built, the main mode of transport between Sydney and Brisbane was by boat. This drive has earned its legendary status for having so much to offer; including the expansive wineries of Hunter Valley, the sand dunes in Port Stephens and the chance to ride waves in Byron Bay.
14. Tioga Pass, USA
Sierra Nevada, California
45 miles, 533 pictures per mile
This impressive stretch of road stands at 3,031m above sea level making it the highest pass in the Sierra Nevada region. It runs through Yosemite National Park, which is one of the most popular national parks in the US; however, it is closed during the winter months due to severe snowfall in the area.
15. Military Road, UK
Chale - Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight, UK
12 miles, 483 pictures per mile
Since construction in the late 19th century, this short-but-sweet road has faced many repairs due to fierce coastal erosion. It gets its name from the fact that it served as part of a defence network in 1860, and it wasn’t until 1930 that the private owner of the land handed it over for public use.
16. Cabot Trail, Canada
Victoria County - Inverness County, Nova Scotia, Canada
185 miles, 466 pictures per mile
Named after the explorer John Cabot who landed in the Atlantic provinces of Canada in 1497, the Cabot Trail is a highway and scenic roadway found on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. This is a great route for foodies, as the Cabot Trail is famous for fresh local seafood, such as lobster, clams and mackerel.
17. Hana Highway, USA
Kahului - Hana in Maui, Hawaii
60 miles, 345 pictures per mile
Almost all of this route is through lush, tropical rainforest and it was designated as the Hana Millennium Legacy Trail by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The following year it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making this both a cultural trip and an adventurous one.
18. The Atlantic Road, Norway
Averøy - Eide, Norway
5 miles, 294 pictures per mile
Dubbed as the world's best place to mend a broken heart, this zig-zagged 5-mile stretch of road is the shortest route in the top 20 list. Opened in 1989 and known as Atlanterhavsveien to Norwegians, it’s since been recognised as "Norwegian Construction of the Century".
19. Causeway Coastal Route, Ireland
Belfast - Londonderry, Northern Ireland
200 miles, 244 pictures per mile
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, then you will not want to miss this route as it’s brimming with filming locations used for the fan-favourite series. Roughly halfway along the route, you’ll find Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is considered a highlight of the trip.
20. North Coast 500, Scotland
Inverness Castle, Scotland
516 miles, 226 pictures per mile
The route begins and ends at Inverness Castle in Scotland and it’s the best way to discover everything that the Highlands have to offer. Whether you want to explore mythical castles or spend your time sampling whisky in a local brewery - it’s a trip that ticks all the boxes.
So, if you’re planning on ticking a dream road trip off your bucket list, it’s worth making sure that you’ve got the right car to get you from A to B. You can browse our range of new or used cars, including the latest in electric technology, meaning you’re sure to find the perfect wheels to take you on your future adventures!
We researched and compiled a list of the most popular road trips in the world, their location and the length of each route. We then used Instagram hashtag data to find how many images were associated with each route and divided that number by the number of miles that road trip covers to find which one had the most photos taken per mile. Data correct as of April 2021. The road trip with the most pictures taken per mile is then crowned the most picturesque in the world.
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