The Chiantigiana Road, Tuscany
To truly experience Tuscany, start your trip in romantic Florence, where you can spend a few days getting to know the city's famous architecture, museums and cathedrals. Then, travel through the olive tree fields and vineyards of the Chianti region, stopping at farms and medieval towns such as Castellina, where you can stay at Castello La Leccia, an organic winery. End your trip by indulging in some traditional Sienese dishes, such as pici and ricciarelli, in the final stop on the map, historic Siena. Perfect for food and wine lovers, this route is best enjoyed in late summer or early autumn, when the tourists begin to head home and the weather gets a bit cooler.
Mr & Mrs Smith
The Eastern Route, France
Explore France through fresh eyes by driving from Calais down to the Côte d’Azur. This Eastern Route takes you from the ferry port, through the Provence countryside, and finally to the sparkling sea. Make sure to stop off at Remis, in the heart of France’s Champagne region, and spend a few days exploring Burgundy, where you can sample local wines and cheeses, staying at the luxury Château de la Resle. After exploring French culinary hotspot Lyon, head to Nice and Cannes and end your trip with some time spent relaxing on the beach. A good choice for the month of September, the route is easily driveable over a long weekend.
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
Driving along the Amalfi Coast is an unmissable experience. Head there in early summer to feel the full buzz of the season. Allow ten or more days to drive this route, which starts in Naples, the home of Italian pizza. Follow the map to the seaside towns of Ravello and Sorrento, and be sure to add a visit to Pompeii to the itinery. When you arrive in colourful Positano, book a room at the stylish Hotel Marincanto. Finally, spend a few days relaxing to make the most of the Italian beaches and cuisine.
The Historic West, Spain
Forgo the classic seaside holiday and spend ten days exploring the border between Portugal and Spain. In Trujillo, sample the local red wine and jamón, before heading to your next stop, Cáceres, where the old town is a UNESCO world heritage site. The final leg of this road trip leads to Seville, where you can absorb the summer-in-the-city atmosphere and explore the Andalusian capital’s historical past. Finish by booking a room at the Corral Del Rey to cap off your road trip in style.
The West Coast, USA
With a diverse mix of destinations and attractions, this West Coast road trip can either last two weeks or the whole summer. Start in Seattle before hitting buzzy, hipster-havens Portland and San Francisco, home to good coffee, craft beers and unique art museums. You’ll also visit Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, where you can tick off tourist favourites such as Hollywood Boulevard and Venice Beach. For a night of Hollywood glamour, book a room at Santa Barbara’s luxurious Belmond El Encanto, complete with a stunning infinity pool overlooking the city. For more breath-taking vistas, enjoy a layover in Napa Valley, famous for its wine and gourmet food markets, as well as stops at Big Sur and Death Valley.
The Deep South, USA
Discover the eclectic, lively Southern states by travelling from Atlanta to New Orleans, and visit musical cities Nashville and Memphis. Easily a two week long trip, explore the home of country and western by way of The Blues Highway, while indulging in southern culinary delights such as BBQ and beignets. In the infamous birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, a visit to Soul Studio and Graceland is a must, and don’t forget to explore the French Quarter, in the heart of New Orleans, with its vibrant nightlife and historical architecture. Stay at The Old No.77 Hotel, a converted warehouse, but now the perfect, boutique hideaway. Embark on the route in spring for the best weather.
Route 66, USA
Arguably the most famous road trip in the world, Route 66 is the ultimate all-American driving holiday, with stops in Kansas, Oklahoma, Santa Fe and California. Fly into Chicago, and book a room at Soho House to spend a few days relaxing in the windy city before hitting the road. From there, hop on and off the most famous highway in the world, pulling over for a plethora of kitsch attractions. With the Pacific Ocean as your finish line, it can be tempting to power through this route, but take your time to enjoy this once in a lifetime experience: from classic roadside diners and motels, to desert mountains and sandy beaches, Route 66 has it all. To beat the heat, head out in the spring.
The Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road weaves along Victoria’s south coast, and is home to pretty fishing villages, white sandy beaches and famous surfing spots. Destinations include Torquay, Apollo and Lorne, as well as the charming Port Fairy, where you can book into Drift House, which couples a traditional beachy exterior with contemporary interior design. Look out for the iconic Twelve Apostles and Cape Otway light station (the oldest lighthouse in Australia), before whale watching in Warrnambool. The best time to head out is between September and November, when there are plenty of animal spotting opportunities.
The Garden Route, South Africa
For some winter sun, head to South Africa to discover The Garden Route, a road trip coupling sandy beaches with leafy green wildlife. After flying into Cape Town, move on to George and Mossel Bay. Expect to visit some of South Africa’s best nature and marine reserves along the way, as well as stunning parks and lagoons, including the must-visit Garden Route National Park. At Plettenberg Bay, stay at The Old Rectory, a charming, boutique hotel with a shady tree lined pool and stylish interior design. To really turn this into a bucket list trip, finish off with an unforgettable South African safari.
Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
For a summer road trip in a stunning setting, look no further than Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route. After flying into Belfast, travel along the coast to Derry, stopping off at Murlough Bay, Ballintoy and Whiterocks Beach, which holds a prestigious Blue Flag award. And don’t miss the famous Giant’s Causeway, which has long been an inspiration for writers and artists, with its dramatic cliffside landscape and wide ocean vistas. Book a room at the traditional Ballygally Castle for an overnight stay near the popular Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. A great choice for families looking for adventure.
Low Wood Bay Hotel
The South Lakes, Lake District
The picturesque Lake District makes for an ideal weekend road trip. Start your journey in Hawkshead, before moving on to Grasmere and Windermere, where you can take a lake cruise to stop off at popular tourist attractions, such as the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway. A haven for some of the country’s best writers and poets, take in the Lakes’ literary hot spots, such as Beatrix Potter’s cottage, Hill Top, or William Wandsworth’s hideaway, Dove Cottage. Couples can cosy up in The Den, a Scandinavian style cabin or opt for a night of luxury at Windermere’s Lakeside Hotel and Spa. Don’t forget to pick up some Grasmere gingerbread, a Lake District delicacy.
The Blue Lagoon Hotel
The Golden Circle & The South Route, Iceland
Head to this Nordic island in early autumn and embark on a week-long trip that lets you enjoy the country’s natural wonders in all their glory. Fly into Reykjavik, the country’s historic capital, before following the South Route road, making a stop at Diamond Beach, so called for the way the light catches the ice that washes up on the shore. Other stops include Thingvellir National Park, Iceland’s only world heritage site, as well as the unique Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Wind down at The Blue Lagoon Retreat Hotel and Spa where, if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the stunning Aurora Borealis.